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i and y in Quenya: two phonemes or one?

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  • Ales Bican
    I thought about it today: are sounds _i_ (as in _Quendi_) and _y_ (as in _Yavanna_) two phonemes or variants of one phoneme in Quenya? As far as I can see they
    Message 1 of 16 , Aug 4, 2002
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      I thought about it today: are sounds _i_ (as in _Quendi_) and _y_
      (as in _Yavanna_) two phonemes or variants of one phoneme in
      Quenya?

      As far as I can see they seems to agree with Trubetzkoy's third rule
      (they never occur in the same phonetic environs) and not to agree
      with the forth rule (one does not occurs beside the other).

      However, we have words like _aiya_. I am not convienced that this
      can be an evidence of _y_ and _i_ occurring beside each other, as
      _i_ is here a part of the diphtong _ai_. Furthermore, Tolkien also
      spelled this sequence as _aia_ and _áya_, cf. _vaháya_ (LR:47),
      _vahaiya_ (SD:247) and _vahaia_ (SD:312) (note that it is in fact
      the same text). These spellings are not ambiguous.

      Hence I think the two sound occurring in _Quendi_ and _Yavanna_
      are two variants of one invariant /i/ -- [i] being a vocalic allomorph
      and [y] a consonantal one. Well, perhaps it was obvious. In Czech,
      _i_ and _y_ are two phonemes, so I tend to treat them so. (And
      perhaps it is not obvious at all; in that case I am prepared for any
      corrections.)


      Ales Bican

      ps. I realize this letter is rather impolite, for it assumes silently
      the knowledge of what is allophone/phoneme (variant/invariant) and
      Trubetzkoy's rules as presented in his _Grundzüge der Phonologie_.
      I know there are objections about the rules, but as I have said,
      I am open to corrections. In case you would like to know the rules,
      I could present them.

      --
      Mi dissero che a quell'epoca per quindici giorni e quindici notti
      i retori Gabundus e Terentius discussero sul vocativo di _ego_,
      e infine vennero alle armi. (Umberto Eco, _Il nome della rosa_)

      [There is certainly nothing "impolite" about using such common linguistic
      terms as "allophone" and "phoneme" without definition. This is a
      linguistics list, after all, and even general dictionaries will define
      these terms adequately. And you quite adequately summarize Trubetzkoy
      where necessary. If anything is unclear to someone, they can ask for
      clarification, either on list or off. Carl]
    • Petri Tikka
      ... In the positions you cite, I believe that they are different phonemes. ... There is a situation that is very much like this in Finnish. Let me phrase this
      Message 2 of 16 , Aug 5, 2002
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        --- In lambengolmor@y..., Ales Bican <ales.bican@s...> wrote:

        > I thought about it today: are sounds _i_ (as in _Quendi_) and _y_
        > (as in _Yavanna_) two phonemes or variants of one phoneme in
        > Quenya?

        In the positions you cite, I believe that they are different phonemes.

        > [...]

        > However, we have words like _aiya_. I am not convienced that this
        > can be an evidence of _y_ and _i_ occurring beside each other, as
        > _i_ is here a part of the diphtong _ai_. Furthermore, Tolkien also
        > spelled this sequence as _aia_ and _áya_, cf. _vaháya_ (LR:47),
        > _vahaiya_ (SD:247) and _vahaia_ (SD:312) (note that it is in fact
        > the same text). These spellings are not ambiguous.

        There is a situation that is very much like this in Finnish.
        Let me phrase this similarly to your statements:
        However, we have words like _paijata_ "stroke, pet" and _juoksi(j)a_
        "runner". I am not convienced that this can be an evidence of _j_ and
        _i_ occurring beside each other, as the _j_ between the vowels is only an
        orthographic phenomenon, not observed in spoken speech. Furthermore,
        some linguistics and common people would spell these sequences as
        _paiata_ and _juoksia_. These spellings are not ambiguous. The reason
        for this is that the _j_ sound in medial position between vowels isn't the
        same sound at all as the _j_ occuring in the beginning of words. It
        is a medial sound to ease the transition to the next vowel.

        > Hence I think the two sound occurring in _Quendi_ and _Yavanna_
        > are two variants of one invariant /i/ -- [i] being a vocalic allomorph
        > and [y] a consonantal one. Well, perhaps it was obvious. In Czech,
        > _i_ and _y_ are two phonemes, so I tend to treat them so. (And
        > perhaps it is not obvious at all; in that case I am prepared for any
        > corrections.)
        > Ales Bican

        Hence I think the two sounds occurring in _Quendi_ and _Yavanna_
        are not two variants of one invariant /i/ -- the vocalic [i] is an
        independent phoneme from [y], just as [w] is independent from
        [u], there being no correlation between them in "The Etymologies"
        or elsewhere. Besides, if your theory is true, why is it _áya_ and not
        **_aya_? So, IM(quite)HO, the usage of _y_ in the orthography of
        Quenya can be outlined thus:

        1. In the beginning of a word, and between single consonants,
        it stands for a vocalic consonant.
        2. After a consonant it palatalizes the preceeding cosonant.
        3. After a diphthong it stands for a medial easing sound.
        I don't know if this is right, but the usage of _j_ in the dialect
        around the city of Tampere (according to my understanding)
        would be exactly like the usage _y_ in Quenya.

        Petri Tikka Helsinki, Finland
        kari.j.tikka@...
        http://www.geocities.com/petristikka/
      • gentlebeldin
        ... Possibly, they do: There s the pronominal suffix _-lye_ and the suffix _-lie_, as in _Eldalie_. This could rule out the possibility of allomorphs: they
        Message 3 of 16 , Aug 6, 2002
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          --- In lambengolmor@y..., Ales Bican <ales.bican@s...> wrote:
          > As far as I can see they seems to agree with Trubetzkoy's third rule
          > (they never occur in the same phonetic environs) and not to agree
          > with the forth rule (one does not occurs beside the other).

          Possibly, they do: There's the pronominal suffix _-lye_ and the
          suffix _-lie_, as in _Eldalie_. This could rule out the possibility
          of allomorphs: they have to be variants of the same phoneme,
          predictable from the environment where they occur.

