/s/-lenition and the preservation of plurality in Modern Occitan

Laurel Mackenzie, Laurel MacKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Downloads (Pure)


This paper examines the variable weakening and deletion of /s/ in the Languedocian variety of Modern Occitan, with particular attention to how it has affected the system of plural marking in noun phrases. Using data from linguistic atlases, I demonstrate that /s/-lenition in this variety involves a stage of vocalization to [j]. I find that, where /s/ on the definite article has vocalized to [j], the immediately-preceding vowel of the definite article has undergone concomitant raising to [e]. This raising appears to preserve the difference between singular and plural despite the plural’s weakening /s/. I argue that these results support Labov's (1994) hypothesis that the meaning of a weakening element may be transferred to a stable, co-occurrent one.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-73
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Linguistic Geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • s-deletion
  • Occitan
  • dialect geography


Dive into the research topics of '/s/-lenition and the preservation of plurality in Modern Occitan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this