Click Origins, Labio-velars, and Fortition
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I'm currently working on a paper discussing the proposed origins for click
One theory on click origins could be that due to the similarity in the
combined use of two lingual gestures, clicks may arise from a mistiming in
the articulation of labio-velar stops. Kohler (1998: 267) speculates about
this, and Ladefoged and Maddieson (L&M 1996: 340) seem to argue against it, but I wondered whether a labio-velar origin for clicks has ever been
entertained more widely.
It should be noted that the resulting click would be labial, and labial
clicks seem to be the rarest type encountered. I think this observation
works against a labio-velar origin, though if other click types arise from
perceptual reanalysis or articulatory restructuring (via a triple closure -
L&M: 352) of labial clicks, labials might be rarer and yet be the original
An origin for clicks in labio-velar stops also simply displaces the problem
onto accounting for labio-velar stops. I wondered therefore whether a
theory of the origin of labio-velars might be extant somewhere. One
possibility could be fortition from /w/.
Any information on origins of clicks from labio-velars, possible
labio-velar origins and fortition of /w/ much appreciated. I will post a
summary if responses warrant it.
Mark J. Jones
Department of Linguistics
University of Cambridge
Kohler, Klaus J. (1998) ‘The development of sound systems in human
language.’ In James R. Hurford, Michael Studdert-Kennedy, and Chris Knight
(eds.) Approaches to the Evolution of Language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press, pp. 265-278.
Ladefoged, Peter, and Ian Maddieson (1996). Sounds of the World's
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