(L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Xonen » 05 Dec 2018 01:07

Porphyrogenitos wrote:
27 Nov 2018 05:18
Does anyone know of any vowel length alternation systems that have developed recently? Or that otherwise have a well-understood origin? And would anyone happen to have links or info about such a system?
Well, I did just hold a presentation on the development of certain vowel-length alternations in Inari Saami a couple of weeks back... Unfortunately, my materials are all in Finnish and Inari Saami (plus, counting sources, some long-dead trees in German), so I guess uploading them here wouldn't really help.

But to very briefly summarize: Proto-Saamic developed consonant gradation, meaning that consonants at the onset of the final syllable of the word (and/or the coda of the penult) were pronounced longer if the final syllable was open than if it was closed, resulting in allophonic alternations like this:

*[tolˑɘ] : *[tolɘn] ('fire', nominative and genitive singular, respectively)
*[lɘsˑtɘ] : *[lɘstɘn] ('leaf', ditto)

Later, many case endings were shortened or lost in most Saami languages, so consonant gradation itself took on the function of distinguishing forms, eg. North Saami dolla vs. dola (from the aforementioned *[tolˑɘ] : *[tolɘn]).

In addition, East Saamic (and eastern dialects of North Saami) have developed vowel length alternations by, as a rule of thumb, lengthening short stressed vowels before short consonants and shortening long vowels before long consonants. For example, the same forms in Inari would be tullâ : tuulâ for 'fire' and lostâ : loostâ for 'leaf'.

The system is quite similar in Skolt Saami, for which a fairly extensive grammar in English exists - and is freely available online. Not that much on the history of the system, but at least a fairly good source on how it works synchronically, I think.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » 05 Dec 2018 07:51

Xonen wrote:
05 Dec 2018 01:07
Porphyrogenitos wrote:
27 Nov 2018 05:18
Does anyone know of any vowel length alternation systems that have developed recently? Or that otherwise have a well-understood origin? And would anyone happen to have links or info about such a system?
Well, I did just hold a presentation on the development of certain vowel-length alternations in Inari Saami a couple of weeks back... Unfortunately, my materials are all in Finnish and Inari Saami (plus, counting sources, some long-dead trees in German), so I guess uploading them here wouldn't really help.
I love the scope ambiuity here. At first I thought that it was the vowel-length alternations that developed a couple of weeks back [:D]
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 » 05 Dec 2018 19:39

Depending on how "recently" you're looking for, there's open-syllable lengthening in Middle English, vowel length is allophonically determined by syllable structure in the modern North Germanic languages as well. I can only thing of English, though, as being a language where this vowel lengthening became independent of syllable structure due to the loss of some unstressed vowels, but I don't know if that happened before the Great Vowel Shift or after, e.g. whether it was:

(1) /staf/ ~ /sta:vəs/ > (2) /staf/ ~ /sta:vəs/ > (3) /staf/ ~ sta:vz/ > (4) /staf/ ~ /steɪvz/, or:
(1) /staf/ ~ /sta:vəs/ > (2) /staf/ ~ /sta:vəs/ > (3) /staf/ ~ steɪvəs/ > (4) /staf/ ~ /steɪvz/

... or something else.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » 05 Dec 2018 21:17

sangi39 wrote:
05 Dec 2018 19:39
Depending on how "recently" you're looking for, there's open-syllable lengthening in Middle English, vowel length is allophonically determined by syllable structure in the modern North Germanic languages as well. I can only thing of English, though, as being a language where this vowel lengthening became independent of syllable structure due to the loss of some unstressed vowels, but I don't know if that happened before the Great Vowel Shift or after, e.g. whether it was:

(1) /staf/ ~ /sta:vəs/ > (2) /staf/ ~ /sta:vəs/ > (3) /staf/ ~ sta:vz/ > (4) /staf/ ~ /steɪvz/, or:
(1) /staf/ ~ /sta:vəs/ > (2) /staf/ ~ /sta:vəs/ > (3) /staf/ ~ steɪvəs/ > (4) /staf/ ~ /steɪvz/

... or something else.
A footnote: it's based on word structure, as well as syllable structure, due to trisyllabic laxing (Christ vs Christmas). It's believed, iirc, that the fundamental motivation here was word shape: the language tried to maintain a three-mora shape for most words. Words that were shorter than that - monosyllables and open short bisyllables tended to have their vowels lengthened, while words that were clearly longer than that (trisyllables with long vowels) had shortening. This may also explain high vowel loss conditions: after a long syllable or a pair of short syllables. If we assume that most words meeting these conditions by then probably had medial clusters, that would be a way of saying "in the fourth mora"... although of course it did also apply where there weren't medial clusters. [it didn't apply after a long syllable followed by a short syllable, perhaps because then the high vowel was clearly in a new foot?]

