Datapoint Mangghuer / Voicing in Plosives and Fricatives

Discuss WALS Datapoint Mangghuer / Voicing in Plosives and Fricatives.

One Response to “Datapoint Mangghuer / Voicing in Plosives and Fricatives”

  1. John Whitman Says:

    Last posting on the larygneal contrast for stops in Mongolic, this time on Mangghuer. The reference cited for feature 4A Voicing in Plosives and Fricatives is Todaeva 1973. Again a more recent reference is the chapter on Mongghul by Stefan Georg in the 2003 Janhunen volume:

    Georg, Stefan. 2003. Mongghul. In: Janhunen, Juha (ed.) (2003): The Mongolic languages. London: Routledge: 286-306.

    Georg classifies Mongghul and Mangghuer as two languages in a small family. As is standard in the Mongolist literature, Georg refers to the contrast between p t c ch q k and b d z zh j g gh as ’strong’ vs. ‘weak’, not voiceless vs. voiced. “In nitial position, the two classes of obstruents are phonetically distinguished by aspiration, the strong segments (fortes) being voiceless and aspirated, while the weak segments (lenes) are equally voiceless (or slightly voiced), but unaspirated. In medial position, however, the weak segments can be fully voiced and spirantized” (2003: 291). He then goes on to describe a series of diachronic developments in M: medial strong Cs are lenited to their weka counterparts in disyllabic roots with initial strong Cs, and disyllabc roots with initial weak Cs and medial strong Cs reverse them. The result is “if aspiration is taken to be the relevant feature on which the distinction between the strong and weak obstruents is based, the situation in Mongghul can be reformulated as follows: MOngghul allows at most one aspirate consonant per stem, and only in initial position (292).

    I take this as an argument that the larygneal contrast for obstuents in this Mongolic language should be aspiration, not voicing.

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