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Another Urianian phonology problem.

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  • Lars Finsen
    Hi, I want to discuss another Urianian phonology problem here. Often it helps just setting the problem out properly - it doesn t necessarily even make it to
    Message 1 of 6 , May 26, 2008
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      Hi,
      I want to discuss another Urianian phonology problem here. Often it
      helps just setting the problem out properly - it doesn't necessarily
      even make it to the list.

      I thought I had found a clever way to deal with the PIE aspirated
      labiovelars that gave me a foundation for the vir-vyr-or forms in
      various parts of the highlands, by assuming that the /gh/ part of the
      phoneme is lost and only a rounding remains, manifesting itself as a /
      w/ phoneme, so that for example gwher > wer > vir-vyr-or.

      This is parallel to the loss of the aspirated voiced velar /gh/.
      However the loss of the aspirated voiced velar is gradual, in that
      first the stop is lost, leaving an aspiration that manifests itself
      in an /h/ phoneme, which then later is lost. This is necessary
      because the /h/ is still found in the east and also in some lost
      southern dialects. Example: gher > her > er > ir/ar. (In a late
      change, highland dialects front their /e/'s, while lowland dialects
      back them.)

      Possibly I am facing a /gwh/ > /wh/ > /w/ process in the labiovelars.
      It seems to be a kind of competition between the various phases of
      the phoneme, where in the case of the labiovelar, the rounding wins,
      and in the case of the velar, the aspiration wins. But I don't feel
      comfortable with it. Also now I have found some lowland forms written
      _chi_, _kha_ and similar and I think the aspirated labiovelars are
      the best candidates for explaining them, for semantical and
      morphological reasons.

      Now, the unaspirated labiovelars regularly turn into fricatives in an
      early stage. /gw/ > /j/, /kw/ > /C/. In the lowlands the voiced ones
      generally lose their voice and merge with the unvoiced ones, and in
      the highlands they suffer the same voicing changes as the stops,
      otherwise they are not changed since this early phase.

      So maybe the aspirated labiovelars should do an early /gwh/ > /jh/?
      That would give me an opportunity for working out something that
      could give a modern sound written _ch_ or _kh_. But then I lose the
      highland _vir_-_vyr_-_or_ that has worked well semantically so far.
      And I don't really fancy having Old Urianians walking around saying /
      zejhros/, /jheros/, /senjhim/ and that sort of stuff. It wouldn't be
      like them.

      Can the Middle Urianian form be something else than /we/ and still
      give modern /vi/ alternating with /vy/ and /o/? Will I need to have
      the highland dialects splitting from the lowlanders already at the
      M.U. stage (roughly 1500 ybp)? That is the best choice perhaps. Well,
      I'll give up on this for now, it's getting late.

      BTW, I found from NASA's site that there's a total solar eclipse in
      Uriania in 2015. I'd like to take the trip if I'm able...

      LEF
    • Edgard Bikelis
      Hi! First, do you have a home page about your conlang? Google didn t help me. Anyway, I m for two years now polishing my PIE conlang, and curiously I m doing
      Message 2 of 6 , May 28, 2008
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        Hi!

        First, do you have a home page about your conlang? Google didn't help me.
        Anyway, I'm for two years now polishing my PIE conlang, and curiously I'm
        doing the phonology again... yet again. So.


        On Mon, May 26, 2008 at 11:55 PM, Lars Finsen <lars.finsen@...>
        wrote:

        > Hi,
        > I want to discuss another Urianian phonology problem here. Often it helps
        > just setting the problem out properly - it doesn't necessarily even make it
        > to the list.
        >
        > I thought I had found a clever way to deal with the PIE aspirated
        > labiovelars that gave me a foundation for the vir-vyr-or forms in various
        > parts of the highlands, by assuming that the /gh/ part of the phoneme is
        > lost and only a rounding remains, manifesting itself as a /w/ phoneme, so
        > that for example gwher > wer > vir-vyr-or.


        Are you sure you want that much of homophony? vir-vyr-or is... gHWer wi:ros
        ...?


