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Question about Central Mountain Languages

From:Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>
Date:Monday, March 30, 2009, 18:29
On Mar 28, 2009, at 1:08 PM, J. Burke wrote:

>> It does seem rather artificial. > > Yeah, intentionally so. IN formation is a synchronic derivational > process.
I don't see the mechanism itself as artificial, as long as it arose from some diachronic process at some point. Also, does the same derivational mechanism hold through all 12,000 years of history, and across different languages in the family? That would be very surprising in natural languages (although certain trends can last a long time).
> The closest related phenomenon is sound symbolism, as found at > least in Algic-Algonquian: deliberate sound changes to produce > augmentives or diminutives; the Algic system is best preserved in > Wiyot. There are two sets of Wiyot alternations, one for > augmentives and the other for diminutives, because apparently these > sounds came to be associated with smallness and largeness. These > sound changes are at odds with the actual historical sound changes > of the language; they're found only in the augmentives and > diminutives, and nothing but deliberate change can really explain > them.
Hmm. Why would they be deliberate changes, rather than (unconscious) analogy? I understand that they don't work as regular sound changes, but analogy could do that.
> My contraction system can be viewed as a form of sound symbolism > (moreso the new system I've been playing with; my primary reason > for my developing the new system is that I wanted to vet the sound > symbolism analogy more).