--- In phoNet@yahoogroups.com, "richardwordingham"
<richard.wordingham@m...> wrote:
> --- In phoNet@y..., Piotr Gasiorowski <piotr.gasiorowski@i...> wrote:

> > "In Palauan, a velar nasal appears before the reflex of all Proto-
> Malayo-Polynesian initial vowels (*anak > {ng}alek 'child', *ikan >
> {ng}ikel 'fish, *uRat > {ng}urd 'vein, artery'). The suggestion that
> these developments are due to the fossilization of old grammatical
> markers is superficially attractive, but since the epenthetic
> consonant is associated with all grammatical classes in both
> languages there appears to be little reason to consider it a product
> of anything but phonological change" (p. 242).
> This looks like a neutralisation of /ng-/ and /?-/, though it is not
> the sort of neutralisation I had in mind. I wonder how it compares
> to the initial ng- in some Mandarin Chinese dialects? Has M. Jacques
> any comments?

According to Jerry Norman, _Chinese_ (CUP, 1998) some Mandarin
dialects (not Beijing) have ? > N, subsequent to the loss of initial /N/. =
can be more complicated – see e.g. http://www.ling.ohio-
state.edu/~huang/c882/C882_hw4.pdf (which may not be around for
long!) for the Rugao dialect. It looks like a merger of initial /N/ and /?=
with some loss in clusters. I would therefore say that it is indeed a
parallel to the more complicated merger of /?/ and /N/ in some
Mandarin dialects.