        > This is parallel to the loss of the aspirated voiced velar /gh/. However
        > the loss of the aspirated voiced velar is gradual, in that first the stop is
        > lost, leaving an aspiration that manifests itself in an /h/ phoneme, which
        > then later is lost. This is necessary because the /h/ is still found in the
        > east and also in some lost southern dialects. Example: gher > her > er >
        > ir/ar. (In a late change, highland dialects front their /e/'s, while lowland
        > dialects back them.)
        >
        > Possibly I am facing a /gwh/ > /wh/ > /w/ process in the labiovelars. It
        > seems to be a kind of competition between the various phases of the phoneme,
        > where in the case of the labiovelar, the rounding wins, and in the case of
        > the velar, the aspiration wins. But I don't feel comfortable with it. Also
        > now I have found some lowland forms written _chi_, _kha_ and similar and I
        > think the aspirated labiovelars are the best candidates for explaining them,
        > for semantical and morphological reasons.
        >
        > Now, the unaspirated labiovelars regularly turn into fricatives in an early
        > stage. /gw/ > /j/, /kw/ > /C/. In the lowlands the voiced ones generally
        > lose their voice and merge with the unvoiced ones, and in the highlands they
        > suffer the same voicing changes as the stops, otherwise they are not changed
        > since this early phase.


        So gWena and kWoina will sound really close ; ).

        So maybe the aspirated labiovelars should do an early /gwh/ > /jh/? That
        > would give me an opportunity for working out something that could give a
        > modern sound written _ch_ or _kh_. But then I lose the highland
        > _vir_-_vyr_-_or_ that has worked well semantically so far. And I don't
        > really fancy having Old Urianians walking around saying /zejhros/, /jheros/,
        > /senjhim/ and that sort of stuff. It wouldn't be like them.
        >
        > Can the Middle Urianian form be something else than /we/ and still give
        > modern /vi/ alternating with /vy/ and /o/? Will I need to have the highland
        > dialects splitting from the lowlanders already at the M.U. stage (roughly
        > 1500 ybp)? That is the best choice perhaps. Well, I'll give up on this for
        > now, it's getting late.


        I need to know more about your phonological rules first...

        >
        >
        > BTW, I found from NASA's site that there's a total solar eclipse in Uriania
        > in 2015. I'd like to take the trip if I'm able...
        >
        > LEF
        >

        Edgard.
      • Lars Finsen
        ... Right. I should get to work on that some time. Maybe now? ... Those forms _vir_, _vyr_ and _or_ are written forms from various places in the highlands.
        Message 3 of 6 , May 28, 2008
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          Den 28. mai. 2008 kl. 18.44 skreiv Edgard Bikelis:
          >
          >
          > First, do you have a home page about your conlang? Google didn't
          > help me.

          Right. I should get to work on that some time.
          Maybe now?

          > Anyway, I'm for two years now polishing my PIE conlang, and
          > curiously I'm doing the phonology again... yet again. So.
          >
          >> I thought I had found a clever way to deal with the PIE aspirated
          >> labiovelars that gave me a foundation for the vir-vyr-or forms in
          >> various parts of the highlands, by assuming that the /gh/ part of
          >> the phoneme is lost and only a rounding remains, manifesting
          >> itself as a /w/ phoneme, so that for example gwher > wer > vir-vyr-
          >> or.
          >
          > Are you sure you want that much of homophony? vir-vyr-or is...
          > gHWer wi:ros...?

          Those forms _vir_, _vyr_ and _or_ are written forms from various
          places in the highlands. They may be just dialectal variations, or
          maybe _vyr_ is rounded by following syllables. The only instance I
          have of it is in the name Vyrulum. Then, _or_ occurs mainly as a
          final syllable, or before a consonant in another syllable. Wherever
          _vir_ occurs before a consonant it seems to belong to the same
          syllable. So I thought they could have a common Middle Urianian
          origin with different modern reflexes depending on the environment.

          >> Now, the unaspirated labiovelars regularly turn into fricatives in
          >> an early stage. /gw/ > /j/, /kw/ > /C/. In the lowlands the voiced
          >> ones generally lose their voice and merge with the unvoiced ones,
          >> and in the highlands they suffer the same voicing changes as the
          >> stops, otherwise they are not changed since this early phase.
          >
          > So gWena and kWoina will sound really close ; ).