          However, the _i_ in diphthongs like _ai_ and the _y_ in combinations
          like _ly_ don't seem to be independent phonemes. Both just modify the
          pronunciation of the preceding sound, and this is confirmed by the
          spelling in Tengwar (_ai_ as a-tehta over _yanta_, _ly_ as dots under
          _lambe_, cf. "Namaarie" in _The Road Goes Ever On_). So if we reduce an
          allomorph /y/ to the position "beginning of word, in front of a vowel",
          and /i/ to "beginning of a word or after consonant", your hypothesis
          could be defensible.

          The question whether a vocal and a consonant can be similar enough to
          count as allomorphs, is subjective. _y_ is a half-vowel, after all.

          Hans
        • atarinke
          ... Hrm... I don t quite like the idea of having a consonant and a vowel as one phoneme (but I haven t read Grundzüge, so what do I know ;). I guess it could
          Message 4 of 16 , Aug 6, 2002
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            Ales Bican wrote:

            > I thought about it today: are sounds _i_ (as in _Quendi_) and _y_
            > (as in _Yavanna_) two phonemes or variants of one phoneme in
            > Quenya?

            Hrm... I don't quite like the idea of having a consonant and a vowel
            as one phoneme (but I haven't read Grundzüge, so what do I know ;). I
            guess it could be possible however and if one accepts such a view one
            might also want to look at /w/ and /u/. I do however have a few
            objections to adopting it in this case.

            Firstly, others (Hans and Petri I think) have already mentioned that
            you'd have to think of diphthongs and the palatalised consonants as
            separate phonemes in order for such a view to work. Whether one
            prefers /Cy/ together with /i/ or /C/+/y/ with /i/ and /y/ seems like
            a matter of choice but a choice does seem necessary.

            Secondly, I think I might have found a (admittedly single) possible
            minimal pair distinguishing them, namely _heruion_ (IX, p291) meaning
            "of lords" and an unattested but probably possible word _heru-yon_,
            "lord-son". Now, _heru-yon_ is unattested and would in all
            probability be seen as quite archaic (yondo being the standard form)
            but I would still say it's a possible Quenya word. I here think that
            the /i/ in _heruion_ is syllabic while the /y/ in _heru-yon_ is not
            so the difference in meaning would come across.

            Now, this is not a good minimal pair, I know. In part because one of
            its constituents is made up by me, in part because they differ in the
            position of the stress as well. But I do think _heru-yon_ is a
            possible Quenya word, even if _heru-yondo_ or _heruion_ (with the
            patronymic -ion suffix) would be more probable. And the difference in
            stress lacks importance in this case since stress in Quenya does not
            carry any information (is not phonemic), correct?

            On the other hand, I'm a physics undergrad, not a linguist, so all of
            the above might just be (and probably is) nonsense. Anyway,

            sincerely
            Martin Blom
          • gentlebeldin
            ... I have to agree: any example of syllabic /i/ before another vocal would be sufficient to rule out the hypothesis in question, because /y/ is possible in
            Message 5 of 16 , Aug 7, 2002
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              --- In lambengolmor@y..., "atarinke" <martin.blom@c...> wrote:

              > Secondly, I think I might have found a (admittedly single) possible
              > minimal pair distinguishing them, namely _heruion_ (IX, p291)
              > meaning "of lords" and an unattested but probably possible word
              > _heru-yon_, "lord-son". Now, _heru-yon_ is unattested and would
              > in all probability be seen as quite archaic (yondo being the standard
              > form) but I would still say it's a possible Quenya word. I here think
              > that the /i/ in _heruion_ is syllabic while the /y/ in _heru-yon_ is not
              > so the difference in meaning would come across.

              I have to agree: any example of syllabic /i/ before another vocal
              would be sufficient to rule out the hypothesis in question,
              because /y/ is possible in the same environment. If you don't trust
              your _heru-yon_, we could refer to _yúyo_ ("both") from Etymologies
              (V:448).

              But... is _i_ after _u_ syllabic? I've never heard a diphthong /ui/ in
              Quenya explicitly mentioned, but it was one in Sindarin. The mere
              fact that /y/ in the beginning of syllables appears as /i/ in
              Sindarin (while /ky/ simply has turned into /k/) speaks in favor of
              the hypothesis of Ales Bican. Sindarin vocalic /y/ seems to come from
              a former diphtong /ui/, in any case it doesn't come from the old semi-
              vowel _y_.

              Can _i_ be syllabic after _u_? If the spelling in Tengwar can be a
              hint, we should doubt it. JRRT writes _ui_ in _luini_ with an u-tehta
              over _yanta_ (cf. _Namárie in _The Road Goes Ever On).

              Syllabic /i/ before a vocal in the beginning of a word would be
              another matter. At some point, JRRT definitely thought of words like
              _ia_, Ialosse_, _Iolosse_ (look at the entries EY- and GEY- in
              Etymologies, V:396 and V:398). But then, he struck them out,
              and "eternal" was derived from OY-, V:423, giving _Oiolosse_ with a
              diphtong.

              So the question is still undecided, I'd say.

              Hans

              [As for the remark " I've never heard a diphthong /ui/ in Quenya
              explicitly mentioned", Appendix E to _The Lord of the Rings_
              states: "In Quenya _ui_, _oi_, _ai_ and _iu_, _eu_, _au_ are
              diphthongs (that is, pronounced in one syllable)." (LR:1090)
              -- Patrick Wynne]
            • Ales Bican
              ... **So the _j_ is not pronounced there, right? Speaking of which, what is it like in Finnish? I do not know a lot about it. Does Finnish have j as a separate
              Message 6 of 16 , Aug 8, 2002
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                Petri Tikka wrote:

                > There is a situation that is very much like this in Finnish.
                > Let me phrase this similarly to your statements:
                > However, we have words like _paijata_ "stroke, pet" and _juoksi(j)a_
                > "runner". I am not convienced that this can be an evidence of _j_ and
                > _i_ occurring beside each other, as the _j_ between the vowels is only an
                > orthographic phenomenon, not observed in spoken speech. Furthermore,
                > some linguistics and common people would spell these sequences as
                > _paiata_ and _juoksia_.

