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Azurian phonology : LONG

From:Lars Finsen <lars.finsen@...>
Date:Monday, October 27, 2008, 11:51
Hi, Benct,
I'm sorry that I didn't have time to reply to your message until now.

You wrote:

>>> but I daresay that there is no Swedish or >>> Norwegian dialect where post-pausal and utterance- >>> initial lenes are fully voiced; >> >> I would assume that by "post-pausal" you mean >> either "after the pause between words" or "after >> the pause between sentences", and by "utterance- >> initial" you mean "at the start of a sentence". >> But then I cannot make sense out of your >> statement, as it seems to oppose the evidence I >> have before me. > > The thing is that in normal speech there are no > pauses between words or clauses, or for that > matter connected sentences that can be uttered in > one breath. In fact word and sentence 'boundaries' > play a role in normal speech only in as much that > we are psychologically conscious of them and tend > to place our breath pauses at such boundaries -- > preferably between two sentences which don't > belong too tightly together in terms of message > content. That's why we notice someone's catching > their breath only if they happen to do it between > two words in a sentence, or even in the middle of > a word. Indeed part of being a good speaker is > knowing where to put one's pauses/breaths. Word > and clause boundaries may exist in grammar and > phonology, but they don't exist in phonetics.
Okay, so post-pausal means "after a breathing pause"? Is "utterance- initial" another way to say the same? Still I must say I am pretty sure it's rather commonplace to hear fully voiced stops in that position, at least in my dialect.
> That word boundaries play a part in synchronic and > diacronic rules is due to either stress factors or > to speakers' being psychologically conscious of > them and letting the way words are pronounced > after a pause or after at the beginning of an > utterance influence the way they are pronounced > inside a breath-phrase. This is not always so, as > evidenced by the development of Celtic mutations: > there evidently stress meant everything and word > boundaries nothing!
The famous Celtic flowing eloquence, I guess.
> Also people are more aware of > the wordhood of content words than of grammatical > words. That's why grammatical words tend to become > clitics and eventually affixes. Many of them are > also never uttered breath-initially.
Breath-initially? Is that a third way to say "post-pausal", or what?
> One example of such processes is that words from > the pronominal root *þa- now begin with a lenis > sound /d/ or /D/ in all positions in most Germanic > languages, while all other *þ > t (except in High > German where all */T/ > /d/). These words were so > overwhelmingly more common in unstressed clitic > position that th pronunciation with a lenis sound > was perceived as the normal one by kids learning > the languages. Interestingly Faroese has /h/ > rather than /t/ in some of theso words (IIRC > þetta > hætta). A generalized [T] > /h/ would be > a nice touch in some Germanic conlang!
Indeed. It is tempting. But your explanation seems to indicate why these exceptions exist in Faroese, better than the explanation I have in my Faroese grammar. Curious that they have it in the weekday name /hostak/ as well. Seems your thorns and stuff didn't make it through here for some reason.
>>> mind you voiced--voiceless is not in phone_t_ic >>> an absolute opposition but an infinitely >>> variable scale, >> >> This I do not quite get. Voicing can be more or >> less pronounced, but fortisness cannot.
I meant voicelessness here, of course.
>> There is >> still a simple opposition between lenisness and >> fortisness as far as I can see. > > Sure, in phonetic terms there either is vocal > chord vibration or there isn't, but the > variability in phonological identity of phones > around the middle of the VOT scale is exactly why > lenis and fortis make more sense than voiced and > voiceless as phonological terms when speaking of > Germanic languages other than Dutch, which really > has a voicing contrast 'voiced' and 'voiceless' > are simply not relevant properties of stops in > these languages; that we still use the terms is > due to tradition and influenced by the fact that > the letters we uso for fortes and lenes > respectively are used for voiced and voiceless > stops in Romance languages. The fact that our > lenes **are** voiced **in certain context** of > course plays a role for the traditional > terminology and the way the originally Romance > letters are used in writing our languages.
To me it looks, or rather sounds, as if eastern Norwegian, which I am reared into, belongs to the Dutch camp. But today I am in Førde, and will try to do some experimental linguistics here as I go shopping. Likely, the situation is different here.
