How irregularities arise

Here’s an example of how irregularities arise (from John McWhorter’s Defining Creole, p 61: “A less familiar example is in Lahu, where an erstwhile causative prefix s- eroded long ago, leaving devoicing of initial consonants and tonal disturbances on about a dozen verbs, including ’do’ =‘drink’ and ’to’ =‘give to drink’. Meanwhile, lexical verbs such as te ‘do,make’ have been recruited into a new causative construction, which may well develop into affixes over time”. That’s similar to the causative in English made via umlauting, so: fall > fell = cause to fall. Now unproductive, that method has been replaced by lexical items ‘make’ (make it fall), ‘have’ (have it cut down), etc.
There’s a good example from Maori I posted to the blog earlier I’ll try to find it.

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