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On Wed, 6 Sep 2017 18:44:48 +0100, And Rosta <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>On 6 September 2017 at 11:54, PETER BLEACKLEY <[log in to unmask]
>> wrote:
>
>> In Old English and Middle English, many words ended with an e, which has
>> been muted in modern English. Function words are generally unstressed,
>> which makes the word boundary before them weaker, so the rule "Fricatives
>> are voiced between vowels" spread to the þ in function words. However,
>> since there is a following consonant in "through", þ could not be
>> interpreted as intervocalic there.
>
>As I think Alex noted, at some point this purely phonological phenomenon
>(whose character you describe) must have become transformed into a rule
>sensitive to word-class, since only this would account for how come initial
>/D/ is entirely absent from normal (i.e. 'cromulent') open-class words and
>for how come initial simplex /T/ is (almost) entirely absent from
>non-open-class words (the synchronic exceptions are _thir-(ty/teen)_, which
>presumably arose metathetically subsequent to the death of the th-voicing
>rule). The question then is whether, once this word-class-sensitive rule
>arose, the failure of /Dr-/ to ensue was merely accidental (as Alex had
>seemed to suggest) or rather (as I countered) because original /Tr-/ never
>satisfied the phonological conditions on the application of the
>word-class-sensitive rule (-- the aetiology of those phonological
>conditions being as per your description).

There's a question of what word class the statement of the rule should be extended to.  If numbers belonged in it, then _thousand_ should also have been subject (unless that escapes by virtue of having been a noun?).  I don't know another word which is diagnostic for whether prepositions belonged in it: if _through_ is the only preposition with /T-/, that fails to determine whether it was the cluster or being a preposition that blocked application.

Alex