Series shifts and mergers in the obstruent phonology of Tahltan (Northern Athabaskan)

John Alderete

Amber Blenkiron

Edōsdi (Judy Thompson)


Abstract: A survey was conducted to investigate the development of the Proto-Athabaskan obstruent series, *ts/tš/tšr/k, into present day Tahltan. Results from seven native speakers and quantitative analysis of a larger corpus establish tθ/ts/ts/tš as the standard obstruent system, alongside three alternate systems that relate to independently motivated historical changes. These findings support the long-held view that differences in the obstruent reflexes do not reflect deep phonological differences among Northern Athabaskan languages, but instead represent areal influences and patterns of individual variation in a highly dynamic language network.

Keywords: sound change, series mergers, chain shifts, affricates, obstruents, language contact, language areas, Athabaskan, Tahltan

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Full citation: Alderete, John, Amber Blenkiron and Edōsdi (Judy Thompson). 2018. Series shifts and mergers in the obstruent phonology of Tahltan (Northern Athabaskan).To appear: Linguistic Discovery.