Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Deriving vowel harmony diachronically (was Re: Can realism be retro-fitted?)

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Monday, January 22, 2007, 20:36

On Sun, 21 Jan 2007 23:15:38 -0600, Eric Christopherson wrote:

> On Jan 21, 2007, at 6:23 AM, Jörg Rhiemeier wrote: > > > Hallo! > > [snip rest of description of Albic autosegmentality & harmony] > > Your system seems really elegant to me. The only question I have is > how the vowel features become autosegmental in the first place. I > suppose that could be due to analogy, or maybe long-range vowel > assimilation (umlaut).
I don't really know what to call this change. It is a kind of reanalysis: segmental features were shifted to an autosegmental tier. Another factor was accent, which was on the first root syllable. Accented vowels received the feature [+open], while most unaccented vowels, when possessing this features, lost it. Most morphemes had only one vowel to start with, and in those that had two, both vowels contributed their features. For example, if the morpheme contained an /a/ and an /i/, it acquired the features [+open] from the former and [+front] from the latter.
> > Now to your scheme. > > [abundances of phoneme combinations and direction of analogy] > > On the other hand, my limited understanding of analogy is that it can > generalize from even a relatively rare pattern. I think an > overabundance of exemplary forms does help, but isn't strictly > necessary. Still, I was using the supposed abundance of /p/ and /w/ > forms as justification, which perhaps I should not do. I will think > about this some more.
Yes, analogy can sometimes work "uphill". For instance, the s-plural wasn't the most frequent pattern in Old English, but nevertheless it was extended to ever more nouns to the point that now it is the only productive pattern.
> Thanks for your comments!
At your service. ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf