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On Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 12:02 PM, Alex Fink <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> English never had such clusters, nor any opportunity to make them.  This
> is because English doesn't have an inherited voicing distinction in
> fricatives; all initial fricatives are regularly voiceless.
>

Zoo.  Vine.  Thus.

If you had said initial fricatives in a _cluster_ were voiceless, I do
believe you'd be right.  But English lacks them probably because the
combination of a voiced fricative and a voiced consonant of any kind are
harder to distinguish.  The suggestion that English had and has no
opportunity to make such combinations is absurd.

Matt G.


>
> Initial voiced fricatives come mostly from borrowings, these mostly from
> Romance, and are mostly /v-/; and these represent Latin /w-/, and Latin had
> no initial /wl- wr-/.  For the other more minor sources either there was
> similarly no opportunity, like Greek /z-/, or else they were of such
> limited yield that the gap could be due to chance, like the southern Middle
> English voicing in _vat, vixen_, and probably the initial /D-/ < /T-/
> regular in function words.
>
> Alex
>