Exceptions vs. Non-exceptions in Sound Changes: Morphological Condition and Frequency
Keywords:diphthongization, leading morphemes, frequency, frequency change, exception
This paper takes an approach different from most previous studies by firstly comparing exceptions with non-exceptions in the diphthongization of [i] to [ei] in Mandarin (AD 1324–Present) to locate factors that explain exceptions. Then it focuses solely on non-exceptional morphemes in this process by comparing morphemes at the forefront of this process with those undergoing it later to examine factors to explain morphemes leading this sound change. Statistical analysis shows that morphemes with the highest frequency among all related morphemes tend to be exceptions to diphthongization of [i] to [ei], and morphemes with high frequency among those non-exceptional morphemes tend to undergo this process earlier. In addition, the factor of frequency change, a proposal of this paper, is statistically significantly correlated with morphemes that lead diphthongization. The morphological condition has been rejected as statistically significant both for explaining exceptions to sound change and leading morphemes in sound change.
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