How do voiced retroflex stops evolve? Evidence from typology and an articulatory study

  • The present article illustrates that the specific articulatory and aerodynamic requirements for voiced but not voiceless alveolar or dental stops can cause tongue tip retraction and tongue mid lowering and thus retroflexion of front coronals. This retroflexion is shown to have occurred diachronically in the three typologically unrelated languages Dhao (Malayo-Polynesian), Thulung (Sino-Tibetan), and Afar (East-Cushitic). In addition to the diachronic cases, we provide synchronic data for retroflexion from an articulatory study with four speakers of German, a language usually described as having alveolar stops. With these combined data we supply evidence that voiced retroflex stops (as the only retroflex segments in a language) did not necessarily emerge from implosives, as argued by Haudricourt (1950), Greenberg (1970), Bhat (1973), and Ohala (1983). Instead, we propose that the voiced front coronal plosive /d/ is generally articulated in a way that favours retroflexion, that is, with a smaller and more retracted place of articulation and a lower tongue and jaw position than /t/.

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Author:Silke HamannORCiDGND, Susanne Fuchs
Parent Title (English):ZAS papers in linguistics
Publisher:Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Typologie und Universalienforschung
Place of publication:Berlin
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2008
Year of first Publication:2008
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2009/10/01
GND Keyword:Phonetik; Retroflex
Page Number:35
First Page:97
Last Page:131
Source: ; (in:) Marzena Zygis, Susanne Fuchs: ZAS Papers in Linguistics. - Berlin: 49, 2008, S. 97-131
Institutes:keine Angabe Fachbereich / Extern
Dewey Decimal Classification:4 Sprache / 40 Sprache / 400 Sprache
Linguistik-Klassifikation:Linguistik-Klassifikation: Phonetik/Phonologie / Phonetics/Phonology
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht