Function, structure, sound change, and chain shifts

One of the original influential discussions impacting Labov’s view on how chain shifts work is the work of Andre Martinet. Although I haven’t read his entire work Economie des linguistique genererale (1955) since I don’t read French, from what I understand, this article (from Word, published in 1952 and in English) essentially presents the “gist” of Martinet’s views on these topics as put forth in that book. As one will see from reading it, it is clear Martinet’s views had a strong influence on Labov’s views on chain shifting.

Martinet, Andre. 1952. Function, structure, and sound change. Word, 8.1:1-32. http://www.ling.osu.edu/~ddurian/AWAC/martinet1952.pdf

In addition, other informative pre-Labov works on chain shifting include:

– Jesperson, Otto. 1909. A Modern English grammar on historical principles. London: George Allen & Unwin.
– Dobson, E. J. 1957. English pronunciation 1500-1700. Vol. 2: Phonology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
– Stockwell, Robert P. 1964. On the utility of an overall pattern in historical English phonology. In H. Lunt (Ed.), Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Linguists. Mouton: The Hague. p. 663-671.

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About daviddurian
I am a sociolinguist with a Ph D in Linguistics from The Ohio State University. Currently, I work as the Lecturer at Rice University, where I teach undergraduate courses in both sociolinguistics and general linguistics. I also work on research projects investing language variation and change in US English a variety of cities. Specifically, at the moment, this includes Houston, Chicago, and Columbus, OH.

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