Kuyʔūn/Sound changes

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Stage 1: Classical Adāta to Xoronic Vulgar Adāta (XVA), c. 600 YP

  1. VOWEL CHANGES (c. 250 YP)
    • The length distinction in diphthongs was lost. (eːibu > eibu)
    • Stress moved from [i iː u uː] to immediately following vowels, and from short [e o] to immediately following long non-high vowels. After this, all prevocalic high vowels reduced to semivowels when short, and acquired an offglide when long. Short mid vowels also became glides when followed by a non-high vowel, except in the sequences [eo ea oe oa] when preceded by a consonant. (ˈkʰíara > kʰiára > kʰjara)
    • All remaining sequences of two short vowels coalesced into long monophthongs as follows:
      • [oa] → [aː] (ro atʰe > raːtʰe)
      • [ea ae oe] → [eː] (nalaepʰa > naleːpʰa)
      • [ei ai oi] → [eː] with palatalisation of following consonants (kaila- > keːlʲa-)
      • [ui] → [iː] with palatalisation of following consonants (huiza > hiːzʲa)
      • [ao au eo eu ou] → [oː] (seatʰjauk > seːtʰjoːk)
  2. PALATALISATION (300-500 YP; these rules remain active until stage #8)
    • Sequences of a consonant followed by [j] became palatalised consonants. (seːtʰjoːk > seːtʰʲoːk)
    • Fricatives became palatalised before [i iː]. Other consonants did so before stressed or initial [i iː] only. (hin > hʲin)
  3. VOWEL SYNCOPE PT. I (c. 300 YP)
    • Short vowels in medial post-tonic position were dropped between two sibilants, between a sibilant and a voiceless plosive, between a nasal and any plosive, or between a liquid and a plosive or nasal. In case an obstruent was involved, syncope was blocked in syllables immediately after a stressed long vowel. (abizetʰi > abistʰi, zimabe > zimbe)
    • The voiced plosives [b d] devoiced to [p t] in clusters and when stressed or word-initial, nasalised to [m n] in word-final position, and lenited to [w j] otherwise. The rare voiced velar plosive [ɡ] became [j] in all positions. (dámoː > támoː, maːdo > maːjo, eːb > eːm)
      (In the dialect of Tikhōdōzē, [d] is reflected as [ɹ] where it remained intervocalic, merging with [j] only when adjacent to a consonant or morpheme boundary.)
  5. VOWEL SYNCOPE PT. II (c. 400 YP)
    • Short vowels were dropped from many unstressed syllables. The exact rules remain unclear, but vowels adjacent to a semivowel, preceding a stressed or long vowel, or following a short stressed vowel were especially likely to be lost, and initial short vowels preceding a stressed syllable were syncopated in all environments. If the lost vowel had been [i], the resulting cluster became palatalised. The rules can be approximately generalised as follows:
      • V → Ø / V(j,w)_CV (oːjasu > oːjsu)
      • V → Ø / #_"CV (omóː > moː)
      • V → Ø / #P_"(S/L)V (piléː > plʲéː)
      • V → Ø / VC_CVː (awizeː > awzʲeː)
      • V → Ø / "V(j,w)C_ (mátuja > mátja > mátʲa)
    • Vowel syncope was apparently blocked after sequences of a stressed long vowel and a non-liquid consonant, or if it would have created a cluster other than the following:
      • {r,l,s,z,j,w,m,n} + {p,t,k}(ʰ) (not initially)
      • {r,l} + {m,n} (not initially)
      • {j,w} + {m,n,r,l,s,z,x} (not initially)
      • {p,t,k}(ʰ) + {s,z,r,l} (only initially)
      • {p,t,k}(ʰ) + {j,w} (not finally)
      • {m,n,r,l,s,z} + {j,w} (not finally)
      • {s,z,x} + {r,l} (not finally)
      • geminate {rr ll mm nn} (only medially)
    • The voiced sibilants [z zʲ] merged with their voiceless counterparts [s sʲ] in most positions, except word-finally where both lenited to [j], and in word-initial and intervocalic positions where the non-palatalised variant rhotacised to [r]. (zʲimeː > sʲimeː, zej > rej)
    • Intervocalic original [r] debuccalised to [ʔ]. This must have happened before the rhotacisation of intervocalic [z] because the two did not merge. (rupiráːtʰu > rupiʔáːtʰu)
    • [x] was lost word-finally, and lenited to [h] in all other positions. (xata > hata)
    • Word-final [s] became [h]. (kaːlas > kaːlah)
    • Unaspirated plosives became voiced after nasal consonants, and their aspirated counterparts became plain voiceless plosives in the same position. Clusters of a nasal followed by a voiced plosive then simplified to geminate nasals. (entʰa > enta, atonta > atonda > atonna)
    • Remaining non-palatalised [kʰ] backed to [q]. Word-final [k] preceded by one of {a,o,w,l,r} also became [q]. (kʰoːra > qo:ra, seːθʲoːk > seːθʲoːq)
    • Intervocalic aspirated plosives in unstressed syllables lenited to fricatives [ɸ θ x] (rupiʔáːtʰu > rupiʔáːθu)
    • Aspiration became non-distinctive. (tʰalo > talo, kʰʲaʔa > kʲaʔa)
    • Coda [l] became [w], and coda [r] was deleted with compensatory lengthening of preceding vowels. Geminate [ll rr] remained. (jal > jaw, tarn > taːn)
    • [a aː] raised to [e eː] before palatalised consonants. (matʲa > metʲa)
    • [tʲ kʲ θʲ sʲ xʲ hʲ rʲ lʲ nʲ] became [ʦ ʧ s ʃ ʃ ʃ j ʎ ɲ]. (seːθʲoːq > seːso:q, metʲa > meʦa)
    • Palatalisation condensed into a [j]-offglide after intervocalic labial consonants (closing the preceding syllable), and became non-distinctive otherwise.

