Building on recent work towards the reconstruction of Proto- and pre-Proto-Nivkh (Fortescue, 2016;
Janhunen, 2016; Halm, 2017; Halm & Slater, 2018), we use internal reconstruction to investigate two
developments (probably regular sound changes) of initial consonant clusters in pre-Proto-Nivkh, taking
rigorously reconstructable Proto-Nivkh forms as our point of departure. These developments are: (1) the surface-level loss of an original manner contrast (perhaps plosive-versus-fricative) in oral obstruents in cluster-second position, leaving only a morphophonemic contrast (between obstruents which show a predictable plosive-fricative alternation under prefixation and those which remain fricatives invariantly) as its reflex; and much more tentatively, (2) the deletion of original palatal glides in syllable onsets originally containing any consonant cluster.
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