Re: German sibilants and consonant clusters.
|From:||Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, June 20, 2006, 22:21|
On Tue, 20 Jun 2006 00:45:17 +0200, Steven Williams wrote:
> Several years ago, as I was beginning my study of
> German, I noticed that no native word (at least in
> Hochdeutsch) had a cluster of any kind that had [s] +
> consonant; it was always [S].
> I'm curious as to why this is so. I was told by my
> linguistics professor that Old High German had two
> variants of /s/ — an apical and a laminal, most
> likely, he said.
Yes. They were spelled with different letters: apical |s| and
> This makes sense, if the laminal became reinterpreted
> as a postalveolar [S] after /sk/ palatalized to [S].
Most, if not all such clusters involve the apical, not the laminal
> Is this so, and if it is indeed so, how did this
> original opposition between apical and laminal
> sibilants evolve from the original PIE consonant inventory?
The laminal fricative written |z| in Old High German came from
Proto-Germanic *t (which in turn is, in most cases, from PIE *d).
The shift *t > z was part of the High German consonant shift,
which is not to be confused with the Germanic consonant shift or
Grimm's Law, which (among other changes) changed *d into *t.
The apical sibilant /s/ is unchanged from PIE.
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