Retroflexion

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Mon Mar 2 12:50:44 EST 1998


At 11:22 02.03.98 -0400, you wrote:
>In response to the post of Lars Martin Fosse:
>>
>>Just as part of the general argument, I would like to supply the information
>>that both East Norwegian and West Swedish have produced retroflexion. So
>>have some South Italian dialects. All quite independent of Skt.
>>
>
>Yes, this sort of retroflexion is frequently cited by Hock as well, both in
>the recently cited article and in his valuable book, _Principles of
>Historical Linguistics_.  But to my knowledge all of the examples that are
>cited show these retroflexes as allophonic variants of either dentals or
>alveolars, or even palatals.
>
>It seems to me that reference to such phenomena in other languages would be
>more cogent if one could produce examples of *phonemic* distinctions, not
>just allophonic ones. In Indic languages one can point to minimal pairs
>like
>
>Skt:    pAta ['flight'] vs. pATa ['portion']
>
>        [this is one of Hock's preferred examples]

Very well: At the written level, you have the following pair:

                katt    kart    (cat - map)
Pronounced:     kat     ka.t

(.rt > .t is also known from Indic)

Furthermore:    mat     malt    (food - painted, East Norw. dialect)
Pronounced:     ma:t    ma:.t

I must emphasize that such words are only minimal pairs when pronounced.
When written, historical orthography keeps them apart.

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse


Dr.art. Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo

Tel: +47 22 32 12 19
Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
Email: lmfosse at online.no
Mobile phone: 90 91 91 45



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