Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Tendencies of Sound Changes?

From:Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Date:Saturday, April 1, 2006, 18:55
John Vertical wrote:
> I'd say that languages have actual shifts and groups of languages have > tendencies.
Good. Another change that's very common: s > h (>0)
> > Anyway ... sounds shifts always require a context. Yes, medial voicing is > more likely than medial devoicing; but what about elsewhere? Devoicing > might > be preferred in global shifts...
At least in terms of one, that's true: in the development from Proto Austronesian > Proto Oceanic, all vd/vl pairs of stops > vl. (and all nasal+stop NC also > N+vl.stop).
> One thing that's fairly safe to say is that out of the six "basic stops", > only /p g/ are prone to loss by fricativization.
I think we could enlarge that to labial and velar stops generally /p b k g/. Interestingly, in Jakobsonian distinctive feature notation, these form a "natural class" in that all are [+grave]. Again, in many AN subgroups in Indonesia, we have p > f > h > 0, b > B or w (> h/0 in one area I know of), k > ? > 0; while g tends to merge either with k or sometimes with N. Another phenomenon in SE Asian languages is the gradual loss of final consonants-- Matisoff called it a "continuum of consonantal attrition" w.r.t. the Sino-Tibetan langs. he was working with; it's also evident in Austronesian: Formosa/Philippines: final vd/vl stops Malay and many Indo. langs: only final vl. Moluccas: only vl, with *p/k tending > ? --Moluccan subgroups some only t,?, others all > 0 Some subgoups (on Sulawesi, non-Moluccan) also all > 0, but often retained in suffixes Proto Oceanic only ptk (with various survivals in Melanesia, but lost ~retained in suffixes by the time of Fiji/Polynesian. Similar developments of the other possible finals (r,l,s, the nasals). I can't think of anything similar in the IE area; of course that's because stem-final C were protected by suffixes. In the Asian case, the final C has very low functional load, consequently is prone to loss.


John Vertical <johnvertical@...>