I'm starting a project that examines the phonetics of palatal approximant fortition (with a variety of outcomes) in several dialects of Spanish.

There's a great deal of existing Spanish linguistics literature on this, but I'd like to branch out and see what's going on cross-linguistically, too.

Does anyone have any recommendations of phonologists/phoneticians doing work like this and/or possible references?


The feature theory of palatalization in The Sound Pattern of English is meant to cover historical developments in Slavic. Another reference that occurs to me is a paper by Bhat on palatalization from a Stanford project on universals of language.

My own observation is that the articulations of English syllable onset and syllable offset jod are quite different, the first being a palato-alveolar rather than a palatal. As in "yam" vs. "pay".


Vulgar Latin to modern Romance

This is very likely well known to you. The emergence of the phoneme /ʒ/ written "j", from /j/.

Classical Latin ego /ˈe.ɡo/, probably elided the middle /g/ to form Vulgar Latin *eo, which must have been pronouced something like /jo/, yielding modern Sardinian eo /ˈɛo/, Spanish yo /jo/, Italian io /ˈi.o/, but Central Catalan and some instances of Old French jo /ʒɔ/, modern French je /ʒə/.

The effect is much stronger with the /j/ at the beginning of Latin words. See for example iocus, which underwent fortition in most varieties of Romance.

Middle Chinese loans in (Northern) Vietnamese

See this StackExchange answer about certain Middle Chinese lexemes in /j/ (preserved in modern Mandarin and Cantonese), which surface as voiced fricatives /z/ in northern Vietnamese, written as d (not to be confused with đ) in modern Vietnamese.

Holtzmann's Law / Verschärfung in Proto-Germanic to Old Norse & Gothic

E.g. Proto-Germanic *Frijjō resulting in Old Norse Frigg, with a /g/ that is retained in modern Scandinavian varieties.

EDIT: Index Diachronica has a list of phonemic changes. For a lot of them I haven't been able to access the original source, but the list is quite long.

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