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The Phonology / Paraphonology Interface and the Sounds of German Across Time

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Irmengard Rauch

The Phonology / Paraphonology Interface and the Sounds of German Across Time is an excursion into the phonology of the German language in the present, the remote prehistoric past (Indo-European and Germanic), and throughout the almost thousand-year historical era. It accordingly addresses all eras pertaining to the study of the German language in its innermost core, namely, its phonology. This book makes accessible to linguists and non-linguists alike the elements of acoustic and articulatory phonetics. It provides the reader with insight into phonological methods from the Prague Structuralism and Chomskyan Generativism of the last seventy-five years to an array of today’s non-linear approaches by applying them to given phonological changes that act as leitmotifs in the research of German sounds through time. The dynamic acts that infuse the structure of German phonology, such as ablaut, umlaut, and various other assimilations, diphthongizations, monophthongizations, and consonant shifts, are all woven into the book.
In each of the three time frames, the interface with ample paraphonological data allows the reader to experience «flesh and blood» phonology, that is, how it occurs and to what purpose in the mouth / ear of the speaker / listener of the German language. Not least, the reading of a piece of literature, be it a Runic inscription, the Old High German Otfrid, a Middle High German dawn song, the Early New High German Ackermann aus Böhmen, or a Rilke poem, adds delight to the understanding of the sounds that belong to our most vital and prized human possessions.