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182Re: i and y in Quenya: two phonemes or one?

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  • gentlebeldin
    Aug 6, 2002
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      --- In lambengolmor@y..., Ales Bican <ales.bican@s...> wrote:
      > As far as I can see they seems to agree with Trubetzkoy's third rule
      > (they never occur in the same phonetic environs) and not to agree
      > with the forth rule (one does not occurs beside the other).

      Possibly, they do: There's the pronominal suffix _-lye_ and the
      suffix _-lie_, as in _Eldalie_. This could rule out the possibility
      of allomorphs: they have to be variants of the same phoneme,
      predictable from the environment where they occur.

      However, the _i_ in diphthongs like _ai_ and the _y_ in combinations
      like _ly_ don't seem to be independent phonemes. Both just modify the
      pronunciation of the preceding sound, and this is confirmed by the
      spelling in Tengwar (_ai_ as a-tehta over _yanta_, _ly_ as dots under
      _lambe_, cf. "Namaarie" in _The Road Goes Ever On_). So if we reduce an
      allomorph /y/ to the position "beginning of word, in front of a vowel",
      and /i/ to "beginning of a word or after consonant", your hypothesis
      could be defensible.

      The question whether a vocal and a consonant can be similar enough to
      count as allomorphs, is subjective. _y_ is a half-vowel, after all.

      Hans
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