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193Re: [Lambengolmor] Re: i and y in Quenya: two phonemes or one?

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  • Ales Bican
    Aug 8, 2002
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      Petri Tikka wrote:

      > There is a situation that is very much like this in Finnish.
      > Let me phrase this similarly to your statements:
      > However, we have words like _paijata_ "stroke, pet" and _juoksi(j)a_
      > "runner". I am not convienced that this can be an evidence of _j_ and
      > _i_ occurring beside each other, as the _j_ between the vowels is only an
      > orthographic phenomenon, not observed in spoken speech. Furthermore,
      > some linguistics and common people would spell these sequences as
      > _paiata_ and _juoksia_.

      **So the _j_ is not pronounced there, right? Speaking of which, what
      is it like in Finnish? I do not know a lot about it. Does Finnish have
      j as a separate phoneme distict to /i/?

      > Hence I think the two sounds occurring in _Quendi_ and _Yavanna_
      > are not two variants of one invariant /i/ -- the vocalic [i] is an
      > independent phoneme from [y], just as [w] is independent from
      > [u], there being no correlation between them in "The Etymologies"
      > or elsewhere.

      **Well, is [w] really independent from [u]? Now that I think about
      it, is [w] not just a variant of [u]? These two sounds are very
      similar. As far as I am aware [w] occurs only before vowels and [u]
      only before consonants, and we never find combinations -uw- or
      -wu- in Quenya.

      > Besides, if your theory is true, why is it _áya_ and not
      > **_aya_?

      **Do you mean why the _a_ is long? An answer may be in _The
      Qenya Phonology_ in PE: "Medial _y_ [a dot over it] gave _i_
      [a bow below it] [...] This relaxing of y > i [the same diacritics]
      is later than above changes so that _áya_ [a dot over y; the ´
      denotes stress not length] gave _áya_ [a macron over the first a]"

      In other words, the change y > i [with the diacritics] and the
      stress on the first _a_ in _aya_ produce _áya_, and that may be
      the reason of _háya_ with _á_ instead of _a_.

      By the way, _The Qenya Phonology_ contains much information about
      the _i_, but I have always found it difficult to interpret. For
      example, I am not quite sure what Tolkien meant by _y_ with a
      dot over it. Maybe the editors of _Qenyqetsa_ could help us (not
      to mention that many people do not even have the Parma, since it
      is out of print).

      [You have as much information about the dotted _y_ as I do. Evidently,
      it is a "tenser" form of semivocalic _i_ (with underposed arch). Carl]

      > So, IM(quite)HO, the usage of _y_ in the orthography of
      > Quenya can be outlined thus:
      > 1. In the beginning of a word, and between single consonants,
      > it stands for a vocalic consonant.

      **Do you mean "between single vowels" like in _yúyo_ "both"?

      > 2. After a consonant it palatalizes the preceeding cosonant.

      **Unless combinations like _ly_ are just digraphs, see my reply
      to Hans.

      > 3. After a diphthong it stands for a medial easing sound.

      **This is likely, yes. -- I must say that my statement that _i_ in
      _haia_ is a part of the diphthong may not be true. We know how Quenya
      words are transcribed in Latin letters and sometimes even in Tengwar,
      but we usually do not know how they are realized in speech.

      The word _haia_ may be pronounced as either [ha-ja], [hai-a] or
      [hai-ja]. In my opinion, the pronounciation [ha-ja] is possible,
      though I do not find it very likely.

      It is possible that _haia_ could be pronounced as [hai-ja] and then
      the spelling _haiya_ would indicate it. This may be similar to the
      pronounciation of _sarnie_ "shingle, pebble-bank" (VT43:11) which
      may be pronounced as [sar-ni-je] and this may be indicated by its
      alternative form _sarniye_ (ibid.) (unless _sarniye_ is a form from
      which _sarnie_ was derived, cf. _mie_ "mist" said to be derived from
      _miye_ (stess on i) (PE13:150L)).

      Now _sarniye_ would clearly be an istance of [i] and [j] standing
      beside one another. However, if it is possible to pronounce _sarnie_
      as [sar-ni-e] and _haia_ as [hai-a], the [j] would be, in my opinion,
      only to ease the pronounciation of hiatus.

      I tried to listen to Tolkien's reading of Namárie but my ears are not
      trained enough, so I would like to hear opinions of others (I think he
      said [mor-ni-e] without [j].)

      Ales Bican

      ps. I would like to thank Carl that he corrected my spelling of
      Trubetzkoy's name. When I sent my letter to the list, I spelled it
      as 'Trubeckoy' (in Czech we spell it 'Trubeckoj'). Carl was of
      course right, it is the spelling used in Anglophonic countries,
      I checked it. It is nice to have someone who modifies our letters,
      even though without our knowledge.

      [I reserve the right to edit posts for spelling, grammar, etc.,
      just as I would any contribution to _Vinyar Tengwar_. Regarding
      Trubetzkoy, the determining factor in my changing your (modified)
      Czech spelling was to put it into agreement with the name as spelled
      as the author of the book you were citing, as standard bibliographic
      form would require. Carl]

      Mi dissero che a quell'epoca per quindici giorni e quindici notti
      i retori Gabundus e Terentius discussero sul vocativo di _ego_,
      e infine vennero alle armi. (Umberto Eco, _Il nome della rosa_)
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