Re: Which is simpler: /y/ or /iw/?
|From:||R A Brown <ray@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, June 4, 2008, 7:11|
Paul Bennett wrote:
> I'm having yet another round of re-thinking about Uinlistka phonology.
> Old Norse has /y/, /2/, and /Q/.
> A number of Algonquian languages have /iw/, /ew/, and /Aw/.
Which series is simpler to pronounce is, I think, dependent upon one's
own liguistic background. In languages that normally have [y] and 
(or similar rounded front vowels), such as French or German, then I
guess the Old Norse sounds will seem simpler (more especially so if
one's L1 doesn't have [w]).
But I was brought up long ago in West Sussex in the UK where English
/aw/ is colloquially [Ew]. I lived for 22 years in South Wales where
English /ju/ is pronounced [iw]. So personally I find the Algonquian
series a good deal easier then the Old Norse /y/ and /2/. (As a Brit, I
have no problem with [Q] :)
> Based on that, and knowing that Uinlitska is supposed to have developed
> among Old Norse settlers in northeastern North America, which of the
> following seems more naturalistic:
> 1: /y/, /2/, /Q/ simplify to /iw/, /ew/, /Aw/
> 2: /iw/, /ew/, /Aw/ simplify to /y/, /2/, /Q/
Seems to me that either is equally naturalistic (which, I guess, doesn't
Languages seem to go through cycles in which simple vowels tend to give
way to diphthongs (especially, of course, if stressed), and at other
times where diphthongs simplify to single vowels.
French is a most notable example. In Old French we find a very rich
system of falling diphthongs and, indeed, a few triphthongs which
developed from simple vowels of Vulgar Latin. But this whole system has
no gone. The transition from Old French to modern French has seem
drastic reduction of the old falling diphthongs and triphthongs to
simple vowels. A most notable one is the reduction of _eau_ /j&w/ to
[o]. (There's one example of the falling [Qj] giving rise to the rising
[wa] of modern French - but that is a lone example).
Frustra fit per plura quod potest
fieri per pauciora.
[William of Ockham]