Languages with interesting phonotactics

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Re: Languages with interesting phonotactics

Post by Porphyrogenitos »

Is anyone here familiar with Pali? This discussion reminded me of it. Just browsing its phonological description on Wikipedia, it very much gives the impression of a typical phonotactically-complex relative of Sanskrit that must have been acquired by a non-Indo-European-speaking people who molded its phonotactics into an almost-CV format. In fact, I think it might have the simplest syllable structure of any IE language I've encountered.

Historically - and underlyingly, and, as Wikipedia presents it, as part of a system of conversion from Sanskrit to Pali forms - it merges a number of Sanskrit sounds, and has a typical Sanskrit-like system of regressive and progressive assimilation, but tending much more "aggressively" towards complete assimilation and creation of geminates, plus an extensive system of epenthesis, plus other cluster simplification rules, with the end result being that there are absolutely no word-initial consonant clusters, no word-final consonants other than anusvara <ṁ> which was probably really just vowel nasalization, and the only possible word-medial clusters are a geminate, a nasal + single consonant, or a nasal + geminate. Thus, a (C)V(N) syllable structure.
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