European Commonality through Language. A history of phonemic sound change

Author: Jake Gears
Institution: University of Warmia and Mazury
Year of publication: 2023
Source: Show
Pages: 106-114
DOI Address:
PDF: cpls/8/cpls812.pdf

The aim of this investigation was to establish whether a relationship between respective phonemic elements in early Germanic and Slavic verb roots exists and could expose deeper cross language commonality. Verbs chosen for the study relate to eating or food preparation. Analysis was carried out using a comparative method that examined Germanic and Slavic words in terms of their phonological progression from Proto Indo-European to present day English and Polish. Widespread distribution of verb roots established through diachronic histories together with evidence of phonological operation and development of consonants and vowels, provided the framework within which similarities, differences and changes could be assessed. Research focused on the phonotactic structure and phonetic properties found in Proto-Germanic and Proto-Slavic verb roots and separated their elements into discreet component parts using skeletal and melody analysis. Further examination of phonotactic sequences in proto forms, derived from the same Proto Indo-European verb root, provided evidence of a strong language specific bias towards the preservation of consonantal or vocalic properties either overtly in the skeletal sequence or covertly in the melody. A quantitative qualitative difference creating discreet blocks in a syllable. This study suggests that commonality, evident through a shared level of complexity, expressed in Germanic as a consonant cluster and in Slavic as complex melodic units present phoneme groupings responsible for early divergent tendencies in the respective languages.


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Polish-English cognates diachronic phonology sound changes

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