Intervocalic fortition

…was mentioned in xkcd:

But this has actually happened.

Blust’s compilation of highly unusual sound changes includes intervocalic fortition of *v *j *g in Kiput:



Intervocalic devoicing of *g also occurred in Berawan, which also reflects *b as k.

A possible explanation of both of these processes is here: Berawan -b- > β > ɣ, -g- > ɣ, -ɣ- > x > k; Kiput j- > d (leaving *j to only appear intervocalically), -g- > ɣ, and unconditional devoicing of the voiced fricatives and affricate. This doesn’t explain the intervocalic fortition of *w *y, however; they remained approximants at least word-finally.

A dialect of American English influenced by Pennsylvania Dutch has devoicing of plosives not only in coda position, but also in onset position in word-internal unstressed syllables.

Starostin claims “occasional intervocalic devoicing” for Dongxiang and Bonan.

Are there any instances of intervocalic fortition that aren’t devoicing? Kiput glide frication is probably an example, and Berawan (again) has conditioned gemination of intervocalic plosives:

Long Terawan examples such as *batu > bittoh “stone”, *kutu > kuttoh “head louse”, *qatay > atay “liver”, *putiq > puté “white”, *laki > lakkéh “man, male”, *siku > sikkoh “elbow”, *likud > likon “back (anat.)”, *tukud > tukon “prop, support”, *bana > binneh “husband”, *tina > tinneh “mother”, or *tanaq > tana “earth” show an unusual condition for the genesis of geminate consonants: the onset of an open final syllable was geminated. Although the data are more abbreviated, an identical change appears to be reflected in all Berawan dialects. Note that neither the syllable type nor its position are sufficient in themselves to predict gemination, as the consonant onsets of open penultimate syllables, or of closed final syllables remain unaffected. In citation forms stress is generally final in all dialects of Berawan, but this is true whether the final syllable is open or closed. What linguistic factor, if any, might drive consonant onsets to geminate only if they initiate an open final syllable thus remains very puzzling.

Doesn’t Italian have sporadic intervocalic gemination?



One response to “Intervocalic fortition

  1. Pingback: Intervocalic fortition | Reaction Times

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