Three-Way Contrast of Secondary Articulations in PIE

Stanley Friesen sarima at
Thu Mar 29 15:27:19 UTC 2001

At 04:35 PM 3/25/01 -0600, David L. White wrote:
>My point is that to speak of "plain" consonants existing in such a system is
>in a sense non-sensical, because "plain" in effect means "as in a language
>without secondary articulations",

In this context I would more likely read it as meaning "lacking overt

>Such languages can, for example, produce back velars before front vowels,
>and front velars before back vowels.  The very term "plain", as applied to
>velars, woud in effect mean "tending to be backed before back vowels and
>fronted before front vowels".  In a language with secondary articulations,
>this really could not happen.  So where one velar series was "[i]-colored",
>and another was "[u]- colored", a third would almost have to be something
>like "[yeri]-colored" or "[y]-colored" (IPA value) or (in terms of F2)
>"[a]-colored",  in order to stay out of the way of the other two.

Is this the same as a backed velar? Or a non-fronted velar?
[As I would interpret "plain" in this case to be one of the above:
backed/non-fronted seems quite adequate as a contrast to palatalized to me,
amateur that I am].

>But such colorations are not, to my knowledge, known.

Backed velars do not seem all that unusual to me.

>         As above.  What is "plain" /k/ in a sequence /ki/ supposed to have
>been that would be different from palatalized /k/ in the same sequence?

Backed. Or at least not fronted/palatalized.

>Likewise what is "plain" /k/ supposed to have been in the sequence /ku/ that
>would be different from labio-velarized /k/ in the same sequence?

Lacking lip rounding during articulation.  I.e., the onset of rounding
would be delayed relative to the onset in /kwu/.  Rounding might also be
slightly stronger at onset in /kwu/ (narrower, more extreme) than in /ku/.

May the peace of God be with you.         sarima at

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