Velum movement signals generated from real-time magnetic resonance imaging videos of thirty-five German speakers were used to investigate the physiological conditions that might promote sound change involving the development of contrastive vowel nasality. The results suggest that, in comparison to when a nasal consonant precedes a voiced obstruent, the velum gesture associated with a nasal consonant preceding a voiceless obstruent undergoes gestural rescaling and temporal rephasing. This further suggests that the diachronic development of contrastive vowel nasality comprises two stages: the first stage involves gestural shortening and realignment, while the second stage involves a trading relationship between source and effect.