Re: Nur-ellen mutations (was: Re: Animacy in active languages)
|From:||Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg.rhiemeier@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, August 24, 2000, 22:20|
daniel andreasson wrote:
> Jörg Rhiemeier skrev:
> > well-known-to-be-inanimate noun (such as **_tring_ as an agentive of
> > _dring_ "hammer" - if there really was such an animate noun, its
> > objective would indeed be _dring_) in order to force it into an agentive
> > slot. Some of these "poetic agentives" might be irregular or even
> > suppletive.
> This just made me come up with a question on Nur-ellen mutations.
> Are there mutations for every phoneme that a noun may begin
> with? And if so, does it sometimes produce a result that is
> the same as a non-mutated noun begins with?
> i) _r_ mutates to _r_, i.e. not at all.
Only if followed by another consonant which would then be considered
Otherwise it becomes _rj_. More see below.
> ii) Agentive _caur_ -> objective _gaur_ which in turn
> is also an agentive form _gaur_ of a completely
> different word, which in turn mutates to - i don't
> know - _ghaur_?
It would be _jaur_.
> Are there such cases?
I could not give one because the lexicon is yet very sketchy, and unless
I fail to remember one, there are none yet.
> Or perhaps agentive forms always start with a voiceless
> phoneme and objective always with a voiced?
> And in that
> case, what happens with words beginning with vowels?
The rule is this: the first mutable consonant in the word gets mutated.
Mutable consonants are the following:
1) stops and fricatives,
2) nasals and liquids immediately preceding a (full or auxiliary) vowel,
3) nasals and liquids in word-final position.
Voiceless stops and fricatives are voiced; voiced stops become voiced
voiced fricatives become semi-vowels. The phonemes /g/ and /h/ (the
having the allophones [x] and [C] depending on context the same way as
German ch) are somewhat irregular that they mutate into /j/ (palatal
if followed by a vowel and are deleted elsewhere.
Mutable nasals and liquids are palatalized, i.e. /j/ inserted after
If this happens in word-final position, an auxiliary vowel is added
The only words where there is nothing to mutate are such that consist
only of vowels and semi-vowels, but such nouns and adjectives do not
exist in Nur-ellen.
(Or at least, I haven't invented any, and have designed no mutation rule
to account of them.)
The auxiliary vowel is a very short, always unstressed schwa-like sound
is not really a phoneme itself but inserted in order to break up
clusters which would otherwise violate phonotactic rules. In the Roman
transcription it is represented by a back quote (` - now you know how to
pronounce words such as _Men`l_ and _el`l_); in the Elvish script it is
not marked at all.
The above is the regular pattern in Nur-ellen which applies to well over
90% of all animate nouns and adjectives (which agree with the noun in
case and number and are inflected the same way). I have already started
thinking of irregular objective case formation patterns which could
exist in Nur-ellen. One that sprang to my mind is that some words with
initial voiced stops which have evolved from earlier nasal-stop
clusters, prefix a nasal instead of mutating the stop. One such word is
_goldir_ "scholar", whose objective is _nggoldir_ (the digraph <ng>
represents the velar nasal for which there is a separate letter in the
Elvish script) rather than **_joldir_.
Some words such as "water" could have suppletive agentive and objective
(In quite a number of active languages, there are two words for it, one
animate - water as an "active" phenomenon - and one inanimate - water as
In Nur-ellen, these two words would have spawned the suppletive agentive
and objective forms.)