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Original scientific paper
Frederik Kortlandt,; Leiden




According to my theory of Slavic accentuation, the Balto-Slavic acute was a glottal stop which developed from the Proto-Indo-European laryngeals and glottalic consonants and yielded a short rising tone in Late Proto-Slavic. The loss of glottalization took place in a number of stages. It appears that most of these developments have striking parallels in Athabaskan.
The rise of distinctive tone in Baltic is quite different from that in Slavic. In West Baltic (Prussian), glottalization yielded a rising tone on long vowels and diphthongs while the absence of glottalization is reflected by a falling tone. In East Baltic (Latvian and Lithuanian), distinctive tone arose from a retraction of the stress which may be compared with the rise of the independent svarita in Vedic Sanskrit.
Elsewhere I have argued that there was a series of preglottalized stops in Proto-Germanic and that all obstruents were voiceless here in recent prehistoric times. Preglottalization has been preserved in British English and in the western dialects of Danish and is reflected as preaspiration in Icelandic and Faroese and under certain conditions as gemination in all North and West Germanic languages.
In Central Franconian, there is a distinctive opposition between a falling tone 1 and a stretched tone 2 that seems to be reversed in a strip of land along the southeastern border. Phonetically, the Franconian tones strongly resemble the Latvian falling and stretched tones and the Lithuanian falling and rising tones, respectively. A larger amount of data from the Central Franconian area would be most welcome.


glottal stop; glottalization; tonogenesis; Athabaskan languages; Balto–Slavic languages; Germanic languages


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