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Re: Umlaut

From:Pavel Iosad <pavel_iosad@...>
Date:Thursday, August 22, 2002, 13:11

Thomas Wier pisaaho:

> > > 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,
May I voice my ignorance? I don't know who he is :-) So far I mostly know Russian scientists. But there, my first term as a linguistics student only starts September 1st...
> 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.
Um? So do you think that umlaut ought to lead to phonological split or not? To me, his definition is too narrow. It is evident that the "_i_-affection" is essentially the same phenomenon, but he tries to divide them.
> 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.)
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. Pavel -- Pavel Iosad Is mall a mharcaicheas am fear a bheachdaicheas --Scottish proverb


Pablo David Flores <pablo-flores@...>