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 10 Dec 2018 06:57

If two different words in the same language have
The same first four consonant phonemes in the same order, and
The same first four vowel phonemes in the same order, and
The same last four consonant phonemes in the same order, and
The same last four vowel phonemes in the same order:

Then
I hypothesize that, probably,
Either one of them is derived/inflected from the other by synchronic processes,
Or that they are both derived/inflected from the same root or stem or word-base by synchronic processes;
And that, furthermore, they are synchronically closely-related semantically.

(The caveat “probably” is necessary because of such homophone-pairs as “genial” and “genial”, or “mental” and “mental”.)

At least one of them has either at least nine consonant phonemes or at least nine vowel phonemes, I think, or they’d be homophones.

My question is, how probable is the apodosis, given that protasis?
Or, how likely or common are exceptions?

Perhaps I should not count the vowels separately from the consonants. Or perhaps I should count fewer than four.

In other words, maybe the protasis should be, “if two words in one language have the same first four phonemes in the same order and the same last four phonemes in the same order, ...”.
Or, “if two words in the same language have the same first two consonants, the same first two vowels, the same last two consonants, and the same last two vowels, ...”

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 14 Dec 2018 00:48

Easier questions:

In what languages is it true that,
if two morphemes differ only in their final consonants,
and those final consonants differ only in their manners-of-articulation,
then the two morphemes are likely to be morphologically, semantically, and etymologically related?

In what languages is it true that,
if two morphemes differ only in their first consonants,
and those first consonants differ only in their manners-of-articulation,
then the two morphemes are likely to be morphologically, semantically, and etymologically related?

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguistCat » 16 Dec 2018 00:32

Cross post from CBB:

Does anyone happen to know what verbs could be used in Classical Japanese for moving the capital? Would <動く> "to move" work? (The other meanings it has on jisho.com imply animal movement, or skittering like bugs so probably not?) What about <ひきこす> an older variant of <引っ越す> "to move (house); to change residence​"? Or would a completely different term be used, whether it (or a descendant) has the same meaning in modern Japanese, it has changed, or has left no modern descendant?

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » 16 Dec 2018 00:47

LinguistCat wrote:
16 Dec 2018 00:32
Cross post from CBB:
I'm sorry I don't have an answer to your question, but this is the CBB.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa » 16 Dec 2018 04:17

The new skin makes this board look exactly like the ZBB .... its easy to get them mixed up.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » 16 Dec 2018 04:20

Oh, really? I don't know if I've ever been on the ZBB.

Anyway, the question was:
LinguistCat wrote:
16 Dec 2018 00:32
Does anyone happen to know what verbs could be used in Classical Japanese for moving the capital? Would <動く> "to move" work? (The other meanings it has on jisho.com imply animal movement, or skittering like bugs so probably not?) What about <ひきこす> an older variant of <引っ越す> "to move (house); to change residence​"? Or would a completely different term be used, whether it (or a descendant) has the same meaning in modern Japanese, it has changed, or has left no modern descendant?

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguistCat » 16 Dec 2018 22:20

Pabappa wrote:
16 Dec 2018 04:17
The new skin makes this board look exactly like the ZBB .... its easy to get them mixed up.
It does, and I first posted it on the ZBB, so if that doesn't say something idk what does.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Porphyrogenitos » 18 Dec 2018 05:26

Does anyone know of any languages with fairly simple phonologies - especially ones with small phoneme inventories, and possibly ones with very simple phonotactics - that have a good amount of morphological alternations?

I can think of rendaku and Lyman's law in Japanese, and those stem extensions that exist in some Polynesian languages, but I'm unsure of what else is out there. Does Japanese have anything else?

I was just thinking about how, even though languages with very restricted phonotactic structures wouldn't seem to provide especially fertile ground for the genesis of morphological alternations, such languages might preserve very old morphological alternations that developed in a previous stage when the language had a more complex phonological structure.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by GrandPiano » 18 Dec 2018 06:24

Porphyrogenitos wrote:
18 Dec 2018 05:26
I can think of rendaku and Lyman's law in Japanese, and those stem extensions that exist in some Polynesian languages, but I'm unsure of what else is out there. Does Japanese have anything else?
Not sure if this is exactly what you’re looking for, but Japanese has some somewhat interesting alterations in the past tense and conjunctive forms of consonant-stem verbs (with the suffixes -ta and -te, respectively).