          No woman no cry? In Old Urianian these become jena and ce:na, with
          short final a's. In modern lowland Urianian this becomes cana and
          ci:na, but in the highlands they are cyni and ini, respectively.

          As for the mentioned problem, I think /gWh/ > /w/ and /gWh/ > /x/
          (which is the most likely source for the _ch_, _kh_ representation)
          both are possible, and I think I can explain them consistently by
          having a /gWh/ > /xWh/ change in Old Urianian, while the highland
          dialects preserve the rounding element more and drop the fricative
          and the lowland ones drop it while keeping the fricative.

          Then the unaspirated labiovelars must keep some rounding too, so I
          will make them /gW/ > /jW/ and /kW/ > /CW/ for Old Urianian. This
          also is more consistent with the y in the highland word cyni and
          several other similar highland words.

          Also the PIE to OU change in the voiced aspirated velar is less
          direct, I think. Not /gh/ > /h/ as I thought before, but /gh/ > /xh/.
          But I think this will quickly collapse to an /h/, so I will continue
          writing it with an _h_ in OU text.

          LEF
        • John Vertical
          ... That s a pretty strange development. The labiopalatalization is weird in itself, tho probably still within the boundaries of plausibility; but you ll need
          Message 4 of 6 , May 30, 2008
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            >>> Now, the unaspirated labiovelars regularly turn into fricatives in
            >>> an early stage. /gw/ > /j/, /kw/ > /C/. In the lowlands the voiced
            >>> ones generally lose their voice and merge with the unvoiced ones,
            >>> and in the highlands they suffer the same voicing changes as the
            >>> stops, otherwise they are not changed since this early phase.

            >As for the mentioned problem, I think /gWh/ > /w/ and /gWh/ > /x/
            >(which is the most likely source for the _ch_, _kh_ representation)
            >both are possible, and I think I can explain them consistently by
            >having a /gWh/ > /xWh/ change in Old Urianian, while the highland
            >dialects preserve the rounding element more and drop the fricative
            >and the lowland ones drop it while keeping the fricative.
            >
            >Then the unaspirated labiovelars must keep some rounding too, so I
            >will make them /gW/ > /jW/ and /kW/ > /CW/ for Old Urianian. This
            >also is more consistent with the y in the highland word cyni and
            >several other similar highland words.
            >
            >Also the PIE to OU change in the voiced aspirated velar is less
            >direct, I think. Not /gh/ > /h/ as I thought before, but /gh/ > /xh/.
            >But I think this will quickly collapse to an /h/, so I will continue
            >writing it with an _h_ in OU text.
            >
            >LEF

            That's a pretty strange development. The labiopalatalization is weird in
            itself, tho probably still within the boundaries of plausibility; but you'll
            need at least one intermediate step to get from /g/ to /x/, and it seems
            unlikely that aspiration would hang around for the course. /g/ > /G/ would
            make sense giv'n /gw)/ > /jw)/, but /Gh)/ just doesn't look plausible. On
            the other hand, I don't think you even need the aspiration; /x/ can turn to
            /h/ easily enuff. Just do it before making a new /x/ out of /gwh))/.

            I think your step-by-step chronology could most likely go like this:
            kw) gw) gwh)) > cw) J\w) J\wh)) (labiovelars spontaneously palatalize)
            gh) J\hw)) > G j\w) > x Cw) (voiced aspirates spirantize, then devoice)
            x > h (lenition of the least marked dorsal fricativ)
            Cw) > x / w (the labiopalatal fricativ changes to something less marked)
            cw) J\w) > cCw)) J\j\w)) > Cw) j\w) (labiopalatal stops spirantize)
            Cw) j\w) > C j (labiality of palatals finally lost)

            but it might not quite fit what happens to other consonants, like the
            palato- & plain velars, or the labial & dental voiced aspirates…

