In historical linguistics, replosification refers to a phenomenon of sound change. It consists in the fact that closure sounds regain their plosive quality after they had previously lost it by phonetic law.
Numerous examples are provided by the Lenis cleavage (cf. Lenis), as described by Karl Luick and his student Hans Pinsker: An Indo-European media aspirata (a voiced aspirated final sound, i. e. -bh-, -dh-, -gh-) usually loses its aspiration in the course of the Germanic sound shift and becomes a media (a voiced final sound). Now, there are numerous examples which bear a voiced fricative(spirans) where a media would be expected.
This can be explained by the influence of the phonetic environment; Pinsker assumes – simplified formulated – that mediae aspiratae, which stood after vowels or liquida – called trituration sites by him – were ground to voiced fricatives, while they became mediae in other phonetic environments – the inhibition sites – as described above.
The prerequisite for replosification is thus fulfilled by all these fricatives originating from original mediae aspiratae. In West Germanic, for example, replosification also takes place in trituration sites following lenis splitting.
- Karl Luick: Historical Grammar of the English Language. With the second chapter elaborated from the records left behind. First volume, division I. Bernhard Tauchnitz, Stuttgart 1964, p. 800ff.
- Matthias Passer: Nautica Germanica. Etymologische Untersuchungen zur germanischen Seefahrtsterminologie: Bezeichnungen von Schiffen und Schiffsteilen im Altenglischen. Diploma thesis, University of Salzburg 2008, p. 68ff.
- Hans Pinsker: Altenglisches Studienbuch. August Bagel Verlag/Francke Verlag, Düsseldorf/Bern/Munich 1976, p. 66f.