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On Thu, 15 Nov 2012 10:30:22 +0100, Daniel Prohaska <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>On Nov 15, 2012, at 10:19 AM, Leonardo Castro wrote:
>
>> 2012/11/14 Matthew Boutilier <[log in to unmask]>
>> 
>>> I'm pretty sure French only gets initial /w/ (spelled <ou>) in loanwords
>>> 
>> 
>> What about "oui"?
>
>I hear this as /ɥi/.

But that's not what it actually is... is it?  It's /wi/, or so say Wiktionary and ATILF, at least.  

And there are other examples: another is the old _ouïr_ /wiR/ 'hear' and its family; and if we allow it in complex onsets there are all kinds of examples (in one of their realisations), like _louer_ /lwe/ 'rent'.  In all of these the /w/ is the native outcome of /u/ before a vowel, which is not a surprising origin of /w/ at all.  And I'd reckon that the pre-existence of /u.V/ [wV] was _why_ recent French was accommodating of loanwords in [w], which could split it as a phoneme.  

... so, J. M., that's one origin of a new /w/.  Breaking, like the cited /O/ > Span [we] It. [wO] (possibly transcribing broadly) is another.  Various lenitions are a third: e.g. there are plenty of Romance coda /l/ > [5] > [w], though those permit an analysis as a diphthong offglide; as a further-out-there example, Catalan has some [w] from coda [z]!

Also I suppose everyone responding so far analyses Latin QU GU as unitary /k_w g_w/ and not bisegmental /kw gw/.  'Cause in the latter case, the /w/ in these groups (like other postconsonantal /w/) doesn't go to /v/.

Alex