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Re: i and y in Quenya: two phonemes or one?

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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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