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Re: Historical Sound Change & Numbers Puzzle

From: Alex Fink Sunday, March 11, 2007, 4:32
```On Sun, 11 Mar 2007 12:47:22 +0900, Sanghyeon Seo <sanxiyn@...> wrote:
2007/3/10, Joseph Fatula <joefatula@...>:
> For those of you interested in language change over time, here's a
> descendant version of the interlinear I posted a few days ago:
> http://www.geocities.com/altyaltynalma/northwindandsun_nfolk.html
>
> And the original for comparison:
> http://www.geocities.com/altyaltynalma/northwindandsun_gn.html
Hmm, no morphosyntactic change at all?

>> So if you've figured out how the one descends from the other (not too
>> complicated), here's a puzzle for you.  The following numbers are in the
>> descendant language.  They make a fairly standard base-10 number
>> system.  Can you figure out how the ancestral number system worked?
>
>I tried, but I can't!
>
>I guess 5=si is from ancestral se, and 10=neru is from ancestral nelru.
>Apart from that, I'm completely lost. Especially,
>
>3=wec, 8=nel, 30=bornel, 50=borwec?
>
>Others, any idea?
Alright, some thoughts (that I suspect give a fair amount away, so take this
as a spoiler warning).

Up through 10 we've got a nice tidy Fibonacci system with 1, 2, 3, 5, 8
fundamental, and some changes in combination (the ones you mentioned plus
|p| < |cb| in 4).  Trying the tens in this vein:

20 |ceseru| = 13 + 5 + 2, beautifully.  |ce| seems to be 13.
30 |bornel| = 21 + 8 + 1: |bor| could be 21, and |nel| is there, but no
element for 1?  Probably just dropped when saying 29 this way fell out of
currency.
40 |mospa| = 34 + 5 + 1.  |mos| seems to be 34.
50 |borwec| = 34 + 13 + 3.  So yeah, it's bogglesome that there should be
another |bor| here; there's nothing in common between this expansion and the
one for 30.
60 |consi| = 55 + 5, and we've found 55 |con|.
70 |contef| = 55 + 13 + 2.  This and the next one suggest a _progressive_
assimilation in |nC| clusters, so this |te| < |ce|.  |ru| must get mogrified
into |f| somehow.
80 |condor| = 55 + 21 + 3 + 1.  |dor| < |bor| with assimilation, 3 + 1 dropped.
90 |yuca| = 89 + 1.  Difficult to segment out what 89 is... |yuc| maybe, but
the behaviour of the |cb| cluster isn't consistent with 4.
100 |yushnel| = 89 + 8 + 3, perhaps involving |c| > |sh| before |n|.  3 drops.

1000 |shnew| = 987 + 13, but a definite absence of |ce|, especially since
this word is in the Northwind story and has protoform |cnew|.  The story
suggests it might have originally had a nonnumeric meaning like
'everybody'...?

Alex

>> 1 - ba
>> 2 - ru
>> 3 - wec
>> 4 - wepa
>> 5 - si
>> 6 - seba
>> 7 - seru
>> 8 - nel
>> 9 - nelba
>> 10 - neru
>> 20 - ceseru
>> 30 - bornel
>> 40 - mospa
>> 50 - borwec
>> 60 - consi
>> 70 - contef
>> 80 - condor
>> 90 - yuca
>> 100 - yushnel
>> 1000 - shnew
>
>--
>Seo Sanghyeon```

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 Eric Christopherson Joseph Fatula