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Re: Takiyyudin phonology

From:John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
Date:Friday, July 28, 2006, 16:27
Shreyas Sampat wrote:
>So I was musing about vowel harmony, and wondering, what's it look like >when it starts bleeding into consonants, so I threw together this here baby >conlang. > >The vowels are organised into two groups, 'green' and 'blue'; the names >don't mean anything, obviously. Some of the consonants take different forms >depending on the colour of a word. In the table below, consonant PAIRS >indicate the blue form followed by the green form. The affricate TRIPLETS >are (almost) simply a shorthand for two overlapping pairs; blue <chetsun> >corresponds to green <chwe'chon>, except in a few cases where the simple >postalveolar form doesn't alternate (thus green <che'chon). > >Inventory, with doubled lines for cxs, sometimes: > >Blue vowels: i e a u u' >Green vowels: i e' o' o u >u' o' e' are /U O E/; I prefer to write them with the Vietnamese horn >diacritic but that's obviously not good usage on the list. > >Consonant system:
[or the relevant parts of it]
>p-k^w ts-tS-tS^w tz-dZ-dZ^w G-g > s-S-S^w
[Later in the thread:]
>I'm imagining that it was a tidier, more transparent system sometime in the >past, that got obscured and warped by vowel shifts and mergers.
>The consonants, incidentally, sort of indicate to me that maybe the green >system was historically a less rounded system, which might mean that it was >front, or unrounded, or something, this being the reason it maintains a >labialization contrast in the affricate series.
At first glance that looks like an irregularily collapsed ATR harmony instead: start with /i e a o u I E A O U/ and apply a back-vowel raise chain of /u U o O A/ > /u\ u U o O/; then collapse /i u/ with /I U/, and loop /u\/ back to a new /U/. Nothing *too*atrocious, altho I suppose a chain shift of that sort would be unlikely in an ATR harmonic system, as it would totally wreck its articulatory basis. As far as the consonants go, RTR vowels causing palatalization does make some sort of crazy sense (to me anyway), since it does involve mooving the tongue backwards, but I have no idea what the hell might have caused the labialization or G<>g alternations then... But let's try the rounding harmony, too. Maybe you could have the *blue* system be unrounded instead, and then have the postalveolars retain their rounding after rounding was no longer contrastiv ... Nah, now the palatalization is left unexplained! I could try to combine the two, maybe in a baroq double-harmony system, or possibly just an ATR system spiced with transparent rounded vowels + some moderately contrived vowel shifts, but I don't think I'll bother. I mean, this *was* just a random example that doesn't necessarily have a solution, right? Anyway, I bet a harmony system that complex would be already opaq to nativ speakers, so you'd have loanwords and new derivation paradigms messing the system up all over... The idea *is* neat, tho, so thanks for the food for thought. As a conlanger with a vowel harmonic L1, I shur' ought to have a conlang with one already, too, wouldn't I? And in fact, I do have a draft lying about sumwhere of an ATR system with /y Y/ added ... maybe I ought to have a 2nd look at it. And maybe start trying to partially collapse it in various quirky ways. I think I abandoned that phonology when choosing the side projects focus on because I didn't like the consonant system - which was also harmonic, independantly of the vowels... <is essentially thinking out loud by this point>
>I'm thinking that there's basically a toggle, a morpheme can be either >dominant or recessive; some combination of dominance and 'head-ish-ness' >(probably the most headly dominant bit, or the most headly bit if no >dominant bits are present) determines the colour of a word. I can imagine >that occurring in a language where harmony has sort of run away with the >spoon and become grammaticalised, rather than merely something in the >phonology.
Yeah, that would be cool to come across.
>Maybe 'switch the colour of a word' is a way to pronounce it emphatically >or humorously... >-- >Shreyas
For the record, there's half a dozen or so Finnish words that have historically switched their harmony gruop, usually achieving a deminutiv meaning in the process. A still slightly transparent example (& one where the original form still survives as well) would be <tuhma> "naughty" vs. <tyhmä> "stupid". (Hanlon's Razor anyone? :) --- Also, kudos to David for mentioning the interesting article! 'Twas good food for thought as well. John Vertical


Shreyas Sampat <ssampat@...>Takiyyudin phonology, and the starling's song