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Re: If Tech was written in Arabic script... (long post)

From:Roger Mills <romilly@...>
Date:Monday, May 6, 2002, 23:17
Danny Wier wrote:
>> What causes umlaut? > >Basically vowel harmony, but the vowel that causes the harmony often >disappears, leaving its mark on the preceding vowel, so a word like |tobi| >in Proto-Tech becomes /t2b'/. This too I have to work out the details for. >
This seems comparable to Engl. irregularities like foot : feet. I seem to recall that in one earlier incarnation of Tech, you ascribed such changes to metathesis-- tobi (via toib) > töb -- which I thought was Really Neat (and I'm considering using it in a future conlang). There are at least two natlangs (both Malayo-Polynesian) where metathesis like this takes place, and IIRC, can be considered an active process, since metathesized/non-met. forms alternate. (That may not be the case in Tech.) In Rotuman (Oceanic), the metathesis produces a number of new vowels, of the sort ...oCi > ...öC, or ...aCo > ...OC, that don't otherwise occur. This plays hob with classical Phonemic analysis. In Timorese/Atoni/Dawan (western Timor) it seems to produce a lot of diphthongs, a few vowels with changed quality, though no front-rounded vowels. Exs. that pop to mind are teun '3', katenu '3rd' ; usi 'ancestor', uis neno lit. ancestor-sun, their chief Deity.