In this paper I present extensive quantitative evidence showing that it is possible to distinguish different Middle English varieties on the basis of the treatment of word-initial h-, and that it is necessary to postulate that, in some varieties, word-initial h- fails to surface in given contexts, though being present as a consonantal phoneme in the underlying representation. This casts a new light on the old problem of whether word-initial h- was lost in Middle English and restored at a later stage: the data presented here suggest that h- loss was never generalized, though h-less forms did surface as contextual variants of h-ful forms.

Were they 'dropping their aitches'? A quantitative study of h- loss in Middle English

CRISMA, PAOLA
2007

Abstract

In this paper I present extensive quantitative evidence showing that it is possible to distinguish different Middle English varieties on the basis of the treatment of word-initial h-, and that it is necessary to postulate that, in some varieties, word-initial h- fails to surface in given contexts, though being present as a consonantal phoneme in the underlying representation. This casts a new light on the old problem of whether word-initial h- was lost in Middle English and restored at a later stage: the data presented here suggest that h- loss was never generalized, though h-less forms did surface as contextual variants of h-ful forms.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/1692233
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