Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ    Attic   

Re: OE diphthongs/breaking (was: Re: Germanic vowel correspondences (was: Scots.))

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 22, 2008, 2:10
We have -al/-owl near-homophony in these parts, too.  Which leads to
eggcornish apocrypha like stories about Winnie the Pooh's wise friend

On 7/21/08, Tristan McLeay <conlang@...> wrote:
> Benct Philip Jonsson wrote: >> On 2008-07-21 Tristan McLeay wrote: >> > Yes indeed. I observed in an earlier email that >> > in Australian English the phone corresponding to >> > RP /au/ is very similar to the OE vowel >> > i.e.a backing diphthong of which both segments >> > are low. >> >> Also some dialects have a /ai/ > /aM/ shift! >> >> I don't want to spoil the fun or anything, but >> this might be 'evidence' that the OE vowel >> resulting from Germanic *au and written _ea_ was >> actually a diphthong and not a back monophthong. >> In the diphthongist--back-monophthongist debate I >> am a compromissist in that I believe the so- >> called 'long diphthongs' were actual diphtongs >> _ea, eo, io/ie_ /&@/, /EV/ or /e7/ -- actually of > > (I thought "io" was a variant of "eo", not of "ie", which is the > i-mutation of "ea" and "eo", no?) > >> mean mid height of course! --, /iM/ while the so- >> called 'short diphthongs' were short back or >> central unrounded monophthongs /3/--/6/, /V/-- >> /7/, /i\/--/M/. > > I probably don't know as much as you on this area, but having three low > short unrounded vowels (i.e. /&/=ae /6/=ea /A/=a) seems very difficult > and unlikely. I'm not aware of any language that distinguishes more than > two short low vowels of the same rounding. (Forgive me, I don't know how > to type ash on this Windows keyboard.) > > And aside from when "ea", "eo" represent palatalisation before /A, o, > u/, ISTR that short "ea"/"eo" only actually actually come from breaking > ... if that's right, it seems to me that the diphthong reading is the > simplest and best. Eventually the vowels which result from breaking > (almost always) merge back in with the original unbroken vowel, which I > think makes it even more likely they're merely short diphthongs. > > Can short "ea", "eo" ever contrast with short "ae, e"? > > As for "ie" it is a sound which doesn't make much sense. It merges with > y eventually --- at least in the West Saxon standard --- yet comes from > unrounded vowels + i-mutation. I have seen three --- now four different > readings for it (/i(:)e, i(:)y, I(:), (i:)M/). None had seemed to > account for all the data --- how does the decidedly front unrounded /ie/ > merge with /y/ (but not /i/)? how does i-mutation introduce rounding? > (If I squint *just*so* I can see how /I(:)/ might merge with /y(:)/ but > not /i(:)/, but I find it difficult to believe any language would > distinguish all four of /i: i I: I/. Once again the only language I'm > aware of that comes close is my dialect, although there's only three > phonemes there ~[I:(@) Ii I]. Icelandic is ruled out on the grounds that > the four vowels [i: i I: I] only make a two-way contrast /i I/ which > permits a greater range of tactics to distinguish the two phonemes.) > > In short I have no idea what to consider "ie". Your notion is somewhat > tempting --- as long as breaking is an ongoing change caused by the > phonetic characteristics of the consonants, then [&A e7] -> [iM] -> [M] > is likely enough, and then [M] and [y] sound pretty similar even if > they're pretty different in how they're articulated. I just find that a > bit harder to swallow for the long diphthongs. > >> That the OE writing system could use the same >> symbols for both should not be surprising: they >> were similar if not identical and could be >> construed as long--short pairs, and most >> importantly breaking of long vowels **had** >> probably resulted in just these diphthongal >> qualities whiöle breaking of short vowels had >> resulted in these short monophthongs. The *au > >> /&@/ shift just increased the incidence of that >> diphthong. > > FWIW although I don't think any dictionary will agree with me, pairs > like "vowel" and "Val" or "Powell" and "pal" are homophones or nearly so > in these parts. > >>Contrary to belief the OE writing >> system was by no means 'perfect' or 'one to one': > > Hence one reason I like it so much =) > > -- > Tristan. >
-- Sent from Gmail for mobile | Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>


Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>