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Re: Nostratic (was Re: Etymology of English 'black'), Tech, and Albic

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Friday, June 18, 2004, 19:51

On Thu, 17 Jun 2004 02:35:36 -0500,
Danny Wier <dawiertx@...> wrote:

> Replying to a FIVE DAY OLD post. I wasn't feeling well for a few days and > didn't have much energy. Sorry about that.
Never mind.
> From: "Jörg Rhiemeier" <joerg_rhiemeier@...> (in response to me) > > > > And yes, I did rip off Okrand a *little* for Tech phonology. I just > *had* to > > > have /qX)/ (which is actually /q_h/ in Tech, but tends to affricate in > > > speech). But /tK)/ had nothing to do with Klingon. > > > > Why should it? /tK)/ occurs in several Northwest Caucasian languages, > > and in some reconstructions of Proto-Afro-Asiatic and Proto-Nostratic. > > Lateral fricatives or affricates almost certainly were in Proto-Semitic > (Arabic /S/ and /d_e/ came from PS *K/*tK and *tK_>), based on evidence from > Modern South Arabian languages, which have /K/ and /K\/, I believe.
Yes, I also remember having seen such a thing somewhere, and I think *both* Illych-Svitych(sp?)/Dolgopolsky and Bomhard/Kerns reconstruct lateral obstruents for Proto-Nostratic, both mainly based on their occurence in Afro-Asiatic.
> > > The /j/ and /w/ become secondary features of preceding consonants: > > > palatization and labiovelarization. > > > > Is this also what happened in Northwest Caucasian languages? > > Don't know, it depends on whether NW Caucasian is related to NE Caucasian.
I am not an expert on Caucasian languages and thus cannot judge this, but as far as I can tell, NWC and NEC are of very different types.
> I > just know NWC languages have /a/, /@/ and sometimes /a:/ as their only vowel > phonemes, with allophones of /e/ and /i/ after palatals and /o/ and /u/ > after labiovelars.
If I understand it correctly, these languages have such triads as [t^je], [ta], [t^wo], which are analyzed as /t^ja/, /ta/, /t^wa/; I wonder, though, whether it isn't more reasonable to interpret them as /te/, /ta/, /to/, which would seem much more natural typologically. (It would also mean that the languages have much more "normal"-sized consonant and vowel inventories.) But I know too little about this matter to make a judgement here.
> > In earlier versions, I remember you also had front rounded and I think > > also back unrounded vowels. Are they still there, and if yes, where > > do they come from? Umlaut? Vowel harmony? > > I still don't know if I'll have front rounded vowels, but I want to. Most > likely these will be surface vowels from long vowel + semivowel, or long > vowel + two semivowels: > > & < a:j > Q < a:w > 2 < oj < awj > y < uj < @wj > etc.
I remember from earlier posts of yours that you contemplated Germanic-like umlaut patterns for a while (which are also the source of front rounded vowels in Albic).
> > When did the aforementioned vowel changes happen, and when was Tech > > alphabetized? Spellings may reflect older states of the language > > (as in English, French or Irish), but the sound changes that do not > > show up in writing are such that occured *after* the language > > was alphabetized (or were transparent enough to be allophonic > > rather than phonemic, as i-umlaut in Old High German). > > The writing system had to be adapted to the strange phonology, and a great > deal of conservatism was applied. I had to wing it.
Of course, the writing system had to be adapted, but why should such an adapation be based on an internal reconstruction of what the language was like thousands of years ago? Or is there an earlier written tradition of Tech? (Did the Techians perhaps *invent* writing in the first place?)
> (It's also corresponds > more to the Arabic orthography of the language, where the vowel marks, > fathah-dammah-kasra, correspond to neutral-palatal-labiovelar consonants. > Single vowel marks = /@/ and double vowel marks = /a/, instead of /Vn/ as in > Arabic. Another more or less arbitrary adaptation.)
The Arabic vowel marks are the one thing I find most difficult about that script. It is hard enough to tell where a letter begins and where it ends, but the vowel marking rules I find utterly incomprehensible. Greetings, Jörg.