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On Sat, Jun 22, 2013 at 7:37 PM, Alex Fink <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>
> No!  Certainly not a *lot* weirder.  The odds are slightly pretty much
> exactly fifty-fifty that a random language will have it, in WALS.  However,
> in three out of eight languages that have it, it can't appear in absolute
> initial position (and perhaps other initial positions).
>   http://wals.info/feature/9A
>

fair enough. my apologies for not gathering the relevant statistics before
throwing out my usual blanket statements. nevertheless my main point was
that phonologies with /m/ and /n/ and no /N/ (with or without [N]) are all
over the place.


> That's the prevailing one, yeah, but there are other sources of [N] (and
> thus of /N/).  At times it seems to be the mòst preferred nasal in coda:
> witness e.g. Caribbean dialects of Spanish, and many Chinese varieties,
> shifting all coda nasals to [N] -- in some Spanishes even internally before
> heterorganic stops!  In Nyole, a Bantu language, /N/ comes from *p,
> seemingly by rhinoglottophilia from an intermediate [h].  In Samoyedic, [N]
> was epenthesised before initial vowels.  And of course even if there is
> [Ng] it doesn't have to come from /ng/; prenasal series can come from
> elsewhere (I seem to remember SE Asian examples of spontaneous
> prenasalisation of voiced stops).
>

another one i thought of is the Hindi word for 'lion' which (i don't know
Hindi) sounds to me like [sIN] but the wikipedia-supplied phonology
suggests it could also be [sINg] = /sIng/, since /N/ is not listed among
the Hindi consonant phonemes. either way, Sanskrit *siṃha* with the usual
place-assimilation of the anusvara 'm' thing, since Sanskrit /h/ somehow
counts as a velar according to the traditional grammarian(s). if anyone can
explain that to me, that'd be great.

matt