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Re: Evolution of reduplication (was Re: evolution of infixes)

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  • Eric Christopherson
    ... One thing I forgot to ask: is there anything to suggest that reduplication sometimes comes from stuttering? Obviously I wouldn t expect a whole speech
    Message 1 of 22 , Feb 2, 2011
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      On Feb 2, 2011, at 12:09 AM, Eric Christopherson wrote:
      > Now, another thing I've wondered about: where do the various kinds of *reduplication* come from ... ?

      One thing I forgot to ask: is there anything to suggest that reduplication sometimes comes from stuttering? Obviously I wouldn't expect a whole speech community to be actual stutterers, but maybe the pronunciation could spread from one person or a few people who do have it.

      I'd be interested in other areas of language change due to pathology too, such as sound change, e.g. shift of [s] to [T] or [K] due to lisping. (That is, if those are considered pathologies. I'm not taking a stance on that.)
    • Patrick Dunn
      Pathology as a motivator for linguistic change strikes me as *exceedingly* unlikely. I d have to see it in action in a well-lit room before I believed it. As
      Message 2 of 22 , Feb 2, 2011
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        Pathology as a motivator for linguistic change strikes me as *exceedingly*
        unlikely. I'd have to see it in action in a well-lit room before I believed
        it.

        As far as reduplication, I've always simply assumed that it had an iconic
        function initially. For example, in Indonesian plurals:

        buku -- book
        buku-buku -- books


        On Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 5:13 PM, Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>wrote:

        > On Feb 2, 2011, at 12:09 AM, Eric Christopherson wrote:
        > > Now, another thing I've wondered about: where do the various kinds of
        > *reduplication* come from ... ?
        >
        > One thing I forgot to ask: is there anything to suggest that reduplication
        > sometimes comes from stuttering? Obviously I wouldn't expect a whole speech
        > community to be actual stutterers, but maybe the pronunciation could spread
        > from one person or a few people who do have it.
        >
        > I'd be interested in other areas of language change due to pathology too,
        > such as sound change, e.g. shift of [s] to [T] or [K] due to lisping. (That
        > is, if those are considered pathologies. I'm not taking a stance on that.)
        >



        --
        I have stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; garlands from window to
        window; golden chains from star to star, and I dance. --Arthur Rimbaud
      • Garth Wallace
        ... I would think that particular speech impediment would have to be really incredibly widespread AND not recognized as such for people to start reinterpreting
        Message 3 of 22 , Feb 2, 2011
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          On Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 3:13 PM, Eric Christopherson <rakko@...> wrote:
          > On Feb 2, 2011, at 12:09 AM, Eric Christopherson wrote:
          >> Now, another thing I've wondered about: where do the various kinds of *reduplication* come from ... ?
          >
          > One thing I forgot to ask: is there anything to suggest that reduplication sometimes comes from stuttering? Obviously I wouldn't expect a whole speech community to be actual stutterers, but maybe the pronunciation could spread from one person or a few people who do have it.

          I would think that particular speech impediment would have to be
          really incredibly widespread AND not recognized as such for people to
          start reinterpreting it as the proper form.
        • Alex Fink
          ... On top of which, if you did manage to get reduplication from stuttering, you still wouldn t ve ended up with a process with semantic function! It would
          Message 4 of 22 , Feb 2, 2011
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            On Wed, 2 Feb 2011 17:26:44 -0600, Patrick Dunn <pwdunn@...> wrote:

            >> On Feb 2, 2011, at 12:09 AM, Eric Christopherson wrote:
            >> One thing I forgot to ask: is there anything to suggest that reduplication
            >> sometimes comes from stuttering? Obviously I wouldn't expect a whole speech
            >> community to be actual stutterers, but maybe the pronunciation could spread
            >> from one person or a few people who do have it.
            >
            >Pathology as a motivator for linguistic change strikes me as *exceedingly*
            >unlikely. I'd have to see it in action in a well-lit room before I believed
            >it.

            On top of which, if you did manage to get reduplication from stuttering, you
            still wouldn't've ended up with a process with semantic function! It would
            either be [C@C-] in free variation with [C-] (in the right
            phonomorphosyntactic contexts?), or else (even more outrély) an
            unconditional sound change from the latter to the former.

            Alex
          • Dale McCreery
            How about if you had a group of children raised in isolation by parents who were scared of large numbers of dangerous animals? The stutter gets reinterpreted
            Message 5 of 22 , Feb 2, 2011
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              How about if you had a group of children raised in isolation by parents
              who were scared of large numbers of dangerous animals? The stutter gets
              reinterpreted as a plural for those specific animals, then generalized as
              a joke to pick on anyone who is scared of something, until someone comes
              along, scared of his own shadow, and the reduplication (aka stuttering)
              becomes the default plural marker for an entire language...

