A candidate for a Tibeto-Burman innovation

In: Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale
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  • 1 CNRS, CRLAO UMR 8563, INALCO, EHESS

Based on a survey of 21 languages chosen to represent the diversity of Sino-Tibetan, this paper proposes that all Sino-Tibetan languages except Chinese have lost a phonological distinction between two Proto-Sino-Tibetan codas, *-q (Old Chinese *-ʔ, dialectally *-k) and *-k (Old Chinese *-k): the two codas merged as *-k in Proto-Tibeto-Burman. It is shown that the Proto-Sino-Tibetan *-q/*-k distinction as reflected in Old Chinese is correlated with the same distinction in Proto-Austronesian.

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