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OT: /r/ - /l/ - /n/ [was Re: OT: Rant about degres Celsius]

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Tuesday, December 18, 2001, 12:07
Quoting Anton Sherwood <bronto@...>:

> > John Cowan eskrë: » > > > What's really weird are the Latinized abbreviations > > > for the English counties: Salop for Shropshire, e.g. > > James Campbell wrote: > > Oh, sure, pick the weirdest one from the box <g>. Actually, "Salop" > > has allus puzzled me, mainly because it just looks so... daft. > > The Normans broke up the cluster and (as in various other names, > notably *cester) changed /S/ to /s/; but how /r/ became /l/ is > beyond me.
A change of [r] to [l], or [l] to [r], is very frequent typologically. The two sounds can sound very similar acoustically if the /r/ is a tap or trill, and the /l/ is alveolar rather than velar, both of which were likely the case in Norman French. In Georgian, for example, the suffix /-ul/, which is used quite like English "-ish", undergoes regular dissimilation by shifting /l/ to /r/ if there is a preceding /l/ in the word: inglisur "English" pranguli "French" italiuri "Italian" osetuli "Ossetian" A similar dissimilation occurs with the Phaleran ordinal morpheme, /-l/: /l/ -> [r] if a consonant in the immediately preceding syllable is [l]; [ra] if the syllable to which it is attached already has two morae; [dra] if the preceding syllable ends in a nasal; [l] in any other circumstance. 1 esa esal 2 nû nul 3 meo myul 4 teo tyul 5 plenai plenaira 6 sorkwa sorkwal 7 phwali phwalir It is also typologically common for /n/ to undergo the same process as /l/. The ancient city of _Panormus_, in Sicily, is today's _Palermo_. In Phaleran, the ergative case ending /llu/ has an allomorph [dru] after nasals: Phrâstyumen + llu 'Council of 20 + ERG' > Phrâstyumen + ru > Phrâstyumen + (d) + ru where the [d] surfaces epenthetically to break apart an otherwise impossible cluster (even across syllables!). ===================================================================== Thomas Wier <trwier@...> <> "...koruphàs hetéras hetére:isi prosápto:n / Dept. of Linguistics mú:tho:n mè: teléein atrapòn mían..." University of Chicago "To join together diverse peaks of thought / 1010 E. 59th Street and not complete one road that has no turn" Chicago, IL 60637 Empedocles, _On Nature_, on speculative thinkers