Once more on the letter འ

Article English OPEN
Hill, Nathan W. (2005)
  • Publisher: University of California, Berkeley
  • Subject: 8630 | 2200

W. S. Coblin, in a contribution (2002) to the ongoing iscussion about the phonetic value of the Tibetan letter ༢ (transcribed as v), has argued that this character has no phonetic value per se but is rather an orthographic device. A review of the previous literature and consideration of Coblin’s arguments in contrast agree with the finding\ud that before vowels and the glide -w- the letter v represents a voiced fricative, while before consonants it stands for prenasalization; in the former position, the value [ɣ] is argued for. The use of final -v in Old\ud Tibetan inscriptions suggests that in that position too -v has the value [ɣ]. Finally, with a view to the internal reconstruction of the Tibetan verbal system, consideration is given to the question of whether the various phonetic values of v- represent a unitary phoneme.
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