                **So the _j_ is not pronounced there, right? Speaking of which, what
                is it like in Finnish? I do not know a lot about it. Does Finnish have
                j as a separate phoneme distict to /i/?

                > Hence I think the two sounds occurring in _Quendi_ and _Yavanna_
                > are not two variants of one invariant /i/ -- the vocalic [i] is an
                > independent phoneme from [y], just as [w] is independent from
                > [u], there being no correlation between them in "The Etymologies"
                > or elsewhere.

                **Well, is [w] really independent from [u]? Now that I think about
                it, is [w] not just a variant of [u]? These two sounds are very
                similar. As far as I am aware [w] occurs only before vowels and [u]
                only before consonants, and we never find combinations -uw- or
                -wu- in Quenya.

                > Besides, if your theory is true, why is it _áya_ and not
                > **_aya_?

                **Do you mean why the _a_ is long? An answer may be in _The
                Qenya Phonology_ in PE: "Medial _y_ [a dot over it] gave _i_
                [a bow below it] [...] This relaxing of y > i [the same diacritics]
                is later than above changes so that _áya_ [a dot over y; the ´
                denotes stress not length] gave _áya_ [a macron over the first a]"
                (13).

                In other words, the change y > i [with the diacritics] and the
                stress on the first _a_ in _aya_ produce _áya_, and that may be
                the reason of _háya_ with _á_ instead of _a_.

                By the way, _The Qenya Phonology_ contains much information about
                the _i_, but I have always found it difficult to interpret. For
                example, I am not quite sure what Tolkien meant by _y_ with a
                dot over it. Maybe the editors of _Qenyqetsa_ could help us (not
                to mention that many people do not even have the Parma, since it
                is out of print).

                [You have as much information about the dotted _y_ as I do. Evidently,
                it is a "tenser" form of semivocalic _i_ (with underposed arch). Carl]

                > So, IM(quite)HO, the usage of _y_ in the orthography of
                > Quenya can be outlined thus:
                >
                > 1. In the beginning of a word, and between single consonants,
                > it stands for a vocalic consonant.

                **Do you mean "between single vowels" like in _yúyo_ "both"?

                > 2. After a consonant it palatalizes the preceeding cosonant.

                **Unless combinations like _ly_ are just digraphs, see my reply
                to Hans.

                > 3. After a diphthong it stands for a medial easing sound.

                **This is likely, yes. -- I must say that my statement that _i_ in
                _haia_ is a part of the diphthong may not be true. We know how Quenya
                words are transcribed in Latin letters and sometimes even in Tengwar,
                but we usually do not know how they are realized in speech.

                The word _haia_ may be pronounced as either [ha-ja], [hai-a] or
                [hai-ja]. In my opinion, the pronounciation [ha-ja] is possible,
                though I do not find it very likely.

                It is possible that _haia_ could be pronounced as [hai-ja] and then
                the spelling _haiya_ would indicate it. This may be similar to the
                pronounciation of _sarnie_ "shingle, pebble-bank" (VT43:11) which
                may be pronounced as [sar-ni-je] and this may be indicated by its
                alternative form _sarniye_ (ibid.) (unless _sarniye_ is a form from
                which _sarnie_ was derived, cf. _mie_ "mist" said to be derived from
                _miye_ (stess on i) (PE13:150L)).

                Now _sarniye_ would clearly be an istance of [i] and [j] standing
                beside one another. However, if it is possible to pronounce _sarnie_
                as [sar-ni-e] and _haia_ as [hai-a], the [j] would be, in my opinion,
                only to ease the pronounciation of hiatus.

                I tried to listen to Tolkien's reading of Namárie but my ears are not
                trained enough, so I would like to hear opinions of others (I think he
                said [mor-ni-e] without [j].)


                Ales Bican

                ps. I would like to thank Carl that he corrected my spelling of
                Trubetzkoy's name. When I sent my letter to the list, I spelled it
                as 'Trubeckoy' (in Czech we spell it 'Trubeckoj'). Carl was of
                course right, it is the spelling used in Anglophonic countries,
                I checked it. It is nice to have someone who modifies our letters,
                even though without our knowledge.

                [I reserve the right to edit posts for spelling, grammar, etc.,
                just as I would any contribution to _Vinyar Tengwar_. Regarding
                Trubetzkoy, the determining factor in my changing your (modified)
                Czech spelling was to put it into agreement with the name as spelled
                as the author of the book you were citing, as standard bibliographic
                form would require. Carl]

                --
                Mi dissero che a quell'epoca per quindici giorni e quindici notti
                i retori Gabundus e Terentius discussero sul vocativo di _ego_,
                e infine vennero alle armi. (Umberto Eco, _Il nome della rosa_)
              • Ales Bican
                ... **You are right, this would be the same phonetic environs. ... **I am afraid I do not understand you here. ... **Speaking of and Tengwar, Arden
                Message 7 of 16 , Aug 8, 2002
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                  gentlebeldin wrote:

                  > > As far as I can see they seems to agree with Trubetzkoy's third rule
                  > > (they never occur in the same phonetic environs) and not to agree
                  > > with the forth rule (one does not occurs beside the other).
                  >
                  > Possibly, they do: There's the pronominal suffix _-lye_ and the
                  > suffix _-lie_, as in _Eldalie_.

                  **You are right, this would be the same phonetic environs.

                  > This could rule out the possibility
                  > of allomorphs: they have to be variants of the same phoneme,
                  > predictable from the environment where they occur.

                  **I am afraid I do not understand you here.

                  > However, the _i_ in diphthongs like _ai_ and the _y_ in combinations
                  > like _ly_ don't seem to be independent phonemes. Both just modify the
                  > pronunciation of the preceding sound, and this is confirmed by the
                  > spelling in Tengwar (_ai_ as a-tehta over _yanta_, _ly_ as dots under
                  > _lambe_, cf. "Namaarie" in _The Road Goes Ever On_).

