Differentiating velar versus labial Dravidian voice derivations

jess tauber phonosemantics at earthlink.net
Fri Apr 11 01:59:04 UTC 2008

I knew Prof. Malkiel in passing- he was a fixture in the old Berkeley Linguistics departmental library/reading room- and we had a number of discussions that had an impact on the way I viewed language (particularly his notion of 'drift'. 

As for Indic materials, I plan on getting to them as soon as time permits- one can only spin so many pie plates without some ending up on the floor, as all of you know all too well I expect.

An inventory of derived stems from DEDR Tamil entries is nearing completion since last I posted. I'm hoping to see whether root size and makeup, or intervening derivational material, affects the interpretation of the voice elements. Sound symbolism is often positionally sensitive (odd versus even, for example, with opposing features of meaning).

I'll post up the info on labial and velar derived forms this weekend for all to see.

As for roots themselves, I'm starting to recognize 'old friends' from Indic and Santali, which appears to have borrowed massively (but from whom, familiwise??). Homonymy of Tamil roots/stems in DEDR seems extreme to me- is this sort of thing normal elsewhere, or does it imply severe losses of oppositions (such as obstruent voicing) that could have created such a system? It doesn't seem that derivation helps disambiguate all that much, so maybe that's not what it's for here.

Jess Tauber
phonosemantics at earthlink.net
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