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Re: Germanic vowel correspondences (was: Scots.)

From:John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
Date:Friday, July 25, 2008, 12:41
On Mon, 21 Jul 2008 23:42:24 +1000, Tristan McLeay wrote:
>Do you do something to words like "either" and "ceiling" or are you >declaring that "ei" is permitted to be ambiguous?
Not thus far... "Either" is impossible to standardize anyway, and it seems to me that it's not entirely random what's going on elsewhere (eg . /eI/ when final stressed, /i/ when final unstressed); but I've yet to settle on anything. The three wholly aberrant cases of <ea> = /eI/ are OTOH quick to do away, and I think <ei> conveys a conscious decision somewhat better than <ai>/<ay>, at least much better than the homograph-producing <a_e>. It's more accurate from a phonetic viewpoint, too... <ear> = /Er/ is a different case tho; here the status quo looks the least ugly to my eyes. BTW the point in all this respelling isn't as much creating a different standard as it is to braque ;) out of the idea that even when the system allows for multiple spellings per pronunciation, only one may be accepted.
>Well ... okay so Australian English probably never had [au ai], it >has [a a:] (i.e. central qualities) and it doesn't have [A A:] (i.e. >back qualities). There is apparently evidence that from [@u @i] in some >dialects the first target went straight down, whereas in others it >continued in the direction that makes the diphthong the greatest ...
The nucleus height, or what AUsEng looks like today, are hardly relevant for this... but basically, you're trying to say that this kind of a change SHOULD be expected? Okay, I can think of one argument for that; when there are back and front open vowels recognized, it will be possible to hear a backness difference in [au ai] (or [6u 6i], or whatever) that would not be there for [Au &i]... so they're prone to get interpreted as /&/+/u/ and /A/+/i/, rather than vice versa. Sound good so far? Examples of /au ai/ > /o: e:/ seem to be found mostly in languages with only /a/. So we have a hypothesis, but now, where else do they have languages distinguishing /& A/ (vowel harmony langs aside)? At least Persia and Tibet, I think... neither seems to have been home to any shifts of this sort recently, however.
>An unconditional u > y change is a pretty common one.
ZBB's sound changes thred includes an example of unconditional o > i from some Algonquian language, I suspect something similar there too BTW.
>And just because Australia and North America aren't part of western or >central Eurasia doesn't mean they can't've been influenced by speech >forms in that area as much as any language. Mandarin has /y/ and >accounts for a large proportion of the EFL speakers in Australia today >(although the change probably predates them). Germans and Scandinavians >apparently made up a large proportion of immigrants to America in the >past.
This is a point, too. How about we'll only call it weird if they then hang along for the next 200 years? ;) John Vertical


Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>