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Terkunan > Trekunan?

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Tuesday, May 6, 2008, 11:58

In my current project Terkunan, I am thinking about further working
with the r/l stuff.  I am kind of fond of what Sardinian and Calabrese
do to r/l: Sardinian has a lot of metathesis:

      VL  capra   >  Sard.  kraBa    'goat'

And both languages have frequently switched r with l, depending on
phonological context, e.g. 'volcano' is 'vurcanu' in Calabrese.

Terkunan has r/l switches, too, mainly l > r, e.g.  'ultimum' >
'urtime'.  Sometimes, it switches r > l if another r precedes:
'arborem' > 'arbul'.

Now, I am thinking about doing more shifts to 'r', namely to define
that r+consonant is not tolerated by phonology, some time after
the l>r shifts, so a resolving strategy has to be invented.  My current
idea is to let metathesis with the previous vowel happend when stop +
r is the result or r becomes word-initial:

    gardin     > gradin         'garden'
    eternitat  > etrenitat      'eternity'
    Gran Karle > Gran Kral      'Charlemagne'
    parle      > pral           'to talk'
    portu      > protu          'habour'
    karkin     > krakin         'lime'
    arbul      > rabul          'tree'
    urtime     > rutime         'last, ultimate'
    ornali     > ronali         'ordinary'

This happens in Sardinian (and in the Sardinian dialect of Catalan).

In all other cases, rC could be resolved by echoing the previous
vowel.  This is no problem if the echoed vowel is not stressed:

    mer'kat    > mere'kat        'market'
    vur'kan    > vuru'kan        'volcano'

In other cases, stress, which is currently totally regular, might
trigger a problem:

    'serve     > ?se'reve        'to serve'

In these cases, we might need another resolving strategy (e.g., drop
of 'r' or 'v' in the above case).  I do not want to introduce
(unstressed) schwas.  Maybe rC is only forbidden in unstressed
syllables: of the above examples, 'portu', 'parle', 'Karle' would
remain unchanged in this case, and maybe 'eternitat', too, because it
is a compound 'etern'+'itat'.

This is a bit like Modern Dutch's 'kerruk' for 'kerk' and 'melluk' for
'melk' and 'errug' for 'erg' (only a schwa is inserted here, and the l
is involved too, which might also be thinkable in Terkunan).  Words
with lC in Terkunan include:

    kalde       'warm'
    Alman       'German'

I had experimented with l > r here already, but decided that it only
happens before stop or voiceless consonants (IIRC).

Another problem is that I don't what to rename Terkunan to Trekunan,
so I might need some exceptions, or simply define that Modern Terkunan
does not have such a constraint in r.

There are some open questions, e.g. what to do in compounds:

   vir   'true'     + tat   >  ?viritat / ?virtat (currently: virtat)
   mfril 'inferior' + tat   >  ??                 (currently: mfriltat)
   sul   'alone'    + mentu >  ??                 (currently: sulmentu)

The endings are actually -itat and -amentu, but -i-/-a- is (currently)
dropped after vowel, r, and l.

So does this add a nice touch to the language?  Does this look
plausible?  I like many of the examples above, but I would like to
hear your opinion, so what do you think?  And how do you think to
resolve the open issues?



Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>
Benct Philip Jonsson <melroch@...>