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Old Sanhr Phonology Revised

From:Peter Ara Guekguezian <pag-conlanglist@...>
Date:Thursday, January 11, 2007, 5:51
I've noticed (thanks to the eminent Tom H Chappell on the ZBB) that I
haven't presented anything to this list in almost six months! Yipes!

Well, I *have* done quite a bit of work in the meantime, but have only
posted it on the bboards. So, if you don't mind, every few days I'll
post something here which I've already presented on the boards (where I
haven't gotten as much feedback as I think I need, and certainly not as
much as I know I want! :-P )

Here's some phonological stuff, most of which has been revised, thus
rendering the info available on obsolete. D'oh!



Plosive    b /p/    d /t_d/      c /k_+/   q /k_-/

Ejective   p /p_>/  t /t_d_>/          k /k_>/

Fricative  v /B/    z /z_d/      y /G_+/   x /G_-/

Nasal      m /m/    n /n_d/      j /N_+/   g /N\/

Lateral                l /l/

Trill                  r /r/


Closure  Front   Central  Back

Close            i /1/

Mid      e /e/   u /8*/   o /o/

Open             a /a/


ae /ai/

oe /oi/

ao /Au/

eo /eu/

au /6}*/

ai /61/

On the significance of the * in /8* 6}*/, see below.

So, the major changes are:

Palatal & Uvular -> Advanced & Retracted Velar. These are to have been
developed from consonant clusters with palatal and velar/uvular
coloring, simplifying to one or the other PoA. e.g. /g_j/ -> /G_+/,
/g_G/ -> /G_-/ (in certain environments).

Additional Ejectives, /p_>/ & /t_d_>/, developing similarly to /k_>/.
However, /k_>/ is more common than /t_d_>/, which is more common than
/p_>/. There is no PoA contrast in the velar, because (in the protolang)
the palatal & velar colorings were mutually exclusive with glottalization.

The phones ly/yl [L], lh/hl [Y\], ry/yr [r_j], and rh/hr [R\] are now
analyzed as the realization of a single lateral or trill phoneme under
the influence of surrounding advanced or retracted velar phoneme(s);
these fricatives (/G_+/ & /G_-/) are prone to dropping, leaving
palatalized or uvularized liquids.

The open-mid vowels /E/ & /O/ are now unstressed variants of /e/ & /o/,
having been stripped of their phonemic status.

The mid vowels /e 8* o/, which are so important to the morphology, are
now each different in quality: /e/ being unrounded, /o/ being rounded,
and /8*/ being of a special (hence *) quality, varying by dialect.
Usually it is either rhotacized or exo-labially rounded (by
exo-labially, I mean with lips protruding outward in a "pucker", as
opposed to /o/, for which the lips are either in "neutral" position or
slightly moved inward).

/1 a/ are fully close and fully open, respectively, and are both
unrounded (though not to the extent of /e/). /1/ is usually centralized,
while /a/ can vary widely in backness.

The approximant /j/ is now just an epenthetic insertion between two
non-diphthongizing vowels. Its realization is variable, tho' [j] is
frequent. It is written as <i>, which produces no ambiguity that I can
think of...

Here's a chart of the allophones of the advanced and retracted velars in
front of each monophthongal vowel (they change according to the first
element in diphthongal vowels):

      /k_+/    /k_-/    /G_+/    /G_-/    /N_+/    /N_-/

/e/   [ce]     [ke]     [j\e]    [Ge]     [Je]     [Ne]

/1/   [kj1_+]  [kw1_-]  [Gj1_+]  [Gw1_-]  [Nj1_+]  [Nw1_-]

/8*/  [kj8*_+] [kw8*_-] [Gj8*_+] [Gw8*_-] [Nj8*_+] [Nw8*_-]

/a/   [kja]    [kwA]    [Gja]    [GwA]    [Nja]    [NwA]

/o/   [ko]     [qo]     [Go]     [Ro]     [No]     [N\o]

which becomes (rather quickly):

      /k_+/   /k_-/        /G_+/  /G_-/ /N_+/ /N_-/

/e/   [ce]    [ke]         [j\e]  [Ge]  [Je]  [Ne]

/1/   [tS\i]  [kwM]>[kM]   [Z\i]  [wM]  [Ji]  [NwM]>[NM]

/8*/  [tS\2*] [kwo*]>[ku*] [Z\2*] [wo*] [J2*] [Nwo*]>[Nu*]

/a/   [tS\a]  [kwA]>[kO]   [Z\a]  [wA]  [Ja]  [NwA]>[NO]

/o/   [ko]    [qo]         [Go]   [Ro]  [No]  [N\o]

Thus, there appears [c j\ J] before /e/; [tS\ Z\ J w] before /1/, /8*/,
& /a/; [q R N\] before /o/; and, [k x N] before all vowels.

Because ejectives formed from plosives that were colored (see above)
laryngeally, or perhaps just glottalicized, they could not have been
coloured palatally or velar/uvularly, and thus were exempt from the
palatalization and uvularization that plague the non-ejective consonants
of the velar series. Thus, /k_>/ is just [k_>], or perhaps [k_?] or
[k_}] in some environments. Like I said, it might affect the adjacent

A little Phonotactics:
(P=plosive; F=fricative; N=nasal; E = Ejective; L=trill or lateral;
V=vowel; D=diphthong)

Word structure: [Onset]-[Nucleus]-(INB-…-Nucleus)-(Coda); (n) –
Optional, [n] - Necessary
Permissible Onsets: [P](F,L); [F,N](L); [L,E]
Permissible Nuclei: [V,D]
Permissible Codae: (L)(F,N)(P); (E)
Permissible INB (Inter-nucleic Block): <i> [j]; (L)(F,N)(F,N,P)(L); (L,E)

In sequences:
• If N+P, then N becomes homoörganic with P
• If N+N, then first N assimilates to second N
• If LCL, then first L dissimilates from second L
• If LCCL, then no dissimilation occurs

Frequency of Phonemes:
P: d > b > q > c
F: z > x > v > y
N: m > n > g > j
E: k > t > p
L: r > l
V: e > a > o > i > u
D: ae > ao > oe > au > ai > eo

P > L > N > F > E
V > D

Enjoy, and feel free to criticize profusely!