Verb Contraction in the West Saxon Dialect of Old English: An Optimality Theory Account
The phenomena of verb contraction in the West Saxon dialect of Old English has been described in many grammars of the language. However, most of these use a traditional rule-based analysis of the sound changes which occur. This thesis re-analyzes the data in terms of Optimality Theory (OT), which uses a system of constraint ranking to account for sound changes. The advantage of using OT is that it offers a single ranking to explain sound changes that would require separate rules and ordering in a more traditional analysis. Section 1 introduces the motivation for approaching this data from OT. Section 2 outlines relevant grammatical features of Old English, and the West Saxon dialect in particular. Section 3 applies OT to the data itself. The data is organized according to the final consonant of the verb stem in order to allow a process of analysis that builds a constraint ranking able to account for the changes in all the verbs under consideration, including vowel deletion, assimilation, dissimilation, and simplification of consonant clusters. Section 4 discusses the theoretical contribution of this study and suggests related areas in which the analysis could be further applied.
Advisor:Mizuki Miyashita; Gary Bevington; Ashby Kinch
School:The University of Montana
School Location:USA - Montana
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:09/19/2007