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Re: A question on palatalization.

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 1, 2003, 20:21
En réponse à Steven Williams <feurieaux@...>:

> > In a number of languages, such as Japanese, Irish Gaelic and my own > Mierii, [i] causes palatalization in preceding vowels. Is the prevailing > tendency for [i] to cause [t] and [d] to become [t_S] and [d_Z], or to > [c] and [J]? >
Well, actually, the prevailing tendency for [i] is to cause [t] and [d] to become [t_j] and [d_j] (palatalised [t] and [d]). Afterwards, those palatalised consonants can evolve into many different things (or not even evolve at all). Of course, they will tend to evolve into things near the palate, but the palate is a big place and there's a lot of room there. They may even stay in front of the hard part of the palate (the actual "palatal" region). Look at Quebecois French which palatalises /ti/ into [tsi]. So I even doubt that there is any prevailing tendency for [t_j] and [d_j] to evolve into anything. Russian is even very happy to keep them. So in short, you're free on this one, unless of course your language has other constraints. For instance, if your language already has phonemic palatals, maybe [t_j] won't turn into [c]. But then, languages don't seem to mind much abandoning distinctions, so this is no absolute no-no... On the same example, if the language doesn't have any postalveolar fricative ([S]), maybe [t_j] will turn anyway into [c], despite the confusion resulting, because if it evolved into the affricate [t_S], it would create a solitary postalveolar affricate without a corresponding fricative, and as far as I know it's probably very rare (languages don't seem to like to have orphans in their sound inventories. But then again, that's just a tendency, like any language "universal"). Christophe. Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.


Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Tristan <kesuari@...>