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Folia Linguistica

Acta Societatis Linguisticae Europaeae

Editor-in-Chief: Fischer, Olga / Norde, Muriel

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Folia Linguistica
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Folia Linguistica Historica
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Volume 34, Issue 1


The sound change *s- > n- in Arapaho

Guillaume Jacques
  • Corresponding author
  • Centre de Recherches Linguistiques sur l’Asie Orientale (CRLAO), Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales, 2 Rue de Lille, 75007 Paris, France
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Published Online: 2013-10-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/flih.2013.002


The sound change *s > n in initial position in Arapaho is unparalleled in the world’s languages, and previous attempts at explaining it have failed to produce a convincing account of its intermediate stages. This article presents two hypotheses to account for the correspondence between PA *s- and Arapaho n-, taking into account not only the individual steps of this particular proto-phoneme, but the evolution of the whole consonant system. It shows that the change *s > n in initial position only appears to reflect an unnatural development: it can in fact be explained in terms of a sequence of natural changes and mergers.

Keywords: Algonquian; Arapaho; historical phonology; merger; rhotacism

About the article

Published Online: 2013-10-16

Published in Print: 2013-10-01

Citation Information: Folia Linguistica Historica, Volume 34, Issue 1, Pages 43–58, ISSN (Online) 1614-7316, ISSN (Print) 0168-647X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/flih.2013.002.

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