Three-Way Contrast of Secondary Articulations in PIE

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at
Fri Mar 9 17:19:15 UTC 2001

On Fri, 2 Mar 2001 16:55:20 -0600, "David L. White"
<dlwhite at> wrote:

>        Given the predictability (if my understanding of my source is
>correct) of [u]-quality spellings in Old Irish, their value for establishing
>contrast is limited, predictability and contrast being two things that do
>not go well together.  But though suspicious, I am (I hope) open-minded:  is
>there any unequivocally good evidence for a three way contrast of secondary
>articulations in Old Irish, or Tocharian?  Predictable spellings don't
>(necessarily) cut it.

The discussion in Thurneysen $156-$174 clearly shows that early Old
Irish undoubtedly had three consonant "qualities", although by the
time of the first glosses, u-quality was already giving way to neutral
quality.  U-quality in Old Irish was certainly not limited to the and verbal 1st. p.  Take for instance the word <figor> ~
<fiugor> < Lat. figura (/f/ palatal, /g/ labiovelar, /r/ neutral).

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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