a little more on glottalization and sanskrit loans

daniel kaufman dan_kaufman at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 7 22:20:34 UTC 1999

First of all to address Jean-Paul's suggestion concerning the intervocalic
_h_ between stems and the -in and -an suffixes in Tagalog,

>Why then does Tagalog have an _h_ in this derivation ? Probably because
>there already is a phonemic final glottal fricative in Tagalog that does
>not exist in Ilokano, hence the necessity to contrast it with another

Although this analysis is in the right direction, it is a result of needing
to make a distinction between two different phonemes, the conclusion is
questionable. We know that the actual pronounciation of Tagalog and Ilokano
final vowels does not differ in any considerable way in respect to
aspiration, so why insist on positing a silent _h_? In none of the
Philippine languages known to me which contain this "linking _h_" feature
does there exist an audible final _h_. Furthermore we see that the real
(audible) final _h_ which occurs in Indonesian languages is usually
reflected in Tagalog and other Phil. languages by the final glottal stop
e.g. Ind. suluh, Tag. sulo' "torch"; Ind. penuh, Tag. puno' "full"; Ind.
basah, Tag. basa' "wet"; etc. The reason we do not find the linking in _h_
in Ilokano and the languages of the Northern Philippines in general is not
because they do not contain a final _h_ but rather because they do not
contain a final glottal stop and thus there is no need to distinguish
between minimal pairs with and without final glottal stops when affixed by
-an or -en.
The status of the glottal stop in Tagalog is problematic and it seems easier
to consider it as a quality of the final vowel rather than a regular
consonant due to its very limited distribution (it is only phonemic in the
final post-vocalic position). In general, the Phil. languages south of
Tagalog and the Cordilleran languages, often have a larger phonotactic
distribution for the glottal stop although perhaps not reaching the
distribution of other phonemes. In many cases it seems to be a (late)
Philippine innovation considering such examples as,
Sebwano- bag'o, Bikol- ba'go, Tag.- bago  Ilokano.-baru  Ind.-baru   from
PAN- *baRu  "new".
I also believe, although I do not have statistics on-hand to corroborate
this, that there are less minimal pairs to be found for word medial glottal
stops than other phonemes including word final glottal stops in the Phil.
languages which contain them (any supporting or negating evidence

My previous comments on a connection between the presence of a final glottal
stop and the phonotactic structure of the root word, I believe, still hold
true. I am not comparing words like _budhi'_ to words with the phonotactic
strucure CVCCVC but rather to CVCCV words since I do not consider the
glottal stop a normal consonant in Tag.. I did not make any claim as to the
amount which the stop appears in CVCCV roots as compared to its overall
appearance. When we look at CVCCV roots in Tag. we see that the majority of
them contain a final glottal stop (CVCCV') more so with certain third
consonants, this observation also holds true for Sebwano for which I
undertook a detailed study. In the instance of CVChV I can only think of
very few examples which do not contain a final glottal stop, we find words
like budhi', sidhi', sanhi', bigha', binhi', likha' etc. some being Sanskrit
loan words and others not. The main point being that there does seem to
exist a link between the phonetic structure of a word and the way it is
assimilated into a language. The evidence which militates against this
analysis however is the fact that virtually none of the many Spanish loan
words of this CVCCV structure are pronounced with a glottal stop. This leads
us to the other possibility which is that something about the pronounciation
of these words in the transmission language caused them to be interpreted as
having a final glottal stop, perhaps intonation or other supersegmentals.

Addressing Waruno's comment, it is true that the nature of the Philippine
loan words shows that the relationship between the Philippines and the
culture which transmitted these words was deeper than a mere trading
relationship and all sources point towards the existence of a cultural,
social and political influence from Malays reaching as far as north Luzon;
the only point of contention is that these Sanskrit loan words were borrowed
through a post-glottalizing dialect such as Brunei Malay as previously
suggested. Is there enough evidence that the Brunei kingdom held suzeranity
over Luzon for such a protracted period of time to have such a deep impact
on the language? We find highly-widespread Sanskrit loan words with
post-glottalization such as _diwata'_ which must predate this period.
Furthermore, the historic Brunei sultunate being a Muslim state, we should
expect to find more Arabic loan words as we do in Tausug and other languages
of the Sulu sea which had stronger ties with Kalimantan. The linguistic
evidence suggests that Indian influences did not arrive in any systemic
fashion attested to by Juan Francisco's statistic (Indian Influences in the
Philippines with Special Reference to Language and Literature, 1963) of a
surprisingly low 10% of Sanskrit loan words found in Tagalog, Ilokano and
Sebwano being common to all three languages (although I am not sure how
significant this number is). In any case, this is a very interesting dilemma
and one which requires research from all fields to unravel.

Excuse the length, hoping to hear from you and  best wishes to all,
Daniel Kaufman

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