Rendaku in cross-linguistic perspective

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The purpose of this paper is to document rendaku-like devices in languages other than Japanese and to cast a comparative and typological eye on the phenomena involved. Two cases are extensively discussed: Korean sai-sios, whose exponents are tensification, nasalization, or t-insertion, and Basque lotura, whose exponents are devoicing, affrication, or t-insertion. The paper also reviews seven other unrelated languages which possess similar compounding devices: Slave, Movima, Kanamari, Malagasy, Nivkh, Nêlêmwa, and Malayalam. It is argued that rendaku-like elements should be recognized as featural linking elements (FLE), a subtype of linking elements, whose featural nature induces a number of specific properties. To conclude, the paper addresses some issues specific to Japanese rendaku which can arguably receive new insights thanks to the cross-linguistic and typological investigation.


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