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In Old English, the word was "leofmann" and in ME, the word is "lemman (‘lover’)"

What is the change that took place to change the word?

a. simplification of word-initial consonant clusters

b. consonant insertion

c. metathesis

d. intervocalic voicing of fricatives

e. consonant assimilation

  • I would really appreciate any comments or advices. I think that it is consonant assimilation, but I am not sure. – user279810 Mar 17 '18 at 21:31
  • 279810 would it be OK to post some research, or to work with guesses? Many here might think me aggressive and still “… the change that took place to change the word?” has no useful meaning… unless you can explain one… please? I suggest none of your examples has any relevance. a. simplification of word-initial consonant clusters b. consonant insertion c. metathesis d. intervocalic voicing of fricatives e. consonant assimilation If in Old English, the word was "leofmann" and in ME "lemman (‘lover’)" so be it; then, what? – Robbie Goodwin Apr 8 '18 at 19:49
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The answer is e. consonant assimilation.

Specifically, this is an instance of regressive assimilation (the m influences the preceding f ).
It changes the manner of articulation (the fricative, f, which, by the way, was pronounced as a voiced sound, [v], becomes a nasal, m).

  • Though this is probably the right answer, couldn't one also call it elision/deletion or lenition, without bothering with assimilation (is it not necessary to assume the 'f' disappeared because it shares features with the following 'm'?). – Mitch Jan 11 '19 at 22:19
  • No, @Mitch, only e. is correct. – Greg Lee Jan 11 '19 at 22:23
  • @Greg Can you say why? – Mitch Jan 11 '19 at 23:50
  • @Mitch, It is simply a matter of terminology. None of the other choices in the question fits the example. The intent of the question is to test whether the student knows the relevant terminology. This is the way multiple-choice questions on a test work. – Greg Lee Jan 12 '19 at 0:54
  • @GregLee I wasn't thinking of this as a multiple choice test because this is not a multiple choice answering site. If it were then, sure, assimilation is the best of those five. Since this is not a multiple choice answering site, I was trying to tease out knowledge, the subtleties of one label in favor of another. – Mitch Jan 12 '19 at 17:19

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