Chapter 7Stability of inflectional variation
The dative of the indefinite article in Zurich German
Free morphological variation is an understudied phenomenon; however, it is implicitly included in studies on overabundance. In the inflection of the indefinite article in Zurich German, we find overabundance of the dative masculine/neuter cell over a timespan of nearly 200 years. As this study shows, instances of overabundance or (possibly) free variation have to be analysed in great detail. In Zurich German, we see a complex picture of free variation in certain linguistic contexts and conditioned variation in other contexts. This instance of morphological variation in Zurich German is quite stable, which contradicts the hypothesis that morphological variation is always a transitional stage of a changing inflectional system, and it even exists at the intra-individual level.
- 2.Varying forms
- 2.1Morphological variation
- 2.3Free morphological variation
- 2.4Excursus – phonological variation: Shape conditioning
- 3.1The Swiss German indefinite article
- 3.2dat.masc/neutr of the indefinite article in Zurich German
- 3.3Zurich German
- 4.Corpus study
- 4.1Data and data collection
- 4.2Data analysis and results
- 4.2.1Findings in the historical corpus
- 4.2.2Findings in the modern corpus
- 4.2.3Intrapersonal variation
- 5.Emergence of emene and of overabundance
- 7.Summary: How free is free variation?
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