Historical Phonology and Accentology

In studies in the field of historical phonology and accentology my creed is to keep two aspects of the analysis apart: diachronic correspondences between languages vs. reconstruction of phonetic mechanisms sensu stricto. My firm belief is that comparative procedure should be executed as strictly as possible, but that no diachronic correspondence gives us a right to postulate for extinct languages the features, which are not attested in any living language. I am not afraid of reconstructing phonetic aspects of sound change, but only there, where the diachronic situations leaves a room for just one and only one solution. Otherwise, I refuse to postulate high tones, low tones and related features, if I cannot prove their existence in a given language with comparative tools.

In 2006, I made a new rendering of Verner’s law, Holzmann’s law in Early Germanic languages and provided a proof that Germanic verbal stems with Holzmann’s law and the reinforced glides correspond to genetically identical Balto-Slavic stems from the mobile accentual paradigm. I argue that in this perspective, Baltic, Slavic and Germanic languages shared an accentual class with flexible paradigmatic accent, where word accent regularly fell on a post-root syllable. Germanic-internal variation concerning the reflexes of Verner’s law and Holzmann’s law, according to Zimmerling’s hypothesis, can be explained by differences in timing. The most extended version is published in Лингвистическая полифония. Сб. в честь профессора Р.К.Потаповой. 2007. Moscow: Yazyki slavyanskoj kultury, 262-322.


Cf. also the presentations of my talks and lectures given at the Phonetic Congress in Zvenigorod (2007), the annual conference in memoriam Sergej Starostin (2008 ) and at the university of Stockholm (October 2008).

  • Word Stress and Timing in Early Germanic. Vth International  phonetic conference, Zvenigorod, 8-10 October 2007. phonetica2007
  • Accentological reconstruction and feasible phonetic features. Проблемы изучения дальнего родства языков. К 55-летию со дня рождения С.А.Старостина. Москва, РГГУ, 25-28 марта 2008.
  • Getting Proto-Germanic Stress: Phonetics and historic accentology. University of Stockholm. Fonologikollokvium. 21 October, 2008.

Scandinavian Prosody

I am defending a late dating of both Swedish-Norwegian tonal accents and Standard Danish stød (glottalisation). In my view,tonal distinctions in Danish dialects of North Jutland and the island of Funen emerge from the opposition stød: no-stød. See papers of mine published in Folkmålsstudier, Vol. 39 (2000) and in Vol. 3 of ‘Issues in Phonetics’ (1999).


See also conference abstracts on the embedded page

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