324Re: Palatalization and Syllabification in Quenya
- Feb 19, 2003
On Mittwoch, Februar 19, 2003, at 03:50 Uhr, Pavel Iosad wrote:
>> As the examples adduced by Pavel Iosad and Ales Bican show
>> 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.
> While this is good, I feel compelled to point out that the special
> status 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.
They are two things. Yes, "s" also has a special status in I.-E.
because it is the only spirant or fricative (next to the laryngeals).
That is not the relevant point here though, I think. No other fricative
serves the same function in later I.-E. languages (e.g. ph, th, kh). It
is also noteworthy that "s" is not a homorganic fricative to any other
sound in I.-E. Its "intervening" function can hardly be "just"
explained by the fact that it is a fricative. Ultimately, the reason
will be phonetic (i.e. biology).
> This markedness of the sound and its
> important role in the root-building process (witness the 's-mobile')
> give it a certain special status.
While true I, again, don't think that has anything to do with the
point at hand. What matters is that such combinations are
<here follows an account on certain behaviours of consonant clusters. I
agree with the phenomena but don't see how that changes anything>.
Just for interest: Sino-Tibetan seems to exhibit similar behaviour (as
PIE in respect to "s").
>> Case 2) _máryat_. In my view this is not a violation of the biphonemic
>> 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.
> While it certainly is in accord with the hierarchy, it must be
> 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:
Where the first element is more consonantic than the first one. There
must be a typo here.
> '...the strong predilection which Quenya showed for the sequences of
> sonants: _m_, _n_, _ñ_; _l_, _r_ before stops, as against those in
> 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
> 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.
I don't follow the argument. _AKLAR_ is _ak-lar_. The metathesis
provides a softer syllable ending (l) and the highest possible degree
of consonanticity for the syllable onset (k).
Why would you syllabify AKLAR as _a-klar_ ? Maybe I didn't understand
Note that I made mention only of a case of 4+5.
>> Now for the case of _aistana-_.
>> In "The Etymologies" one can see that PQ (or PE) allowed for a wide
>> range of s + C clusters initially.
> However, if one suggests that Quenya did so as well, one may well
> why the initial _st-_ was simplified to _s_. (I realise this is however
> weak as an argument, being _ex nihilo_).
I didn't suggest that. I suggested that Quenya kept that possibility
inside a word.
>> The special behaviour of "s" that can be seen e.g. in Indo-European
>> Also seems to feature in PQ (PE).
> Now there is also the question of what to allow as initial PQ clusters.
> 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*).
MB, ND, ÑG, (ÑGw) are described as the corresponding nasals to
parmatéma, tincotéma, calmatéma, and quessetéma. I think they are to be
understood as monophonemic. The African example is not compelling.
While the lack of initial clusters in those languages points to the
fact that MB etc. aren't as well, in those languages, the reverse is
not necessarily true. Just because PQ has some initial clusters, MB
etc. don't have to be too.
I don't understand the point about Modern Greek. "mp" etc. are only
graphical for [b]. This is a question of the writing system.
I don't know what traditional PIE recontruction you refer to. Glottalic
vs non- glottalic ? It can be a strong argument for what ?
>> As I argued in the case of _máryat_, Quenya seems to allow certain
>> PQaic clusters at the onset of a syllable which it has otherwise
>> simplified word-initially.
> It can, apparently, true; but I am at a loss to reconcile this with the
> stress in _hiruvalye_.
In _hiruvalye_ the a is short. Hence it is to be syllabified
_hi-ru-val-ye_. That's quite regular. l+y are biphonematic here and
hence we have a long syllable. I fail to see a problem here.
>> Hence, I would suggest that this is the case for "st", too.
>> _Aistana-_ is therefore to be syllabified as _ai-stana_.
> ...and _Hrísto_ as _Hrí-sto_. This would also explain the syncope which
> must have given the form _aistana_ rather than *_aiastana_.
Yes, thank you.
> 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.
Yes, that's of course possible but doesn't seem likely.
> 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
Well, you alluded to a special status of the "st" group. Sorry, I
should have mentioned that.
Your criticism doesn't seem to say anything really contrary to what I
Your last point (_Nurufantur_ vs *_Nuruspantur_) is a very strong one,
I think. Maybe it can be solved by assuming that _Nurufantur_ is a
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