                  **Speaking of <yanta> and Tengwar, Arden Smith wrote on Elfscript
                  (to quote him): "I have seen the tengwa _yanta_ used to represent
                  word-initial /y/ in Q(u)enya, but only in other words, e.g. _Yavanna_."
                  (Re: [elfscript] úr (e) and yanta (was: Re: úr >> úre ), 6 Jun 2002).
                  This may hint something.

                  As for _ly_, the _y_ may just denote palatalization, sc. _ly_ would
                  stand for either palatal l or palatalized l (I would say the former).
                  The _ly_ might be a single phoneme (and single sound), because
                  "[Quenya] does not tolerate more than a single basic consonant
                  initially in any word" (SD/IX:417-8) and we have _lyenna_ (occurring
                  in the sentence _nai elen siluva lyenna_ mentioned by Helge Fauskanger
                  on Elfling ([elfling] 1968: "Lyenna" = upon you, 11 May 2002).

                  Nevertheless, it is not so easy. It is well-known that Quenya has
                  words beginning in _ty_ (e.g. _tyalie_). So the _ty_ would be a
                  single sound. Yet Tolkien stated that "_atatya_ remained [unchanged]
                  because the second _a_ was not syncopated, being a long syllable"
                  (VT42:27). To this Carl Hostetter noted: "A long syllable is one
                  that contains either a long vowel (or diphthong), or, as in this
                  case, a short vowel followed by two (or more) consonants" (VT42:31).

                  But about the word _martya-_ "destine" (Etym, MBARAT-)? If
                  we supposed a primitive form *_maratjâ_, why was the second
                  _a_ syncopated? And even if the verbal _-jâ_ had been added to
                  the stem aften the syncope (i.e. to *_mart-_), the _ty_ would
                  preceded a long syllable, because combinations vowel + sonant
                  was regarded as a diphthong, at least in Qenya (see PE12:3).

                  It seems that Tolkien was either inconsistent (resp. he kept changing
                  his mind) or Quenya had two distict _ty_'s: one being a single
                  consonant and the other being a combination of _t_ and _y_.
                  Let us also note that Tolkien wrote in _Qenya Grammar Excerpt_:

                  _ty_ is by origin (i) a single sound, a fronted variety of _k_,
                  (ii) the result of the combination of _k_ (_q_) _t_ + _y_ and
                  initially also occas[ionally] of _p_ + _y_. In sound it is now
                  a very forward palatal stop foll[owed] by a distinct _y_
                  off-glide; in some dialects it is practically E[nglish] _ch_
                  with or without a clear _y_ off-glide. (PE13:63)

                  In both _atatya_ and _martya_ the _ty_ must be a result of _t_ +
                  _y_, though.

                  A perhaps similar inconsistency may be seen in the pronominal
                  suffixes. In Namárie we have _máryat_ suggesting _ry_ is a single
                  sound. One would expect the same about the pronominal suffix
                  _-nye_. Yet it seems to cause shortening of previous syllables,
                  cf. _onye_ vs. _óni_ (presumptively *"with me"; VT43:29).

                  Well, I am somewhat off-topic. My point was that if _ly_ in
                  _-lye_ is a single sound (which I cannot either prove or
                  dissprove), it is not an instance of _y_ being in the same
                  position as _i_.

                  > The question whether a vocal and a consonant can be similar enough to
                  > count as allomorphs, is subjective. _y_ is a half-vowel, after all.

                  **I am not sure again if I understand you. In Slovakian (a Slavic
                  language very similar to Czech) [i] and [j] are treated like
                  allomorphs, for instance.


                  Ales Bican

                  --
                  Mi dissero che a quell'epoca per quindici giorni e quindici notti
                  i retori Gabundus e Terentius discussero sul vocativo di _ego_,
                  e infine vennero alle armi. (Umberto Eco, _Il nome della rosa_)
                • Ales Bican
                  ... **Well, I have not either. My German is very poor and the book was not translated to Czech. I do not know whether it was translated to English (was it?).
                  Message 8 of 16 , Aug 8, 2002
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                    atarinke wrote:

                    > > I thought about it today: are sounds _i_ (as in _Quendi_) and _y_
                    > > (as in _Yavanna_) two phonemes or variants of one phoneme in
                    > > Quenya?
                    >
                    > Hrm... I don't quite like the idea of having a consonant and a vowel
                    > as one phoneme (but I haven't read Grundzüge, so what do I know ;).

                    **Well, I have not either. My German is very poor and the book
                    was not translated to Czech. I do not know whether it was translated
                    to English (was it?). But many books reiterated Trubetzkoy's ideas,
                    so I know them.

                    > I guess it could be possible however and if one accepts such a view one
                    > might also want to look at /w/ and /u/. I do however have a few
                    > objections to adopting it in this case.

                    **You are right. There might be a problem with [u] and [w]. I realize
                    the both _u_ and _w_ may occurs at the beginning of words before
                    vowels: _wilya_, _Uinen_, though in case of _u_, the _u_ is always
                    a part of the diphtong _ui_.

                    > Firstly, others (Hans and Petri I think) have already mentioned that
                    > you'd have to think of diphthongs and the palatalised consonants as
                    > separate phonemes in order for such a view to work.

                    **I have already mentioned palatal/palatalized consonants. As for
                    diphthong, it is a difficult question whether they are monophonematic
                    or biphonematic. It is not certain even in living languages.

                    > Whether one
                    > prefers /Cy/ together with /i/ or /C/+/y/ with /i/ and /y/ seems like
                    > a matter of choice but a choice does seem necessary.
                    >
                    > Secondly, I think I might have found a (admittedly single) possible
                    > minimal pair distinguishing them, namely _heruion_ (IX, p291) meaning
                    > "of lords" and an unattested but probably possible word _heru-yon_,
                    > "lord-son". Now, _heru-yon_ is unattested and would in all
                    > probability be seen as quite archaic (yondo being the standard form)
                    > but I would still say it's a possible Quenya word.

