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Subject: Initial [tl]-cluster
Question: Hello all, I recently met a gentleman with the last name Tlumack. He expressed some problems with having a last name which begins with an English-illegal consonant cluster (he was not a linguist). He then said that he had no idea what the origin of his last name was--though he had verified that the initial tl- was not an orthographic error. He believed his family to have come to the United States from Hungary. It has been a while since I studied historical phonology (and my studies were limited to just a few Indo European Languages--and I never achieved ''deep'' knowledge of the subject), so I was unable to tell him a language family or subgroup that would have allowed the initial /tl/ cluster. I feel that it is also possible that the in the orthography is not actually representative of a /tl/ cluster, but rather a lateral affricate, or something else. I'd like to be able to help this man figure out the linguistic origin of his last name! Is the actually representative of that cluster? Or something else? And is the name Indo European or maybe Uralic? As a side note--I was curious to confirm why /tl/ might be illegal in English while /pl/ and /kl/ are fine. Do phonologists think it's just because /t/ and /l/ share roughly the same place of articulation? Are these distributions similar cross- linguistically--i.e. are /pl/ and /kl/ more common than /tl/? Thanks so much!
Reply: I wonder if his ancestor left Europe with the surname 'Tlumacz'? Anthea
Reply From: Anthea Fraser Gupta      click here to access email
Date: 08-Sep-2012
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Initial [tl]-cluster    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (06-Sep-2012)
  2. Re: Initial [tl]-cluster    James L Fidelholtz     (07-Sep-2012)

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