/hw-/ > /w-/ again

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at pi.net
Mon Sep 16 18:08:53 UTC 1996

Mark Hale wrote:
>At 04:00 PM 9/14/96 +0100, Prof. Trask wrote:
>>First, OE /hl-/, /hr-/, /hn-/ are, I think, universally agreed to
>>derive from PIE clusters */kl-/, */kr-/, */kn-/.  Hence there has
>>certainly been cluster reduction somewhere along the line for these
>>three, if not for /hw-/.
>Etymological source is not probative for determining the synchronic
>phonological status of segments.
Synchronic when?  We can be pretty confident that there was a cluster,
synchronically, in PIE *klu^tos.  There is none, synchronically, in English
"loud".  There is of course, by definition, no such thing as synchronical
"cluster reduction", or diachronical "phonological status".
>>The OE spelling is, of course, entirely consistent with the cluster
>>interpretation, but is hardly decisive.
>*hardly decisive* is rather an understatement: 'completely irrelevant' would
>be closer to the mark, in my view.
Since all we can know about OE necessarily comes to us through OE spelling,
I would hesitate to call OE spelling "completely irrelevant".
Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at pi.net

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