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Fun with sandhi

From:Matt Arriola <azathoth500@...>
Date:Monday, January 31, 2005, 3:37
Some of you might remember the Kur translation of the Tower of Babel I
posted a while back. In a discussion in #conlang, I realized I had no
way to form the comparative. So I decided I would use the proto-Zu
word "sun" (large). I knew this would make for some interesting
results in Kur, having no nasals. So here's what I have. "sun" always
mutates the initial consonant of its adjective, resulting in a single
nasal joining the two:

n + null = n: sun + uv "greener" > sunuv
n + k, g = ng (single sound): sun + gen "dirtier" > sungen
n + p, b = m: sun + bar "nearer" > sumar

These words have changed in Kur. "uv" has since gained an initial "p"
and become "publy", "gen" has become "gé", and "bar" has become "bá".
The sandhi rules that applied in proto-Zu still apply in Kur, but
since nasals no longer exist, they're a little different. The word
"sun" is now "sú" in Kur, but it still assimilates the next consonant
despite lacking a nasal. The changes that now occur are Z, GH, and V
instead of N, NG, and M:

sú + publy > suzubly
sú + gé > sughé
sú + bá > suva

Note that the P in "publy" doesn't become a V as you would expect.
This is because it is still treated as having a null initial, even
though a P has filled in a spot that Kur phonology requires a
consonant in.


Matt Arriola <azathoth500@...>