Richard Wordingham wrote:
--- In, "H.M. Hubey" <HubeyH@M...> wrote:
> Richard Wordingham wrote:
> > --- In, "H.M. Hubey" <HubeyH@M...> wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > > Richard Wordingham wrote:
> > >
> > > > --- In, "H.M. Hubey" <HubeyH@M...>
> > > > >(Personally I would also disallow k>s.)
> > > >
> > > > In one fell swoop, yes. However, k > c > tS > S > s is not
> > > > impossible.
> > >
> > >
> > > Not believable. Most languages have ptksn. It is S that
> > after s.
> >
> > Non sequitur.
> Here is what I mean. By no means am I being provacative.
> I am using a general law-like concept e.g. languages that have
> stops also have unvoiced stops.
> 1. Most languages have ptksn
> 2. Many languages also have a 2-way contrast of sibilants e.g. s,
and sh

I would call these 'statistical universals'.  [p] can be stably
missing in the presence of [b], as you have pointed out.  It is
better to say there are at least three points of articulation for
the stops.

> 3. Few languages have 3-way contrast e.g. Semitic and Chuvash
> Now, if a 3-way contrast is learned by 2-way speakers, the 3
> might collapse into a
> 2-way system. What I doubt is a language losing its 2-way contrast
s, sh
> and developing
> a single sibilant.

Historically attested examples are a bit thin on the ground.  Can
some one check how many sibilants modern Indic languages have, if
one ignores Sanskrit loans.

Lithuanian has 4 sibilants - [s], [S], [z], [Z]. 

I should have said "unvoiced".

In the Slavonic
languages, the etymologically corresponding sounds are [s], [s], [z]
and [z].  Thus the shibilants (whose correspondents in Centum
languages are velars) seem to have merged with the sibilants.

Spanish used to contrast at least to sibilants [s] v. [S], and may
have has voicing contrasts.  Today, it only has [s]. 
did s and S collapse to a single one? No.

[S] has become
[x].  The affricates are still around, but with some changes, such
as [ts] > [T]. 

Here is where the "regularization"rules (postulates?) become useful. They are supposed to
be derivable from data. Is this attested or inferred?

In other words, I am using another general idea (call
> it statistical or typological)
> that languages on the periphery have less phonemes e.g. Hawaiian
> than those in the
> Main Theater of History (e.g. Mideast, crossroads of 3 continents).

As another example, 72% of languages have at least 2 liquids.  That
has not stopped many Tai dialects from collapsing [l] and [r]
together, or losing one without replacement (via [r] > [h]). 

Are these inferred or attested? I do not believe that most of the data that passes off
as being 'true" is really true. They are all inferred.

Bangkok Thai (as opposed to Standard Siamese) is a good example, so
we are not talking about reductions in backwaters either.

The Khoisan language !Xu has 141 phonemes.  However, I would have
said it was on the periphery!  I thought the Caucasus would also
count as peripheral.


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Mark Hubey