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Re: Umlaut

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Thursday, August 22, 2002, 12:50
Pavel Iosad slabronten:
> Thomas Wier wrote: > > This is a good start, but umlauting is usually taken to mean that > > an /i/ in one part of the word causes not diphthongization, but > > an actual change in some phonological feature of a neighboring > > vowel. > > Um, in Germanic languages possibly yes. This is not the case with > Bryttonic _i_-affection, which does turn, say, _a_ into _ei_ in Middle > Welsh, so _bardd_, pl. _beird(d)_.
Okay. Here's what Hans Hock, who, as I'm sure you know, is something of an authority in historical linguistics, has to say on umlauting: "Umlaut involves the assimilation of a class of vowels to a set of [+vocalic] segments in an immediately neighboring syllable. It therefore has a fairly general effect on the vowel system. Moreover, umlaut leads to phonological split and frequently introduces new phonemes. (Vowel assimilations not meeting this definition sometimes are also referred to as umlaut. But here, as elsewhere, it seems preferable to reserve a special term for the designation of a special phenomenon.)" (_Principles of Historical Linguistics_, p. 66) He then goes on to mention fronting, backing, raising and lowering types of umlauts, and in none of his examples does diphthongization without phonological split occur as in your example. As I read Hock, he would probably not consider your example umlauting since it does not lead to phonological splits or new phonemes. (It's certainly similar, though.)
> > (The rules you posit above of course are also possible, but then > > one does not usually call them umlaut.) > > Call them _i_-affection then.
Whatever. :) ========================================================================= Thomas Wier Dept. of Linguistics "Nihil magis praestandum est quam ne pecorum ritu University of Chicago sequamur antecedentium gregem, pergentes non qua 1010 E. 59th Street eundum est, sed qua itur." -- Seneca Chicago, IL 60637


Pavel Iosad <pavel_iosad@...>