In this project, we present a typology of the diachronic pathways leading to the emergence of Initial Geminates (IGs).
We show that synchronic phonological properties of IGs, especially their moraic status, may be tied to the diachronic trajectory that lead to their emergence. This is expected if we follow an evolutionary approach to phonology, Evolutionary Phonology (EP). We further discuss potential alternatives and limitations to this scenario and introduce a series of testable predictions for future instrumental work on the topic.
We complete our discussion with two cases studies of Pattani Malay and Salentino, the latter based on an original acoustic pilot study. We argue that these two languages show that lexical competition alone is not enough to predict the IGs resistance to merger contra previous accounts proposed in the framework of EP.
We suggest that lexical competition needs to be more properly quantified and that other factors need to be taken into account if we are to understand the multifaceted synchronic realization and evolution of IGs.