Edward Sapir > Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech > Subject Index > Page 215
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Edward Sapir (1884–1939).  Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.  1921.
 

Page 215
 
stimulus or suggestive push toward a more radical change in the line of B’s own drift. Once the final voiceless l emerged, its alternation in related words with medial voiced l is very likely to have led to its analogical spread. The result would be that both A and B have an important phonetic trait in common. Eventually their phonetic systems, judged as mere assemblages of sounds, might even become completely assimilated to each other, though this is an extreme case hardly ever realized in practice. The highly significant thing about such phonetic interinfluencings is the strong tendency of each language to keep its phonetic pattern intact. So long as the respective alignments of the similar sounds is different, so long as they have differing “values” and “weights” in the unrelated languages, these languages cannot be said to have diverged materially from the line of their inherent drift. In phonetics, as in vocabulary, we must be careful not to exaggerate the importance of interlinguistic influences.
  I have already pointed out in passing that English has taken over a certain number of morphological elements from French. English also uses a number of affixes that are derived from Latin and Greek. Some of these foreign elements, like the -ize of materialize or the -able of breakable, are even productive to-day. Such examples as these are hardly true evidences of a morphological influence exerted by one language on another. Setting aside the fact that they belong to the sphere of derivational concepts and do not touch the central morphological problem of the expression of relational ideas, they have added nothing to the structural peculiarities of our language. English was already prepared for the relation of pity to piteous by such a native pair as luck and lucky; material and materialize merely

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