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Language Contact and the Phylogeny and Phonology of Early English

Abstract

This paper aims to review Emonds and Faarlund’s work critically from a phonological perspective. Their work suggests that Modern English is a North Germanic language rather than a West Germanic language. After evaluating Emonds and Faarlund’s usage of the literature and theories of language contact   and phylogenetic relationships, it is concluded that the only way Emonds and Faarlund’s theory could be reconciled with current linguistic theory, is to posit a set of mappings from the Old Norse phonology to the Old English phonology in order to allow for a simple continuation of the Old English phonology into Middle English. Using a series of etymological dictionaries, mappings are explored for gemination, Holtzman’s Law, cluster simplification, and palatalization. It is concluded that mappings are an impossibility due to the intricacies of the phonology, and that the notion of mappings themselves have no place in a theory of language contact or a phylogenetic framework.
Volume 1 (Issue 1)