              Unlikely but fun to imagine.

              -dale-


              > On Wed, 2 Feb 2011 17:26:44 -0600, Patrick Dunn <pwdunn@...> wrote:
              >
              >>> On Feb 2, 2011, at 12:09 AM, Eric Christopherson wrote:
              >>> One thing I forgot to ask: is there anything to suggest that
              >>> reduplication
              >>> sometimes comes from stuttering? Obviously I wouldn't expect a whole
              >>> speech
              >>> community to be actual stutterers, but maybe the pronunciation could
              >>> spread
              >>> from one person or a few people who do have it.
              >>
              >>Pathology as a motivator for linguistic change strikes me as
              >> *exceedingly*
              >>unlikely. I'd have to see it in action in a well-lit room before I
              >> believed
              >>it.
              >
              > On top of which, if you did manage to get reduplication from stuttering,
              > you
              > still wouldn't've ended up with a process with semantic function! It
              > would
              > either be [C@C-] in free variation with [C-] (in the right
              > phonomorphosyntactic contexts?), or else (even more outrély) an
              > unconditional sound change from the latter to the former.
              >
              > Alex
              >
            • Eric Christopherson
              ... OK. Isn t it accepted, though, that some alternations started out with no grammatical or semantic distinction, but later developed one? I remember reading
              Message 6 of 22 , Feb 2, 2011
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                On Feb 2, 2011, at 6:44 PM, Alex Fink wrote:

                > On Wed, 2 Feb 2011 17:26:44 -0600, Patrick Dunn <pwdunn@...> wrote:
                >
                >>> On Feb 2, 2011, at 12:09 AM, Eric Christopherson wrote:
                >>> One thing I forgot to ask: is there anything to suggest that reduplication
                >>> sometimes comes from stuttering? Obviously I wouldn't expect a whole speech
                >>> community to be actual stutterers, but maybe the pronunciation could spread
                >>> from one person or a few people who do have it.
                >>
                >> Pathology as a motivator for linguistic change strikes me as *exceedingly*
                >> unlikely. I'd have to see it in action in a well-lit room before I believed
                >> it.
                >
                > On top of which, if you did manage to get reduplication from stuttering, you
                > still wouldn't've ended up with a process with semantic function! It would
                > either be [C@C-] in free variation with [C-] (in the right
                > phonomorphosyntactic contexts?), or else (even more outrély) an
                > unconditional sound change from the latter to the former.

                OK. Isn't it accepted, though, that some alternations started out with no grammatical or semantic distinction, but later developed one? I remember reading that once, but I don't remember where and I'm not sure how to evaluate the source's trustworthiness. I'm not sure how free variation would develop into meaningful variation, but I'm open to the possibility.
              • Philip Newton
                ... Well, there s the common legend that Spanish _distinción_ (where orthographic |s| is /s/ while orthographic |c| and |z| is /T/) comes from the
                Message 7 of 22 , Feb 3, 2011
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                  On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 00:13, Eric Christopherson <rakko@...> wrote:
                  > I'd be interested in other areas of language change due to pathology too, such as sound change, e.g. shift of [s] to [T] or [K] due to lisping. (That is, if those are considered pathologies. I'm not taking a stance on that.)

                  Well, there's the common legend that Spanish _distinción_ (where
                  orthographic |s| is /s/ while orthographic |c| and |z| is /T/) comes
                  from the pronunciation of a king who had a lisp: that this
                  pronunciation became fashionable because it was associated with the
                  upper classes, who imitated the king's pronunciation in order to curry
                  favour with him, or something like that.

                  Wikipedia says (s.v. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceceo#Castilian_lisp
                  ) that this legend has been discredited; in any event, it wouldn't
                  explain why the phoneme /s/ would survive. (Though apparently there
                  are areas in Spain where both phonemes merged into /T/: the phenomenon
                  is called _ceceo_. There, _casa_ "house" and _caza_ "hunt" would both
                  be /kaTa/.)

