Friday, August 10, 2012

loss of l before non-apicals

walk, talk, etc.
folk, yolk
half, calf, (Ralph)
salmon, almond
golf, salve (noun)
Holborn, formerly holp
uncultivated help, self, shelf, gulf, etc.

Velarized apical consonant /l̴/ vs velarized vowel /l̴/

/l̴/ is a velarized vowel, unrounded when unstressed or functioning as a diphthongal satellite, apicalized only by assimilation before an apical segment (included prevocalic geminate [l]), with a vocalic coloration approximating that of [ɯ].

The lateral is lost not before apicals. Before non-apicals, the lateral satellite is not an apical and therefore not sufficiently 'consonantal' to be preserved.

Solidier, solder, somersault did not possess //l// at the time of their introduction into English (a palatal follows the lateral in soldier, anyhow), and the loss of the lateral in unstressed would and should was eventually generalized to the stressed forms--which explains these exceptions other than as exceptions to the statement above.

Today, in some lects, the deletion of the lateral in non-apical environments is in fact being generalized to the environment preceding heavy ('voiceless') apicals as in salt and walnut.

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