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Re: phonological markedness [was Re: Happy New Year (to some)]

From:Axiem <axiem@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 6, 2004, 4:25
I stand corrected. I thought it had been wi, but also thought it was wu.

While I hate having a short response, I can't really help it.


> Axiem wrote: > > It is now. Historically, however, it wasn't. Japanese is slowly losing
> > /w/ sound. They used to have "wu" and "we" > > Actually, /wu/ has never existed, at least, not during written history. > /wi/ *did* exist, however. And kana for /wi/ and /we/ were still used > (altho pronounced /i/ and /e/) until the 1946 orthographic reform, as > well as a much wider use of _wo_ (e.g., _otome_ was written as _wotome_) > > I've heard /wo/ for the particle, but I suspect that's pedantic. > > And, I think Japanese has stopped losing /w/. /wi/-/i/ and /we/-/e/ > merged quite early on, as did /wo/ and /o/, yet /wa/ has survivedd. > > Quoting from _The Languages of Japan_ > > "The early Heian period [794-1185] saw ... [the] merger of e and je, and > o and wo ... this was followed by the merger of i and wi and e and we > during the Kamakura period [1185-1331]. Entering the Edo period > [1603-1868] zi merged with di and zu merged with du, resulting in the > present-day number of sixty-two native syllables." > > So, the loss of wi, we, and wo were only a few centuries apart, while > /wa/ has held its ground. And, in fact, recent loans have reintroduced > new /w/ syllables, written with katakana u and a little vowel. Plus, > I've heard things like [anewe:] for [aneue] (Elder sister), as well as > [wi:] for [ui] (can't remember a specific example at the moment. So, I > rather suspect that Japanese is, in fact, *re*gaining /w/. > > > "kau"->"kawanai". "kau" was originally "kawu". > > Underlyingly, I would say it *is* /kawu/, which is simply realize as > [kau]. For what its worth, as far as I know, it's never *actually* been > [kawu] (altho its other stems were [kawi] and [kawe] - *[kawo] never > existed as the fifth stem evolved fairly recently, during the Edo > period, I believe. > > Historically, the -u verbs are derived from -pu, via the sound change > /p/ -> /P/, which then, word-medially, frequently became /w/, and > elsewhere /h/, except before /u/ where it kept the /P/ pronunciation > (hence the use of _ha_ for the particle /wa/, and _he_ for /e/ (once > /we/). >