“Excorporation” in a Dene (Athabaskan) language
In the Fort Good Hope variety of the Dene (North Slavey) language, Proto-Athabaskan *n generally is realized as [r] in an oral environment and as [n] in a nasal environment. However, in some cases where alternations between [n] and [r] are expected based on closely related varieties, only the [r] variety is found. One consequence of this restructuring is that derivational affixes that were historically closely integrated into the verb word from a phonological perspective are now less fully integrated. This type of language change is typologically unusual. I suggest that it was motivated by the pressure to retain consistency of morpheme shape, perhaps to aid communication with speakers of a related but quite different language, representing a type of contact effect.