Retroflex sounds

T.I. Console info at TICONSOLE.NL
Sun Jun 21 13:13:57 UTC 1998

George Thomson wrote

While it is very useful to have the evidence of retroflexion cited by van
der Geer, Miguel Carrasquer Vidal, and Lars Martin Fosse, -- reminding us
that such phonemes are widespread in human language --, the *particular*
problem of the origin of retroflexion in Vedic remains an open one.

Right. Especially if we consider the fact that the Italic retroflexes are of one
particular kind only (voiced retroflex d, non-geminate. It is written as a geminate,
namely dd, but pronounced as a single consonant). The Indic retroflexes show
much more variation.

Now, either retroflexion arose internally or it arose as a result of
contact between two distinct language families in the Indian sub-continent.
As far as I can tell, there is still no definitive argument in favor of
either one of these alternatives.

Is this something everyone would agree to?

I do. And I have to admit that it sounds a bit too phantastic to me that in two
different language families exactly the same characteristic arises, especially
when they live almost together.

(In Paleontology you often see parallel evolution
of a certain pecularity, but never when the two orders or families live in the
same area. I know this has nothing to do with language, but to me it is part
of the same `logic type of developments'.)

Sandra van der Geer
The Netherlands
info at

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