Sound change and analogy, again: Brugmann's Law and the hunt for o-grades in Indo-Iranian
Laura Grestenberger
November 2023

This article revisits the interaction between regular "Neogrammarian" sound change (defined as a purely phonological process) and subsequent morphological change (especially changes subsumed under the term "analogy") in the development of the outcomes of Brugmann's Law (BL) in Indo-Iranian. The traditional formulation of BL posits that Proto-Indo-European *o became Indo-Iranian /ā/ in open syllables and /a/ elsewhere, positing a purely phonological context of application. Alternatively, Kiparsky (2010) has argued for a revised version of BL in which the accent and ablaut properties of the affected forms play a role, hence essentially for a synchronic morphophonological rule. I argue that this revised version fails both from the perspective of comparative reconstruction and as a synchronic rule based on a detailed study of the forms cited as evidence for the revised rule. Rather, in order to identify inherited *o in Indo-Iranian the effects of the "blind" Neogrammarian rule must be separated from the synchronic morphological rules of the attested languages. This paper thus makes a methodological contribution in defense of the Neogrammarian approach to sound change, but also an empirical contribution by showing that this approach, in combination with a strictly lexical definition of analogy, can account for some conspicuous exceptions to traditional BL.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007722
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Transactions of the Philological Society, Nov. 2023,
keywords: sound change, neogrammarian hypothesis, morphophonological & morpholexical change, analogy, leveling, regularity of sound change, comparative reconstruction, indo-iranian, vedic, avestan, proto-indo-european, morphology, phonology, diachrony
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