The underlying rule for all verbs is that -ta and -te attach to the continuative stem of the verb; however, this only happens straightforwardly with vowel-stem verbs, consonant-stem verbs that end in -su, and (ironically) the two fully irregular verbs. For a consonant-stem verb, the continuative stem replaces the -u of the dictionary form with -i; for example, the continuative stem of hanasu “to speak” is hanashi (with palatalization of /s/ before /i/), and its past tense form is hanashita. When the verb stem ends with a consonant other than s, one of the following takes place:
  • If the stem ends in r, t(s), or w, the final syllable before the suffix is absorbed into the suffix as a geminate t:
    • toru “to take” > *torita > totta “took”
    • katsu “to win” > *kachita > katta “won”
    • kau “to buy” > *ka(w)ita > katta “bought”
  • If the stem ends in m, n, or b, the final syllable before the suffix becomes a moraic n and the /t/ of the suffix is voiced to /d/:
    • yomu “to read” > *yomita > yonda “read (pst.)”
    • shinu “to die” > *shinita > shinda “died”
    • yobu “to call” > *yobita > yonda “called”
  • If the stem ends in k, the consonant is simply deleted:
    • kaku “to write” > *kakita > kaita “wrote”
  • If the stem ends in g, the consonant is deleted and the /t/ of the suffix is voiced to /d/:
    • oyogu “to swim” > *oyogita > oyoida “swam”

Is that the kind of thing you were asking about?
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » 18 Dec 2018 21:36

Porphyrogenitos wrote:
18 Dec 2018 05:26
Does anyone know of any languages with fairly simple phonologies - especially ones with small phoneme inventories, and possibly ones with very simple phonotactics - that have a good amount of morphological alternations?

I can think of rendaku and Lyman's law in Japanese, and those stem extensions that exist in some Polynesian languages, but I'm unsure of what else is out there. Does Japanese have anything else?

I was just thinking about how, even though languages with very restricted phonotactic structures wouldn't seem to provide especially fertile ground for the genesis of morphological alternations, such languages might preserve very old morphological alternations that developed in a previous stage when the language had a more complex phonological structure.
Skou (CV, 23 phonemes) and Nimboran (CCVC, 18 segments) are other examples of languages with axe-crazy morphophonology and relatively tame phoneme inventories and phonotactics.
I actually think that the opposite generalization might be true. If a language has a very complex phoneme inventory and complex phonotactics, it is less likely to have complex morphophonology. The reasoning is that phonotactic restrictions apply at the surface but not to the underlying form. If you add a /-C/ suffix to a CVC root in a language that only allows CV syllables on the surface, you will need to find some solution. This is were we find delicious morphophonology.
I acknowledge that your hypothesis also makes sense and I thank it should be possible to falsify each analysis.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Porphyrogenitos » 19 Dec 2018 06:50

GrandPiano wrote:
18 Dec 2018 06:24
Is that the kind of thing you were asking about?
Yes, these are great examples! Thank you.
Creyeditor wrote:
18 Dec 2018 21:36
Skou (CV, 23 phonemes) and Nimboran (CCVC, 18 segments) are other examples of languages with axe-crazy morphophonology and relatively tame phoneme inventories and phonotactics.
I actually think that the opposite generalization might be true. If a language has a very complex phoneme inventory and complex phonotactics, it is less likely to have complex morphophonology. The reasoning is that phonotactic restrictions apply at the surface but not to the underlying form. If you add a /-C/ suffix to a CVC root in a language that only allows CV syllables on the surface, you will need to find some solution. This is were we find delicious morphophonology.
I acknowledge that your hypothesis also makes sense and I thank it should be possible to falsify each analysis.
Wow, I'd never heard of either of those before! I just looked up a couple of papers about them and they look very interesting! Thanks for the recommendations.

And I don't know, I guess I assumed that a language with strictly CV syllables would tend not to have underlying representations much different than that, as seems to be the case with Polynesian. But apparently that's not the case.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Zekoslav » 20 Dec 2018 14:23

There's a well-described Oceanic language, Mwotlap, which fit's the requirement of having underlying representations very different from their surface realizations (it's strictly CVC), having lots of interesting morphonology in the process.

It's full description, is, however, in French only.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by spanick » 21 Dec 2018 02:52

Does anyone know the etymology of the various Romansch words (chametg, cametg, tgametg) for lightning?

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa » 21 Dec 2018 04:52

Basque maybe? Basque for lightning is tximista. Unless the Basque is itself a loan from romance .
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Xonen » 22 Dec 2018 20:54

Pabappa wrote:
21 Dec 2018 04:52
Basque maybe? Basque for lightning is tximista. Unless the Basque is itself a loan from romance .
Looking at the geography, at least, the latter would seem more likely. Although I can't say I can tell what the Romance original would be.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 » 22 Dec 2018 21:21

If there is a Romance origin, I get the feeling it might end in -ct-some suffix, or possibly -ex. The words the Wiktionary a) has entries for, and b) provides etymologies for, which chametg also rhymes are retg, dretg, fretg, stretg, which come from rex, directus, frucuts, and strictus respectively, but there's also setg which apparently derives from siccus.

So I would have said something like *camVctus, *camVx, or *camVccus, but damned if I can find an entry at the moment that would fit that at all.
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