Areal sound change and the distributional typology of affricate richness in Eurasia

Dmitry Nikolaev*, Eitan Grossman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This paper makes a contribution to phonological typology by investigating the distribution of affricate-rich languages in Eurasia. It shows that affricate-rich and affricate-dense languages cluster areally within Eurasia and have area-specific histories. In particular, the affricate-rich areas of western Eurasia – a ‘European’ area and a Caucasian area – are not the result of contact-induced sound changes or borrowing, while the two affricate-rich areas of eastern Eurasia – the Hindukush area and the Eastern Himalayan area – are the result of contact. Specifically, affricate-dense areas depend on the emergence of retroflex affricates. Moreover, languages outside these affricate-dense areas tend to lose retroflex affricates.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)562-599
Number of pages38
JournalStudies in Language
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© John Benjamins Publishing Company.


  • Affricates
  • Areal linguistics
  • Areal sound change
  • Consonant inventories
  • Distributional typology
  • Historical phonology
  • Language contact
  • Language typology
  • Phonology


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