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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:09 pm 
Sumerul
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no, no, it's not that bad, in many cases it was just spreading of [+/-high]

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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:13 pm 
Avisaru
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:32 pm 
Avisaru
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Yimas

[For Yimas I'm using a transcription system based on Foley (1991) but slightly altered. I'm writing the palatal and velar nasals as <ny> and <ng> in all positions including before homo-organic stops as there is no nasal assimilation in the language. For the high central vowel /ɨ/ (/1/) I'm choosing <ï> for now.]

The vowel system of Yimas appears to be /a i u ɨ/ (/a i u 1/) and this analysis holds even when you do a thorough study of the phonology of the language. Scraping the surface a bit reveals some interesting biases though, and these might give motivation to try some other kinds of analyses as well.

First of all, more that 90% of all vowels in the Yimas lexicon are /a/ or /ɨ/ (/1/). There are also diphthongs /aj/ and /aw/ but no diphthongs based around the high vowels. When /ɨ/ (/1/) comes in contact with /j w/ it becomes /i u/ respectively,

kampï- (likely.DL3) + yan ("come") > kampiyan ("let them both come")
antï- ("hear") + -wat (HAB) > antuwat ("usually hear")

Secondly, the epenthetic nature of the high central vowel is especially strong in Yimas and nearly all instances of it can be explained as epenthesis rather than as underlying vowels (Foley takes this practice to its end and doesn't even bother to write out the instances of /ɨ/ (/1/) that can be understood as epenthesis and leaves his readers to exercise the vowel insertion rules themselves). Thus under this interpretation you can get roots even completely without underlying vowels,

/ŋmkŋn/ (/NmkNn/) for ngïmkïngïn ("chair")
/mɲŋ/ (/mJN/) for mïnyïng ("tongue")

With these two points in mind it might feel tempting to try an analysis of the Yimas vowels where [i u] are underlyingly either diphthongs /ɨj ɨw/ (/1j 1w/) or /ɨ/ (/1/) being in contact with consonantal /j w/ or even consider the high central vowel itself purely an epenthetic feature separate from phonemic vowels giving you either a two vowel system /a ɨ/ (/a 1/) or even a very strange one vowel system /a/.

Neither of these insanities work as such though. There are instances of the high central vowel which are breaking allowed consonant clusters and so cannot be understood as inserted epenthetic vowels. Compare

patn ("betelnut") vs. amanatïn ("I feel")
kankan- ("shooting") vs. nïnïkïnïng ("chin")

These argue for understanding /ɨ/ (/1/) as a fully independent vowel phoneme. An even saner analysis would treat only the instances of /ɨ/ (/1/) alternating with zero as truly epenthetic leaving the non-alternating root internal cases as underlying vowels.

There's also reason to think that /i u/ must be truly phonemic on their own right. Besides the argument against invoking unattested glides, the vowels /i u/ also sometimes appear as epenthetic elements breaking illegal consonant clusters,

nakatïmayk ("I call him") + -kiak (PST) > nakatïmaykikiak ("I called him")
mangkum ("vein") + -l (DL) > mangkumul ("two veins")

There is no glide insertion here and instead the inserted vowels take their frontness of roundness from the same feature spreading from one of the surrounding syllables. There's also no historical reason to assume that /i u/ would have complex nature as they carry from the Proto Lower Sepik and are represented similarly in the related languages.

There is a way to make an analysis of the Yimas vowels with fewer segments, but to make this work properly we have to treat vowel quality more like a suprasegmental feature. First we introduce a [+low] quality that contrasts with unmarkedness. A vowel with the [+low] feature equals /a/ while an unmarked vowel equals /ɨ/ (/1/). On top of this contrast we assume optional [+front] and [+round] features so that vowels with only these equal /i u/ and those with these and [+low] equal /aj aw/. Vowel insertion can then be understood as inserting a plain unmarked vowel with /i u/ insertion as that followed by [+front]/[+round] spreading from the surrounding syllables.

Such an analysis is elegant but has the drawback of being unnecessarily abstract for most purposes. If you want to do a traditional and more practical segmental analysis of the Yimas vowels you are stuck with the four vowel interpretation.


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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:36 pm 
Lebom
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:28 pm 
Sanci
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:43 pm 
Avisaru
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Definitely interesting stuff... for what it's worth, I've heard of another 5-vowel system that doesn't seem to be included here. As far as I can tell nobody else has pointed it out yet.

Yuki (a language isolate from northern California) has a system similar to the OP's S5 but with the back-rounded vowel /o/ instead of the front-unrounded vowel /e/, for total inventory of /a, ə, i, o, u/


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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:45 am 
Sumerul
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:21 am 
Smeric
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:36 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:48 am 
Smeric
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I don't think the "Yonagu by you" recollection of articles zompist was envisioning was the ALCK. It just happens that only two articles were submitted (or maybe three, I can't even remember), and two articles don't make a book.

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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:52 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:08 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:49 pm 
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Old Slavonic had the same

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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:13 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:59 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:55 am 
Sanci
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Arapaho has a square 4 vowel system with /i u ɛ ɔ/. Is that the one you were thinking of?


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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:16 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:16 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:02 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:35 am 
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Last edited by Hallow XIII on Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:18 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:42 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:18 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:15 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:18 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Vowel Systems
PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:16 am 
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You think I don't still speak it with my family, with local Bulgarian friends, and with Bulgarians within Bulgaria when I visit every summer? Unlike most "diaspora" who barely deserve the name I've kept my language at native proficiency while adding others to my repertoire.

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