Stage 2: Xoronic Vulgar Adāta to Kuyʔūn dialects (c. 1200 YP)

  1. VOWEL SHIFT (c. 650 YP)
    • [iː uː] in open syllables diphthongised to [ja wa] before [q], and to [aj aw] otherwise. (ʃiːʃa > ʃajʃa)
    • [eː oː] merged into remaining [iː uː]. (seːsoːq > siːsuːq)
    • In the dialect of Eieliatus only, short [o] merged into [u]. (maːjo > maːju)
    • The high vowels [i iː u uː] were lowered to mid vowels [e eː o oː] adjacent to [q]. In the dialects of Eieliatus and Meximō, previous [e eː] also lowered in these positions to merge into [a aː].
    • Eieliatus dialect
      • Coda [ɲ ʎ] became [n j].
      • [we ew je ej] merged into [wi iw ja aj], except in stressed syllables where the semivowel was intervocalic.
      • [ju wi] (regardless of length) shifted to falling diphthongs [iw uj] in open syllables when preceded by a consonant.
      • [wa] monophthongised to [a] in postconsonantal position, regardless of length.
      • Coda [w] disappeared before labial consonants, and coda [j] before palatal and postalveolar consonants. If the following consonant ended up in intervocalic position, it was geminated in compensation.
      • [ji jiː wu wuː] reduced to [j ʔiː w ʔuː] after vowels.
      • All remaining combinations of high vowels adjacent to their corresponding semivowel in either order coalesced into a single long high vowel. When followed by a vowel of different quality, the semivowel remained to hold apart the hiatus. However, if a vowel of the same quality followed, an epenthetic glottal stop was inserted instead.
      • [e eː] broke into [ja ja:] in all positions. The palatal onglide soon reduced to secondary palatalisation on preceding consonants, which became non-distinctive in most clusters later on.
    • Meximō and Tikhōdōzē dialects
      • Coda [ɲ ʎ] became [jn jl].
      • In sequences of a high vowel and its corresponding semivowel, the syllabic element dissimilated to become a mid vowel. In the dialect of Tikhōdōzē, original vowel length was converted into an additional on- or offglide.
      • All postconsonantal [wi we wa wo] monophthongised to [u o o o], not affecting length.
      • Similarly, all preconsonantal and word-final [iw ew aw ow] monophthongised to [u o o o], not affecting length.
      • In the dialect of Meximō only, [uj ej uːj eːj] became [i i iː iː] when not followed by a vowel. All remaining [u uː] in this dialect then merged into [o oː].
    • Unstressed intervocalic [q] lenited to [ʔ] in the dialect of Meximō, and to [χ] in the dialect of Tikhōdōzē.
    • In the Tikhōdōzē dialect, all remaining [q] merged into [k]. Along with this, [χ] shifted to [x]. (Actually, the lowering of adjacent vowels is the only indication that this dialect ever had an uvular realisation of Adāta /kʰ/. Some scholars have therefore proposed that the actual phone was a pharyngealised velar stop [kˤ].)
    • Unstressed short vowels between two (near-)identical consonants were frequently elided in medial positions, resulting in geminate consonants.
    • Unstressed short vowels in word-final position were elided after single non-fricative consonants. Unlike the other two dialects, final vowels following [s ʃ] were retained in the speech of Eieliatus.
    • Unstressed short vowels were elided in open medial syllables adjacent to a syllable with primary (and occasionally: secondary) stress, provided the resulting cluster did not contain more than two non-approximant consonants.
    • Unstressed long vowels in word-final position or adjacent to a stressed syllable were shortened.
    • [ɸ w] shifted to [m] after nasal consonants, and [ʎ j] shifted to [ɲ] after nasal consonants other than [m].
    • [θ] preceded by a nasal consonant shifted to [t] in the dialects of Eieliatus and Meximō, and to [n] in the dialect of Tikhōdōzē.
    • In the dialect of Eieliatus, [r l] shifted to [Pl] after nasal consonants, with P representing a voiceless plosive at the POA of the nasal. In the other two dialects, [r l] after nasal consonants became [n].
    • All nasals assimilated in POA to immediately following non-approximant consonants.
    • In the dialect of Tikhōdōzē only, [ʔ] assimilated in POA to immediately preceding nasal and liquid consonants. In all other clusters, the glottal stop was lost, and in intervocalic position it lenited to [h].
