sound law


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Alternative formsEdit


Calque of German Lautgesetz.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈsaʊnd lɔː/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈsaʊnd lɔ/, (cot–caught merger) /ˈsaʊnd lɑ/


sound law (plural sound laws)

  1. (phonology) A rule that describes historical sound change (the change in pronunciation of a sound) in a language. [from 19th c.]
    • 1877, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, page 118.
      Then, to oversimplify, if there are similarities in sound and meaning between two words that do not obey the sound laws that have been established, we conclude that they have resulted from borrowing.
    • 1940, Ainsley Maxwell Carlton, A Relative Chronology of Old Icelandic Sound Laws, Leland Stanford Junior University, page 114,
      In conclusion, we present the sound laws of Old Icelandic in the chronological order which represents the results of this dissertation.
    • 2000, Andrew L. Sihler, Language History, John Benjamins Publishing Company, page 50,
      For reasons that will become clear shortly, this limitation of sound laws to a specific time is an important trait.


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