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330Re: Palatalization and Syllabification in Quenya

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  • Ales Bican
    Mar 2, 2003
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      David Kiltz wrote:

      > [...]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.
      > 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_ ?).
      > -Note: For completness a class 6 (vowels) belongs here. It has been
      > left out for obvious reasons. Any class + 6 would work.-

      **I may not understand you and perhaps the confusion was caused by
      my failure to explain precisely what I meant the by Cy combinations.
      At any rate I would not call what you describe here combinations
      (except for any class + 6, which are combinations of C + V). Although
      we see here two graphemes (_ty_, _hy_, _ny_; _ly_ is doubtful), I am
      convinced these _graphemic_ combinations stand for single phonemes.
      So for instance, the case of _tyálie_ is not, in my view, an instance
      of 1 + 5 (i.e. occlusive plus semivowel _y_), but just 1 (+ 6, the vowel
      _á_), as palatals would belong to the same class with occlusives.

      > Adding to this, PQ allows for the following additional combinations: s
      > + 1, 3, 4, 5. (Abundant examples can be found in V, "The Etymologies".

      **I think the situation in PQ was not much different. What is
      transcribed as Cy (on _sy_ see below) does not stand for two phonemes
      but for just one, I think. Basically, PQ does not allow any other
      phonemic combinations than sC if graphemic combinations Cy are
      monophonematic (on nasal + stop see below).

      > Of course, certain combinations within these classes do not occur, e.g.
      > p+y. This is most probably due to euphonic reasons.

      **While the reasons can certainly be euphonic on Tolkien's side,
      I think the reason why there is nothing like _p+y_ is still because
      the word-initial graphemic Cy combinations stand for one phoneme,
      not a combination of phonemes.

      PQ had three basic series of localization: labial, dental and velar.
      The dental series was split into two related series: plain dentals
      and palato-dentals. The velar series was split to three related
      series: plain velars, palato-velars and labio-velars. Each series
      had a voiceless occlusive, voiced occlusive, nasal and some of
      them voiceless aspirated occlusives. So:

      labials: P, B, M, Ph
      plain dentals: T, D, N, Th
      palato-dentals: Ty, Dy, Ny (Thy not found)
      plain velars: K, G, Ñ, Kh
      palato-velars: Ky, Gy, (Ñy not found), Khy
      labio-velars: Kw, Gw, (Ñw, Khw not found)

      The rest, i.e. S, 3, R, L, Y and W stood outside this system. Then
      there are combinations nasal + voiced occlusive (such as _mb_)
      which may be evaluated as monophonematic (if so, they are not
      found in palato-dentals, sc. no _ndy_ word-initially) but it is
      not certain. I will return to them.

      This system was reduced in noninitial positions in the root
      (syllable): for instance, while we see aspirates on the coda
      of a PQ syllable (e.g. KHITH), we do not see there any palatals.

      > Given the attested Quenya words, I will argue that Quenya in principle
      > 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 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.

      **As I have already noted, the _onye_ example does not seem to be
      compatible with _máryat_. Something similar may be with _ohlon_:
      why is it not *_óhlon_, _hl_ being a single phoneme which implies
      from the fact it occurs word-initially?

      > 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.

      [the excursus snipped]

      > The special behaviour of "s" that can be seen e.g. in Indo-European
      > also seems to feature in PQ (PE). 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.
      > Hence, I would suggest that this is the case for "st", too.
      > _Aistana-_ is therefore to be syllabified as _ai-stana_.

      **There may be another explanation of _aista-_. Although it was me
      who mentioned the form _aista-_, I cannot remember any other example
      of a diphthong before a consonant cluster. If it is an isolated
      example, then it might be an exception.

      As the entry in Etym suggest, the form _aista-_ was derived from was
      _gais-_. Since the base does not appear to be verbal and there was a
      need for a verbal derivative, the Elvish language did not have a lot
      of possibilities than to suffix a verbalizer. While there are a number
      of verbalizers, the formant _-ta_ was chosen. This suffixion caused
      that now there was a diphthong (a two-moraic unit) before a consonant
      cluster. I think it would have normally led to reduction (change) of
      the diphthong to _e_ (as in _Melkor_ < *_Mailkó_ < _Mailikó_, Etym s.v.
      MIL-IK), but this change would have confused the original base GAYAS
      with a distinct base ES-, because the form would then have been *_esta-_
      (_esta-_ "to name"). In order to preserve the relationship with the
      base GAYAS, the change may not have happened. In case of _aistana_,
      the relationship was perhaps more desired to be retained because of
      the words such as _aire_.

      As regards _Hrísto_, this is a doubtful example, because Tolkien
      change it to _Hristo_ immediately.

      * * *

      Pavel Iosad then replied to David's letter mentioning:

      > 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.

      David replied:

      > 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 think it is possible to evaluate MB, ND, NG, NGy and NGw (NDy
      missing) as monophonematic, even though as David notes PQ had some
      initial clusters. However, the first component in these clusters
      (as far as I know) was always /s/. We have these: SK, SL, SM, SN,
      SP, ST, SW and SY + SR from a non-Etym source. In other words,
      S is always combined with voiceless (plain) occlusives P, T and K,
      nasals M and N (SÑ not found), liquids L and R, and semivowels Y
      and W. Since there does not seem to be other initial clusters
      (GR, GL, DR being late PQ/Sindarin variations of R and L, see
      WJ:411 and VT39:11), we could perhaps evaluate these combinations
      as monophonematic.

      Above I tried to describe the phonologic system of PQ. The system
      was practically the same as the system of Eldarin at the Qenya
      stage (Eldarin being an ancestor of Qenya, PE12:15). The most
      significant difference was the presence of spirants in all series
      of localization, i.e. something that is not found in PQ. The role
      of spirants was taken up by aspirates. Another difference is that
      the Eldarin system did not have palato-velar, it had only palato-
      dental or just palatals.

      Now all series of localization (q-, k-, c-, t- and p-like) had
      several "degrees": voiceless explosive, voices explosives, voiceless
      spirants, voiced spirants, nasal and the last "degree" was
      _nasalized explosive_. This of course may mean that these nasalized
      explosives were monophonematic in Eldarin, though there may represent
      two sounds phonetically, because Tolkien apparently used a bow over
      a graphemic combination if it stood for a single sound, which is
      not the case of the nasalized explosives.

      What was the situation in the Etym Quenya is not certain. Another
      important thing to mention is that the nasalized stops behaved
      variously: sometimes they were reduced to either plain nasals
      (in Quenya, e.g. MB > M) or plain stops (in Sindarin, MB > B),
      but sometimes the nasal became syllabic: e.g. MBARAT > Q _umbar_.
      This rises a question whether stems like MBAR were dissyllabic
      or monosyllabic. Phonetically according to the sonority scale
      they should be dissyllabic. Phonologically, however, they seem
      to be monosyllabic.

      Now I am eager to hear your opinions, I am sure I overlooked
      or misunderstood several things.

      Ales Bican

      ps. For more on the PQ bases and syllabic sonorants in PQ
      see Helge Fauskanger's article _Primitive Elvish_


      and David Salo's Elfling post _Qenya -> Quenya; vocalized
      sonorants_ from Oct, 8th, 2000


      [Not to mention, Tolkien's own Qenya Phonology, in PE12. CFH]

      kurvannapi vyalíkáni yah. priyah. priya eva sah.
      anekadós.adus.t.ó 'pi káyah. kasya na vallabhah.
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