            John Vertical
          • Lars Finsen
            ... Thanks for your comments, John V. Much appreciated. You are right that a stop turning into a fricative will pretty soon lose any aspiration. So at least
            Message 5 of 6 , Jun 1, 2008
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              Den 31. mai. 2008 kl. 00.14 skreiv John Vertical:
              >
              >
              > I think your step-by-step chronology could most likely go like this:
              > kw) gw) gwh)) > cw) J\w) J\wh)) (labiovelars spontaneously palatalize)
              > gh) J\hw)) > G j\w) > x Cw) (voiced aspirates spirantize, then
              > devoice)
              > x > h (lenition of the least marked dorsal fricativ)
              > Cw) > x / w (the labiopalatal fricativ changes to something less
              > marked)
              > cw) J\w) > cCw)) J\j\w)) > Cw) j\w) (labiopalatal stops spirantize)
              > Cw) j\w) > C j (labiality of palatals finally lost)

              Thanks for your comments, John V. Much appreciated. You are right
              that a stop turning into a fricative will pretty soon lose any
              aspiration. So at least /gh/ > /xh/ isn't the right way to go. I
              think /gh/ goes /G/ then /x/, then /h/ or /0/ depending on dialect.
              (Or perhaps /x/ is written with an h?) This means my Old Urianian
              spelling with an h must probably be altered.

              I think it's a good idea to let the labiovelar stops turn to palatal
              stops before they turn into palatal fricatives, or in this case
              labiopalatal stops and fricatives. Your scheme seems well worked out
              and I can follow most of it, except that don't know what you are
              doing with all those right parantheses. But I can't have the former /
              kW/ merging with the /gWh/ in the fourth stage.

              What I think happens is not labiopalatalisation, because this would
              tip the velar stops into the palatal as well, wouldn't it? I need the
              velars, because they fit well with my material. (I couldn't let my
              Urianians write palatals with k and g, could I?) I think I do need an
              early loss of labiality after all, and palatalisation to happen in
              the process. The labiality will only leave traces in the following
              phonemes. Then the voiced palatal stop can retain the aspiration,
              which pulls its stop back into a velar fricative while the others
              spirantise into palatal fricatives: kW gW gWh > c J\ J\h > C j\ x.
              Just like the velar fricative resulting from the IE /gh/, this one is
              unstable and remains only in the lowlands, while the labiality traces
              are all that remains of the /gWh/ in the highlands. Is this plausible?

              The result is, for example, including vowel changes, lowland /gWher/
              >> /xar/, highland /gWher/ >> /yr/. I must find another source for
              my 'vyr, vir, or' forms.

              This requires the gh > G > x to happen earlier than gWh > J\h > x, or
              else they will merge as well.

              > but it might not quite fit what happens to other consonants, like the
              > palato- & plain velars, or the labial & dental voiced aspirates…

              Urianian is a centum language and doesn't have a trace of
              palatovelars. I toyed with them in the beginning, but decided to drop
              them because my material didn't support them. (At one stage I thought
              of Urianian as a western branch of Baltic.)

              The other voiced aspirates turn into respective fricatives. The
              bilabials then develop into labiodentals. These and the plain stops
              as well as some other phonemes suffer some voicing changes that
              constitute another Urianian phonology problem, which I might return
              to later if I may.

              LEF
            • John Vertical
              ... You re welcome :) ... Z-SAMPA for tie bar, idiolectally extended for phonation and secondary articulation diacritics. (I find the proper SAMPA underscore
              Message 6 of 6 , Jun 2, 2008
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                >> I think your step-by-step chronology could most likely go like this:
                >> kw) gw) gwh)) > cw) J\w) J\wh)) (labiovelars spontaneously palatalize)
                >> gh) J\hw)) > G j\w) > x Cw) (voiced aspirates spirantize, then
                >> devoice)
                >> x > h (lenition of the least marked dorsal fricativ)
                >> Cw) > x / w (the labiopalatal fricativ changes to something less
                >> marked)
                >> cw) J\w) > cCw)) J\j\w)) > Cw) j\w) (labiopalatal stops spirantize)
                >> Cw) j\w) > C j (labiality of palatals finally lost)
                >
                >Thanks for your comments, John V. Much appreciated.

                You're welcome :)

                >I think it's a good idea to let the labiovelar stops turn to palatal
                >stops before they turn into palatal fricatives, or in this case
                >labiopalatal stops and fricatives. Your scheme seems well worked out
                >and I can follow most of it, except that don't know what you are
                >doing with all those right parantheses.

                Z-SAMPA for tie bar, idiolectally extended for phonation and secondary
                articulation diacritics. (I find the proper SAMPA underscore disruptiv.)


