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201Re: i and y in Quenya: two phonemes or one?

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  • atarinke
    Aug 10, 2002
      --- Ales Bican wrote:

      > **I am convinced that _heru_ plus a patronymic ending _-ion_
      > would produce *_heruion_, because we have _Eruion_ "son of
      > god" (VT44:12). And whether we can have *_heruyon_, I am
      > not sure, I think such a form would become *_heruion_.

      Well, I agree in part. A compound *_heru-yon_ (of the same type as
      _Elda-lambe_) might exist for some time however, perhaps
      distinguishing some special lord-son or in some other case like when
      the relationship is stressed, or something like that. I don't think
      *_heru-yon_ is impossible, nor for that matter other words with the
      same structure. All of this is quite irrelevant however if there are
      no [i] between vowels and for that see below.

      > As for _heruion_ itself, it depends on how it was pronounced. The
      > morpheme boundary is evidently between _u_ and _i_, so it might
      > be pronounced as [he-ru-i-on]. If this was the case, the [i] may
      > then occur between vowels and be distinct to [y]. However, if it
      > was, and I believe it was, pronounced as [he-rui-on], then it is
      > parallel to _haia_/_haiya_.

      I think I might have been fooled by the morphemes here. On closer
      thought I agree with your interpretation of ui as a diphtong. Now if
      we assume that ai, oi and ui always are diphtongs the only possible
      places for syllabic /i/ between vowels is after /e/. A quick search
      on Ardalambion's corpus wordlist (by no means all Q. words but all I
      can do a quick digital search on) reveals no such [i]. And I think
      Hans mentioned word initial /i+V/ some posts ago in this thread,
      again with negative results. Therefore one might ...

      > [...] wonder whether the pair _heruion_ "of lords" /
      > *_heruion_ "son of lord" was distinguished in speech. I would say
      > no, though I cannot prove or disprove it.

      And this is what it all comes down to, isn't it? Lacking natives to
      describe it's hard to do good descriptive linguistics, no? ;) Still,
      I think your reasoning has much to it and I like /y/=/i/ more the
      more I think on it.

      Martin Blom
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