Mayuko Yoneda Kyoto University “Analogically-driven strong and weak verb transformations in the history of English: The role of synonyms.”


It is well known that many strong verbs became weak verbs in the history of the English language. A reverse process, whereby weak verbs became strong verbs, is also known. In this article, I will examine the important role synonymous verb forms played in driving these changes. The analogical extension of a form from one type to another is most likely influenced by the form’s co-occurrence with other phonetically or semantically related forms (Bloomfield 1933: 409). Considering the central role that semantic similarity plays in driving analogical change, I present a series of detailed case studies on individual verbs and argue that synonymous verb forms were a primary factor in the transfer of verbs from the strong to weak conjugation or vice-versa.

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