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Re: i-Mutation

From:J. 'Mach' Wust <j_mach_wust@...>
Date:Tuesday, November 2, 2004, 11:44
On Tue, 2 Nov 2004 10:24:20 +0100, Andreas Johansson <andjo@...> wrote:

>Quoting "Pascal A. Kramm" <pkramm@...>: > >> On Sat, 30 Oct 2004 09:55:09 -0400, Yann Kiraly <yann_kiraly@...> wrote: >> >> >Does anybody have an Idea into what sound an i could mutate >> >(a->ä,o->ö,u->ü,e([e]very->ë(German [E]nde))? I am constructing a >> >language that uses these mutations for grammatical infelction. >> >> It could easily become rounded and then be pronounced ü /y/. >> This has already happened in German with foreign words from English, e.g. >> "mystery". German doesn't have an y by itself, it exclusively occurs in >> words imported from foreign languages, and somehow, the y in foreign >> words (if it's not at the end of the word) which is normally /i/ became >> rounded and thus /y/ so mystery would be /mysteri/ rather than /misteri/. > >This wouldn't relate to the fact those foreign 'y's very often, as in this >case, derives from a Greek ypsilon, by any chance?
Exactly. I've been told that this is a comparingly recent development of the German pronunciation, and that until the 19th century, the |y| used to be pronounced exactly the same way as |i| (as in English or French). So its pronunciation as /y/ is a cultured pronunciation that has become generalized. If this is true, then the Swiss standard German habit of pronouncing it as an /i/ would be an archaism, not only a regional peculiarity (along with other archaisms like many French words that have dropped out of use in Germany). In Switzerland, the letter |y| is often called _Y-grecque_ /'i-krek:/ (the French expression for _Greek Y_), not _Ypsilon_ /'Ypsi"lOn/ as in Germany. kry@s: j. 'mach' wust


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