This thesis is about changes in Frisian verbal inflection. Frisian is the minority language spoken in the bilingual Frisian-Dutch province of Fryslân. Besides the fact that all its speakers are bilingual, what makes Frisian especially interesting is that it features a lot of dialectal variation and, moreover, that it has a relatively complex inflectional system that went through some recent changes.
The aim of the research reported in this book is twofold. The more concrete goal is to give a detailed overview and account of the status quo and the developments in the verbal inflection of Frisian. The theoretical goal is to deepen our understanding of why certain changes occur and others do not and how morphological theory can account for this. With the aid of two questionnaires and several analyses along the lines of Distributed Morphology, we specifically test whether we can explain the developments in Frisian verbal inflection using a model of categorical productivity: the Tolerance Principle.
The results illustrate how Frisian develops as it is passed on from one generation to the next and new language learners come to different interpretations than the generations before them. As such, the Frisian case-study provides valuable insights into the interplay of language variation, acquisition, contact and change, and brings to light several limitations and benefits of different theoretical perspectives.