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At 1:54 pm -0400 27/4/02, Roger Mills wrote:
>Peter Clark wrote:
[snip]
>>Proto-Enamyn that resulted in Enamyn today. Earlier this year, I did some
>>research on historical linguistics, but didn't find much in the way of
>actual
>>information on possible sound changes.
>
>Probably because, in some language family somewhere, _any_  change can be
>shown to have taken place.  Aargh.

Ruen Ren chao makes a similar observation in "Language and Symbolic
Systems".  He shows how ancient Chinese /ni/ "two" has become /a/ in the
Yanghow dialect, detailing all the intermediate steps (most of which are
still attested somewhere in existing 'dialects' and which the restrictions
of ASCII prevent my showing very easily); and then adds:
"If /ni/ can change into /a/, then practically anything can change into
anything"


>   (Well, almost any.... And it's true that
>some are more likely than others, but it can be a judgment call.)

True.

>Nevertheless, this is a very interesting idea, and well worth doing.

I agree on both accounts - but 'twill involve much time & effort.  If Peter
has finished it when I retire, perhaps it's something that could occupy me
;)

Ray.

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