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355Re: Palatalization and Syllabification in Quenya

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  • Ales Bican
    Mar 15, 2003
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      David Kiltz wrote:

      > Seems you understood me right. There was no confusion. I simply think
      > that _ty_, _hy_, _ny_, _ly_ are combinations of C+y.

      **I see. Why do you think so?

      > > 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.
      > I don't see the causality here. Even *if* the instances of Cy are
      > monophonemic, how would that preclude a combination _py_ (being also
      > monophonemic). Do you think a palatalized _p_ is a priori impossible ?
      > If it's not, the reason for its non-occurence is euphonic, either way.

      **I was not talking about a palatalized _p_, because I do not think
      the graphemic Cy combinations stand for palatalized sounds, but for
      _palatals_. I know Pavel's arguments and I wrote in earlier posts
      why I think they are palatals (Tolkien said the tengwar had a series
      for _palatals_ and described _ty_ as a _palatal_ stop, see the earlier
      posts), but I would like to know yours -- why do you think they are
      palatalized? I am curious to know, since many people seem to think
      the same and perhaps I missed something?

      Anyway, I am not against a palatalized _p_, but since I think initial
      Cy combinations in PQ are monophonematic and palatals, a palatal _p_
      would be hard to imagine. It would be a parallel to a palatal _m_
      that I and Pavel talked about (namely we talked about _my_ in

      > **Ales gives the inventory of PQ, including:
      > > palato-dentals: Ty, Dy, Ny (Thy not found)
      > In my view there is no palato-dental series.

      **What do you think these combinations stand for?

      > Indeed, _onye_ and _ohlon_ seem to contradict what I said about
      > _máryat_. However, if we look very closely, the cases aren't exactly
      > the same. _Má_ is a full blown noun whereas _ó_ is a preposition.
      > _Ohlon_ is a new word.

      **It is. However, in WJ:367 Tolkien said that _ó-_ is "usually reduced
      to _o-_ when unstressed". He then gave these examples: _omentie_,
      _ónoni_ "twins" and _onóna_ "twin-born". I would therefore expect
      *_óhlon_, but since we do not see this form, I think it may suggest
      _hl_ here functions as a consonant cluster.

      > Also, inflected prepositions tend to be viewed
      > as one word as the developments of such inflections in e.g. Welsh and
      > Irish show.

      **Note that the _o-_ in _ohlon_ is not an inflected preposition but
      a prefix. And as regards _onye_, it contrasts with _óni_ where no
      reduction occurs because there is no consonant cluster while _ny_
      in _onye_ is potentially a cluster because of the reduction. If _ny_
      was a single phoneme (sound), there would be no reason for the

      > With _máryat_, the situation is different. Note that the
      > _á_ of _máryat_ is indeed shortened when combined with a derivational
      > element yielding a whole new word, cf: _-maite_.

      **Or in _mannar_ in Fíriel's Song. But as I wrote in the very beginning:
      there seems not to be any statement of Tolkien's prohibiting long vowels
      before a consonant cluster.

      > > In case of _aistana_, the relationship [with GAYAS] was perhaps
      > > more desired to be retained because of the words such as _aire_.
      > *Maybe* an irregular soundshape was retained. But that seems highly
      > unusual. In all instance of homophony that Tolkien notes, the words
      > fall out of use.

      **The reason of the exception may not be just in avoiding homophony.
      As I said, keeping the relationship with _aire_ et al. could have
      played its role. As the _Melko_ example suggest, the diphthong _ai_
      is reduced before a consonant cluster -- and so would it be expected
      to be reduced before _st_. Nevertheless, I agree that the sC
      combinations seem to have a special status.

      > > As regards _Hrísto_, this is a doubtful example, because Tolkien
      > > change it to _Hristo_ immediately.
      > Which may be indicative and may not. The Greek _i_ is also short. (Note
      > that _hr_ here stands by all likelihood for two sounds, representing
      > Greek "chi+rho". If _hr_ was indeed monophonemic, why would it have
      > been chosen over simple _r_ or e.g. _kr_. Do you think that _hr_
      > represents another sound than it does normally in Quenya ?).

      **Personally, I thought the name _Hristo_ was taken from Latin
      'Christus' where the 'ch' is pronounced as [x] (if I am not mistaken),
      hence _xr-_ > _r-voiceless_, just as I suppose _sr-_ > _xr-_/_hr-_
      > _r-voiceless_.

      However, despire what was pointed by others (esp. Petri), I also
      think that we may deal with two phonemes (rather then phones) here,
      namely _h_ + _r_. This combination may be realized as voiceless
      _r_ word-initially (which be d'accord with Tolkien's words cited
      by Petri) but as a biphonic combination _hr_ word-medially (which
      would explain _ohlon_).

      When I studied Old English grammars when working on the Atalante
      fragment analysis, I found out that OE has _hr_, _hl_, _hy_ and
      _hw_ occurring only word-initially (and in compounds). This is
      where Tolkien took the idea, I suppose. However, I have not been
      able to find out how these _hr, hl, hy, hw_ are treated
      phonologically: whether as a biphonemic combinations _h_ + sonant
      or monophonemic voiceless sonants.

      > > Phonetically according to the sonority scale [stems like MBAR]
      > > should be dissyllabic. Phonologically, however, they seem
      > > to be monosyllabic.
      > I agree with you in your assessment of _MB_ etc. as monophonemic.
      > Your last sentence, however, I think is wrong. In my opinion, there is
      > no phonetic/phonological contradiction here. If _MBAR_ is indeed
      > monosyllabic it also is phonetically so. Because there is no scale
      > then. _MB_ has óne pitch, then.

      **What I meant to say is that for instance MBAR may represent
      two phonetic syllables M and BAR if M is here syllabic. However,
      phonologically MBAR may be just one syllable if we assume that
      PQ did not allow any word-initial consonantal combinations except
      for _s_ + consonant (under the assumtion that Cy combinations are
      monophonematic -- and I think they are).

      As far as I know (though I have not been able to investigate details
      yet) K. L. Pike made a distinction between phonetic and phonemic
      syllables (in his _Phonemics_). Reportedly, he mentioned that the
      word [Ndá:] in the Mixteco language; this word is both phonetically
      and phonemically dissyllabic, but whereas the syllable separation is
      [N-dá:] phonetically, it is /nda-a/ phonemically, because Mixteco
      is a tone language, where each syllable has a tone but [N] has no
      tone, and _nd-_ is one phoneme, because there are otherwise no
      consonant clusters in the language.

      > We are dealing with prenasalized stops here, I'd say.

      **Yes, they seem to be (Tolkien speaks about them as nasalized
      explosives in _The Qenya Phonology_).

      > _umbar_ may well not be a case of a syllabic _m_ but
      > actually *_ú-mbar_ "ill fate".

      **Sure, that is possible. However, there are other examples, like
      ÑGYÓ > Q _indyo_.

      > (Unfortunately I'm unable to access two of the sources mentioned by
      > Ales an Carl: David Salo's post and PE 12 (as well as 11).

      **I understand that you are not able to access PE12, as it is out of
      print (which does not help the scholarship at all!), but David's post
      should be accessible via www. If you are still unable to access it,
      let me know off-list and I will forward it to you.

      [Out of print does not necessarily mean inaccessible; there is,
      _inter alia_, library loan. CFH]

      Ales Bican

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