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Re: Umlaut

From:Pablo David Flores <pablo-flores@...>
Date:Thursday, August 22, 2002, 17:09
Pavel Iosad <pavel_iosad@...> writes:

> I guess he's a bit confused. As I see it, as long as the umlauting vowel > in the adjacent syllable is present, the umlauted sound remains, to me, > an allophone of whatever was there without the umlaut. The phonological > split occurs when the vowel disappears (and it is technically ablaut > then). Umlaut itself doesn't lead to phonological split.
I also think this definition of Umlaut is too narrow. Suppose you had modern English using -/i/ for plural nouns again, and you took, say, the word /pOt/, and its plural was first /pOti/, and then /pEti/ (assuming /E/ is still part of the phonological system). Is that Umlaut or not? What if, instead, it becomes [p9ti] (and /9/ is not a phoneme, [9] appearing only as an allophone of /O/)? Is that Umlaut or not? What, then, if /pEti/ or [p9ti] lose the /i/? Is it correct to call that Ablaut, even while it's clear that the change was conditioned and not simple arbitrary alternation? What I mean to say is: may one only describe Umlaut synchronically, or is it OK to do it diachronically? ObConlang: Senu Yivokuchi has both i-Umlaut (affection! affection!) and u-Umlaut, though only /a/ is affected. This affection doesn't induce diphthongization, but it varies the diphthongization of former /a:/: ak- 'woman' aka 'a woman' eki 'the woman' peok- 'chest' (< pa:k) peoka 'a chest' paiki 'the chest' (< pe:ki < pa:ki) In this case the final /i/ is still there, but compare: dac- 'ask' dace '(he) asks' decse '(he) has asked' (< dec-is-e < dac-is-e) --Pablo Flores