Syncretism by analogy

Matthew Baerman M.Baerman at SURREY.AC.UK
Fri Jun 27 14:43:23 UTC 2003

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Dear list members

A historiographical-cum-factual query. In Livonian, in place of the expected
1sg present tense ending (zero), you get the 3sg ending -b. Kettunen (1938)
says that this was on analogy with the simple past tense paradigm, where 1sg
and 3sg fell together as the result of regular sound change. Merits of this
particular account aside, what interests me is the nature of the claim, namely,
that you can have a pattern of syncretism (in the sense of homophony between
cells of an inflectional paradigm) which arose by regular sound change in one
paradigm, which is then extended by analogy to other paradigms which had not
been affected by that sound change. I get a real sense of dij` vu when I read
accounts like the above, one which quickly evaporates when I try to recall
specific examples. So my question is:

Can anyone think of other examples that have been claimed to work like the
above (even unlikely ones)? Or ones that seem like they work that way, even if
nobody s ever claimed it?

Ones I can think of are:

--Old Icelandic: 2sg=3sg in the present extended from consonant-stem verbs to
all verbs (Kurylowicz 1949).
--Eastern Finnmark Sami dialects: comitative sg=inessive/elative pl extended
from nouns to pronouns(Hansson 1996).
--Russian: genitive sg=dative/locative sg extended from i-stem nouns to a-stems
(Sologub 1983).
--Dhasanaac/Dasenech: 1pl=2sg/2pl/3SG fem extended from resonant-final stems to
all stems (Sasse 1976, Tosco 2001).

many thanks in advance

Matthew Baerman
Surrey Morphology Group
University of Surrey
Guildford, UK

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