                  Cheers,
                  Philip
                  --
                  Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
                • Alex Fink
                  On Thu, 3 Feb 2011 01:20:12 -0600, Eric Christopherson ... grammatical or semantic distinction, but later developed one? I remember reading
                  Message 8 of 22 , Feb 3, 2011
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                    On Thu, 3 Feb 2011 01:20:12 -0600, Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>
                    wrote:

                    >On Feb 2, 2011, at 6:44 PM, Alex Fink wrote:
                    >
                    >> On Wed, 2 Feb 2011 17:26:44 -0600, Patrick Dunn <pwdunn@...> wrote:
                    >>
                    >>>> On Feb 2, 2011, at 12:09 AM, Eric Christopherson wrote:
                    >>>> One thing I forgot to ask: is there anything to suggest that reduplication
                    >>>> sometimes comes from stuttering? Obviously I wouldn't expect a whole speech
                    >>>> community to be actual stutterers, but maybe the pronunciation could spread
                    >>>> from one person or a few people who do have it.
                    >>>
                    >>> Pathology as a motivator for linguistic change strikes me as *exceedingly*
                    >>> unlikely. I'd have to see it in action in a well-lit room before I believed
                    >>> it.
                    >>
                    >> On top of which, if you did manage to get reduplication from stuttering, you
                    >> still wouldn't've ended up with a process with semantic function! It would
                    >> either be [C@C-] in free variation with [C-] (in the right
                    >> phonomorphosyntactic contexts?), or else (even more outrély) an
                    >> unconditional sound change from the latter to the former.
                    >
                    >OK. Isn't it accepted, though, that some alternations started out with no
                    grammatical or semantic distinction, but later developed one? I remember
                    reading that once, but I don't remember where and I'm not sure how to
                    evaluate the source's trustworthiness. I'm not sure how free variation would
                    develop into meaningful variation, but I'm open to the possibility.

                    Well, yes, fair enough. There are examples along the lines of the Celtic
                    mutations which started as pure phonology and became meaningful in some
                    contexts with syntactic changes and the like. Without that sort of gambit,
                    I can think of lexical instances of this, variants of a single word
                    splitting into two, but nothing systematic. But perhaps it's out there --
                    you could bootstrap a regular morphological process off it once you made
                    variants out of a few words withsimilar relations in meaning, for instance.

                    Alex
                  • And Rosta
                    Google linguistic exaptation . An example of this in english is how in the case of verbs with both regular and irregular preterites, e.g. leaned/leant, the
                    Message 9 of 22 , Feb 3, 2011
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                      Google "linguistic exaptation". An example of this in english is how in the
                      case of verbs with both regular and irregular preterites, e.g. leaned/leant,
                      the formal contrast acquired the semantic contrast imperfective: perfective.
                      There's an article on this by randolph quirk in Language from the 70s, and
                      one on exaptation by roger Lass in J Linguistics from the 80s. (sorry I
                      can't give proper references; I can't get a good enough signal from the
                      train I'm on for web searching.)

                      On 3 Feb 2011 07:20, "Eric Christopherson" <rakko@...> wrote:

                      On Feb 2, 2011, at 6:44 PM, Alex Fink wrote:

                      > On Wed, 2 Feb 2011 17:26:44 -0600, Patrick Dunn <pwd...
                      OK. Isn't it accepted, though, that some alternations started out with no
                      grammatical or semantic distinction, but later developed one? I remember
                      reading that once, but I don't remember where and I'm not sure how to
                      evaluate the source's trustworthiness. I'm not sure how free variation would
                      develop into meaningful variation, but I'm open to the possibility.
                    • John Vertical
                      ... such as sound change, e.g. shift of [s] to [T] or [K] due to lisping. (That is, if those are considered pathologies. I m not taking a stance on that.) I m
                      Message 10 of 22 , Feb 3, 2011
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                        On Wed, 2 Feb 2011 17:13:14 -0600, Eric Christopherson wrote:
                        >I'd be interested in other areas of language change due to pathology too,
                        such as sound change, e.g. shift of [s] to [T] or [K] due to lisping. (That
                        is, if those are considered pathologies. I'm not taking a stance on that.)

                        I'm reminded of the West European guttural R phenomenon here — I've
                        witness'd [ʀ] for /r/ in the speech of some Finnish speakers who never got
                        hang of [r]. And our president is famous for having something like [ʋˠ] (cf.
                        British English). The most frequent substitution for kids before they get it
                        right is however something like [ð] or [l].

                        A similar thing at the other end of speech transmittance may be behind the
                        lack of sibilants in Australia, which IIRC has been suspected to have
                        something to do with widespred hearing loss fromotitis media.

                        And I think I also saw it once suggested in a conlang discussion somewhere
                        that denasalization could be similarly motivated by a chronic flu epidemic :)

                        John Vertical
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