> The breaking point between lenisness and > fortisness as **phonological** properties is > subjectively variable due to phonetic context and > due to language, dialect and idiolect, dependent > on phonetic context and the amount of channel > noise etc. As I explained it is the case that a > phone which is considered lenis if coming after a > pause may be considered fortis if standing between > two voiced sounds (vowels or sonorants) in the > middle of an utterance. It also depends on > language: a speaker of American English may > consider a 50% voiced sound voiceless, while a > speaker of some British English accents may > consider it voiced.
I still find the concept 50% voiced curious. Do you have an example from American and British English?
> Contrast this with e.g. Hindi where stop phones > in the lower 3/7 of the VOT scale are > unquestionably voiced, phones in the upper 1/7 > are unquestionably aspirated and those inbetween > are unquestionably voiceless. Moreover there is > not much 'sliding' due to context, but all > phonologically voiced stops are near the fully > voiced end of the VOT scale and all > phonologically voiceless unaspirated stops are > around 5/7. To the extent that phonologically > voiced stops are slightly less voiced at the > beginning of an utterance this is because voice > needs a few milliseconds to gain momentum.
That's interesting. I guess Hindi, and Sanskrit, as well as PIE, must fit the VOT model especially well - apart from the aspirated voiced stops. I have been around a Hindi speaker, raised in Delhi, and I found her postaspirations very cute. Especially when she was reading Sanskrit to me. Stirring memory...
>>> Phoneticians speak of Voice Onset Time (VOT) >>> with fully voiced at one end of the scale and >>> heavdly aspirated at the other. >> >> How do they speak of the aspirated voiced >> stops, then? > > As "breathy voice" (also called "murmured voice", > "soughing", or "susurration"), a phonation in > which the vocal cords vibrate, as they do in > normal (modal) voicing, but are held further > apart, so that a larger volume of air escapes > between them.
Okay, but does this cover the postaspirated ones?
> The term "aspirated voiced stop" makes sense only > in a language like Sanskrit or Hindi where there > is a four-way contrast > > | t d > | > | th dh > > but this interpretation of the phonology may have > been slightly artificial even in Sanskrit since > the patterns of assimilation are different: when a > voiced and a voiceless stop collide the voiced > stop becomes voiceless (/bt/ > [pt] and /bth/ > > [pt_h]) but when a voiceless and a 'voiced > aspirated' stop collide the voiceless stop becomes > breathy-voiced (/pdh/ > [b_h\d_h\] /dht/ > > [d_h\d_h\], e.g. _buddha_ < _budh+ta_).
I don't know if this really shows that the interpretation is artificial. I does show that aspiration is more contagious in the voiced stops. And it does indicate that the traditional phonological interpretation of Sanskrit is not completely compatible with the VOT model.
> There are > languages which have breathy-voiced vowels as a > phonological category while phonologically > whispered vowels are extremely rare, so that > voiced and voiceless aspiration certainly aren't > the same thing phonetically.
Or perhaps that they aren't equally functional as syllable cores?
> This too goes to show > how ono mustn't confuse phonology with phonetics. > You should use phonetics when doing phonology but > not the other way around.
Arrrgh, you are making me crazy, you know that?
>> I must say phoneticians seem to be really fond >> of Latin, which I am not. Phonetics to me is >> rather a bit of a wild, unmapped forest. Perhaps >> I'll find my way through it some time. > > I think it's not only phoneticians, but any > academic dicipline which wasn't newfangled in the > last few decades, but back when everyone in middle > education studied at least some Latin. Just look > at medical and botanical/zoological Latin! :-)
Bloody 'orrible. So much for the greed of Brennos. I am doing a fair bit of medical translations, and habitually I weed out a lot of the Latin under way. Thankfully it's customary here in Norway to use more native descriptive terms than in English or French medical text, for example. I don't know about German. But I am doing a Geographical dictionary, too, with English, German, Russian, Spanish and French keywords as part of the background material, and here I find that German uses more native words than English, and that Norwegian uses more native words than German again. Still a lot of Greek and Latin remains.
