I am trying to understand the function of double (?) nasals in Lycian. Usually an /ñ/ is followed by /n/ and so does /m̃/ which is followed by an /m/. What was the function of this spelling in Lycian? Did they really try to produce both nasals or is it an attempt to render a nasal that has lacked a letter.

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    Those were originally perhaps syllabic [m] and [n], later coda [m] and [n].
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 15:19
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    Good question! I've also seen them listed as syllabic nasals, but they almost always precede normal <m> and <n>. I don't know Luwian very well, but it's entirely possible that <m̃m> and <ñn> were their ways of writing the syllabic nasals.
    – Draconis
    Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 22:20

1 Answer 1


Kloekhorst 2008 writes the following:

"the difference between /n/ vs. /nn/ and /m/ vs. /mm/ is only relevant in initial and intervocalic position. In all other cases the ‘geminate’ spellings with -ñn- and -m̃m- are automatic and directly comparable to the geminate spellings of the other consonants (p. 128).

He also provides an extremely useful chart:

enter image description here

If I understand Melchert 1994 correctly, this gemination could be viewed as "continuants spreading across a syllable boundary" (p. 265), e.g.

Arm̃ma- = [arm.ma-] < /arma-/

If such a cluster was in initial position, then an anaptycic vowel was insterted there:

km̃mi- [kəm.mi-] < /kmi-/

  • Thank you very much! The chart link is broken though.
    – Midas
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 10:06
  • @Midas Which link doesn't work for you? Kloekhorst 2008?
    – Alex B.
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 16:53
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    Forget it. I was refering to i.sstatic.net/rdfXP.png I am temporarily in a country that tends to block various internet resources. I logged remotely to a computer at home and I can see the image. You don't need to edit anything. :)
    – Midas
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 19:22

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