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Re: [Lambengolmor] Nasal infixion in Indo-European languages andin Quenya

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  • Ivan A Derzhanski
    ... [...] ... Was the question about nasal vowels in the sense of syllabic nasals (syllabic /m/, /n/, /N/, etc.), or about nasal vowels in the sense of
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 8, 2002
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      "Arden R. Smith" wrote:
      > Hans-Juergen Fischer wrote:
      > >Now nasal infixion plays an important role in Quenya. Is there any
      > >hint at the former existence of nasal vowels in primitive Elvish?
      [...]
      > According to the Qenya phonology that accompanied the Qenya Lexicon
      > (circa 1915), primitive Eldarin had long and short syllabic versions
      > of _l_, _r_, and _n_, "and _n_ perhaps represented a nasal to each
      > of the five positions" [...]. In the Qenya Lexicon we find a
      > considerable number of roots with forms like LNQN (with dots below
      > the n's), whence _lanqa_ 'lot. luck, piece of fortune, happening'.

      Was the question about nasal vowels in the sense of syllabic nasals
      (syllabic /m/, /n/, /N/, etc.), or about nasal vowels in the sense
      of nasalised vowels (nasalised /a/, /e/, /o/, etc.)? I understood it
      as referring to the latter.

      --Ivan
    • gentlebeldin
      ... I meant nasalised vowels, indeed. Let s illustrate it by an example from PIE (cf. http://indoeuro.bizland.com/project/phonetics/word4.html): The root
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 10, 2002
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        --- In lambengolmor@y..., Ivan A Derzhanski <iad@m...> wrote:

        > Was the question about nasal vowels in the sense of syllabic nasals
        > (syllabic /m/, /n/, /N/, etc.), or about nasal vowels in the sense
        > of nasalised vowels (nasalised /a/, /e/, /o/, etc.)? I understood it
        > as referring to the latter.

        I meant nasalised vowels, indeed. Let's illustrate it by an example
        from PIE (cf. http://indoeuro.bizland.com/project/phonetics/word4.html):
        The root *wed-/*wod-, *wed-r- (meaning wet, water) has some cognates
        with infixed -n-, like "unda" (wave) in Latin, or "vanduo" in
        Lithuanian. Could it be that the proto-vowel was nasal? Since the
        vowel could have a different quality in different derivations (vowel
        gradation), it's clear that only some forms would have the nasal infix
        later, when the nasal character was lost.

        Let's have a look at some examples from Quenya:

        ID- has the derivation _iire_ (desire) without nasal infixion, and
        _indo_ (heart, mood) with an infixed -n-. (Etym., LR p. 401). This
        could be explained by the different quality of the vowel in
        Proto-Eldarin.

        Quenya doesn't have noticable traces of vowel gradation (if you don't
        count the "irregular vocalism" in MEL- > _maalo_), but since it's
        present in Sindarin, we must assume that it was present in PE, too.
        It should be emphasized that I'm speaking of nasal vowels in PE here:
        Quenya and Sindarin have almost the same nasal infixions, so the
        change to normal vowel + nasal consonant must have happened before the
        splitting of both lines of development, or at the same time (BAT- >
        _bâd_ in EN, _vanta_ in Q, LR p. 390).

        I have to admit that the theory may very well share the fate of other
        theories which
        1. are elegant,
        2. explain a lot of facts,
        3. are utterly wrong.

        There's Occam's razor: it may be that we don't need the assumption,
        because there are simpler explanations. In the entry AD- in Etym. (LR,
        p. 385) _ando_ is derived from _*adno_, so the nasal infix comes from
        a suffix (?) through metathesis. But then, it may be that the suffix
        would be _-do_ without the nasal character of the stem. :-)

        I know it's speculative, but I was reminded of Old Church Slavonian
        with its open syllables, its short final vowel -i, and the nasal
        vowels, explaining the "rebyonok/rebyata" (child/children) in Russian.

