LINGUIST List 3.906

Wed 18 Nov 1992

Qs: Cornish, Coronals

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  1. Marion GUNN, Kernowek < Cornish >
  2. , cf.
  3. , 'special status' of coronals & sound change?

Message 1: Kernowek < Cornish >

Date: Mon, 16 Nov 92 14:29:04 GMKernowek < Cornish >
Subject: Kernowek < Cornish >

I am organising a small project at the moment which requires a good working
knowledge of Cornish (which I do not have, as yet). If any subscriber who
knows that smallest of our sister Celtic languages would like to contact
MGUNNIRLEARN with a view to exchanging information over the next few
weeks, I'd very much welcome that.
Marion Gunn

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Message 2: cf.

Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1992 09:28 PDTcf.
Subject: cf.

Lately I have seen "cf." used in some linguistics publications where
it seems the author meant "see" or "see also", rather than "compare",
its original latin meaning. Is this becoming an accepted usage,
or is it still considered wrong to do so?

(By the way, there is a very similar phenomenon going on in Chinese
scholarly publications, were in footnotes the word "jian4" is now
used for "see", when it originally meant "cited from" (i.e. was
seen in).)

Randy LaPolla
Inst. of History & Philology
Academia Sinica
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Message 3: 'special status' of coronals & sound change?

Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1992 22:26:42 'special status' of coronals & sound change?
From: <>
Subject: 'special status' of coronals & sound change?

 In recent years there has been some research done demonstrating the
'special status' of coronals, e.g. that the 'unmarked' value for the
feature 'coronal' for consonants, or at least obstruents, is
cross-linguistically 'plus', or that 'underspecified' consonants tend
cross-linguistically to surface as coronals. A lot of the work on this
subject is brought together and summa- rized in the book The Special Status
of Coronals: Internal and External Evi- dence, edited by Carole Paradis and
Jean-Francois Prunet and published last year by Academic Press as part of
their new Phonetics and Phonology series.
 Not being primarily a phonetician or phonologist, i was not aware
of this research until Joe Stemberger's recent paper in Language brought it
to my attention (and if you're out there reading this, Joe, thanks!). Thus
it was with some timidity that, in August of last year (right around the
time the Paradis & Prunet vol. was being published) in a paper presented at
the Interna- tional Historical Linguistics Conference at the Vrije
Universiteit Amsterdam i suggested that the plural morpheme -t in a lot of
Uralic languages (cf. e.g. Finnish) might ultimately be descended from a
cluster *-kl, derived from the same source as the plural suffix -kal/-gal
common in Dravidian languages. My idea was that, in word-final position,
the velar/coronal dissimilarity in the cluster *-kl would be reconciled
(neutralized?) in favour of coronality (*-tl), with subsequent loss of the
lateral. Now that i've learned there are good theo- retical grounds for
believing in the 'special status' of coronals, i'm much more confident
about this hypothesis.
 My question is this: Does anyone know of any other examples of a
word- (or stem-)final velar obstruent, with or without a neighbouring
coronal segment, being replaced by a coronal obstruent? Hans Henrich Hock
has pointed out to me that the opposite change is attested in the
development of Italian 'vecchio' /vekkio/ 'old' from Late Latin 'vetlus',
Classical Latin 'vetulus', but this isn't in word-final environment so i'm
not convinced it's relevant. If you know of any good examples of such a
sound change in the history of any linguistic stock please tell me about
it. If there's enough interest i'll post a summary of responses in the
List, otherwise i'll summarize them in the next version of my paper.
Dr. Steven Schaufele
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

4088 Foreign Language Building
707 South Mathews Street
Urbana, IL 61801
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