>Initial velar and palatal nasals occur in only a minority of the
>world's languages. When a language is simplifying its nasal
>inventory, these may be eliminated.
>For initial velar nasals, merger with glottal stop seems to be
>common, e.g. Mandarin Chinese. Sometimes the merger goes the other
>way, and initial glottal stops become velar nasals - e.g. some
>dialects of Mandarin, and there's an Austronesian example in the
Nganasan (Uralic/Samoyedic), I think, prepends N- to all originally
vowel-initial words (including recent borrowings from Russian: I recall
something like "ngaerodrom"). I don't know if the change went through ?-.
>A change to [h] is also reported within the Tai group,
>though this is best evidenced for voiceless (or pre-aspirated) velar
>For palatal nasals, the only elimination route I can recall is merger
>with [j]. This has happened in most Tai dialects. The usual result
>is [j], but in Lao the merger resulted in palatal nasals. (Lao [j]
>derives from Proto-Tai [?j], mostly still written "?y" in Siamese for
>words of tone class B.) If Romanian ever had _initial_ palatal
>nasals, it too would provide an example of the palatal nasal becoming
>Are there other elimination routes?
I'm sure there must be examples of development to plain /n/ by
Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv@...