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Re: Germanic vowel correspondences (was: Scots.)

From:Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>
Date:Saturday, July 26, 2008, 1:09
On 25/07/08 22:41:02, John Vertical wrote:
> 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...
I don't think being accurate from a phonetic viewpoint is nearly as important as being consistent. Everyone knows that "ai" spells your /eI/. No-one really knows what "ei" spells and in general whatever the guess is, it turns out wrong. Also, given the relationships between words like nation:national it's clear that a long a is a variety of a, and that's how everyone I know thinks of it.
> <ear> = /Er/ is a different case tho; here the status quo looks the > least ugly > to my eyes.
I suspect you're influenced too much by your native language and/or the phonetic transcription. "-ear" is obviously ambiguous to the reader when they can't tell which pronunciation of "tear" is intended, but not that obviously ambiguous to the writer so they'll forget to clarify in advance.
> 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.
Heh --- I cop enough flak for spelling "color" that way and that's the national standard in America and has a very long history of standard use by various sources here in Australia. (Well, as much as anything can have a very long history in Australia ;)
> >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?
Well, not as the only option, but indeed as a preferred choice.
>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.
Well, we need non-front/back harmonic languages with /& A/ independent of length and have at least one diphthong someone like /ai au/ (including high-assimilated varients like /&A/). Incidentally, by "Tibet" what language do you mean? According to Wikipedia Lhasa Tibetan has [i y u e 2 o E a] with [a] considered front but possessing a significant allophone [V] or [@]. In any case, neither Persian nor Lhasa Tibetan have diphthongs according to wp.
> >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? ;)
Sure --- same place, same time, two hundred years hence? See you then! -- Tristan.