Arbitrariness of the Sign, Double Articulation, Lexical Loans... judging by modern studies on iconicity (such as https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rstb.2020.0190 and https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0023830920914339), they all seem to me as attributes that fail to counter its conservative properties. If my conclusion is mistaken, what could impossibilitate the reconstruction of hypothetical non-arbitrary phonemes? (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phememe)

  • The association of Japanese むごん with muteness just because it starts with m- is flawed in so many ways. It smacks of "dictionary diving" which I suspect a lot of linguists do when trying to get data to support their hypothesis.
    – jogloran
    May 13 at 18:41
  • 1
    I forgot to clarify: I meant "phememes" in general, not confining the question to Foster's own list (which was revised at least once if I am not mistaken).
    – Venwon
    May 13 at 18:45


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