594Quenya rg > ry before back vowels
- Jan 6, 2004On 05.01.2004, at 23:27, Ales Bican wrote:
> I can hardly seeIn addition to Andreas Johansson's examples from Swedish, I might add
> motivation in the case of _targâ_ > Q _tarya_.
that in some German dialects the same happens. In the Rhineland area
you have /ju:t/ for SG (=Standard German) _gut_ etc. (the 'j' being
pronounced very similar to English 'y' but with some palatal friction).
In fact, moving towards the Ruhrgebiet you will hear /gürjen/ for the
PN 'Jürgen', that is /j/ and /g/ are exchanged. Phonetically, what
happens is that 'light', that is palatalized /g/ becomes a fricative
which naturally yields /j/. Now (for your point) velar or
non-palatalized /g/ should become /G/ (I mean the velar voiced back
spirant). However the opposition /G/ : /j/ is leveled in favour of /j/.
The reason for that would seem to be that a /G/ would normally be
pronounced further down the throat than /g/ hence in the process of
spirantization the point of articulation is moved either way (to the
front or the rear of the gum). Possibly because the process of
spirantization started with palatalized /g'/, i.e. g before front
vowels and was then analogously extended to all instances of /g/. Or
else, because the pronunciation of /g/ has already been somewhat
fronted before, so that the output is /j/ without significant movement
of the point of articulation, if any at all. In fact, there *is* a very
slight difference between /j/ in _jeck_ 'crazy' and _jut_ 'good', the
latter being pronounced somewhat more to the back, between the palatum
and the velum.
I think that a scenario along these lines looks rather likely. At any
rate, the development exhibited by Quenya is well documented in real
world languages, as /j/ = /y/ is attested even in the history of
English (although the output of /g/ +- pal. are different).
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