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finally, Tech mutation

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Sunday, April 27, 2003, 5:03
This also took years to figure out. It started with a little book on Gaelic
and Welsh and their systems of consonant mutation. It went further with
Hebrew, Tuscan Italian, Castillian Spanish, etc.

It all just came to me today, and I typed it out. I almost posted it to the
list in Unicode... then I realized I'd just be making a BIG mess here. So I
converted it all to X-SAMPA. There's a LOT of diacritics and funny symbols
to deal with, and it's hard to read. That's what I like so much about
this... ;-]



Consonants at the beginning of word groups, and when geminated (doubled),
are fortes (tense, strong). Stops and affricates remain stops and
affricates; glottalized stopsaffricates and fricatives remain voiceless. n,
l and r (non-retroflex) are realized as alveolar nasal, alveolar (and
possibly velarized) lateral, and alveolar trill respectively.

A peculiarity occurs with fortition of the voiceless pharyngeal fricative,
X\: it may become an ejective, X\>. In the few spoken dialects where
Standard Tech pharyngeals are pronounced as epiglottals (H\ and <\), this
becomes the epiglottal stop, >\.


Intervocalic lenition

Consonants between vowels (and initial consonants after words ending in a
vowel within a word group) are lenes (lax, weak). Non-glottalized stops and
affricates become their fricative counterparts:

b - v
p - f
p_> - b_< (ejectives become voiced implosives)
d - D
t - T
t_> - d_<
dz - z
ts - s
ts_> - dz_<
s - z
dZ - Z
tS - S
tS_> - dZ_<
S - Z
dK\ - K (usually merges with l)
tK - K
tK_> - dK\_>
J\ - j\ (usually merges with j)
c - C
c_> - J\_>
g - G (also g_w - G_w, etc.)
k - x
k_> - g_>
G\ - R
q - X
q_> - G\_>
?, h - h\
m - F (labiodental nasal)
n, l and r are n_d, l_d (dental nasal and lateral) and 4 (tap rather than
trill) respectively.


Postvocalic lenition

Consonants before another consonant (even at the beginning of a word group),
and word-finally at the end of a word group, undergo postvocalic lenitition.
This does NOT affect consonants that come before other consonants because of
the loss of short vowels in open syllables (epenthesis of schwa-type

Postvocalic lenition is the same as intervocalic with some differences,
concerning most of all ejectives. It is important to note that certain
consonants disappear, but not before leaving their effect on preceding

p_> - p_} - these are unreleased or "clipped" stopsfricatives, but in some
dialects, voiceless implosives.
t> - t_}
ts> t(s)_}
s - h
tS> - t(S)_}
S - h
tK> - t(K)_}
c> - c_}
k> - k_}
q> - q_}
?\, X\ - pharyngealizes preceding vowel
?, h - lenghthens preceding vowel
m - nasalizes preceding vowel with back Umlaut (am - Q, @m - 1~)
n - nasalizes preceding vowel
n` - nasalizes preceding vowel with front Umlaut (_an`_ - {~, _on`_ - 2~,
_un`_ - y~, _@n`_ - 1~i~)
r - rhoticizes preceding vowel (@ - @`, etc.)
l - lateralizes preceding vowel (not sure how that works yet)

The feminine ending -t has a different type of postvocalic lenition: t - h.



Usually if a nasal appears before another consonant, the preceding vowel is
nasalized as above. But if the nasal has no preceding vowel (especially at
the beginning of a word group), it affects the following consonant:

b - m
p - m_0 (voiceless, aspirated nasal)
p_> - m_< (nasal implosive)
d - n
t - n_0
t_> - n_<
dz - nz
ts - n_0s
ts_> - ndz_<
dZ - n`Z
tS - n`0_S
tS> - n`dZ_<
dl - nl
tK - n_0K
tK> - ndK\_>
J\ - N_j
c - N0_C
c< - NJ\_<
g - N (also g_w - N_w, etc.)
k - N_0
k_> - N_<
G - N\
q - N\_0
q_> - N\_<

A rare form of nasal mutation occurs with fricatives (including laryngeals)
and non-nasal continuants followed by nasals followed by another consonant;
the preceding consonant is nasalized.

t_>r@X\5ah w@vu?dm=
God made, man found