Changing from Syllable-Rhythm to Word-Rhythm: Parallels between Danish and Northern Alemannic

Renate Schrambke 1
  • 1 Universität Freiburg – Deutsches Seminar I, Arbeitsbereich Geschichtliche Landeskunde, 79085 Freiburg, Germany.


Languages and dialects can change from one prosodic category to another, causing thereby phonetic and phonological changes. This happened in Danish as well as in Northern Alemannic when both changed their basic rhythm from a more syllable-based system to a more word-based one. The consequences of this transition were very similar, some even identical. This article focuses on these similarities comparing the development of the plosive sounds as well as the assimilation of nd >n in Danish and in a small area of Northern Alemannic in the transition area to Rhenish Franconian. Furthermore some of the changes that have taken place in a wider area of Northern Alemannic are discussed such as the deletion of word final vowels (apocope), the introduction of the glottal stop, the linking n in hiatus position as well as phonetic assimilation across word boundaries.

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Dialectologia et Geolinguistica publishes contributions on the variation of languages world-wide, systematic and inherent, diachronic and synchronic, regional and social, based on either oral or written data. It is open to all theoretical and methodological approaches. The journal is the official journal of the International Society for Dialectology and Geolinguistics (ISDG/SIDG).