Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ    Attic   

Re: Germanic vowel correspondences (was: Scots.)

From:John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
Date:Monday, July 21, 2008, 12:33
On Mon, 21 Jul 2008 17:45:33 +1000, Tristan McLeay wrote:
>PGmc -> OE had *a > & >OE -> ME had & > a >EMnE? -> MnE had a > & (in some dialects) >and English English I gather is currently going back the other way >again. I suppose these phonemes might keep going back and forth between >each other until eventually enough of them get stuck up at /E/ that >there's nothing left to swing back down again. Of course, then it'll >start up again with a new /a/ < /V/.
Now that you mention it, /E/ seems to be one of the stabler vowels of English - it's stayed in the same general spot for more than one millennia, possibly several (PIE and beyond)... but then again, it could well be that after all the conditional lengthening, shortening, raising, lowering, fronting, breiking and so on forth there's only a rather small actual percentage that reflects an AFAWCT original short e.
>And the problem is we get to pick and choose --- given that the >structure of the language hasn't changed that much: long and short >vowels (mostly the same), a few diphthongs, a nice supply of mostly the >same consonants in mostly the same places --- it's not that surprising >that a few of the same changes will occur again. Whatever motivated the >au>&A change in OE might still've *been* here to motivate the au>&amp;O >change in AusE.
No, it's not surprizing that *some* shared chances occur. When you have /au ai/, but /& A/ and no /a/ it's to be expected the difthongal nuclei would shift to match either. The eerie part here is that it happens in the *same* counterintuitiv fashion as in OE, with fronting with the back glide and yet, backing with the front glide. And on front rounded vowels, they're very much a Western to Central Eurasian areal feature - so why's English so intent to front its back round vowels even on different continents? Could it be that once they have even the slightest bit of fronting, acquired in EME or something, they are "over the hill" so to speak and inevitably bound towards the front of the palate?
>(I owe you something else don't I, about tones? Sorry --- trying to >pretend time's passing much slower than it really is. Ah for when you're >a kid and it *is* an absolute aeternity between Christmas and Easter, >rather than an adult and it only *seems* an aeternity from Monday to >Friday...) > >-- >Tristan.
Don't fuss it, I've too many things laying about unfinished as it it. :) John Vertical


Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>