Another initial "vl"

Dennis Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Fri Dec 28 12:41:36 UTC 2007

As I suspected, many apparent clusters in Georgian (which has a rich
inventory of clusters and does not need to be exaggerated) are not
clusters at all. All sonorants (and /v/ is classified as one) ,
including also  /m/, /n/, /r/, and /l/, can be syllable peaks. In
fact, in certain environments an allophone of /v/ is a considerably
reduced /w/-like rounding of a preceding consonant. Vowel epenthesis
also breaks up many apparent clusters. Most of this rich consonant
clustering comes about a a result of a rich affixing morphology and
is not present in root morphemes.

Go here

for a thorough treatment.


>I think "vktbe" is  bisyllabic (vkt-be) with a /v/ nucleus; if so,
>"vktb" does not qualify as a cluster. I'll check my Georgian
>This assumes that by "clusters" we mean groups of sounds in an onset
>or coda, not bunches of consonants that cross syllable boundaries.
>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       James Harbeck <jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA>
>>Subject:      Re: Another initial "vl"
>>>I think I'll start a Polish restaurant and call it "Fog" (in Polish
>>>of course) just so y'all can say that you've spotted a /mgw/ onset
>>>cluster in English.
>>Why go halfway? Specialize in Georgian cuisine. "Tbilisi" is tame for
>>Georgian; "tskhendze" is just par for the course; I remember a
>>Georgian lullaby that included the word "vktbe" (that wouldn't put me
>>to sleep!). Call your restaurant _that_! (And yet somehow I have a
>>feeling Anglophones wouldn't realize it with the hoped-for [vktb]
>>James Harbeck.
>>The American Dialect Society -
>Dennis R. Preston
>University Distinguished Professor
>Department of English
>Morrill Hall 15-C
>Michigan State University
>East Lansing, MI 48864 USA

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48864 USA

The American Dialect Society -

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