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Re: Sathir Phonology (Question Included)

From:David J. Peterson <thatbluecat@...>
Date:Saturday, April 12, 2003, 4:11
(I hope I've fixed the HTML thing.   If I haven't, someone *please* let me 
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Ka kavaka Christian:

<<Nice inventory, especially with the three stop grades that
don't distinguish voice phonemically.  It's interesting
that labiovelarisation should be phonemic, but
palatalisation not...>>

Aaah...I should've explained something.   When I wrote "phones" I should've 
written "orthographic phones".   For, actually, all obstruents can be 
labialized *and* palatalized.   The only orthographic surface for this, 
though, was the labialized stops, and the palatalized fricative /S/.   The 
rest of the labialization/palatalization occurs *orthographically* as /iV/ 
and /uV/ sequences.   Here are some examples:

/k_wame/ > [k_wamE]
/Santa/ > [Sant@]


/piaka/ > [p_jag@]
/suomi/ > [s_womi]

So, the whole pattern wasn't taken care of orthographically; just part of it. 
  Similarly, there's an orthographic phone /j/, but not /w/, even though in a 
word like /uaka/ the phonetic realization is [wag@].   Oh, dear, that reminds 
me...   If *iV > jV, then logically there can be no sequence /ji/, but I've 
provided for it...   Oops.   I'll have to fix that...

Now: Onto the geminates.

Ka kavaka Christophe:

<<Well, you could very well leave them geminate in initial position, since it
seems all your other stops don't change in initial position (and I find 
geminates neat :))) ). Or you could have them turn into aspirates or simple
stops, which if you have prefixation would create interesting phenomena. For
instance, if you take that initial geminates simplify to simple stops, you
would have words beginning with [p] where it can be an underlying /p/ or 
And this would show if you have prefixation (let's with a- for instance), as 
the first case the [p] would change into [b], while in the other it wouldn't
change at all :)) . So actually your geminates would never appear, but would 
posited as a way to explain why some [p]s voice between vowels and why some
don't :) .>>

I *really* like this idea.   In fact, there are prefixes, though usually they 
only show up on vowel initial stems (otherwise they're infixes)...   However, 
there can be normal prefixes that didn't become infixes.   And then, yes, it 
would work.   So...

/kapa/ > [kab@]
/kappa/ > [kap@]
/paka/ > [pag@]
?/ppaka/ > [pag@]   (should there be an orthographic extra stop...?    OH!!!  
 I have the answer!   Later...)
/a-paka/ > [abag@]
/a-ppaka/ > [apag@]

Now!   Hear of my fix:

In my orthography, all the letters are capitals (there is no lower case, 
except for coda consonants--and even then, not all of them, 'cause /r/ and 
/l/ were not initially coda consonants, and so have no special coda form).   
However, for some reason I gave /t/, /p/ and /k/ special initial forms.   
Since they're capitals, they can't get bigger, but rather they descend 
further.   (For example, I used a capital Greek pi for the letter /t/, and it 
sits right on the light, but in its initial form, the two legs descend below 
the line.)   This did nothing to the form of the word; it was just an 
orthographic convention.

*However*, now with this new idea I can make it functional!   So (using 
capital letters now for real capital letters), here's what we can do (in the 
order of proto-phonemic form, current orthographic form, and then phonetic 

*kappa > /kappa/ > [kap@]
*kapa > /kapa/ > [kab@]
*kkapa > /Kapa > [kab@]

Now adding a prefix...

/akappa/ > [agap@]
/akapa/ > [agab@]
/a-/ + /Kapa/ > /akkapa/ > [akab@]

YES!!!   And, if I didn't want to specify which forms were initial geminates 
and which weren't, then the capitalization pattern could be extended to *all* 
initial /p/, /t/ and /k/, and then hypothetical speakers of the language 
would just have to memorize "such and such word doubles its consonant when 
taking a prefix, and such and such word does not".   Wow!

Ka kavaka Christian:

<<Would it not be possible to restrict the appearance of stop
codas to geminates rather than to rule them out totally?>>

This could also work (and would be much easier).

<<My Oro Mpaa has geminated and prenasalised consonants in
initial positions, but doesn't pronounce them as such unless
phrasal sandhi medialises them.  =)>>

And this is what gave me the idea for the initial capitals becoming geminates 
upon prefixation.   :)

Thanks you guys!


(Hoping for no HTML...)