LINGUIST List 6.553

Thu 13 Apr 1995

Sum: Spontaneous Nasalisation

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  1. robert boivin, sum.:Spontaneous Nasalisation

Message 1: sum.:Spontaneous Nasalisation

Date: Mon, 10 Apr 1995 13:03:34 sum.:Spontaneous Nasalisation
From: robert boivin <>
Subject: sum.:Spontaneous Nasalisation

 Fellow linguists,
 A few weeks ago I asked for your help in finding data on
spontaneous vowel nasalisation. Here is a summary of the answers that
where send to me. First I would like to thank the following people for
there help:
-Charles Scott (
-Kirk Widdison (
-Doug Wahlen (
-John E.Koontz (
-Geoffrey S.Nathan (
-John Kingston (
-Jakob Dempsey (
-Brian D.Joseph (
-George Childs (
-John Davis (
-Dan "Moonhawk" Alford (
-Marguerite Mackenzie (

Suggested readings:

OHALA, John (1993) "Sound changes as nature's speech perception experiement"
 In: Speech Communication, vol.13, pp.155-61.
 -- (1984) "Explanation in Phonology: Opinions and Examples"
 In: Phonologica 1984, Dressler et al (eds.), Cambridge U.P.
 -- (1983) "The phonological ends justifies any means"
 In: Proceedings of the 13th international congress of linguistics,
 Hattori and Inoue (eds.), pp.232-43.

 Ohala relates spontaneous vowel nasalisation with the heavy
airflow produced by certain adjacent consonants.

FERGUSON, C. et al. (1975) Nasalfest: Papers from a Symposium on Nasals and
 Nasalisation, Standford, CA.
 (Includes: Matisoff, J.A."Rhinoglottophilia: the mysterious
connection between nasality and glottality")

WARNE, Janet (1975) A Historical Phonology of Abenaki, MA thesis, McGill U.

WAHLEN, Doug and Pam Beddor (1989) "Connections between nasality and vowel
 duration and height: Elucidation of the Eastern Algonquian intrusive
 nasal" In: Language, 65, pp.457-86.

CHILDS, Goerges (1991) "Nasalisation in Kisi" In: Journal of West African
 Languages, 21, pp.25-36.

 I received many answers suggesting to look into Eastern
Algonquians and Siouans languages where spontaneous vowel nasalisation
seems to be a regular process (often phonological and sometimes flexionnal).
 In other cases, spontaneous nasalisation has appeared in
diachrony: Sanskrit "sarpa" - Hindustani "saNp" (snake).
 There also seem to be a relatively high nasalisation in
Minnesotan's speech, regardless of the context.
 Finally, "Moonhawk" points to me that we nasalise the vowel when
we say "uh-huh" "huh-uh"...

 Once again, thank you all for your help. I will be working on the
same project for some time. If anybody else has information that might
help, I would be gratefull if you could e-mail me the information.

Robert Boivin
Universite du Quebec a Montreal
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