[Histling-l] histling-l Digest, Vol 5, Issue 3

Guillaume Jacques rgyalrongskad at gmail.com
Wed Sep 13 15:58:04 EDT 2017

Dear Martha,

> Does anyone know of a reconstruction in which someone has posited a
> regular change involving insertion of a consonant between two other
> consonants?  I had always thought of excrescence as a sound change that
> operates on individual words in an unpredictable fashion (that is, the
> low-level transitional consonant is phonologized unpredictably), but am
> wondering if there are cases where someone believes it to have operated in
> a regular, rule-governed fashion to an entire set of words.
> I am especially interested in insertions of the ?thimble?/?hombre? type,
> but would be interested in examples of the ?Hampshire? type as well.

There are several sound laws in Tibetan that are of the type you mention,
(1) *ry- > rgy- (Li Fang-kuei's law, which even applies to indic
borrowings, so it is incontrovertible)
(2) *Nr- > Ndr-, *mr > mbr-.
(3) *Ns- > Ntsʰ-, *Nɕ- > Ntɕʰ-
see the following article by Nathan W. Hill:


Similar sound changes are extremely common in Indo-European, found in many
families (Martin Kümmel's book has a copious list).

In Rgyalrongic, we find *mr- > mbr-, and *mɕ > mpɕ- (merging with *mpʰj-),
see p 35 of my 2004 dissertation:

Best wishes,


Guillaume Jacques
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