                >But I can't have the former /
                >kW/ merging with the /gWh/ in the fourth stage.

                Pardon? I don't think anything merges with anything else in there. That's
                basically a chain shift with old /x Cw)) cw))/ > new /h x Cw))/.


                >What I think happens is not labiopalatalisation, because this would
                >tip the velar stops into the palatal as well, wouldn't it? I need the
                >velars, because they fit well with my material.

                It's a quirky process, but I don't think that necessarily folloes - there's
                the hypothesis that the PIE plain velars may have actually been uvulars!
                That would leave the labiovelars the more frontal dorsal series, and thus
                susceptible for palatalization. (See also: Greek, where they turn to dentals
                before front vowels; I suspect this would be a palatalization, affrication,
                deaffrication process. Spontaneous palatalization seems like a taller order
                tho.)


                >I think I do need an
                >early loss of labiality after all, and palatalisation to happen in
                >the process. The labiality will only leave traces in the following
                >phonemes.

                Well, now the main problem seems to be, how to plausibly direct them "past"
                the plain velars? I don't think labiality and palatality are generally
                directly interchangeable. Okay, I seem to recall spontaneous w > j being
                attested for some Semitic dialect, but that might be just a question of
                backness being the marked property there, and labiality a secondary phonetic
                result (i.e. /w/ actually being non-syllabic /u/). Then we'd additionally
                need vowel frontness being the unmarked quality, and w > j would be just
                loss of the feature [+back].

                Actually, maybe that CAN be used here - split the labiovelars to velars + w,
                then change w > j, then just do some ordinary palatalization? Except you
                probably don't want original /w/ in the way, at least if it doesn't change
                to /v/? - or /Z/ or /tK/ or /nd/ or … ;)


                >Then the voiced palatal stop can retain the aspiration,
                >which pulls its stop back into a velar fricative while the others
                >spirantise into palatal fricatives: kW gW gWh > c J\ J\h > C j\ x.
                >Just like the velar fricative resulting from the IE /gh/, this one is
                >unstable and remains only in the lowlands, while the labiality traces
                >are all that remains of the /gWh/ in the highlands. Is this plausible?

                OK for the general part, but I'm not sure if it makes sense for the
                labiality to linger on in only one of the former labiovelars.


                >The result is, for example, including vowel changes, lowland /gWher/
                > >> /xar/, highland /gWher/ >> /yr/. I must find another source for
                >my 'vyr, vir, or' forms.

                Oh, wait, that sort of labiality traces. Could you handle this with a vowel
                shift, let's say y > wi > we? This /y/ here needn't coincide with any /y/'s
                you might have arising from elsewhere, mind.

                Doesn't mix with the w > j route for the other labiovelars, tho.


                >This requires the gh > G > x to happen earlier than gWh > J\h > x, or
                >else they will merge as well.
                >
                >> but it might not quite fit what happens to other consonants, like the
                >> palato- & plain velars, or the labial & dental voiced aspirates…
                >
                >Urianian is a centum language and doesn't have a trace of
                >palatovelars.

                Hmm, that may make the uvular workaround less efficient then, because a
                merger of palatals into velars is OK, but a merger of velars into uvulars
                goes in the wrong direction of markedness…


                >The other voiced aspirates turn into respective fricatives.

                Okay, so they all spirantize. Do they remain voiced, however? No, nevermind,
                that's a non-issue because voiceless gaps are expected in the front, but
                voiced gaps in the back. So even if bh) > v, gh) > x should be acceptable.

                On the other hand, isn't Italic currently reconstructed with a voiceless
                aspirate stage (as in Greek), not a voiced fricativ stage? which should also
                be the expected course here, then. It doesn't matter for gh) > x if it
                passes thru kh) or G, but getting a v out of ph) doesn't seem like a quick
                job. That is, IF you need it.


                >The
                >bilabials then develop into labiodentals. These and the plain stops
                >as well as some other phonemes suffer some voicing changes that
                >constitute another Urianian phonology problem, which I might return
                >to later if I may.
                >
                >LEF

                Well, if you can isolate that from this, no need to bring it in here - just
                extra confusion, I'd bet.

                John Vertical
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