Morphologisation or Reduction by Context? The-te Ending on Adjectives and Preterite Verb Forms in Standard Copenhagen Danish

Jan Heegård Petersen

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    The article investigates the factors that underlie schwa elision in-te, [d], endings in Standard Copenhagen Danish adjectives and preterite verb forms. The study shows that preterite [d] is much more likely to undergo schwa elision to [d] than adjectival [d]. The data are analysed by use of regression analysis which shows that also a following sound or pause, word form frequency and social class are factors that contribute significantly to the reduction pattern of the variable (te). The study cannot find any effects of clitizisation or n-gram based contextual predictability, factors that are often mentioned in the literature as causing phonetic reduction. The article discusses whether preterite verb forms can be said to be more grammatical than adjectives, or whether the high frequency schwa elided variant of verbal te is a sign of morphologisation, an allomorph,-t, of the preterite morpheme.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalActa Linguistica Hafniensia: International Journal of Linguistics
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)100-125
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013

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