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lenition was: Re: aspirated m?

From:Stephen Mulraney <ataltanie@...>
Date:Monday, November 22, 2004, 11:28
Steven Williams wrote:
> Some languages did have a nasalized labial fricative, > [v_n] or something like that, that developed from [m] > (or maybe the nasalization of [v], which is an obvious > alternate path). I think Sindarin had that sort of > shift going on in its earlier stages, and if you're > looking for non-fictional examples, I hear tell that > Sanskrit allowed a nasalized [v] in some instances, > though it was allophonic (as far as I know). > > Do you mean the 'aspirated m' of Celtic languages? I > believe it just means [v] as mutated from [m], though > my knowledge of any of those languages is woefully > limited. As far as I know, 'aspirated' is used in > Celtic language literature to mean fricativized; i.e., > 'aspirated p' is [f].
I think 'aspiration' used to mean 'fricativisation' was a widespead and rather old-fashioned sin, and wasn't confined to Celtic studies. In modern Irish (and in Scots Gaelic) orthography, a |h| in spelling after another consonant letter indicates what's natively called 'seimhiú' (using the Irish term anyway). The best English-language name I know for it is 'lenition', since it originally arose from the becoming-lenis (a vague word for 'weak') of consonants between vowels, and between a vowel and an approximant. In anycase, it's broader than a change from stop to fricative: depending on dialect, the result can been an approximant too. In the case of |mh|, it's (depending on dialect) and quality ('narrow' or 'broad' - roughly palatalised or not) either [w] or [v] (or perhaps better [B], I'm not sure). I *think* that in all dialects the graph |mh| is always the same as the graph |mh| (in phonetic realisation I mean :)). I'm not sure though. s. -- To be sure Stephen Mulraney to be sure


Stephen Mulraney <ataltanie@...>