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225Re: i and y in Quenya: two phonemes or one?

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  • Petri Tikka
    Sep 7 2:32 AM
      Petri Tikka wrote:

      > > The _j_ is an easening sound here, it is sometimes not pronounced
      > > at all, but most often it is a gliding sound to help the transition to
      >> the next vowel after an _i_. The gliding sound is not the same as
      >> the _j_ that is not next to an _i_. In Finnish, /j/ and /i/ are seperate
      >> phonemes, eg. _paju_ "willow" is never pronounced with an _i_.

      Ales Bican wrote:

      > **I see. However, it does not imply from the fact that _paju_ is never
      > pronounced with [i] that the j and i are necessarily separate phonemes.
      > Their distribution may be limited: [j] between vowels and [i] between
      > consonants, for instance. It may depend on the position and the
      > environment. Similarly as in the Third Age Quenya, the sound [ñ] occurs
      > only before velars ([k], [g]), that is in a position where [n] is never
      > pronounced. In the Third Age Quenya the sounds [ñ] and [n] are
      > allomorphs of the phoneme /n/.

      **In Finnish, the sound [ñ] occurs only before [k] (the voiced [g] is
      unknown in Finnish) or another [ñ], that is in a position where [n] is
      never pronounced. One can say that both in Finnish and Quenya [n]
      and [ñ] or [i] and [j] are allomorphs, but in their pronunciation
      they are so different that they are often written with a different letter.
      To my knowledge, in Finnish all these four sounds are considered
      separate phonemes, not allomorphs.

      > **Note that this does not make [k] and [g] allomorphs, since
      > they are in free distribution while [w] and [u] are (presumably)
      > in complementary distribution. This means that if we replace [k]
      > with [g], the replacement will change the meaning of a word.
      > For instance, there is a minimal pair _anga_ and _anka_. On
      > the other hand, you cannot freely replace [w] with [u], and there
      > is no minimal pair in Quenya involving w contra v (as far as I am
      > aware).

      **But might not the free distribution between [w] and [u] or
      [j] and [i] be historical? There must be a difference between
      _áya_ "awe" (XII:363) and _aiya_ "hail" (L:385). It might
      be that _aiya_ is an older form of _áya_ that survived as
      a reverential form, distinct from _áya_. It is also possible that
      they are only distinct having different meanings by their context,
      not by form.

      > > [ha-ja] is not possible because it is written with an _i_. Tolkien
      > > never stated that he used _i_ as _j_ in Quenya.
      > **Sure, but this does not mean it is not possible. Cf the. word-initial
      > _i_ in words like _ia_ etc. (already mentioned by Hans (gentlebeldin)).
      > And although Tolkien rejected these words, it is possible that, say,
      > _ia_ was pronounced as [ja].

      **Everything is possible in Tolkienian linguistics, but that is not proof.

      Petri Tikka Helsinki, Finland
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