Yivrian /l/ (was Re: syllables)
|From:||JS Bangs <jaspax@...>|
|Date:||Friday, June 13, 2003, 18:20|
Just so everyone knows, there's at least 3 levels of historical derivation
in Yivrian, with 4 living languages that I know something about to
Old Yivrian Proto-Hiksilipsi
/ | \ |
Praci Yivrian Tzingrizil Hiksilipsi (various dialects?)
The relationship of Old Yivrian vis-a-vis its descendants shown here is
much like the relationship of Old Church Slavic to the modern slavic
languages. OCS/OY are not truly the ancestors, but they're very close and
provide the best evidence for what the proto-language was like.
First Nik said:
> I'd analyze that grouping of [l] as proof that [l] is descended from
> something else. It's in the same group as nasals, so one possibility is
> that [l] is derived from [n]. Yoruba, for example, uses [n] and [l] as
A good hypothesis. But Old Yivrian (OY) already has an /n/, and
Proto-Yivrian already has two n-like sounds, symbolized *n and *N, along
with *l. It'd be hard to get another coronal nasal in there.
(For the curious, PY *n > OY r, and thus into the descendants, while PY *N
> OY n. In H., PY *n, *N > n, nd. Thus, PY *N most likely is /nd/ orsomething similar.)
Then John suggested:
> Retroflex [d] would be a logical candidate: it is a stop, it would be
> isolated in OY, and the reverse transformation is known to have happened
> in natlangs, e.g. Latin ll > Sardinian d.d.
This is a good suggestion. I can't think of any argument against it,
except for the objections I'll raise in the next section.
> Could [l] in Old Yivrian have come from some less sonorous sound, for
> instance, a lateralized [d], in Really Old Yivrian?
What do you mean by a lateralized [d]? A [d] with a lateral release? That
might be the best suggestion yet.
> What else is weird about the Old Yivrian /l/?
Basically just its sonority. The evidence for the Obstruent L theory runs
In OY, we have consonant clusters of obstruent + glide: /tj/, /tw/, /tr/,
etc. But we have no /tl/, /pl/, etc, and we *do* have /lj/ and /lw/. This
all suggests that in OY /l/ at least behaves as a stop, if it wasn't
actually articulated as one. Deciding the actual articulation is
tough--all of the actual children have [l]'s for OY /l/, but they all do
great violence to the /lj/ and /lw/ clusters. Interestingly, /lj/ has
become a *fricative* in each of the languages: Praci [Z], Yivrian [j\]
(voiced palatal fricative), Tzingrizil [K\] (voiced lateral fricative).
Going back to PY, we find that almost all roots are CVC, except for a
couple that end in NC. Here the hard nasals *M and *N pattern as stops,
but so does *l, e.g. *gaml "foot". This also tends to support the view
that *l is a stop in PY. BUT PY also has syllabic consonants, which
include the usual suspects *m, *n, *ñ, but also includes *l, e.g. *k.l
"all, every" and *t.l "smooth". None of the other stops can be syllabic.
Synthesizing all of that, perhaps in PY the *l has two allophones: one, a
lateralized /d/, as Steg suggested, but with a purely lateral allophone
when it was syllabic? Hmmm.
Jesse S. Bangs email@example.com
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