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zompist bboard • View topic - Bizarre Sound Changes

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:57 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:32 pm 
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Is there evidence for r > ʁ, or is that just conjecture? (Hiw went from r to ɣ through g​ʟ > ​ʟ.)

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:28 pm 
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French?
German?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:19 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:20 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:30 pm 
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There is real, tangible evidence in English, German dialects, and Icelandic.

Modern Standard German has [ʁ] and English ɡenerally has [ɻ] or [ɹ] while some dialects have [ʁ] - High German dialects/languages, as is Bavarian, have [r] where they exhibit *r, and, due to evidence from Icelandic, which has [r] for /r/, and Swedish, which has some assfuckery for *r and *ʀ (did it preserve the distinction or what?) which I don't understand, we can safely say that Middle German/Old High German (I'm not quite sure) had [r] for /r/, and that Old Norse had a contrast of /r/ = [r] vs. /ʀ/ (whose value is unknown but perceived to be something like [ɻ]), we can say that Proto-Germanic had [r] for /r/ with high certainty.
And now the English dialects, which have /r/ that goes like this [r] > [ɹ] > [ɻ] > [ʀ] > [ʁ] > [ɰ] ( which will likely go > [ɣ]) - note that these aren't changes, but a continuum of realisations as they begin to differ from PGmc.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:57 pm 
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Wikipedia says that Swedish preserved the r/R distinction until about 1200 AD. I'm not sure whether R simply gradually became r, or if it was more complex. The same Wikipedia article also says that the value of R was a retroflex r like the modern English one, not a uvular ... there's no proof of that, but I think it might be based on the argument that it would be more likely to be syllabic in Old Norse if it was a semivowel rather than a trill or a fricative.

edit: Just noting that Ive searched around and can't seem to find what I read .... it was in the middle of the night in bed on a cellphone, so I wasnt really paying much attention;.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:01 pm 
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I believe it was very semivocalic, since, after ʀ > r, in old West Norse, various vowels have appeared to ease pronounciation.
So, *ɡastiz > *ɡestiz > *ɡestiʀ > ɡestʀ > *gestr > ɡestur


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:42 pm 
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I don't think anyone's questioning whether it's possible to have /r/ > /ʁ/, the question is more, what's the evidence that that happened in Rennellese? The intermediate steps conjectured for the Armenian dw- > erk- change, for instance, mostly have evidence in other changes which Armenian underwent, or in language-internal processes within Armenian (or through internal reconstruction). Either way, /ɣ/ > /ŋɡ/, even if phonologically-motivated, is still very odd in terms of phonetics. Of course this may have been how it happened, but also some of the examples in this thread have just been, changes that look odd when comparing the modern language to the proto-language or to its congeners, even if all of the individual components of the change in question were common and unremarkable.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:35 pm 
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My problem with just postulating it is that there's at least one language in that general area that preserves an intermediate step between /r/ and /ɣ/, and it's not that. It's not improbable that there are other languages in that area that preserve intermediate steps between /r/ and some /g/-like thing; what are those intermediate steps, and how close are/were they to Rennellese?

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:17 am 
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Variations of Dutch /r/. Some of the best known varieties, from most to least common:

1. initial and intervocallically [r], in coda [ɹ]. Most Standard Dutch speaking people have this nowadays.
2. [ʀ] everywhere (sometimes closer to [χ] than to a r-like phone). In Brabantian and some southern Hollandic dialects (Rotterdam, The Hague; the latter seems to turn r into [a] word finallyˌ a bit like in German). A different kind of [ʀ] is used among rich people (some weird sociolinguistic phenomenon)
3. [r] everywhere (Zeelandic, Veluws; Northern Hollandic, Amsterdams, West-Frisian, (which is not a frisian but a hollandic dialect), eastern dialects.
Most non-native Dutch people have this /r/ (often due to their native language).
4. [ʁ] everywhere. (Limburgish).
5. [ɹ] everywhere. Only in the city dialect of Leiden. Even there, it seems to occur mostly among older, poor people, it's a remarkable sociolinguistic phenomenon. I have noticed that they try to oppress it when talking to 'outsiders' (sometimes with little success...)

Number 2 shows that r's can turn into [χ] like sounds, especially in Brabantian Dutch. The actual realisation there is a velar trill of some sort, but it sounds awfully close to [χ]. Their realisation of the normal /χ/ is also differentː it is [x]. I wouldn't be surprised if this were compensatory to preserve the distinction between r and x.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:40 am 
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Forgive my ignorance, but why is the change from /y/ :> /u/ so bizarre? They are both high rounded vowels, and I know that fronting of vowels is more common but it doesn't seem like too much of a stretch...


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:05 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:23 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:02 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:24 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:30 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:04 pm 
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I remember pointing out some years ago on the talk page of a related subject that it's likely to be an archaic transcription for [xs xt], not actual uvular [χs χt] (what kind of evidence could you even have for random uvulars in a 1st millennium West European language??)

