THE ORIGIN AND PHONEMIC VALUE OF THE OLD ARMENIAN Ղ(L) AND GH Լ(Ł) – 2017-3

Summary

Vardan Z. Petrosyan

Key Words ռ Pre-Armenian, liquid sonorant, Velar sound, fricative sound, sub-phoneme.

The ղ(ł) and լ(l)­ sonorants ­of ­Old­ Armenian­ were ­the ­main­ speech­ variations ­of ­the pre-Armenian ­sonorant­ phoneme­ <*l> ­and­ were­ in­ a ­sub-phoneme ­relation ­with­ each other. In the 5th­ century,­ at­ the­ initial­ stage ­of ­Classical ­Armenian, ­ղ(ł)-լ(l)­ contrast­ appearse specially ­at ­the­ending­ position­ of ­the ­word. ­It ­had ­a ­function ­of ­semantic ­distinction (phonological). ­However,­ in­native ­Armenian­ it ­was ­excluded­ for ­ղ(ł) ­to­appear­ at­ the beginning­ of­ a­word.­ This ­means ­that ­here, ­in ­this­ position, ­they ­were­ in­ an ­additional relation ­of­ distribution­ (sub-phonological).­ Most­ apparently, ­the­ phonemicization ­of­ ղ(ł) as­ a­ velar­ sound ­is­ the­r esult­ of­ divergent ­developments.

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