    • In the dialects of Eieliatus and Meximō, all clusters including [ʔ] rearranged in such a way that the glottal stop always ended up as the first segment of the cluster.
    • Plosive consonants lenited to [ʔ] before nasals in the dialect of Eieliatus, and before both nasals and liquids in the dialect of Meximō.
    • In the dialect of Tikhōdōzē, all clusters of [nj lj] merged with the palatal sonorants [ɲ ʎ].
    • In the dialect of Eieliatus only, word-initial [ʎ ɲ] both shifted to [j] in word-initial position.
    • In the dialects of both Eieliatus and Meximō, [ʎ] became [j] after consonants other than [j w]. Remaining [ʎ] and all [r] then merged into [l], and [ɲ] merged into [n].
  6. VOWEL NASALISATION (Tikhōdōzē dialect only, before 1000 YP):
    • Nasal coda consonants were lost with compensatory lengthening and nasalisation of preceding vowels.
    • Only a reduced set of quality distinctions was made in nasalised vowels: [ɔ̃] from back vowels and diphthongs with a labial offglide, [ɛ̃] from front vowels and diphthongs with a palatal offglide, and [ɑ̃] from [a] as well as from [e] preceding syllables without a front vowel or palatal consonant.
  7. FRICATIVE MERGERS (c. 900-1000 YP):
    • In the dialects of Meximō and Eieliatus, [ɸ x] merged into [h]. Prevocalic [h] further shifted to [ʔ] soon afterwards.
    • In the dialect of Eieliatus only, [l] preceded by a plosive devoiced to [ɬ].
    • [θ] became [t] before sibilants in the dialects of Tikhōdōzē and Meximō, merging with the pre-existing affricates [ʦ ʧ].
    • In the dialects of Meximō and Eieliatus, all remaining [θ] lateralised to [ɬ].
    • Subsequently, all clusters consisting of a fricative and a liquid in either order merged into [ɬ] in the same two dialects. The dialect of Tikhōdōzē kept the original POA distinctions in such clusters except for [+velar] vs. [+glottal], but introduced allophonic voicing on fricatives adjacent to a liquid.
    • In all three dialects, remaining clusters of two fricatives assimilated to form a geminate. The outcome was determined by a resiliency scale in which [ʃ] ranked highest, [s] second, and [θ] third. If none of these three segments was present, the last segment of the cluster provided the point of articulation of the geminate.
    • [ʦ ʧ] in coda position lenited to [s ʃ].
    • Coda [θ ɬ] became [r l] before voiced consonants.
    • In the dialects of Eieliatus and Meximō, remaining non-sibilant coda fricatives neutralised to [h].
    • In the dialect of Eieliatus, glottal stops in coda position were converted into gemination of following voiceless consonants.
    • Coda [h] was dropped with compensatory lengthening of preceding short vowels in all three dialects. However, the Tikhōdōzē dialect retained [h] before plosives, and the Meximō dialect retained [h] before plosives, sibilants, and word-finally.
    • In the dialect of Tikhōdōzē, coda [r] was dropped with compensatory lengthening before voiceless consonants and word-finally, and coda [l] became [n] before any non-liquid consonant.
    • Word-final [l] became [w] in all dialects.
    • [wa wo we wi] → [oː oː oj uj] after consonants (Meximō and Tikhōdōzē dialects).
    • [aj aw uj] → [a a u] in closed syllables (Eieliatus dialect).
    • [aj oj ej uj] → [e e i i] in closed syllables, not affecting length (Meximō and Tikhōdōzē dialects).
    • [aw ew ow iw] → [o o o i] in closed syllables, not affecting length (Meximō dialect).
    • [aw ew ow iw] → [o o u u] in closed syllables, not affecting length (Tikhōdōzē dialect).
  10. PROSODIC CHANGES (may have been active since c. 1000 YP):
    • Long vowels were shortened before geminate consonants.
    • Unstressed long vowels were also shortened word-finally or when following a heavy syllable (that is, a syllable with a long vowel, a diphthong, or a coda nasal).
    • In the Tikhōdōzē dialect, all vowels in open syllables became long. After this, phonemic vowel length was lost. Long mid vowels merged into their short counterparts in unstressed positions only; in closed syllables with primary stress [e eː o oː] remained distinct as [ɛ e ɔ o].

See also