The *pt > xt part can have gone via *ft or *kt. (Eg. Western Uralic has precedents for various things along these lines — Finnic has *pt *kt *št > *xt; Mordvinic has *pt *kt > *ft; Northern Sami has *pt > kt).

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:22 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:07 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:09 pm 
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How about some neat examples of regular CV metatheses? (The examples are all from: Juliette Blevins & Andrew Garrett (1998) "The Origins of Consonant-Vowel Metathesis", Language 74(3): 508-556. It's an interesting paper and you should read it -- it basically attempts to define two main types of regular CV metathesis, and to show that both types have a natural acoustic/perceptual basis)

In Colville, at least in some cases (unfortunately the authors do not go into much detail on the precise conditions), pharyngeal consonants can move from the root to a stressed suffix: ts’ʕan "tight" vs. ts-ən-ts’ən-ts’ən-mʕás-əm "he keeps his eyes tightly shut"; pʕas "scared" vs. ts-ps-ʕájaʔ "senseless"; qʷ’ʕáj "black" vs. q’əj-lstsʕát.

Bagnères-de-Luchon "French"* shows a regular shift of /r/s from the onset of post-tonic syllables into the onset of stressed syllables: krámbo "room" (< *kámbro, Lat. ), práwbe "poor" (< *páwbre, Lat. ), trénde "tender" (< *téndre, Lat. ), etc.; /r/ also seems to sometimes shift from stressed syllable onsets one syllable to the left (the description of this change isn't very clear), as in krúmpa "to buy" (< *kúmpra, Lat. ).

*The authors refer to this as a form of French but it seems to actually be some form of Gascon or something. It's not a terribly important distinction in this instance, though.

Ririo has a regular metathesis of most word-final CV sequences to VC: madak "blood" (< *madaak < *madaka), pɛd "house" (< *paed < *pade), vuim "beard" (< *vumi), piur "wild" (< *piru), etc. This happens in a number of other Austronesian languages as well, though in many cases it's phonologically or syntactically restricted (e.g., the verb "look for" in Meto surfaces as -ami in some phonological/syntactic environments, and as -aem in others: ʔasu ʔi ʔin n-ami "this dog, s/he's looking for it" vs. ʔau ʔ-aem kɔ "I'm looking for you". In many cases, these "metatheses" seem to have progressed by means of the partial assimilation of the prefinal (=stressed) vowel to the articulation of the final vowel, with subsequent loss of the final vowel, e.g., there's evidence that Ririo piur came from *piru via the intermediate step of piuru (which is in fact still an optional pronunciation of the word!).

Also neat are some Northern Paman languages, which look very different from most other Pama-Nyungan languages, to the extent that some people weren't sure they were even part of the family until Ken Hale described their phonological histories. Essentially, these languages first lost initial consonants, then underwent varying degrees of metathesis of initial VC sequences (with varying degrees of subsequent resolution of the resulting V+V sequences, generally of the sort iCV > CjV and the like). Some examples from Ngkoth: maj "MoMo" (= mother's mother??) < *ami (< Proto-Paman *kami); nja- "to sit" < *i:na- (< Proto-Paman *nji:na); and lwan "possum" < *ulan (< Proto-Paman *kulan). Here again the intermediate step was probably through partial assimilation of the following vowel to the initial vowel, and then loss of the initial (unstressed) vowel; for instance, in some languages, initial long vowels conditioned this modification of the stressed vowel without being lost, e.g. Yinwum ulwa "father's father" < *u:la (< Proto-Paman *pu:la).


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:42 pm 
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Don't know if there were mentioned in the earlier thread but:

ON. /θ/ -> Far. /tʰ/ and /h/

Icelandic has: Proto-Norse o (then I-umlaut) -> Old Norse <ø> /ø/ -> Modern Icelandic <æ> /ai̯/ (might not be written down precisely, but you get the picture, I hope).

Also Icelandic: ON /kn/ (knífr) -> Modern Icelandic /n̥/ (hnífur, compare Far. knívur)

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:10 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:36 pm 
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Burmese has /*kʰr/ > /dʑ/ intervocally. The normal reflex would be /tɕʰ/, but all stops are voiced intervocally. It also has /*aɲ/ > /i/ word finally.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:24 am 
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Maybe slightly off topic, but,

Portuguese (especially Brazilian) "r" is what gets me befuzzled! :?
Its pronunciation may be anything between: [r ~ ɾ ~ ʁ ~ ʀ ~ ɣ ~ χ ~ x ~ h] or be completely silent. It can even be a faint [ɹ] at some dialects!
Granted, its pronunciation depends on its position in the word, the accent, who says it and (of course) how one feels at the moment.

You'll hear many mellow [ɹ], hasty [ɾ], angry [r/ʀ] or lazy [h/∅] if you go down to Rio de Janeiro, apparently... :roll:


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