Syncretism by analogy

Max Wheeler maxw at
Mon Jun 30 11:02:00 UTC 2003

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Yes, I see your point; viz. that syncretisms caused by sound change
provide the paradigm case (pun intended) for showing syncretism extended
by analogy.

In the Catalan case, the 1pl and 2pl ind=subj cases have the original
indicative affix in Conjuagtions II and III, but the original
subjunctive (also = imp in 1pl) in Conjugation I. While Catalan
varieties were developing/extending these ind=subj syncretisms in 1pl
and 2pl, most dialects (including standard Catalan) were
developing/extending subjunctive endings in sg and 3pl precisely with
the effect of repairing subj=indic syncretism that had occurred in
Conjugation I as a result of regular SC in the 3pl generally, and in a
few cases in 1-3sg. (Worse, though, seems to have been the situation
that the inherited 2-3sg subjunctives in Conjugation I were anti-iconic,
i.e. with zero exponent of subjunctive contrasting with /a/ ~ /e/
indicative. For many Catalan varieties the result of all this is that
there is ind=subj syncretism where it was not the result of regular SC
and ind-subj contrast where syncretism was the result of regular SC.



Max W. Wheeler
Reader in Linguistics
School of Cognitive & Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QH, UK
Tel +44 (0)1273 678975 Fax +44 (0)1273 673120
Email <maxw at>

-----Original Message-----
From: M.Baerman at [mailto:M.Baerman at]
Sent: 30 June 2003 10:13
Cc: maxw at
Subject: Re: Syncretism by analogy

> ----------------------------Original
> Does the original syncretism have to be due to regular SC? As far as
> principles of morphological change are concerned, one might think it
> no difference how the original syncretism came about, provided one
> show the analogical extension was subsequent to the original

The nice thing about sound change is that it can produce bizarre
which are not reduceable to any obvious morphosyntactic or semantic
class. To the extent that these are then extended analogically, it's
of the existence of purely morphological classes of values, something
against by plenty of folk.

In the Catalan example, is the case that the indicative form ousts the


Matthew Baerman
Surrey Morphology Group
University of Surrey
Guildford, UK

> In many dialects of Catalan, syncretism 1pl.prs.subj=1pl.prs.ind and
> 2pl.prs.subj=2pl.prs.ind got established in the default Conjugation 1
> before spreading 'by analogy' to the endings of the other conjugations
> (though in some verbs of Conj II, ind and subj retain distinct stem
> variants). But the original syncretism doesn't follow from regular SC
> rather, I have argued, from an inadequate and confusing system of
> contrasts as exponents of the categories ind, subj, and imp in 1pl and
> 2pl). Of course, the extension here is across arbitrary inflectional
> classes, but perhaps that is not so different from the Russian case
> mentions.
> Max Wheeler
> --On Friday, June 27, 2003 10:43 -0400 Matthew Baerman
> <M.Baerman at SURREY.AC.UK> wrote:
> > ----------------------------Original
> > 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
> > paradigm, where 1sg and 3sg fell together as the result of regular
> > change. Merits of this particular account aside, what interests me
is the
> > nature of the claim, namely, that you can have a pattern of
> > (in the sense of homophony between cells of an inflectional
> > which arose by regular sound change in one paradigm, which is then
> > extended by analogy to other paradigms which had not been affected
> > that sound change. I get a real sense of dij` vu when I read
> > 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
> > 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
> > a-stems (Sologub 1983).
> > --Dhasanaac/Dasenech: 1pl=2sg/2pl/3SG fem extended from
> > stems to all stems (Sasse 1976, Tosco 2001).
> >
> >
> > many thanks in advance
> > Matthew
> >
> >
> > Matthew Baerman
> > Surrey Morphology Group
> > University of Surrey
> > Guildford, UK
> >
> >
> > ---------------------------------------------
> > This message was sent using UNIS MailSystem.
> ____________________________________________________________
> Max W. Wheeler
> School of Cognitive & Computing Sciences
> University of Sussex
> Falmer
> Tel: +44 (0)1273 678975 Fax: +44 (0)1273 671320 Email:
> maxw at
> ____________________________________________________________

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