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Re: /y/?

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
Date:Monday, January 14, 2008, 12:37
On 14.1.2008 Andreas Johansson wrote:
 > Historically, Sw. *y in some positions breaks to _ju_,
 > originally probably [ju] or thereabouts, today short [j8],
 > long [j2_w:] (with dialectal variations - I have [ju\:]
 > for the long version). Definitely biphonemic today but
 > presumably originally not.

If you refer to the difference Swedish _djur, ljuga_, Danish
_dyr, lyve_ it actually goes back to /ju:/ > /y:/. Cases of
Old Norse /y:/ for Sw. /j8:/ are due to z-umlaut, e.g.

*deuza- > *dju:z > *dju:r\ > *djy:r\ > dy:r\ > dy:r which
didn'tapply in East Scandinavian. Danish had a later change
of*all* post-consonantal /ju/ > /y:/. Swedish has /rju:/ >
/ry:/ (_stryka_ ON _strjúka_). The apparent _lysa_ beside
_ljus_ is from *leuhsian (_lioxian_ is actually attested in
Old English! :-) where i-umlaut caused ju: > jy: > y:. A lot
of things went untransparent when Swedish decided to
analogize -ja verbs to -a verbs, a lot of verbs with /y 2 E/
in the root with no apparent trigger, but then /au/ > /2:/
had created such already.

 > Gutnish apparently has /y:/ > /2i/.

Not only that, they had /2:/ > /y:/ before that, so apparent
/2:/ > /2H/ is actually 2: > y: > yH_r > 2H. Funky, eh?

BTW *Swedish as spoken by Gutes* is no sure guide to what
happened in *Gutnic*. Haphazard mapping of local dialect
phones to Standard language phonemes without regard to
etymology is of course not unique to Gotland. Even I have
some hyper- and hypo-correction due to the existence of
lenition in Bahusian and lack thereof in Standard Swedish,
in the form of lexical entries that got wrongly coded in

There are FWIW good reasons to regard English /ju/ as still
monophonemic, and perhaps even as //y//, inter alia its
morphophonemic alternation with /V/, which is entirely
parallel to e.g. /&/~/eI/ alternation.

/BP 8^)>
Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
   "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient
   à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil
   ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*,
   c'est qu'elles meurent."           (Victor Hugo)