                    **I am convinced that _heru_ plus a patronymic ending _-ion_
                    would produce *_heruion_, because we have _Eruion_ "son of
                    god" (VT44:12). And whether we can have *_heruyon_, I am
                    not sure, I think such a form would become *_heruion_.

                    As for _heruion_ itself, it depends on how it was pronounced. The
                    morpheme boundary is evidently between _u_ and _i_, so it might
                    be pronounced as [he-ru-i-on]. If this was the case, the [i] may
                    then occur between vowels and be distinct to [y]. However, if it was,
                    and I believe it was, pronounced as [he-rui-on], then it is parallel
                    to _haia_/_haiya_.

                    > I here think that
                    > the /i/ in _heruion_ is syllabic while the /y/ in _heru-yon_ is not
                    > so the difference in meaning would come across.

                    **It would. -- I wonder whether the pair _heruion_ "of lords" /
                    *_heruion_ "son of lord" was distinguished in speech. I would say
                    no, though I cannot prove or disprove it.

                    > Now, this is not a good minimal pair, I know. In part because one of
                    > its constituents is made up by me, in part because they differ in the
                    > position of the stress as well. But I do think _heru-yon_ is a
                    > possible Quenya word, even if _heru-yondo_ or _heruion_ (with the
                    > patronymic -ion suffix) would be more probable. And the difference in
                    > stress lacks importance in this case since stress in Quenya does not
                    > carry any information (is not phonemic), correct?

                    **I think so.

                    > On the other hand, I'm a physics undergrad, not a linguist, so all of
                    > the above might just be (and probably is) nonsense.

                    **Not at all.


                    Ales Bican

                    ps. It may be also convenient to remark that Tolkien adapted
                    Maria's name to Quenya as _María_ not *_Maria_, because I believe
                    this form would become *_Marya_.

                    --
                    Mi dissero che a quell'epoca per quindici giorni e quindici notti
                    i retori Gabundus e Terentius discussero sul vocativo di _ego_,
                    e infine vennero alle armi. (Umberto Eco, _Il nome della rosa_)
                  • gentlebeldin
                    ... It s just a reformulation: if only one variant is possible in a certain environment, it s predictable which one, knowing only the environment. ... That s
                    Message 9 of 16 , Aug 9, 2002
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                      --- In lambengolmor@y..., Ales Bican <ales.bican@s...> wrote:

                      > > This could rule out the possibility
                      > > of allomorphs: they have to be variants of the same phoneme,
                      > > predictable from the environment where they occur.
                      >
                      > **I am afraid I do not understand you here.
                      It's just a reformulation: if only one variant is possible in a
                      certain environment, it's predictable which one, knowing only the
                      environment.

                      > Well, I am somewhat off-topic. My point was that if _ly_ in
                      > _-lye_ is a single sound (which I cannot either prove or
                      > dissprove), it is not an instance of _y_ being in the same
                      > position as _i_.

                      That's what I meant. Even if we could distinguish it as a phoneme in
                      this position, it wouldn't be the same /y/ as in _Yavanna_.

                      > > The question whether a vocal and a consonant can be similar
                      > > enough to count as allomorphs, is subjective. _y_ is a half-
                      > > vowel, after all.
                      >
                      > **I am not sure again if I understand you. In Slovakian (a Slavic
                      > language very similar to Czech) [i] and [j] are treated like
                      > allomorphs, for instance.

                      I meant that there may be different opinions on that matter. I tend
                      to regard /i/ and /j/ in German as allomorphs, too.

                      Hans
                    • atarinke
                      ... Well, I agree in part. A compound *_heru-yon_ (of the same type as _Elda-lambe_) might exist for some time however, perhaps distinguishing some special
                      Message 10 of 16 , Aug 10, 2002
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                        --- Ales Bican wrote:

                        > **I am convinced that _heru_ plus a patronymic ending _-ion_
                        > would produce *_heruion_, because we have _Eruion_ "son of
                        > god" (VT44:12). And whether we can have *_heruyon_, I am
                        > not sure, I think such a form would become *_heruion_.

                        Well, I agree in part. A compound *_heru-yon_ (of the same type as
                        _Elda-lambe_) might exist for some time however, perhaps
                        distinguishing some special lord-son or in some other case like when
                        the relationship is stressed, or something like that. I don't think
                        *_heru-yon_ is impossible, nor for that matter other words with the
                        same structure. All of this is quite irrelevant however if there are
                        no [i] between vowels and for that see below.

                        > As for _heruion_ itself, it depends on how it was pronounced. The
                        > morpheme boundary is evidently between _u_ and _i_, so it might
                        > be pronounced as [he-ru-i-on]. If this was the case, the [i] may
                        > then occur between vowels and be distinct to [y]. However, if it
                        > was, and I believe it was, pronounced as [he-rui-on], then it is
                        > parallel to _haia_/_haiya_.

                        I think I might have been fooled by the morphemes here. On closer
                        thought I agree with your interpretation of ui as a diphtong. Now if
                        we assume that ai, oi and ui always are diphtongs the only possible
                        places for syllabic /i/ between vowels is after /e/. A quick search
                        on Ardalambion's corpus wordlist (by no means all Q. words but all I
                        can do a quick digital search on) reveals no such [i]. And I think
                        Hans mentioned word initial /i+V/ some posts ago in this thread,
                        again with negative results. Therefore one might ...

                        > [...] wonder whether the pair _heruion_ "of lords" /
                        > *_heruion_ "son of lord" was distinguished in speech. I would say
                        > no, though I cannot prove or disprove it.

                        And this is what it all comes down to, isn't it? Lacking natives to
                        describe it's hard to do good descriptive linguistics, no? ;) Still,
                        I think your reasoning has much to it and I like /y/=/i/ more the
                        more I think on it.

