The Vowel Systems of California Hokan
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While reconstructions of Proto-Hokan forms exist, it has not yet been possible to provide a detailed analysis of the sound changes required to relate reconstructed forms to attested forms. As a result, even though the reconstructions themselves are valuable, they cannot serve as a strong argument for the particular proto vowel system they implicitly or explicitly assume. This paper will not be an attempt at any serious reconstruction of the Hokan vowel system. Rather, it will take a broad view, comparing the vowel systems of the California Hokan languages to determine if there is any indication from them as to what vowels were present in their parent language. This study, therefore, is designed to complement the more traditional approach of etymological reconstruction and serve to guide any future attempts to reconstruct Proto-Hokan. As such, the focus is not simply on the distribution of vowel phonemes in California Hokan, but also on those proposed diachronic and documented synchronic processes found within the stock which may shed light on how the present-day vowel systems could have evolved from some Proto-Hokan vowel system.