Re: [tied] "b" versus "g"

From: Richard Wordingham
Message: 15647
Date: 2002-09-20

--- In cybalist@..., alexmoeller@... wrote:
> I ask myself about the fallowing phenomenon:
> "bi" is very distant from "ghi"
> Normaly, after some criterias, if form a primordial word in
> our case, called "xxx" in two languages we find children of
> this word with the forms:
> langauge1 = "bixxx"
> language 2="ghixxx"
> then we will speak about separat evolution of the word. From
> this example, if we work on a bigger scala, we can say that we
> will have two separated language.

With more differences, I presume you mean. I doubt the proto-Romanian
language split in two when the first proto-Romanians changed -ct- to
-pt-. In fact, that is the sort of change that may easily spread
through a language word by word.

> In this short example I can say is the "esence" of the
> indoeuropean ideea of a common langauge with actual
> descendants.
> My question is:
> I have in romanian "bine"= good.
> But I have in sub dialect of romanians the same word whichi is
> pronounced "ghini"
> And here I wonder. I should understud if tehre should have
> been a "vini" a "pini" a labial one .
> But ghi? How can be such kinds of divagations explained in the
> same language at all?

This change, particularly in voiceless consonants, has already been
described in and . Indeed the
latter describes it as a reversal of the change kw > p, though that is
not strictly true.

Is 'bini' truly closer to 'ghini' (phonetically /gini/) than to 'pini'
if the initials are all palatalised? I suspect not.

What you are seeing in this case is a loss of positional
distinctiveness: /b/, /d/ and /g/ are all merging in the palatalising

You ask how such differences can be tolerated. The answer is that
language has a good deal of redundancy. This enables us to cope with
many apparently random errors in speech. Very often, you hear the
word you expect to hear, and if you do notice an unexpected word, you
may have to stop and ask yourself what was actually said. As a
practical example, you have spelling mistakes in most of your
sentences, mostly due to carelessness, but we still manage to
interpret what you have written.

P.S. If you do indeed have the time to spare, I would appreciate the
translations of the substrate vocabulary that you kindly offered me.