                        sincerely,
                        Martin Blom
                      • Petri Tikka
                        ... The _j_ is an easening sound here, it is sometimes not pronounced at all, but most often it is a gliding sound to help the transition to the next vowel
                        Message 11 of 16 , Aug 10, 2002
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                          --- In lambengolmor@y..., Ales Bican <ales.bican@s...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Petri Tikka wrote:
                          >
                          > > There is a situation that is very much like this in Finnish.
                          > > Let me phrase this similarly to your statements:
                          > > However, we have words like _paijata_ "stroke, pet" and _juoksi(j)a_
                          > > "runner". I am not convienced that this can be an evidence of _j_ and
                          > > _i_ occurring beside each other, as the _j_ between the vowels is only
                          > > an orthographic phenomenon, not observed in spoken speech. Furthermore,
                          > > some linguistics and common people would spell these sequences as
                          > > _paiata_ and _juoksia_.
                          >
                          > **So the _j_ is not pronounced there, right? Speaking of which, what
                          > is it like in Finnish? I do not know a lot about it. Does Finnish have
                          > j as a separate phoneme distict to /i/?

                          The _j_ is an easening sound here, it is sometimes not pronounced
                          at all, but most often it is a gliding sound to help the transition to the
                          next vowel after an _i_. The gliding sound is not the same as the _j_
                          that is not next to an _i_. In Finnish, /j/ and /i/ are seperate phonemes,
                          eg. _paju_ "willow" is never pronounced with an _i_.

                          > > Hence I think the two sounds occurring in _Quendi_ and _Yavanna_
                          > > are not two variants of one invariant /i/ -- the vocalic [i] is an
                          > > independent phoneme from [y], just as [w] is independent from
                          > > [u], there being no correlation between them in "The Etymologies"
                          > > or elsewhere.
                          >
                          > **Well, is [w] really independent from [u]? Now that I think about
                          > it, is [w] not just a variant of [u]? These two sounds are very
                          > similar. As far as I am aware [w] occurs only before vowels and [u]
                          > only before consonants, and we never find combinations -uw- or
                          > -wu- in Quenya.

                          Of course they are very similar. They probably never happen to
                          be beside each other because of euphony, just as [g] and [k]
                          are never met together: [g] can only occur with [ñ].

                          [...]

                          > > So, IM(quite)HO, the usage of _y_ in the orthography of
                          > > Quenya can be outlined thus:
                          > >
                          > > 1. In the beginning of a word, and between single consonants,
                          > > it stands for a vocalic consonant.
                          >
                          > **Do you mean "between single vowels" like in _yúyo_ "both"?

                          Yes, that's what I meant.

                          > > 2. After a consonant it palatalizes the preceeding cosonant.
                          >
                          > **Unless combinations like _ly_ are just digraphs, see my reply
                          > to Hans.

                          Of course they are digraphic, but I was talking about orthography.

                          > > 3. After a diphthong it stands for a medial easing sound.
                          >
                          > **This is likely, yes. -- I must say that my statement that _i_ in
                          > _haia_ is a part of the diphthong may not be true. We know how Quenya
                          > words are transcribed in Latin letters and sometimes even in Tengwar,
                          > but we usually do not know how they are realized in speech.
                          >
                          > The word _haia_ may be pronounced as either [ha-ja], [hai-a] or
                          > [hai-ja]. In my opinion, the pronounciation [ha-ja] is possible,
                          > though I do not find it very likely.

                          [ha-ja] is not possible because it is written with an _i_. Tolkien
                          never stated that he used _i_ as _j_ in Quenya.

                          [...]

                          > Now _sarniye_ would clearly be an istance of [i] and [j] standing
                          > beside one another. However, if it is possible to pronounce _sarnie_
                          > as [sar-ni-e] and _haia_ as [hai-a], the [j] would be, in my opinion,
                          > only to ease the pronounciation of hiatus.

                          The most likeliest explanation is that _y_ is an easening sound here,
                          not the same _y_ as in _Yavanna_. That would explain why it is
                          sometimes written, sometimes not. This situation would be exactly
                          as in Finnish.

                          > I tried to listen to Tolkien's reading of Namárie but my ears are not
                          > trained enough, so I would like to hear opinions of others (I think he
                          > said [mor-ni-e] without [j].)

                          He didn't say [j], but it wouldn't matter, for the medial easening
                          glide/sound is not [j].

                          Petri Tikka Helsinki, Finland
                          kari.j.tikka@...
                          http://www.geocities.com/petristikka/
                        • Ales Bican
                          ... **I see. However, it does not imply from the fact that _paju_ is never pronounced with [i] that the j and i are necessarily separate phonemes. Their
                          Message 12 of 16 , Sep 6, 2002
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                            Petri Tikka wrote:

                            > > **So the _j_ is not pronounced there, right? Speaking of which, what
                            > > is it like in Finnish? I do not know a lot about it. Does Finnish have
                            > > j as a separate phoneme distict to /i/?
                            >
                            > The _j_ is an easening sound here, it is sometimes not pronounced
                            > at all, but most often it is a gliding sound to help the transition to the
                            > next vowel after an _i_. The gliding sound is not the same as the _j_
                            > that is not next to an _i_. In Finnish, /j/ and /i/ are seperate phonemes,
                            > eg. _paju_ "willow" is never pronounced with an _i_.

                            **I see. However, it does not imply from the fact that _paju_ is never
                            pronounced with [i] that the j and i are necessarily separate phonemes.
                            Their distribution may be limited: [j] between vowels and [i] between
                            consonants, for instance. It may depend on the position and the
                            environment. Similarly as in the Third Age Quenya, the sound [ñ] occurs
                            only before velars ([k], [g]), that is in a position where [n] is never
                            pronounced. In the Third Age Quenya the sounds [ñ] and [n] are
                            allomorphs of the phoneme /n/.

                            > > **Well, is [w] really independent from [u]? Now that I think about
                            > > it, is [w] not just a variant of [u]? These two sounds are very
                            > > similar. As far as I am aware [w] occurs only before vowels and [u]
                            > > only before consonants, and we never find combinations -uw- or
                            > > -wu- in Quenya.
                            >
                            > Of course they are very similar. They probably never happen to
                            > be beside each other because of euphony, just as [g] and [k]
                            > are never met together: [g] can only occur with [ñ].