        Hans

        The theory could explain why otherwise similar roots developed with or
        without nasal infixes:
      • Rich Alderson
        ... There is an entire class of Indo-European nouns, the r/n heteroclites, in which a nominative/accusative singular in *-r is accompanied by oblique cases in
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 10, 2002
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          On 10 Jun 2002, "gentlebeldin" wrote in message-ID <ae2v6t+6fte@...>:

          > The root *wed-/*wod-, *wed-r- (meaning wet, water) has some cognates with
          > infixed -n-, like "unda" (wave) in Latin, or "vanduo" in Lithuanian.
          > Could it be that the proto-vowel was nasal? Since the vowel could have a
          > different quality in different derivations (vowel gradation), it's clear
          > that only some forms would have the nasal infix later, when the nasal
          > character was lost.

          There is an entire class of Indo-European nouns, the r/n heteroclites, in
          which a nominative/accusative singular in *-r is accompanied by oblique
          cases in *-n-. Cf. Benveniste's monograph _La formation des noms en indo-
          europe'en_.

          The word in question is *wodr, *wed-n-. Various daughter languages
          separated the two stems--but at a relatively late date, cf. Gothic _wato,
          watins_,Sw. _vatn_.

          The Greek evidence is confounded by the fact that many n-stem neuters
          acquired a -t- which forced the *-n- to become syllabic, then by regular
          development in Greek -a-. Thus, Greek _hudor, hudatos < *udntos < udnos_.

          Nasal infixation, on the other hand, is a phenomenon in verb-stem
          formation, deriving a class of "present" stems (demonstrated to be a
          single formation rule by Saussure in 1878, _pace_ the Indian
          grammarians). Whether it arises by an old metathesis or not cannot be
          determined from the Indo-European data alone; we must await the outcome
          of so-called Nostratic studies for evidence, if any, from the possible
          sisters of PIE.

          In any case, there is no evidence in Indo-European writ large for nasal
          vowels.

          Rich Alderson
        • p_iosad
          Hello, ... Which would then require some sort of highly irregular ablaut rule. Irregular ise of word-forming affixes looks much more likely to me than
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 11, 2002
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            Hello,
            Hans wrote:

            > Let's have a look at some examples from Quenya:
            >
            > ID- has the derivation _iire_ (desire) without nasal infixion, and
            > _indo_ (heart, mood) with an infixed -n-. (Etym., LR p. 401). This
            > could be explained by the different quality of the vowel in
            > Proto-Eldarin.

            Which would then require some sort of highly irregular ablaut rule.
            Irregular ise of word-forming affixes looks much more likely to me
            than irregular ablaut. And anyway (I think I've said it) I don't
            think there even exists this kind of ablaut in Terran languages, or
            at least in European ones.

            > Quenya doesn't have noticable traces of vowel gradation (if you
            > don't count the "irregular vocalism" in MEL- > _maalo_), but since
            > it's present in Sindarin, we must assume that it was present in
            > PE, too.

            Huh? French doesn't have palatalization as a phonologically relevant
            feature, but Romanian does. Should we assume it was there in Latin?
            A bit of a strained example, but I think it fits :-)

            > It should be emphasized that I'm speaking of nasal vowels in PE
            > here: Quenya and Sindarin have almost the same nasal infixions, so
            > the change to normal vowel + nasal consonant must have happened
            > before the splitting of both lines of development, or at the same
            > time (BAT- > _bâd_ in EN, _vanta_ in Q, LR p. 390).

            If both Quenya and Sindarin have nasal infixions, why invent nasal
            vowels, expecially when lacking explicit statements?

            > There's Occam's razor: it may be that we don't need the assumption,
            > because there are simpler explanations. In the entry AD- in Etym.
            > (LR, p. 385) _ando_ is derived from _*adno_, so the nasal infix
            > comes from a suffix (?) through metathesis. But then, it may be
            > that the suffix would be _-do_ without the nasal character of the
            > stem. :-)

            There are numerous explicit examples of such metathesis, as in
            _lambe_, "probably from _lab-mee_" (XI:416).

            > I know it's speculative, but I was reminded of Old Church Slavonian
            > with its open syllables, its short final vowel -i, and the nasal
            > vowels, explaining the "rebyonok/rebyata" (child/children) in
            > Russian.

            But Old Church Slavonic nasals come precisely from simple vowels (I
            guess I'm restating here). Also, the examples you cited earlier
            (German _denken_ vs. _dachte_) also have to do nothing with nasal
            vowels, as this ariation is due to the common Germnaic proces of the
            loss of [N] before [h], cf. thincan > think, but thunxte > thuuxte >
            thought.