>>> More seriously we know that in any slavery >>> society the laves outnumber the masters, and on >>> Iceland in viking times most slaves came from >>> Ireland and Scotland... >> >> Yes, indeed. And the plosive contrast isn't the >> only thing they brought with them either. Well, >> i have to consider further what I have to do >> with my Azurian stops. There were Gaelic >> settlers in the south, but this is away from the >> main Azurian speaking area. However there is no >> reason to think that this area would be empty of >> Gaelic-speaking thralls. Perhaps the Gaelic- >> style contrast should be a coastal feature, like >> it is (approximately) in Norway. > > More likely it is a feature of those areas > closest to Gaelic-speaking areas. IF these are > away from the coast there's no reason it should > be a coastal feature.
The Goidelic settlements, which came in two waves, are found in the inland as well, not predominantly on the coasts. The fact that the fortis-lenis opposition in Scots Gaelic so exactly matches Faroese and Icelandic, strongly suggests that Scottish slaves were imported in substantial numbers to those areas. But as Azuria is bigger than these countries, I'm not sure if they could import enough Scotsmen to produce an identical effect. Possibly the situation would be more like the Norwegian western coast, where a more limited import of Gaels may have had a much more slight adstrate effect, if at all.
>> the thing is that Azurian does need a way to >> distinguish between voiced and unvoiced stops as >> well as between aspirated and unaspirated >> unvoiced ones, > > Given the conhistorical context it would make > sense if the voiced stops were written with <b d > g> plus some diacritic, like the crossbar <ƀ > ð/đ ǥ> or the overdot <ḃ ḋ ġ> or even <bh > dh gh> -- i.e. like Norse or gaelic voiced > fricatives.
I do want to avoid diacritics as much as possible. Having used computers since the 1970s, I have developed a profound hatred of them. Even in 2008, you can see above what may happen to them.
> Essentially we are dealing here with > two different ways of realizing the most sonorous > sound in a three-way opposition: Norse and Gaelic > happen to additionally fricativize their voiced > obstruents; Azurian doesn't.
Well, I am not entirely decided on the Azurian phonology yet. The thing is that I do have Azurian place and personal names, and I consider them authoritative. So the language should not conflict with them. Now, as Danish was the official language until 1934, there is the factor to consider that the names that I have are written in the Danish fashion, and if so, I have considerably more liberty with my Azurian writing. I will participate in the relay with the version of the phonology that I have now. But I am considering two main changes: The voiced stops that result from dental fricatives may be lenis stops instead of voiced as I have supposed until now. If so, I can use bdg and ptk for the lenis/fortis stops like Faroese does. Or, the stops may be more like the ones in the western Norwegian dialects, which also means that I don't need aspiration markers. This is the more probable outcome, I think. Still, I kind of like the system the way it is now. It should be fun to see how it turns out in the relay.
>> The name was coined in 1482 by the mining >> overseer Morten Thomsen for the blueness of the >> soils he often encountered, and gained >> popularity until it was first used in an >> official document in 1525. > > So colloquially it may become whatever Old Norse > _Bláland_ would become! :-) (_Bloalant_?)
Well, Bláland is taken, you know. Colloquially the old Byntarland may have survived for some time, though it was used for the whole island. Possibly they would have built something upon the first two place- names they encountered, Ravraifaza and Tinofer. Or from the character of the people they met there, or from their leaders, the ranzi. I suspect the Norse would make quite a mess out of Ravraifaza. Raureifaland, possibly? That wouldn't survive long. Timfarland looks better, I think. But since we are talking about a name destined to be replaced, maybe I shouldn't go for the one that looks better.
> It might make sense if the mining overseer were a > Romance immigrant.
Well, Morten Thomsen could have a French connection. He could even be French. Morten Thomsen was the name that came to my mind, but it could be wrong yet. Anyway, although you didn't have any higher education for mining overseers to speak of in the 15th century, you would expect a government official to have some smattering of Latin and being proud of it.
> This would be before the Reformation anyway.
Ah, the reformation, yes, that is a chapter of its own. Well, since Azuria was under the Danish crown, there's no reason to believe that they would escape it. But I do expect the Catholics there to put up more of a fight than those on the mainland, on both sides of the border. This could be bloody, in fact. LEF


Lars Finsen <lars.finsen@...>