Why /r/ is not a special, empty consonant in Japanese

Abstract : In recent work on Japanese phonology, /r/ has been argued to be a unique consonant in the Japanese phonological system, characterized by its default, unmarked and featureless nature. These peculiar features have been claimed to derive from the original epenthetic status and the late historical phonologization of /r/ in Japanese. However, a review of all the relevant evidence shows that there is actually no solid basis for that hypothesis, which proves to be not only inadequate, but also directly falsified by the data. No r-epenthesis process can be reconstructed in earlier Japanese, and /r/ cannot be analyzed as a unique, default, empty consonant.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - 10:33:54 AM
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Thomas Pellard. Why /r/ is not a special, empty consonant in Japanese. Journal of East Asian Linguistics, Springer Verlag, 2016, 25 (4), pp.351-383. ⟨10.1007/s10831-016-9147-4⟩. ⟨hal-01356834v3⟩

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