            Overall, I think there's no evidence for nasal vowels in PQ or CE.

            Pavel
            --
            Pavel Iosad pavel_iosad@...

            'I am a philologist, and thus a misunderstood man'
            --JRR Tolkien, _The Notion Club Papers_

            [OK, Hans asked an interesting question and posed a thoughtful hypothesis,
            which has been explored and found wanting (as Hans himself made clear he
            recognized might be the case). We all learned something along the way.
            So thanks, Hans; and thanks to all who have participated. Carl]
          • anthonyappleyard
            ... Pronouncing Latin C and G soft before front vowels, and J as [dzh], did not happen in Julius Caesar s time, but it did when the Western Empire fell, and it
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 11, 2002
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              --- In lambengolmor@y..., "p_iosad" <pavel_iosad@m...> wrote:

              > ... palatalization as a phonologically relevant feature, but
              > Romanian does. Should we assume it was there in Latin? ...

              Pronouncing Latin C and G soft before front vowels, and J as [dzh],
              did not happen in Julius Caesar's time, but it did when the Western
              Empire fell, and it got into all the Romance languages except
              Sardinian. The next stage was analogical levelling across declensions
              and conjugations.
            • hglundahl
              ... declensions ... Well, the grammarians did not recognise palatalization in Latin in Caesar s time, but there was palatalization in an extinct Italic
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 14, 2002
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                --- In lambengolmor@y..., "anthonyappleyard" <Anthony.Appleyard@u...>
                wrote:
                > --- In lambengolmor@y..., "p_iosad" <pavel_iosad@m...> wrote:
                >
                > > ... palatalization as a phonologically relevant feature, but
                > > Romanian does. Should we assume it was there in Latin? ...
                >
                > Pronouncing Latin C and G soft before front vowels, and J as [dzh],
                > did not happen in Julius Caesar's time, but it did when the Western
                > Empire fell, and it got into all the Romance languages except
                > Sardinian. The next stage was analogical levelling across
                declensions
                > and conjugations.

                Well, the grammarians did not recognise palatalization in Latin in
                Caesar's time, but there was palatalization in an extinct Italic
                language (Oscan, I think) and it might have come that way to rustic
                Latin (and rustic pronunciation of cultured Latin) already then.

                You should not say "when the Western Empire fell", but "when Odoacar
                deposed Romulus Augustulus", which did not mean the complete downfall
                of the Empire even in the West. Syagrius kept on the Empire in Gaul,
                St Rémi kept up his work, and when he crowned Clovis, the first King
                of France was accorded the title of Roman Consul by the Eastern
                Emperor.

                Hans Georg Lundahl
              • hglundahl
                To return to the main issue: there was a theory about, claiming that nasal infixion was originally a nasal suffix in IE, like fingo from *fig-n-o. When JRRT
                Message 7 of 7 , Jun 15, 2002
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                  To return to the main issue: there was a theory about, claiming that
                  nasal infixion was originally a nasal suffix in IE, like fingo from
                  *fig-n-o. When JRRT wrote the original Proto-Eldarin background for Q
                  and S, he might very well have taken account of that theory, though
                  it is abandoned. So, maybe the nasal suffix theory of nasal infixion
                  in Q should be abandoned as well - or retained as an optional
                  explanation in IE too.

                  As for palatals, they are between the dentals and the velars and the
                  tyelpetéma becomes dental (telpe) in Telerin, velar in Sindarin
                  (celeb). I do not know of any historic language having originally any
                  distinction between palatals and both velars and dentals, but
                  palatals may come from either. In Rom. languges they come from velars
                  (compare Church Latin and Italian "Caesar" with Gk "Kaisar") but in
                  Gaelic they come from dentals: "is" (pron. ish) "teine" (pron.
                  chayney). So they are between velars and palatals, just as velars are
                  between palatals and labialised velars: in Satem-languages the
                  labialised series become velar, in Centum-languages the palatalised
                  velars (not pure palatals! or?) become pure velars.

                  The old and abandoned theory held PIE had all three series - and,
                  once again, JRRT may have used that in Proto-Eldarin "reconstruction".

                  Right?

                  Hans Georg Lundahl
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