On Fri, 3 Sep 2010 21:57:25 -0700, Garth Wallace wrote:
>On Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 2:43 PM, Alex Fink wrote:
>> What I think is the strangest, though, is the stop + affricate system -- it
>> violates pretty hard the dictum that affricates nearly always pattern as
>> extra places of stops.  Why should voiceless stops be aspirated but
>> voiceless affricates not?  (Okay, maybe 'cause the affricate release ate the
>> aspiration somehow.)  What happened to the breathy-voiced aspirates?
>> On which topic, that system of phonation contrasts could probably exist, if
>> unstably; I'd expect to see it looking about like Western Armenian in a few
>> centuries.  (And it's good that there's both /h\/ and breathy stops.)
>I'd say, though I'm hardly an expert, that affricates pattern as a
>third type of release (no release, aspirated, affricate). The palatal
>affricates are a partial collapse of the system, the palatal aspirated
>stops having merged with the affricates and the palatal unaspirated
>stops having merged with another POA (e.g. /c/ -> /k/). How's that

That would only work if there actually were unaspirated stops around
(voiceless ones, that is)! Besides, I don't think palatal stop/affricate
contrasts are attested anywhere - since spontaneous affrication of palatal
stops is pretty much the universal pathway of development of palatal
affricates. Any later palatalizations tend to either merge outright or push
older affricates to something like alveolo-palatal, postalveolar or even

-For points of comparision, the Venda language, according to Wikipedia, has
in some respects a similar consonant inventory:

p?     pf  th_d  t?  ts  tsw  c    k?
ph     pfh t_d   th           tSh  kh kh_w
b  bw  bv  d_d   d   dz  dzw  dZ   g
                ndz               Ng
P      f              s   s`   S   x       h
B      v              z   z`   Z      G_w
m          n_d   n                N   N_w
           l_d            l`
                 4            j       w

Orthography suggests that the retroflexes here come from former /sw zw l/,
and I suspect /bw/ may come from /gw/? For some reason the palatal
unaspirated stop hasn't become /tS/. I'm not sure why only /p t k/ are
written with glottalization, it seems inconsistent (I would suspect the
other voiceless unaspirated stops to have some glottalization as well).

Also, Tsonga: a few less POAs, but it does have the bilabial/labiodental &
full/brethy voiced contrasts. (see page 35)

John Vertical