Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Front Mutation or I -Mutation

What Is "I-Mutation" or Front Mutation?

  • "Early in the history of English a rule called i-Mutation (or i-Umlaut) existed that turned back vowels into front vowels when an /i/ or /j/ followed in the next syllable. For example in a certain class of nouns in the ancestor of Old English, the plural was formed not by adding -s but by adding -i. Thus the plural of /gos/ 'goose' was /gosi/ 'geese.' . . . [T]he i-Mutation is an example of a rule that was once present in Old English but has since dropped out of the language, and thanks to the Great Vowel Shift even the effects of i-Mutation have been altered." (Adrian Akmajian, Richard A. Demers, Ann K. Farmer, and Robert M. Harnish, Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication, 5th ed. MIT Press, 2001)

English is a stress timed language

Stress timed

A stress-timed language is a language where the stressed syllables are said at approximately regular intervals, and unstressed syllables shorten to fit this rhythm. Stress-timed languages can be compared with syllable-timed ones, where each syllable takes roughly the same amount of time.

English and German are examples of stress-timed languages, while Spanish and Cantonese are syllable-timed.

In the classroom
Learners whose first language is syllable-timed often have problems producing the unstressed sounds in a stress-timed language like English, tending to give them equal stress.

Problem Plays by Shakespeare

In Shakespeare studies, the problem plays are three plays that William Shakespeare wrote between the late 1590s and the first years of the seventeenth century: All's Well That Ends WellMeasure for Measure, and Troilus and Cressida. Shakespeare's problem plays are characterised by their complex and ambiguous tone, which shifts violently between dark, psychological drama and more straightforward comic material; compare tragicomedy.

The term was coined by critic F. S. Boas in Shakespeare and his Predecessors (1896), derived from a type of drama that was popular at the time of Boas' writing

Today's Question

Arrange the following words of Chomsky in chronological order in which they appeared: (i) Current issues in Linguistic Theory (ii) Syntactic...