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Barry Garcia wrote:

>I borrowed a book through interlibrary loan (from The University of Texas
>at Arlington, BTW) on my grandfather's dialect of Visayan (A Philippine
>Language) called "Aklanon" (Akeanon), and it says that it includes a
>unique sound among the West Visayan Languages, which is the voiced velar
>fricative. >
        By any chance, was it one of David Zorc's works on the language?  As
I recall from long-ago reading, it seemed to be some sort of palatalized
(maybe velarized too) [j] sound-- but the description wasn't entirely clear
to me either, and I've never heard the language.

>It tells how to make the sound, but i just cant seem to do it.
>What other languages have this sound (better yet, where can I hear this
>sound on the web)?>
>An interesting bit of info on it is, that in Akeanon, it is written as
>"e", as in the native spelling for "Aklanon". It's also interesting to
>note that this sound occurs where other Philippine languages would have
>"l".>
       It's apparently the native Aklanon reflex of AN *l.  Does Aklanon
have a "normal" [l] with back vowels too?  Probably borrowings from other
Bisayan dials. or Tagalog etc. in that case.

 The book also says it usually occurs with a or o, and rarely with i.
>The book makes sure to point out that l is usually with i, and not usually
>the voiced velar fricative. Any reasons for this, and why would l and the
>voiced velar fricative be linked?>
        Not hard to assume that /l/ developed backed or velarized allophones
in the env. of back/round vowels-- the old "bright/dark" contrast-- cf.
Engl. 'feeling' vs. 'falling'.  Then if the tongue tip fails to maintain
contact, lo and behold, you have a velar approximant or fricative.  Related
is the very common shift of final [l] > [w], also, the difficulty lots of
American children have with both /l/ and /r/, pronouncing them as [w] in
early stages of acquisition.
        At least one lang. of Indonesia has the shift *l > /j/-- Bare'e, a
Toraja lang. of central Celebes (extensive grammar and dictionary by N.
Adriani, in Dutch). Even Tagalog has a number of words with /y/ for *l,
presumably loans from some neighboring  lang. or dialect-- I'm not sure
whether the source can be pinpointed.
        Interesting that *l tends to be one of the more stable sounds in AN
languages-- unlike the other "fricatives", velar *R and palato-velar(?)*j
(whatever that represents......). These seldom merge, but tend to show very
similar developments: *R > r, g, h, l, y, zero (sometimes with fronting of
surrounding vowels), z in Malegasy IIRC; *j > r, l, d, more rarely g, y, z;
Polynesian s/h.  I've always found this very perplexing and would suspect a
methodological error somewhere along the way-- but both sounds are quite
well attested all the way back.  Not hard to see how *l could get mixed up
in the same series of changes.