A Listener-oriented account of the evolution of diphthongs and changes in the jers in Kashubian


  • Bartlomiej Czaplicki University of Warsaw


diphthongization, epenthesis, consonant transition, phonetic length, reanalysis


This paper applies the listener-oriented approach (Andersen 1978, Ohala 1981, 1992) to two diachronic changes in Kashubian: diphthongization and preservation of jers. It is shown that acoustic and perceptual factors provide a plausible explanation for the consecutive stages in the evolution of the two phenomena. The Kashubian changes illustrate two major types of the listener-oriented mechanism: changes resulting from hypocorrection and hypercorrection. It is shown that while both mechanisms in essence rely on a phonological reanalysis of ambiguous phonetic properties, the outcome differs in each case: (i) a coarticulatory property is reanalyzed as phonological and (ii) a phonetic element is associated with a phonological source that is distinct from the source assumed by the speaker. While this discussion provides support for the non-deterministic nature of sound change, conditions that promote one type of change while inhibiting the other are identified. In hypocorrective changes, the prior existence of a certain structure in the language facilitates the emergence of this structure in other contexts. Hypercorrective changes, on the other hand, are predicted to occur when a feature with a long acoustic span is involved. Similar processes in other, mostly Slavic, languages are identified and compared with the Kashubian changes, with the aim of filling some gaps in the typology and providing a uniform explanation for these and similar mechanisms of change.




How to Cite

Czaplicki, B. “A Listener-Oriented Account of the Evolution of Diphthongs and Changes in the Jers in Kashubian”. Journal of Slavic Linguistics, vol. 28, no. 2, Dec. 2020, pp. 105-40, http://ojs.ung.si/index.php/JSL/article/view/58.