Phonological Merger
(1,577 words)

There are many debates as to the causation of mergers. Among the earliest proposals are those put forward by Martinet (1955), which stipulated that functional load was an important factor, such that phonemes with low functional load are likely to merge. The notion of ‘functional load’ refers to the relative importance of a distinction in the maintenance of a phonemic opposition. Although there is no agreed-upon way to measure functional load, it is usually determined by such factors as the number of minimal pairs that depend on the distinction, the extent to which the distinc…

Cite this page
Enam Al-Wer, “Phonological Merger”, in: Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Managing Editors Online Edition: Lutz Edzard, Rudolf de Jong. Consulted online on 20 April 2018 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004177024, 20090831

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