Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 June 2008
This study investigates the roles of phonetic analogy and lexical frequency in an ongoing sound change, the devoicing of fricatives in Dutch, which occurs mainly in the Netherlands and to a lesser degree in Flanders. In the experiment, Dutch and Flemish students read two variants of 98 words: the standard and a nonstandard form with the incorrect voice value of the fricative. Dutch students chose the non-standard forms with devoiced fricatives more often than Flemish students. Moreover, devoicing, though a gradual process, appeared lexically diffused, affecting first the words that are low in frequency and phonetically similar to words with voiceless fricatives.*
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