Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Morae (was: Re: Lurkers, poetic forms), and more

From:Roger Mills <romilly@...>
Date:Wednesday, April 26, 2000, 2:59
Dirk Elzinga wrote:
>It is now generally recognized that syllable weight can be based >on the length of the vowel as well as on the presence of a coda >consonant (creating a closed syllable); languages will vary with >respect to this option>
This came up years back when I was analyzing Buginese and its relatives. Background: Proto Austronesian had 4 vowels, *a,i,u and "e" (= schwa -- yes, I know that's confusing, but it's been that way for years; a certain journal was too cheap, apparently, to invest in a type-font with the correct symbol), and canonic form CV(N)CV(C). Interestingly, CV(N)Ce# seems to have been impermissible., Placement of proto-accent unknown. But in a wide variety of langs. of Indonesia that retain the *e and the canonic form, the penult is stressed unless it contains *e, in which case the ultima in stressed. Ml. BAsah 'wet', beSAR 'big' etc. The ancestor of Buginese et al. apparently developed fixed penult stress. Result: geminate consonants following schwa (or its modern reflex). So AN *telu 'three' > Bug. TELlu. It's entirely automatic following schwa; unfortunately, there are geminate consonants from other sources, so by some analyses, geminates are "phonemic". Further on geminates (I can't find the original posting): In this group of langs., all cons. can be geminated except /w/ and /y/ (IPA j). When first exposed to Buginese in a field methods class, we all pressed the informant for /ww/ and /yy/-- he finally came up with two words which we all heard as: [sew:a] 'one' and [iy:a] '3d sing. pron.'. Since the instructor had sequestered the dictionary, we couldn't check; long after, I found "sewua" was the correct form for 'one'. The pronoun is indeed transliterated "iyya" by Matthes, but historically is prefix i- + i(y)a. So much for geminate w and y. From what I've seen of Arabic in transliteration, /ww/ and /yy/ are possible there.