> > **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.
**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).
> **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_).
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_)