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date: 27 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores methodological and theoretical issues related to chain shifts and mergers, familiar concepts in historical phonology that have received renewed attention by sociolinguists and others engaged in the study of active changes. It is argued that investigating changes while they are in progress opens new windows on the mechanisms driving these linguistic innovations. This fresh perspective shines light on traditional questions and introduces new wrinkles to our understanding of the processes at work in sound change.

Keywords: chain shift, merger, variation, sociophonetics, vowel change, phonemic contrast

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