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

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  • 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 1 of 16 , Sep 7 2:32 AM
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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 2 of 16 , Sep 7 8:05 AM
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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 3 of 16 , Sep 15 12:22 PM
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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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