Umlaut (was: More questions)
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, November 26, 2003, 19:13|
On Tuesday, November 25, 2003, at 09:06 PM, Amanda Babcock wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 25, 2003 at 09:26:41AM -0500, John Cowan wrote:
>> There are three types of umlaut recognized in Germanistics: i-umlaut,
>> or fronting, which is the type you describe; u-umlaut, or rounding;
>> a-umlaut, or lowering.
> Is there a general tendency toward fronting, rounding, and lowering,
> as opposed to backing, unrounding, and raising, or are these just the
> three orthogonal operations Germanic languages chose to use?
i-umlaut & a-umlaut certainly occur in Welsh and and the other Brittonic
i-umaut occurs in the Gaelic langs - I'm not sure if a-umlaut does.
The tendency, if there is a shifting, seems to be towards one of the
the 'vocalic triangle' as, I think, John's email implies. AFAIK i-umlaut
the most common variety, a-umlaut second most and u-umlaut least frequent.