Morphology

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 3–14 | Cite as

Syncretism in Dutch dialects

Open Access
Original Paper

Abstract

Dutch dialects show an enormous amount of variation with respect to the verbal inflectional paradigm. To wit, some dialects only have two forms in the present tense indicative to express all persons in singular and plural, whereas other dialects use three or even four different forms to do so. inflectional pattern is equally likely to occur; some patterns are found nowhere, whereas others are geographically widespread and stable over time. We will show that these recurring patterns of syncretism are also typologically well-attested. The recurring pattern involves neutralization of a morphosyntactic distinction in the marked half of the paradigm. More specifically, we see that plural and past tense are neutralizing contexts. We will show that a grammar that solely uses underspecification of affixes to account for the observed syncretisms, misses a generalization that can only be expressed by impoverishment rules or some paradigmatic means.

Keywords

Verbal inflection Syncretism Morphological neutralization Dialectal variation Impoverishment Person marking Number marking 

References

  1. Aalberse S.P. (2004) Waer bestu bleven? De verdwijning van het pronomen ‘du’ in een taalvergelijkend perspectief. Nederlandse Taalkunde 9(3): 231–252Google Scholar
  2. Aalberse S.P. (2007) The typology of syncretisms and the status of feature structure. Verbal paradigms across 355 Dutch dialects. Morphology 17(1): 109–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aikhenvald A.Y., Dixon R.M.W. (1998) Dependencies between Grammatical Systems. Language 74(1): 56–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baerman, M. (2000). Contrary to syncretic structure. Presentation LAGB.Google Scholar
  5. Baerman, M., Brown, D., & Corbett, G. (2005). The syntax-morphology interface: A study of syncretism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Barbiers, S., et al. (2006). Dynamische Syntactische Atlas van de Nederlandse Dialecten. Amsterdam: Meertens Instituut. http://www.meertens.knaw.nl/sand/.
  7. Bennis, H., & MacLean, A. (2006). Variation in verbal inflection in Dutch dialects. Morphology, 16(2), 291–312.Google Scholar
  8. Bobaljik, J. D. (2003). Syncretism without paradigms: Remarks on Williams 1981, 1994. In G. E. Booij & J. van Marle (Eds.), Yearbook of morphology 2002 (pp. 53–85). Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  9. Bobaljik, J. D. (2008). Missing persons: A case study in morphological universals. The Linguistic Review, 25(1–2), 203–230.Google Scholar
  10. Booij G.E. (2002) The morphology of Dutch. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  11. Cysouw, M. (2005). What it means to be rare: The variability of person marking. In Z. Frajzyngier, A. Hodges, & D. S. Rood (Eds.), Linguistic diversity and language theories (pp. 235–258). Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  12. de Hoop, H., Haverkort, M., & van den Noort, M. (2004). Variation in form versus variation in meaning. Lingua, 114(9–10), 1071–1089.Google Scholar
  13. de Vogelaer, G. (2005). Persoonsmarkering in de dialecten van het Nederlands en het Fries. http://users.ugent.be/~gdvogela/proefschrift.
  14. De Wulf, C., & Taeldeman, J. (2001). Apocope en insertie van –n na sjwa in de zuidelijk Nederlandse dialecten: conditionering en geografie. In L. Draye, H. Ryckeboer, & J. Stroop (Eds.), De Variabiliteit van de –e(n) in het Nederlands (Taal & Tongval themanummer 14) (pp. 7–51). Gent: Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlande taal-en letterkunde.Google Scholar
  15. Greenberg, J. H. (1966). Language universals with special reference to feature hierarchies. The Hague, Paris: Mouton.Google Scholar
  16. Halle, M. (1997). Distributed morphology: Impoverishment and fission. In MIT Working Papers in Linguistics (Vol. 30, pp. 425–449).Google Scholar
  17. Halle, M., & Marantz, A. (1993). Distributed morphology and the pieces of inflection. In K. Hale & S. J. Keyser (Eds.), The view from building 20, essays in linguistics in honor of sylvain bromberger (pp. 111–176). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  18. Stump G.T. (2001) Inflectional morphology: A theory of paradigm structure. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  19. van den Berg, B. L. (2003). Phonology & morphology of Dutch & Frisian. Dialects in 1.1 million transcriptions. Goeman-Taeldeman-Van Reenen project 1980–1995 (CD_ROM). Amsterdam: Meertens Instituut.Google Scholar
  20. Williams E. (1994) Remarks on lexical knowledge. Lingua 92(1): 7–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Wunderlich D. (1997) A minimalist model of inflectional morphology. In: Wilder C., Gärtner H.M., Bierwisch M. (eds) The role of economy principles in linguistic theory. Akademie Verlag, Berlin, pp 267–298Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universiteit van AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations