Proto-Inuit Phonology

Doug Hitch


Proto-Inuit (PI) and the daughter dialects have two non-nasal, non-lateral consonant series, /p t c k q/ and /v ʐ j ɣ ʁ/. The distinctive feature separating these sets has been generally regarded as continuance but voicing is a better candidate. PI *c has been seen as affricate [ts] or [tʃ] but a voicelss palatal stop value [c] better explains the diachronic and synchronic data. PI *ʐ and modern /ʐ/ have received a wide range of phonetic characterizations but a voiced retroflex sibilant value [ʐ] best accounts for the historical and descriptive evidence. Some historical documents and modern descriptions are reassessed. Some suggestions are made for the recontsruction of PI.


Proto-Inuit; feature; diachrony; synchrony;

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Copyright (c) 2017 Doug Hitch