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Group publication title:

Academic Journal of Modern Philology

Subject and Keywords:

die ä-Lautung   Lautwandel   Morphologische Symbolisierung   Umlaut   Vokalische Neutralisierung   lexical diffusion   lexical fading


Academic Journal of Modern Philology is a scientific journal oriented towards interdisciplinary studies. AJMP has been included in the register of journals published by The Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education with 70 points awarded. The journal seeks original articles on linguistics with special focus on comparative studies, anthropological linguistics, science of cognition, social communication and literary studies. Since the founding of the journal in 2012, it has been our goal to foster the development of linguistic studies through an open exchange of ideas, while maintaining the highest standards of academic publishing. Contributions are subject to a double-blind peer reviews for authenticity, ethical issues and usefulness. The reviewing procedure is supervised by the International Advisory Board. The articles are published mainly in English, German, French and Polish. Academic Journal of Modern Philology is an open access journal published annually by the Committee for Philology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Wrocław Branch and the College for Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Wrocław.


The German pronunciation of〈ä〉as [æ] shows great variation, being this one of the main theoretical challenges in the German vocalism. This situation points to a case of sound change in progress. According to Dressler’s (1972) theory of lexical fading, fluctuation occurs when a phoneme is disappearing. The recessive phoneme fades away slowly and gradually, not only from the lexicon, but also from individuals. Accordingly, [æ] is disappearing from the lexicon. I will illustrate here the fading path of the [æ] pronunciation. To do this, I developed a reading aloud test, which contains lexemes with lexically (Käse ‘cheese’), phonologically (Bären ‘Bears’ vs. Beeren ‘berries’) and morphologically (Bällchen ‘little ball’ or Väter ‘fathers’) motivated 〈ä〉 graphemes. The out-loud reading of 33 subjects, all with a DaF background, was recorded and all their 〈ä〉-productions analyzed auditorily. My main finding was that the [æ]-pronunciation is more resistant to fading when it fulfills either a semantic function, as in the case of minimal pairs, or a morphological function, for instance, when it serves as a signal of a morphological category, as in Bällchen, or is itself the main signal, as in Väter.

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e-ISSN 2353-3218   ISSN 2299-7164





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Location of original object:

College for Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Wrocław