322Re: Palatalization and Syllabification in Quenya
- Feb 19, 2003David Kiltz has set forth a theory proposing how one can resolve the
difficulty regarding the apparent violations of the syllable weight
limitation. While I agree with the principle, I have to point out
several issues that, in my opinion, need more dwelling upon.
> As the examples adduced by Pavel Iosad and Ales Bican showWhile this is good, I feel compelled to point out that the special status
> combinations such as Cy and Ry, when deriving from C+y, R+y,
> are biphonemic in Quenya and form long syllables.
> As phonetics tell us, a syllable ideally starts with a higher
> degree of consonanticity followed by a sound with a lower value.
> A somewhat simplified consonanticity hierarchy may look like
> this: Occlusives > Spirants (Sibilants, s having a special status) >
> Nasals > L,R > "half-vowels". We may call these sounds then class
> 1,2,3,4, and 5.
of 's' appears to be a specific Indo-European feature, provoked, I'd
suggest, by the special status of 's' in the PIE sound system, it being
the only non-laryngeal fricative. This markedness of the sound and its
important role in the root-building process (witness the 's-mobile')
give it a certain special status. 's' is not always the most consonant
sound. While I cannot think of any non-Indo-European examples off the
top of my head (I'm not taking modern Slavic languages into account
here, since they have killed the IE syllable structure, witness a word
like Polish _pstra,g_ 'salmon'), but Ancient Greek, for instance allows
initial combinations of the _muta cum liquida_ type (_prosêkei_, _khraô_
etc. etc.), sC ones (_sphallô_) *and* Cs - _pseudomai_. Thus the
consonanticity status of 's' is actually ambiguous. It is also
demonstrated by the fact that Romance languages (and not only Romance)
did develop a prosthetic vowel before Latin initial sT(R)- groups (Fr.
_écrire_, Sp. _escrebo_, Welsh _ysgrifennu_), because a sT(R)- onset is
somehow uncomfortable (compare this with the appearance of the
prosthetic vowel before undoubtedly offending clusters, as in Russian
_rzhanoj_ 'of rye', Byelorussian _arzhany_, Rus. _mgla_ 'mirk', Byel.
_imgla_). It must also be noted that a Latin word like _magister_ is
stressed _magíster_, not *_mágister_ as it would were the medial -st-
tautosyllabic (i. e. fully identical to the _muta cum liquida_ group in
> Word-initially Quenya seems to allow for the following combinations:[...]
> 1 + 5 (cf. _tyulusse, tyálie_),
> 2 + 5 (cf. _hyarin_ < SWAR-. As "h" probably represents [ç] here, it
> should be treated as a spirant which, historically, it certainly is.),
> 3 + 5 (cf. _nyello_),
> 4 + 5 (doubtful, _lyenna_ ?).
> Given the attested Quenya words, I will argue that Quenya in principleIndeed, if the _Cy_'s are monophonemic, this is not much of a problem
> honours the biphonemic rule but may, under certain historical
> circumstances, allow for a different syllabification.
> Case 1) The obvious instance where e.g. _ty_ is primary and hence
> monophonemic. Cf. _intya-_.
> Case 2) _máryat_. In my view this is not a violation of the biphonemicWhile it certainly is in accord with the hierarchy, it must be mentioned
> rule but has to be syllabified as má (<ma3-) +ryat. The division is
> due to morphological reasons and is phonetically permissible since a
> syllable-initial cluster "ry" is in accord with the consonanticity
> hierarchy for syllable-onsets outlined above.
that Quenya does avoid clusters of that type, because, as David notes,
the phonetic rules do require that a consonant cluster where the first
element is more consonantic than the first one be tautosyllabic (i. e.
the syllable boundary should not split it). VT42:26 says:
'...the strong predilection which Quenya showed for the sequences of
sonants: _m_, _n_, _ñ_; _l_, _r_ before stops, as against those in which
the sonants followed. Transposition also occurs in Quenya in ancient
forms of _tr_, _tl_, etc. > _rt_, _lt_'
With this confer Quenya _alcar_ 'glory' from AKLA-R, cognate with
Noldorin/Sindarin _aglar_ (V:348). The very point here is that the
sequences, being of the 1 + 3 or 1 + 4 types (in David's notation),
require to be regarded as parts of one syllable. But the reversal argues
to support the point made in IX:417-8, that Quenya does not tolerate
onsets of more than segment (confer the lack of the reversal in
Sindarin, which does allow initial mutae cum liquidis), even if they
comply with the consonanticity/sonority hierarchy rules.
> Now for the case of _aistana-_.However, if one suggests that Quenya did so as well, one may well wonder
> In "The Etymologies" one can see that PQ (or PE) allowed for a wide
> range of s + C clusters initially.
why the initial _st-_ was simplified to _s_. (I realise this is however
weak as an argument, being _ex nihilo_).
> Excursus: On the peculiarity of "s" in consonant clusters.[snip excursus on the special behaviour of _s_ in IE]
> The special behaviour of "s" that can be seen e.g. in Indo-EuropeanNow there is also the question of what to allow as initial PQ clusters.
> Also seems to feature in PQ (PE).
There is no compelling need to suggest initial /MB ND ÑG/ are single
phonemes in PQ. The African languages where such consonants are viewed
as single phonemes do not allow any other initial clusters, which is not
the case in PQ. There is also a solution in the lines of Modern Greek,
where the /mp nt ng/ used to substitute voiced stops in loans, as in
_mpar_ 'bar', but as opposed to the /mp/ type, /mb/ cluster are
semiotically suspect (just as the traditional PIE reconstruction, which
can be a strong argument *for*).
> As I argued in the case of _máryat_, Quenya seems to allow certainIt can, apparently, true; but I am at a loss to reconcile this with the
> PQaic clusters at the onset of a syllable which it has otherwise
> simplified word-initially.
stress in _hiruvalye_.
> Hence, I would suggest that this is the case for "st", too....and _Hrísto_ as _Hrí-sto_. This would also explain the syncope which
> _Aistana-_ is therefore to be syllabified as _ai-stana_.
must have given the form _aistana_ rather than *_aiastana_.
Alternatively, one can suggest that in _aistana_ that _ai_ is not a
diphthong, but rather two vowels on the model of _oïkta_ in Narqelion
(see Christopher Gilson's article in VT40). The only problem with this
is that Tolkien did not mark it as such. Only too bad.
In spite of the above criticism, I think this is very much possible
theoretically and even not unlikely (in fact, I implicitly suggested
this in my latest post ('Or are we dealing with a special status of the
_st_ group [...]?)), and can be reconciled with the explanation I have
been propounding. One can then ascribe a special (near-monophonemic?)
status to the _st_ group and describe the lack of bisegmental initial
realization as a marked situation. This however raises several problems,
such as lack of a _sC_ in words from SC-initial roots when that group is
intervocalic (_Nurufantur_ rather than *_Nuruspantur_. Overall, this is
a complex case (surprise, surprise...).
Pavel Iosad pavel_iosad@...
Is mall a mharcaicheas am fear a bheachdaicheas
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