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Two Birds with One Stone: The Aerodynamic Voicing Constraint and the Languages of Borneo

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Title:Two Birds with One Stone: The Aerodynamic Voicing Constraint and the Languages of Borneo
Authors:Blust, Robert
Keywords:languages of Borneo
sound change
phonetic principles
phonological typology
Date Issued:16 Jul 2018
Abstract:A hallmark of any good scientific theory is its ability to derive two or more superficially unconnected phenomena from a single unifying principle. A classic example is Newton’s gravitation theory, in which Kepler’s laws of motion for the planets orbiting the sun and Galileo’s laws of motion for objects falling on the earth, both of which had previously been recognized as valid but unconnected statements about physical processes, were shown to reflect the same fundamental force (gravity). This paper draws attention to the identity of a basic phonological process that has taken divergent paths in the history of particular languages or language groups. In particular, it is argued that the historical development of true voiced aspirates [bph], [dth], [gkh] in the Kelabit-Lun Dayeh languages of Borneo, and the replacement of word-final voiced stops by the homorganic nasals in a number of languages in Borneo are outcomes of the same phonetic limitation, namely the aerodynamic voicing constraint (AVC).
Pages/Duration:18 pages
Appears in Collections: A. Research Papers (Peer-Reviewed)

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