Re: A few phonetics-development-related q's
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, September 15, 2004, 18:07|
On Tuesday, September 14, 2004, at 07:23 , Joe wrote:
> Rodlox wrote:
>>>>>> In a word like /anta/, would it be more likely that it's pronounced
>>>>>> or [an_0ta]?
>>>>> It might depend on other tendencies in the language.
>>> Yes, I think this is an important consideration. Phonological changes
>>> t develop in isolation.
>> what do they *tend* to develop alongside? & what do they only rarely
>> develop alongside of?
> Well, sometimes all stops, say, are devoiced in certain contexts.
> Generally they follow a pattern like that. Or there's a chain mutation,
Yes, patterns and chains are the sort of thing I had in mind.
What I meant is that a single change such as /nt/ --> whatever, is not
generally the only thing going on. As some have pointed out, we will have
either regressive or progressive assimilation here and it would be very
unlikely, for example, if regressive assimilation happened here while
loads of progressive assimilation was going on elsewhere in the language.
I should maybe have expressed it more clearly: "individual phonological
changes don't happen in isolation".
But other changes in a language can set off or help phonological changes.
Did the growing use of prepositions in spoken Latin mean that case endings
were becoming redundant and so led to the reduction of syllable final
distinctions? Or was it the other way round, namely, that 'sloppy'
pronunciation of final, unstressed syllables led to the greater dependency
on prepositions to disambiguate meaning? I suspect both tendencies went
hand in hand.
The question "What do they rarely go alongside of?" does not make much
sense to me. A language is a whole system. We conveniently treat semantics,
syntax, morphology & phonology separately; but these are abstractions.
All these level inter-relate.
And just to add extra complexity, languages themselves rarely develop in
isolation. They borrow from neighboring languages (or, as in the case of
Modern Greek, from an older form of the language) and this can cause
changes. For example in Old English, both [f] and [v] were allophones of a
single phoneme /f/, and similarly [s] and [z] were allophones of /s/. The
Norman invasion and wholesale borrowing of Norman French words upset all
that; /f/ and /v/ became separate phonemes, as did /s/ and /z/. In spoken
Greek the ancient /pt/ and /p_ht_h/ both became /ft/ - [pt] and [p_ht_h]
ot [fT] did not occur. However during the past century there have been
many 'learned' borrowing and now we have /pt/ and /fT/ in the language
besides /pt/ (similar things happened with regard to /xt/, /kt/ and /xY/).
Ain't life complicated? ;)
"They are evidently confusing science with technology."
UMBERTO ECO September, 2004