[Tibeto-burman-linguistics] palatalized R or fricativized R?

B. Zeisler zeis at uni-tuebingen.de
Sun Feb 15 22:27:11 UTC 2015

Dear Elissa,
dear all,

1. The tounge-tip /r/ in Ladakhi seems to have some palatal properties, 
especially when followed by a palatal vowel, and even more apparent when 
followed by i.

2. In certain original clusters (this depends on the dialect) the 
postradical /r/ has turned into a retroflex stop.
Róna-Tas had shown that the Tibetan postradicals had a tendency to 
spirantise and then oust the former preceding radical.
What we have is thus not a palatalisation or retroflexivisation of the 
cluster, but a continuation of the earstwhile postradical.
In the case of postradical /r/ this process typically lead to the 
retroflex realisation, sometimes more like a stop as in Ladakhi (this 
might be due to the Indian influence), in other cases more like a fricative.

I wonder how a phonetician would explain how the spirantisation leads to 
a retroflex.
Somehow this seems to be related to Elissa's second point.
So perhaps we could discuss this in some detail?

3. Diachronic and synchronic data from Tibetan shows an alternation 
between postradical /r/, mainly in the West, and postradical /y/ [j] in 
the east. Apparent cognates in Burmish languages also often have a 
palatal glide where Tibetan has an r. The alternation does not seem to 
occur with initials, as far as I have seen.

 From the data available, it would look like a development r > y. For me 
it also seems to be the more feasible direction. However, I wonder 
whether the development could also go the other direction.

Has anybody observed y [j] > r?
And if so, has anybody an explanation how this could happen?
Or if not, has anybody an explanation why this could not happen?

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/tibeto-burman-linguistics/attachments/20150215/308ebbe4/attachment.htm>

More information about the Tibeto-burman-linguistics mailing list