Palatal harmony ( was: Transcription exercise)
|From:||Benct Philip Jonsson <bpjonsson@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, September 26, 2006, 8:51|
Isaac Penzev skrev:
> Benct Philip Jonsson jazdy:
> | I thought of the change in some Turkic languages whereby
> | palatal vowel harmony is replaced by palatal consonant
> | harmony -- i.e. rounded vowels in 'front' vords become
> | back, but the consonants of these 'front' words remain
> | palatalized before the formerly front vowels.
> Exactly. This phenomenon is especially peculiar to Karaim,
> but the tendency is notable in Kumyk, Karachay-Balkar,
> Nogay. ObConlang: That reminds me to try to resume work on
> Project 20 (formerly known as Kumanzha). This LLL-styled
> Turkic conlang is going to have the same kind of harmony
> due to the influence of the East Slavic phonology.
> | I don't know if it works the other way too so that
> | palatal(ized) consonants in 'back' words lose their
> | palatality.
> There are no phonemicly palatalized conss in Turkic langs,
> so we cannot be sure if it could work or no.
So Turkic "ch" and "sh" are [ts`] and [s`] rather
than [ts\] and [s\] then, I take it.
Methinks it could go four possible ways in Heleb:
1) Palatalized and unpalatalized consonants remain distinct
in all words (the boring solution).
2) Palatalized and non-palatalized consonants remain
distinct in back harmony words, but merge as palatalized
in front harmony words.
3) Unpalatalized consonants palatalize in front harmony
words and palatalized consonants depalatalize in back
4) Back vowels front in words that contain any palatalized
There are problems with all of them:
1) There would be only palatalized before unrounded long
front vowels and only unpalatalized consonants before
long back vowels, while the consonant pairs would be
distinct before short vowels, as it is only long vowels
that can be front rounded underlyingly, since front
rounded vowels originally derived from
* VjV sequences where at least one V was rounded,
* VwV sequences where at least one v was front, and
* VhV/VqV sequences where one vowel was front and
one was back rounded. (NB _q_ is /G/ or /R/!)
and I think such a system would anyway tend towards (2)
-- after all even Finnish has some consonant synharmony
with /s/ and /l/.
2) Again the palatalization distinction would only exist
before short vowels, so (2) would tend towards (3).
3) The unlikelihood of consonants dispalatalizing
before back vowels, but that may be a minor problem
if the occurrence of such sequences are restricted
to begin with.
4) It is unlikely that the presence of palatalized
consonants would sway a long back vowel to become front
-- but I guess that in all applicable cases there would
be a long front vowel in the word as well. Now the
likelihood of the necessary contexts for the arising of
two long vowels in the same word is minimal, especially
in root words, and in derived words vowel harmony and
analogy would likely level things out in the end.
So all in all the balance is towards (3) with some possible
admixture of (2).
BTW I think labials (except w) will be exempt from
palatalization, so that I get the following
t c [ts\]
d j [(d)z\]
s ç [s\]
z zy [z\], or = j, or = y
n ny [n\] (alveopalatal nasal)
r [r\] y [j]
ll  l [L]
çr [s`] ç
hll [K] hl [C_l]
k ky [c]
g gy [J\]
h hy [C]
0 y (0 = zero < */G/)
w wy [H]
ng ngy [J]
IMO it is highly questionable if [n\] and [J] would remain
phonemically distinct, and the same goes for [z\] and
[dz\], seing that [z\] is an allophone of /dz\/ in the
other Sohlob dialects, so the likely fate of [z\] < /z/ is
merger with /dz\/ or /j/. The phoneme /x/ exists no longer
in Heleb, having merged with /h/ after non-initial /h/
disappeared, hence /h/ corresponds to what is actually the
palatalization of [x].
Now if i pick scenario (3) none of the sound pairs above
will be phonemically distinct, so perhaps only those not
transliterated with |C+y| will actually be distinguished in
spelling. However spelling is hardly logical, since firstly
Heleb spelling is under the tyranny of Classical Sohlob
spelling, since these languages are in a diglossic
relationship, and secondly the spelling of front rounded
vowels is defiscient -- they lack separate letters, so it
may well be that /k2/ is actually spelled |kyo| and so on.
Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch at melroch dot se
"Maybe" is a strange word. When mum or dad says it
it means "yes", but when my big brothers say it it
(Philip Jonsson jr, age 7)