A. Egurtzegi (LMU München) - Contact-induced shift in the laryngeal features of Proto-Basque stops
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Contact-induced shift in the laryngeal features of Proto-Basque stop
Modern Basque shows an “true voicing” opposition with voiced vs. plain voiceless stops, and non-contrastive voiceless aspirated variants in some eastern dialects (Hualde 2003). Nevertheless, most authors (cf. Martinet 1950; Michelena 1977; Trask 1985; Hualde 1999; Lakarra 2013) reconstruct a different system for Proto-Basque. The classic reconstruction of the Proto-Basque stop system (Martinet 1950) involves two series of stops (fortis and lenis) with different phonetic realizations in different positions within the word. I present a new approach to the nature of this opposition. I reconstruct two series of stops: a voiceless aspirated series (specified for [spread glottis]) and an unaspirated series (laryngeally neutral) that is realized as unaspirated voiceless stops word initially and passively voiced in medial position, undergoing intervocalic spirantization in later times (tentatively, in the early Middle Ages). Following the analysis provided by frameworks such as laryngeal realism (Iverson & Salmons 1995; Jessen & Ringen 2002; Honeybone 2005; Beckman, Jessen & Ringen 2013, etc.), I reconstruct the Proto-Basque stop opposition as contrasting in [spread glottis] instead of [voice], which is the relevant feature in modern Basque, a true voice language, as the Romance languages historically in contact with it (Castilian Spanish, Gascon, French, etc.).