I was thinking about how Spanish has a /t̠ʃ/ but (in most dialects) no /ʃ/, and how many native Spanish speakers have trouble producing the sound ʃ by itself. I don't see why this couldn't apply to other affricate-fricative pairs (ex: /ts/ with no /s/), but I'm interested in looking at some other real-world examples. Warning: I have no formal education in linguistics so please correct me if I use the wrong terminology or notation. That said, these are my questions:
- What are some other examples where a language has an affricate but no corresponding fricative?
- Are there any languages with affricates that lack the corresponding plosives? (ex: /ts/ but no /t/)
- Is it possible for a language to have an affricate with no corresponding plosive or fricative?
I tried searching phoible for instances of /ts/ with no /s/ but the few obscure languages I found there had conflicting information on their Wikipedia page.
It makes sense to me for an affricate to exist without the corresponding fricative because to produce an affricate a speaker starts at the plosive and releases into the fricative. Producing the fricative by itself is effectively "starting in the middle", so a speaker might not have the muscle memory to start directly from the fricative (this would be why Spanish speakers have trouble pronouncing ʃ).
I'm not sure if the reverse logic applies - a speaker might not have the muscle memory to not release a plosive into a fricative? So, to my mind 2 & 3 seem improbable. I would think that if a language somehow had an affricate with no corresponding plosive, the affricate would split and then merge to the plosive over time. The plosive would then take the affricate's place phonemically, being the "simpler" sound (or is that my own bias?), with the affricate maybe maintained as an allophone (ex: over time /ts/ becomes /t/). That's just a theory though, and I can't pull from any examples because I have virtually no knowledge of historical linguistics. I'd love to find some examples of this type of evolution happening or maybe a different evolution happening that challenges this theory.