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Re: Amman-Iar stress & gemination

From:The Gray Wizard <dbell@...>
Date:Monday, February 21, 2000, 15:56
> From: And Rosta > > Before beginning, I'd like to observe how living with the same conlang for > many years gives one native-speaker intuitions. I'm reminded of > Tony Harris > (a much-missed former presence on the list) who had very little > linguistics > knowledge, yet wrote his personal journal in Aluric.
[lotsa quoting snipped]
> I would say that it is the stress that diagnoses syllabification. You > may intuit the chunking you describe, but you are perhaps describing > morphological units rather than phonological ones. > > Hence _er'inis_ would phonologically chunk as _e-ri-nis. Matt was asking > about your native speaker intuitions about this, and taking them to be > decisive, but while your intuitions are valid, your intuitions about > what they are intuitions of (i.e. phonology versu morphology) are not > (I declare, speaking as a linguist).
Well, unfortunately, I cannot speak as a linguist, but I disagree with you about my intuitions. Matt, I believe, also felt that this MUST be the case, but it simply does not square with the rather distinct way that I find myself pronouncing amman iar. I have carefully read and reread numerous translations and the syllabification seems clear to me, quite despite the linguistic universals that it seems to violate. I wonder if my intimate awareness of the morphology has perhaps influenced the phonology in ways that simply would not occur to a natlang speaker uninvolved with the morphological creation? Perhaps that awareness has caused me to speak "morphologically" rather than "phonologically", overcompensating for the forms that I know to exist beneath the surface?
> > How about this: Inflected words in Amman Iar are initially > > syllabified in accordance with NoCoda and other constraints > > which enforce an unmarked syllable structure. Stress > > assignment and gemination then operate on the basis of > > that representation. Finally, a "syllable-boundary > > readjustment" rule (SBRR) is applied, which reassigns > > certain onset consonants to coda position, in accordance > > with a constraint which enforces congruence between > > morpheme and syllable boundaries. A sample derivation > > would look like this: > > > > Take a noun like "adhan" = "man": > > > > 'a.dhan > > > [1] > > Adding the ergative suffix "-e" triggers a stress shift > > to the right, together with resyllabification: > > > > a.' > > > [2] > > Because of a constraint against stressed penultimate > > syllables being light, gemination takes place: > > > > a.' > > > [3] > > Finally, the SBRR is applied, yielding the correct surface > > form: > > a.'dhann.e > > > > Something like this might work, yes? > > I don't believe [3] is necessary, because there is no linguistic > evidence for it.
There is "no linguistic evidence", only if you ignore the intuitions of a "native speaker" of the language.
> My objection to Matt's analysis [1-2] is that it must be *stipulated* > that it is gemination that resolves the conflict between the > stress on the penult in "a.'" and its lightness. This is > because there are other ways the conflict could be resolved, such > as by inserting some other consonant, by lengthening or > diphthongizing the vowel, or by reversing the stress shift. > You thus need two stipulations: (a) "-e" triggers stress shift; (b) > resolve conflict by gemination. > > A version of David's original formulation is in fact simpler and more > explanatory. That is, there is a single stipulation: (a) "-e" triggers > gemination. The stress shift follows from (a) without stipulation.
I'm not convinced that is it quite that simple. One would in this case have to "stipulate" that case endings do not trigger gemination when the stem ends in a consonant cluster. Back to the same stipulation count and Occam is indifferent between them.
> I suggest that the actual rule is: > > Case endings must follow a branching rime. [= a heavy syllable] > > The suffix "-e" is therefore specified thus: > > R O + R > / \ | | > X X X X > | > e > > where R = rhime, O = onset, + = morpheme boundary. I assume that > codas are possible only before onsets.
This is, of course, the very assumption that my intuitions seem to violate.
> "Adhan" is thus: > > R O R O > | | | | > X X X X > | | | | > a dh a n > > When combined with the pattern specified for "-e", you get: > > R O R O + R > | | / \ | | > X X X X X X > | | | | | > a dh a n e > > By a general rule of filling empty structural positions by spreading, > you would get: > > R O R O + R > | | / \ | | > X X X X X X > | | | \| | > a dh a n e = > > Stress by the general rule would fall on the penult. > > For bases where the final rime was already branching (i.e. ending in > diphthong or cons cluster), there would be no empty position following > attachment of the affix, and hence no need for geminate-creating > spreading.
Hmmm, I'm afraid you've soared above my limited understanding in this area. Not only am I no linguist, but I am even less of a phonologist. While the "patterns" seem to make sense to me, I, unfortunately, have no understanding of the theory behind them. I guess I'll have to study more phonology. David David E. Bell The Gray Wizard ‘Yes, I think I shall express the accusative case by a prefix!’ A memorable remark! …Just consider the splendour of the words! ‘I shall express the accusative case.’ Magnificent! Not ‘it is expressed’ nor even the more shambling ‘it is sometimes expressed’, nor the grim ‘you must learn how it is expressed’. What a pondering of alternatives within one’s choice before the final decision in favour of the daring and unusual prefix, so personal, so attractive; the final solution of some element in a design that had hitherto proved refractory. Here were no base considerations of the ‘practical’, the easiest for the ‘modern mind’, or for the million – only a question of taste, a satisfaction of a personal pleasure, a private sense of fitness.” (from The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays - A Secret Vice, by J.R.R. Tolkien [Houghton Mifflin Company 1984])