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A question about Japanese sound shifts.

From:Steven Williams <feurieaux@...>
Date:Thursday, August 19, 2004, 16:21
My profound apologies if this question has been asked
before (the 'search' function is fighting me, because
I'm using a public computer and so is everyone else at
my university), but can someone explain the
incomprehensible Japanese sound shift of [b] to [h] to

It seems to me that [h] was originally [p], but the
labial element was lost and the whole shebang became
fricatived, except in geminated [p:] (which explains
the paucity of short [p] in native Japanese words).

It also explains the opposition in the hiragana and
katakana between h, b (h with voicing marks) and p (h
with circle).

Is my suspicion correct? If so, when did this happen?

Also, did Japanese originally not have an [h]? This is
another suspicion of mine.

"Alle Idole müssen sterben."
"All idols must die."

--Einstürzende Neubauten, "Seele Brennt" (Soul is on Fire)

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the thing, and now leaves me here? How did I come into the world? Why was I not

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choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet."

--Franz Kafka, Journals


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