Rendaku in Okinawan

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This paper provides a thorough synchronic and diachronic account of rendaku in the Shuri dialect of Okinawan, which is the best documented variety in the Ryukyuan branch of the Japonic family. Rendaku in Shuri Okinawan is abundant, and its phonetic manifestation is very similar to that in Tokyo “standard” Japanese. Since many Shuri words exhibiting rendaku have no Japanese cognates, rendaku was not introduced into Okinawan by borrowings from Japanese but was a characteristic of proto-Japonic (the common ancestor of Ryukyuan and Japanese). One particularly interesting historical development in the Shuri dialect is that some elements in which sound change eliminated a medial voiced obstruent lost their immunity to rendaku because Lyman’s Law no longer applied.


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