A guide to small consonant inventories

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Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Post by alynnidalar »

Birdlang wrote:
Nortaneous wrote:bandjalang has been on the list for months, do you not know how to use ctrl+f
I am using an IPad.
Assuming you're using Safari, you can start typing in the address bar, and it will have a section saying "On This Page (x matches)".

If you're using Chrome, if you open the menu (the three vertical dots), there's a "Find in Page..." option.
I generally forget to say, so if it's relevant and I don't mention it--I'm from Southern Michigan and speak Inland North American English. Yes, I have the Northern Cities Vowel Shift; no, I don't have the cot-caught merger; and it is called pop.

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Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Post by Pabappa »

Nortaneous wrote:
Publipis wrote:Old Basque is often analysed with 9 consonants : /p t l r k s z n h/ I believe. A counterexample to the /p n/ implies /m/ rule. The modern reflexes of all stops are voiced unless doubled, so one could propose they were voiced in Old Basque as well. (The Trask Basque dictionary does this, and even leaves out /h/, setting it to 8 consonants, but says /h/ existed as a suprasegmental feature.)
Didn't Old Basque have /b/ but not /p/? (/p/ but not /p:/, w/e)
Probably, but I dont really like analzying the fortis consonants as separate phonemes. There are only a few words where there is a contrast like /alda/ vs /alta/, where one might be reluctant to say that the fortis stops are simply geminate forms of the lenis stops, but there are some languages, such as Finnish, where clusters like /ltt/ can be found, so I dont see it as a conflict.

But I suppose you were posting that to say that it doesn't violate /p n/ --> /m/, rather than that it should have 15 consonants instead of 9. Sorry. Still, it bothers me to conceive of a language where all the stops are voiced by default and all the fricatives are voiceless by default, since stops are less sonorous. The fact that so many proto-languages have bizarre phonologies makes me wonder if it's simply impossible for us to reconstruct that far back, and that instead of making protolangs with bizarre phonologies that develop into modern languages using common sound changes, we should focus on protolangs with unremarkable phonologies that transform into modern langs using bizarre sound changes.
And now Sunàqʷa the Sea Lamprey with our weather report:

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Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Post by opipik »

Kasua has /p t k m n f s h j w ɺ/, that is 11 consonants.
Onobasulu has /b d k g f s h j w l/, that is 12 consonants.

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Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Post by dhok »

Some emendations and additions, mostly Algonquian, might be in order. (<@nort> make an poast in the thread>)

Fox has eleven consonants, with /p t tʃ k m n s ʃ h w j/. (Some people analyze Fox as having a preaspirated series as well, but the preaspirates don't occur word-initially, are often over a morpheme boundary, and all derive from clusters). With a shift of /s ʃ/ to /θ s/, you get the closely related Kickapoo. Retaining /s ʃ/ but shifting /h/ to /ʔ/, you get Potawatomi and the more conservative varieties of Ojibwe-- it all depends on whether you count the long obstruents as clusters/geminates or separate phonemes. I'm inclined to call them geminates/clusters for basically the same reason that I don't think Fox has a set of preaspirates.

Shawnee and Miami-Illinois have twelve consonants, not eleven-- they preserve a coronal liquid /l/ that didn't shift to /n/ like it did in Menominee, Fox and Ojibwe. You can throw in Old Ojibwe in here, too, which had /p t tʃ k ʔ s ʃ m n w ɾ j/-- the shift of *r to /n/ that happened in the northern Great Lakes region probably started in the late 18th century in Ojibwe.

Nanticoke had /p t ts k m n s h w l~ɾ j/, with at least one dialect where /l~ɾ/ became /j/, and possibly one where it became /n/.

Passamaquoddy-Maliseet has /p t tʃ k kʷ m n s h w l j/, thus joining Comanche in the club of languages that have both labials and /kʷ/. Some dialects of Southern New England Algonquian probably made the twelve-or-fewer list, too, but it's not entirely certain.

Blackfoot has /p t k ʔ ts m n s x w j/. You can analyze the geminates as single phonemes, but most sources seem to treat them as doubled single consonants.

Arikara has /p t tʃ k ʔ n s ʃ h w ɾ/.

Kitsai has /t k ʔ n s h w ɾ j/.

Hidatsa has /p t ts k ʔ ʃ x w~m ɾ~n h/.
Last edited by dhok on Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Post by vokzhen »

Mixe-Zoquean languages seem to be "almost" languages, whether they count as twelve or less is going to depend on where you draw the line.

Ayutla/South Highlands Mixe has 12 *native* consonants /p t ts k ʔ s ʂ h m n j w/ (with the interesting feature that /ʂ/ is the basic sibilant, /s/ is highly limited). There are, however, a bunch of loaned consonants from Spanish, plus /l/, which is mostly in loans but also the word /kulʌk/ "turkey," possibly onomatopoeic, and /kipljɤ:/ "stump" from /kipj/ "stick" plus an unidentifiable morpheme.

Sierra Popoluca has 12 /p t ts k ʔ s h m n ŋ w j/, plus a phoneme that surfaces as vowel length before consonants, vowel length and [h] word-finally, and null before the completive+"already" portmanteau [-wɨm]. Again, however, there are a bunch of Spanish loan consonants. There's also a palatalized set [tʲ dʲ ʃ tʃ ɲ], with almost all of them occurring as allophones of /t s ts n/ next to /j i/ (or before a palatalized consonant before /i/), but minorly phonemic due to loans from Spanish, loans from Spanish that fail to palatalize in the appropriate environment, rare word-final instances (whereas in Ayutla Mixe they are clearly clusters of Cj even finally), and they appear in sound symbolic expressions. Sound symbolism also has /l r/. And there's a small handful (less than a dozen, from what I can tell) of voiced sounds that appear without the following /ʔ/ that normally triggers voicing, such as the suffix /-gak/ "another/again" and /dʲa/ "no."

San Miguel Chimalapa Zoque has 11 /p t ts k ʔ ʃ h m n w~ŋ j/ (the grammar lists 12, but [w] appears in onsets and [ŋ] in codas, so I see no reason to treat them as distinct phonemes). In addition to a bunch of Spanish loan consonants, are normally found as allophones of voiceless stops but they show up word-initially in some 1st person pronouns, deictics, and a few other function words regardless of context. /s f l r/ appear in Spanish loans, a tiny number of words of unknown origin, and in sound symbolic expressions.

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