Prof. Aditi Lahiri (Oxford) to give first AMC Biennial Lecture

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Date(s) - 10/05/2017
4:00 pm - 5:15 pm

The University of Edinburgh, Room F.21, 7 George Square


First AMC Biennial Lecture

The Angus McIntosh Centre is beginning a new series of  lectures on the topic of historical linguistics, by hosting Professor Aditi Lahiri of the University of Oxford, who will lecture on the topic of “Pertinacity of Phonological Nonsuches”.

Professor Lahiri is the current head of the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics at Oxford, the director of the Oxford Language and Brain Laboratory, and a Fellow of the Brittish Academy.

The AMC Biennial Lecture showcases outstanding work in the area of historical linguistics, in line with the interests of the Centre.

A drinks reception, to be held in room G.32 of the same building (7 George Square), will follow Professor Lahiri’s lecture.


Professor Aditi Lahiri FBA

An abstract of Prof. Lahiri’s lecture follows:

Pertinacity of Phonological Nonesuches

Surface changes due to loans may suggest that the native phonology has been ignored. Nevertheless, a closer look at individual cases shows that native segmental, metrical and tonal phonological constraints operate effectively and persistently on loan incorporation. The hypothesis entertained is the following: phonological opacity may lead to varying choices for native speakers, and the resulting choice is governed by existing phonological preferences. The evidence comes from detailed case studies Germanic and Indo-Aryan languages. These will include metrical (re-)organisation in medieval Germanic (English, German, Norwegian, Dutch) and Old Bengali, quantity contrasts in Old High German,  shift in tonal and laryngeal specification in Scandinavian languages, and increase in marked segmental contrasts in Early Modern Bengali and Early Modern English. In all of the above, the loans may affect the lexicon, particularly the nonesuches  (segmental, quantity and tonal) which could change the statistical preferences (e.g. increase of Accent 1 words in Norwegian, increase of  coronal consonants in Indo-Aryan, etc.), but at each stage the phonological grammar plays a constraining influence.



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