Re: Question about word-initial velar nasal
|From:||Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, October 24, 2004, 4:41|
Herman Miller wrote:
> Tim May wrote:
> > Danny Wier wrote at 2004-10-21 14:27:39 (-0500)
> > > This is a natlang/histlang/theory question, the answer of which may
> > > affect the development of my conlang.
> > >
> > > I've noticed that a lot of languages that have /N/ in their
> > > inventories do not allow it word-initially.
> > Incidentally, what languages _do_ allow /N/ initally? Offhand, I can
> > only think of Vietnamese and Tibetan, and it's a tricky thing to look
> > up.
> Thai is one that comes to mind, as well as Cantonese. It looks like
> Indonesian also has a few words with initial ng-. I'm sure there must be
> others; I assume that Nganasan, at least, is pronounced with an initial
> /N/ or /Ng/.
>Many Indonesian/Philippine/Oceanic languages have /N-/; not many of the
forms are reconstructible all the way back, however. One problem is that
/N-/ in many cases is morphophonemic (Nasalization+k > N) or a remnant
thereof (*ma+nasalization- was a common prefix(1), and the ma- is sometimes
dropped along the way).
(1) The default nasal is /N/, which shows up e.g. in Indonesian before
vowel-initial roots, like meng/amok 'to run amuck'