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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'


Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
John Cowan <jcowan@...>