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

Seino van Breugel seinobreugel at gmail.com
Tue Feb 17 03:07:29 UTC 2015

The Latin /j/ (phonetic [j] ,orthographic “I”) changed into the French /ʓ/
(phonetic [ʓ], orthographic “j”) e.g. Latin *iuvenis* > Fr. *jeune*; Latin
*ego* > *io*> Fr. *je*,


Dr. Seino van Breugel
Lecturer in Linguistics
Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand

On Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 5:27 AM, B. Zeisler <zeis at uni-tuebingen.de> wrote:

>  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?
> Greetings
> Bettina
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