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Variabilité du phonème /h/ de l'anglais en diachronie et en synchronie

Abstract : This article is a review of the literature on the origins and variability of the phoneme /h/ in English, diachronically as well as synchronically. The mutation of /x/ (deriving from Proto-Indo-European *k) to /h/ took place during the transition from Old English to Middle English. The phonetic changes leading to the defective distribution of /h/ are described. Three factors can explain the instability of /h/ in medieval English: the intrinsic weakness of /h/, methodological bias, and linguistic parameters. In synchrony (i.e. in the 20 th century), the variation of English /h/ depends on factors that are, first, extralinguistic and unstable (a speaker's origin, social class and speaking style), and second, linguistic and quite stable (i.e. lexical, grammatical and phonetic). The evolution of /h/ in English is the result of a tension between two conflicting forces: its gradual lenition, connected to its perceptual weakness, and some repetitive occurrences of hypercorrection, connected to its role as a hiatus breaker.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - 1:44:38 PM
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  • HAL Id : halshs-02391033, version 1



Christelle Exare. Variabilité du phonème /h/ de l'anglais en diachronie et en synchronie. ELIS - Echanges de linguistique en Sorbonne, Université Paris Sorbonne, 2019, 6. ⟨halshs-02391033⟩



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