Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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Lexical Diffusion
(2,067 words)

1. Lexical Diffusion

Lexical Diffusion is a theory of sound change proposed by William S.-Y. Wang. The term first appeared in Wang’s article “Competing Change as a Cause of Residue” in 1969. The theory of lexical diffusion challenges the traditional view of sound change as understood by a group of historical linguists of the 19th century called Neogrammarians. Sound change is not merely a change of sound as an abstract phonological entity. It is actually a change in the pronunciation of the words which contain the sound in question…

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Zhongwei SHEN, “Lexical Diffusion”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 21 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000223>
First published online: 2015

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