Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Mazzola, Michael Lee

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures


French language--History; French language--Phonetics


The evolution of the medial /k/ before /a/ to /č/ and /ğ/ in Francien has been said to be due to palatalization. This palatalization of k- radicals whose stress was on the antepenult was said to have occurred because of analogy. However, this proposal does not explain why in one verbal paradigm a /k/ evolved into /č/ and into /ğ/ in the infinitive or vice versa. Moreover, how could one tell which of these two results was the regular rule and which one is the exception which is subsequently explained by analogy? This problem led to the reordering of evolution rules in the history of French verbs. This reordering just substituted one problem for another, however, because one was forced to reorder the rules for each different verb. One was still forced to resort to analogy to explain any irregularities between the verbal paradigms and infinitives. A possible solution to this problem is yod- increment. This proposal says that increment is responsible for the development of medial palatal affricates, not palatalization. The voiced or voiceless quality of the preceding consonant is responsible for the voicing of the yod to /£/ or /§/. When one uses this approach, then the Modern French forms can correctly be reconstructed without having to reorder the rules. In support of this, note is taken of the fact that the rule that k becomes /č/ or /ğ/ before /a/ is not true for all French dialects. Palatalization of /k/ before /a/ does not occur in Norman and Picard, two of the dialects in northern France. In these two dialects, verbs have retained the initial /k/ before /a/, for which palatalization was responsible. However, medial /k/ did voice in these dialects for which, we argue, increment was responsible. Thus we conclude that palatalization and increment are separate phenomena and should not be viewed as being related to each other, as has been previously believed. Instead, increment should be viewed as responsible for the development of medial palatal affricates. Palatalization can not be responsible, because if it were, there would not exist contrasting forms among the various dialects.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [48-50])


[50] pages




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