Typology and language change: The case of truncation



Diachronic change of prosodic structures, as it is encountered for instance in the history of stress systems, has been described as a slow process involving a series of minimal changes in a language’s grammar (Lahiri, 2015). We show that minimal grammatical change of prosodic structures is observed as well in the domain of name truncation (e.g. Italian hypocoristic formation: Francesca > France), where diachronic change is fast and therefore analyzable in real time. Following a study by Boschiroli (2017) on the perceived age of Italian truncation patterns, we establish a relative chronology of French and German truncation patterns and propose an analysis where minimality in language change is defined in terms of the ranking conditions (typological properties) determining the typological system of truncation.


name truncation, typology, language change, Property Theory


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