FWIW the Korean onset /l/ is always a flap, and never [l] as in English. (In
fact even in coda position it is more a retroflex consonant than the English
/l/.) That closeness to [n] might explain why nasalisation occurs. In fact
the phenomenon is common across mainland East Asia. Vietnamese, the southern
Chinese languages such as Cantonese and Taiwanese, and even Mandarin itself,
in fact, exhibit anywhere from trace to full-blown evidence of such.

(a) Cantonese noi > loi "female"
(b) Mandarin nèi vs. Taiwanese lǎi "inside, home"
(c) or the fact that a female name in Mandarin, ruì (芮), is written with the
character for nèi (內) above as its phonetic component

So if your lang historically has such a tendency, or has similar
phonologies, it might be a start.


2010/6/27 Roman Rausch <[log in to unmask]>

> >It doesn't look natural to me, as it not only is
> >fortition, which af course *can* occur, witness Greek
> >*pj > *pcj > pt (which might give you a suggestion,
> >btw!), but also fortuitous nasalization. I'd swallow
> >e.g. *pwen- > pnen, but not *pw > pn in a non-nasal
> >environment.  In short it violates my expectations on
> >directionality.
> Well, what about the Korean liquid nasalisazion? There, /l/ becomes [n] in
> the onset of Sino-Korean words, but apparently due to the fact that /l/ in
> this position is prohibited in native words.
> Anyway, I dislike /w-/ as an initial consonant, but fortition to /gw-/
> wouldn't work really well, since my language strictly reserves plosives for
> roots of nouns, states and verbs; and sonants for all the morphology around
> them, postpositions etc. So the idea is to still use a velar, but of a
> different, non-plosive manner of articulation, similar (maybe?) to Korean.
> Therefore, what about a general fortition [w] to [Nw] and then to [nw]? For
> example intervocalically *kawa > *kaNwa > kanwa, but also *pw- > *pNw- >
> *pm-(?) > pn-, similar to the development Greek *pj-.
> >pw bw phw > pj bj phj > pt bd fT would
> >be by far the coolest!
> But this would sweep the original /pj bj phj/ along and my imaginary native
> speakers would not agree to such a revolution! The five initial consonant
> series are distinct to them, just as 'coat' and 'goat' are distinct in
> English.
> >Some relevant references:
> Thanks! I definitely need to go through the the comparative grammar of
> Greek
> and Latin.