                            **Note that this does not make [k] and [g] allomorphs, since
                            they are in free distribution while [w] and [u] are (presumably)
                            in complementary distribution. This means that if we replace [k]
                            with [g], the replacement will change the meaning of a word.
                            For instance, there is a minimal pair _anga_ and _anka_. On
                            the other hand, you cannot freely replace [w] with [u], and there
                            is no minimal pair in Quenya involving w contra v (as far as I am
                            aware).

                            > > The word _haia_ may be pronounced as either [ha-ja], [hai-a] or
                            > > [hai-ja]. In my opinion, the pronounciation [ha-ja] is possible,
                            > > though I do not find it very likely.
                            >
                            > [ha-ja] is not possible because it is written with an _i_. Tolkien
                            > never stated that he used _i_ as _j_ in Quenya.

                            **Sure, but this does not mean it is not possible. Cf the. word-initial
                            _i_ in words like _ia_ etc. (already mentioned by Hans (gentlebeldin)).
                            And although Tolkien rejected these words, it is possible that, say,
                            _ia_ was pronounced as [ja].

                            > > Now _sarniye_ would clearly be an istance of [i] and [j] standing
                            > > beside one another. However, if it is possible to pronounce _sarnie_
                            > > as [sar-ni-e] and _haia_ as [hai-a], the [j] would be, in my opinion,
                            > > only to ease the pronounciation of hiatus.
                            >
                            > The most likeliest explanation is that _y_ is an easening sound here,
                            > not the same _y_ as in _Yavanna_. That would explain why it is
                            > sometimes written, sometimes not. This situation would be exactly
                            > as in Finnish.

                            **I think so.


                            Ales Bican

                            --
                            Mi dissero che a quell'epoca per quindici giorni e quindici notti
                            i retori Gabundus e Terentius discussero sul vocativo di _ego_,
                            e infine vennero alle armi. (Umberto Eco, _Il nome della rosa_)
                          • Ales Bican
                            ... **I see. Now I understand, because I misunderstood you a little bit: I thought you wanted to indicate a morpheme boundary by the hyphen in *_heru-yon_; it
                            Message 13 of 16 , Sep 6, 2002
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                              Martin Blom wrote:

                              > > **I am convinced that _heru_ plus a patronymic ending _-ion_
                              > > would produce *_heruion_, because we have _Eruion_ "son of
                              > > god" (VT44:12). And whether we can have *_heruyon_, I am
                              > > not sure, I think such a form would become *_heruion_.
                              >
                              > Well, I agree in part. A compound *_heru-yon_ (of the same type as
                              > _Elda-lambe_) might exist for some time however, perhaps
                              > distinguishing some special lord-son or in some other case like when
                              > the relationship is stressed, or something like that.

                              **I see. Now I understand, because I misunderstood you a little bit:
                              I thought you wanted to indicate a morpheme boundary by the
                              hyphen in *_heru-yon_; it did not occur to me you meant an
                              _Elda-lambe_-type compound.

                              > > As for _heruion_ itself, it depends on how it was pronounced. The
                              > > morpheme boundary is evidently between _u_ and _i_, so it might
                              > > be pronounced as [he-ru-i-on]. If this was the case, the [i] may
                              > > then occur between vowels and be distinct to [y]. However, if it
                              > > was, and I believe it was, pronounced as [he-rui-on], then it is
                              > > parallel to _haia_/_haiya_.
                              >
                              > I think I might have been fooled by the morphemes here. On closer
                              > thought I agree with your interpretation of ui as a diphtong. Now if
                              > we assume that ai, oi and ui always are diphtongs the only possible
                              > places for syllabic /i/ between vowels is after /e/.

                              **Do you mean before /e/? As in _tyalie_?

                              > A quick search
                              > on Ardalambion's corpus wordlist (by no means all Q. words but all I
                              > can do a quick digital search on) reveals no such [i].

                              **_io_ and _ia_ are also possible: e.g. in _Silmarillion_ and _Ungoliante_
                              (_iu_ is a diphtong).

                              > And I think
                              > Hans mentioned word initial /i+V/ some posts ago in this thread,
                              > again with negative results. Therefore one might ...
                              >
                              > > [...] wonder whether the pair _heruion_ "of lords" /
                              > > *_heruion_ "son of lord" was distinguished in speech. I would say
                              > > no, though I cannot prove or disprove it.
                              >
                              > And this is what it all comes down to, isn't it? Lacking natives to
                              > describe it's hard to do good descriptive linguistics, no? ;)

                              **Yes. : )

                              > Still,
                              > I think your reasoning has much to it and I like /y/=/i/ more the
                              > more I think on it.

                              **Glad to hear it. However, I still may be wrong and still am open
                              to suggestions and corrections.


                              Ales Bican

                              --
                              Mi dissero che a quell'epoca per quindici giorni e quindici notti
                              i retori Gabundus e Terentius discussero sul vocativo di _ego_,
                              e infine vennero alle armi. (Umberto Eco, _Il nome della rosa_)
                            • Petri Tikka
                              ... **In Finnish, the sound [ñ] occurs only before [k] (the voiced [g] is unknown in Finnish) or another [ñ], that is in a position where [n] is never
                              Message 14 of 16 , Sep 7, 2002
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                                Petri Tikka wrote:

                                > > The _j_ is an easening sound here, it is sometimes not pronounced
                                > > at all, but most often it is a gliding sound to help the transition to
                                >> the next vowel after an _i_. The gliding sound is not the same as
                                >> the _j_ that is not next to an _i_. In Finnish, /j/ and /i/ are seperate
                                >> phonemes, eg. _paju_ "willow" is never pronounced with an _i_.

                                Ales Bican wrote:

                                > **I see. However, it does not imply from the fact that _paju_ is never
                                > pronounced with [i] that the j and i are necessarily separate phonemes.
                                > Their distribution may be limited: [j] between vowels and [i] between
                                > consonants, for instance. It may depend on the position and the
                                > environment. Similarly as in the Third Age Quenya, the sound [ñ] occurs
                                > only before velars ([k], [g]), that is in a position where [n] is never
                                > pronounced. In the Third Age Quenya the sounds [ñ] and [n] are
                                > allomorphs of the phoneme /n/.

