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The lateralization of labio-dorsals in Hmongic

Guillaume Jacques EMAIL logo
From the journal Folia Linguistica


This paper provides support for Ratliff’s hypothesis of a highly unusual shift from labio-dorsal to lateral affricates in some Hmongic languages. It proposes that this shift, which results from a series of sound changes, constitutes evidence for positing a ‘Tlowic’ subgroup within Hmongic. In addition, it disproves attempts to use correspondences between Chinese labiovelars and Hmongic lateral affricates in borrowings as evidence to revise Chinese historical phonology.

Corresponding author: Guillaume Jacques, Southwest University, Chongqing, China; and CNRS-CRLAO-INALCO-EHESS, Paris, France, E-mail:


I would like to thank Martha Ratliff and two anonymous reviewers for useful comments on previous versions of this work.


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Received: 2020-04-19
Accepted: 2020-12-08
Published Online: 2021-10-14
Published in Print: 2021-11-25

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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