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Junctural Metanalysis In Middle English

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Chapter Summary

Resegmentation of words in the process of human communication has spawned new entries in the English lexicon that in some cases have enjoyed wide acceptance; so much so that a technical term 'metanalysis' was coined at the end of the 19th century by the influential linguist Otto Jespersen to describe this peculiar but fairly widespread linguistic phenomenon. Junctural metanalysis has occurred in the English language in phonetic environments other than after movable-n: for example, in words that have an initial unaccented short vowel that is apt to be confounded with the indefinite article. Such junctural metanalyses have occurred in many languages other than English. The junctural situation in the Celtic languages appears to have been similar, as evidenced by a few metanalyses during the earlier periods of their histories.

Keywords: English lexicon; junctural metanalysis



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