                                **In Finnish, the sound [ñ] occurs only before [k] (the voiced [g] is
                                unknown in Finnish) or another [ñ], that is in a position where [n] is
                                never pronounced. One can say that both in Finnish and Quenya [n]
                                and [ñ] or [i] and [j] are allomorphs, but in their pronunciation
                                they are so different that they are often written with a different letter.
                                To my knowledge, in Finnish all these four sounds are considered
                                separate phonemes, not allomorphs.

                                > **Note that this does not make [k] and [g] allomorphs, since
                                > they are in free distribution while [w] and [u] are (presumably)
                                > in complementary distribution. This means that if we replace [k]
                                > with [g], the replacement will change the meaning of a word.
                                > For instance, there is a minimal pair _anga_ and _anka_. On
                                > the other hand, you cannot freely replace [w] with [u], and there
                                > is no minimal pair in Quenya involving w contra v (as far as I am
                                > aware).

                                **But might not the free distribution between [w] and [u] or
                                [j] and [i] be historical? There must be a difference between
                                _áya_ "awe" (XII:363) and _aiya_ "hail" (L:385). It might
                                be that _aiya_ is an older form of _áya_ that survived as
                                a reverential form, distinct from _áya_. It is also possible that
                                they are only distinct having different meanings by their context,
                                not by form.

                                > > [ha-ja] is not possible because it is written with an _i_. Tolkien
                                > > never stated that he used _i_ as _j_ in Quenya.
                                >
                                > **Sure, but this does not mean it is not possible. Cf the. word-initial
                                > _i_ in words like _ia_ etc. (already mentioned by Hans (gentlebeldin)).
                                > And although Tolkien rejected these words, it is possible that, say,
                                > _ia_ was pronounced as [ja].

                                **Everything is possible in Tolkienian linguistics, but that is not proof.

                                Petri Tikka Helsinki, Finland
                                kari.j.tikka@...
                                http://www.geocities.com/petristikka/
                              • Carl F. Hostetter
                                ... I believe the term wanted is _allophone_, not allomorph.... Carl
                                Message 15 of 16 , Sep 7, 2002
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                                  Ales Bican wrote:

                                  > In the Third Age Quenya the sounds [ñ] and [n] are allomorphs of the
                                  > phoneme /n/.

                                  Petri Tikka wrote:

                                  > in Finnish all these four sounds are considered separate phonemes,
                                  > not allomorphs.

                                  I believe the term wanted is _allophone_, not allomorph....

                                  Carl
                                • Ales Bican
                                  ... **I think you are right: if [ñ] occured only before [k] in Finnish, it would be an allophone of /n/, but since it occurs also before another [ñ], it is a
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Sep 15, 2002
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                                    I wrote:

                                    > > **I see. However, it does not imply from the fact that _paju_ is never
                                    > > pronounced with [i] that the j and i are necessarily separate phonemes.
                                    > > Their distribution may be limited: [j] between vowels and [i] between
                                    > > consonants, for instance. It may depend on the position and the
                                    > > environment. Similarly as in the Third Age Quenya, the sound [ñ] occurs
                                    > > only before velars ([k], [g]), that is in a position where [n] is never
                                    > > pronounced. In the Third Age Quenya the sounds [ñ] and [n] are
                                    > > allomorphs of the phoneme /n/.

                                    Petri replied:

                                    > **In Finnish, the sound [ñ] occurs only before [k] (the voiced [g] is
                                    > unknown in Finnish) or another [ñ], that is in a position where [n] is
                                    > never pronounced. One can say that both in Finnish and Quenya [n]
                                    > and [ñ] or [i] and [j] are allomorphs, but in their pronunciation
                                    > they are so different that they are often written with a different letter.
                                    > To my knowledge, in Finnish all these four sounds are considered
                                    > separate phonemes, not allomorphs.

                                    **I think you are right: if [ñ] occured only before [k] in Finnish, it
                                    would be an allophone of /n/, but since it occurs also before another
                                    [ñ], it is a phoneme distinct to /n/.
                                    As regards [j] and [i], I checked a Finnish grammar book and found
                                    out that one can stand beside the other (I cannot find the example
                                    right now, though), which means they are separate phonemes (most
                                    likely -- it depends on the actual pronunciation of the combination).
                                    However, we are talking here about Quenya, not Finnish, and Quenya
                                    is different to Finnish, so the situation in Quenya is also different.
                                    In the Third Age Quenya, [ñ] is an allophone of /n/, because it
                                    occurs only with velars /k/ and /g/. -- In case of [j] and [i], it
                                    is not certain whether they are allophones, though I would say they
                                    are, because of the reasons I mentioned earlier.

                                    I also wrote:

                                    > > On
                                    > > the other hand, you cannot freely replace [w] with [u], and there
                                    > > is no minimal pair in Quenya involving w contra v (as far as I am
                                    > > aware).

                                    Petri replied:

                                    > **But might not the free distribution between [w] and [u] or
                                    > [j] and [i] be historical? There must be a difference between
                                    > _áya_ "awe" (XII:363) and _aiya_ "hail" (L:385). It might
                                    > be that _aiya_ is an older form of _áya_ that survived as
                                    > a reverential form, distinct from _áya_. It is also possible that
                                    > they are only distinct having different meanings by their context,
                                    > not by form.

                                    **This takes us back to the triplet _vaháya_, _vahaiya_ and
                                    _vahaia_ I also mentioned earlier. All three variants occur in
                                    different versions of the same text (the Atalante fragments).
                                    It means that each form (from the triplet) could be used at the
                                    same time (i.e. in the M-e time). Hence I think the difference
                                    among the particular words is not historial, but it just reflects
                                    Tolkien's being undecided whether the first _a_ would also
                                    be shortened. The development was like this: _âjâ_ > _âya_
                                    > _aya_ > _aia_ (also written as _aiya_).


                                    Ales Bican

                                    --
                                    Mi dissero che a quell'epoca per quindici giorni e quindici notti
                                    i retori Gabundus e Terentius discussero sul vocativo di _ego_,
                                    e infine vennero alle armi. (Umberto Eco, _Il nome della rosa_)
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