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ERIC Number: EJ845241
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 34
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 35
ISSN: ISSN-0023-8309
Rhythm versus Analogy: Prosodic Form Variation in Dutch Compounds
Neijt, Anneke; Schreuder, Robert
Language and Speech, v50 n4 p533-566 2007
Creating compound nouns is the most productive process of Dutch morphology, with an interesting pattern of form variation. For instance, "staat" "nation" simply combines with "kunde" "art" ("staatkunde" "political science, statesmanship"), but needs a linking element "s" or "en" to form staatsschuld "national debt" and "statenbond" "confederation". Previous research has shown that the use of linking elements is guided by paradigmatic analogy, a factor that in the absence of other factors would lead to paradigm uniformity. However, there is considerable freedom in the use of linking elements, suggesting that other factors are relevant as well. We present studies showing that both stress and length affect their use, and that, in an experimental setting, the linking element en is less favored in lengthened compounds. However, the results observed in this experiment can only be explained satisfactorily in terms of rhythm: the preference for a recurrent pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. The general conclusion of this study concerns the distinction between language behavior guided by stored knowledge or by processing factors. Models based on analogy (exemplar-based models) rely on stored knowledge. This study shows that apart from that, rhythm plays its own role. Rhythmic structures facilitate language processing, and a preference for perfect rhythm explains which variant of a compound (with or without the linking element) is chosen. Given the universal nature of analogy and rhythm, the issue of the balance between these two components of linguistic knowledge is relevant for a wide array of languages. (Contains 1 table, 2 figures, and 7 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands