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zompist bboard • View topic - Effects of consonants on adjacent vowels (and vice-versa)

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:25 pm 
Lebom
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Something that came up in the French thread was how backwards jod ejection could cross multiple consonants. And that made me think of the huge number of possible conditioned sound changes that can happen in natural language and how when we conlang diachronically we tend to focus on sound changes from languages we're familiar with.

I'd like to branch out a little and learn about some of the more unusual conditioned sound changes and why they happen. What are the most common but unfamiliar/non-obvious sound changes that you can think of? To narrow it down, let's focus only on sound changes caused by a class of neighboring consonants (for vowels) or vowels (for consonants).


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:46 pm 
Avisaru
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Another one from French is how nasalization interferred with the developpement of diphthongs:

O > uo > ue > 9 > 2 (focum > fOk > f2)
but
On > uo~n > O~n > O~ or On (bonum, bonam > bOn, bOna > bO~, bOn)

ei > oi > we > wa or E (regem > rei > Rwa)
but
ein > ei~n > E~ or En (reginam > reina > REn)


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:33 pm 
Avisaru
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One of my favorite examples is wood in English.

It's cognate with Old High German witu, and in certain MSS it is spelled widu in Old English, which seems to be the original form. Then in most dialects of OE i was changed to io before an alveolar followed by a back vowel, to produce another attested spelling, wiodu. Still later, io was changed to /u/ after w. Judging from the spelling, this /u/ was then lengthened to /oː/ in Middle English - a change that doesn't seem to regularly happen before voiceless obstruents; and in the end, the vowel (probably narrowed to /uː/ by that time, but that was boring) was shortened to /ʊ/, which was a semi-regular process before final stops.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:51 pm 
Smeric
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This is a good thread idea, I've been wondering about this stuff too. I hope others will add more examples...

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 6:23 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:28 pm 
Sanci
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Well I remember reading that alveolar or dental consonants have a tendency to front adjacent back vowels (e.g.: the word [tut] might become [tyt]) and vice-versa that velar consonants pull front vowels to the back region. All of this is pretty obvious and logical when you think about it. Alveolar and dental consonants are articulated in a region of the mouth that is close to where front vowels are made. Likewise velar consonants are articulated in the same area of the mouth as back vowels.

You might also want to read this excellent wikipedia article on the phonetic realisation of vowels in Irish


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:41 pm 
Avisaru
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Here's a pertinent question which popped into my head. Imagine you have a conlang with /T/, which you want to merge with /f/ or /s/ depending on the backness of the neighbouring vowels. Is any set of outcomes more justified than the others on phonetic grounds?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:32 pm 
Sumerul
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 2:43 pm 
Sanno
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 2:55 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:01 pm 
Avisaru
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One sound change I have just added to Mekoshan is having stressed /a:/ becoming /ɛː/ when following /ʧ ʧʰ ʃ ʒ j/ and becoming /ɔː/ when following /p pʰ qʷ qʰʷ f v χʷ w/, the exception being if /a:/ is then followed by /tˤ tʰˤ ʦˤ ʦˤ q qʰ sˤ zˤ χ ħ ʕ/.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:13 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:33 am 
Lebom
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Some Eastern South Slavic dialects (typically in present day Greece and Albania):

V~ > V / _[-voiced], _[-stop]

(effectively nasal vowels were preserved mostly before voiced stops, incl. affricates; inconsistencies are frequent, though)

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