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Eastern Isthmus

To get Kennan to work, I have revised the Eastern Isthmus sound changes as follows. Most of the original changes should still be good for leading to Doroh; the ones missing below will have to be moved to early in the early-Doroh stage instead of staying in the EastI stage, and some distinctions created here will have to be dropped in Doroh (aspiration and labiovelarization); and I did have to modify the environments for ɬ and palatalization. Aside from those differences, it should still produce a Doroh quite similar the one originally envisioned. Radius 13:05, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

I've just realised that there is a small problem with these: PI has no *w, so the labialisation changes don't work all that well (that's why I lenited *f in the old version). Cedh 09:55, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Whoopsies! Right you are. I will remove references to such from the list. Thanks. I actually only need labialization for the purpose of preserving some distinction of the -u voice after unstressed vowels drop, so conditioning it by *u alone is no big issue to me. Radius 12:20, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
...Except there's those PEI diphthongs in -w that according to the PEI page leave diphthongs like /au eu/ in Isthmus, but which are not listed on the Isthmus page among its phonemes. This perhaps could use some clarification, especially if Isthmus is to retain any W-grade aspect (although I will not be using the W grade myself, in any case). Radius 11:52, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, those are there to produce Faraghin eu. I'm not entirely sure they're still needed, since most instances of eu now result from deleting *ɖ between vowels (atm we do have one word reconstructed with *au in PI). I agree we should clear this up; actually the whole diphthong situation is still kind of messy. Corumayas 21:01, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

I added stressed-vowel lengthening before voiced consonants in most places, except before syllable-final or morpheme-final CC clusters. This affects only the 2sg pronouns, and only in stressed environments; atonic pronouns would not have gained the lengthening. Radius 11:52, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Are these sound changes final? If so, let's update the article. (Also, what's the status of the Doroh changes? Do they need to be revised too?) Corumayas 01:21, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
I've just updated the article. As for Doroh, the changes listed below do indeed need revision. I've posted some comments on this here. Cedh 13:36, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Some proposals for the Doroh sound changes

  • Use the history function to compare
  • Not all of these modifications might be good ones - they better resolve clusters and create a three-way consonant gradation, but might leave gemination non-distinctive. Cedh 09:25, 27 August 2008 (UTC)


Early Doroh

Phonetic developments leading to Early Doroh most notably include lenition of intervocalic plosives on the one hand and the appearance of rounded front vowels on the other. The latter appears to have been an areal development that Doroh has in common with its neighbour Lotoka, a language of the Peninsular family.

  • s > h / V_C
  • b d ɖ dz g > β ɾ ɻ z ɣ / V_(ʲ,ʷ)V
  • p t ʈ k > b d ɖ g / V_V
  • n ŋ l > ɲ ɲ j / _ʲ (but not if preceded by sʲ zʲ)
  • s z > ʃ ʒ / _(i,ʲ)
  • ʂ sʷ > ʂʷ
  • ɻ ɾʷ > ɻʷ
  • Cʲa Cʷa > Cʲe Cʷo
  • Cʲo Cʷe > C(ʲ,ʷ)ø
  • Cʲu Cʷi > C(ʲ,ʷ)y
  • ew iw > ø y / except _V
  • bʲ dʲ > bij dij / #_
  • pʲ bʲ tʲ dʲ > ps βj ts dz
  • ʈʲ ɖʲ kʲ gʲ > ʈʂ ɖɻ tʃ dʒ
  • ɾʲ ɣʲ > j
  • pʷ bʷ > pf β
  • βʷ ɣʷ > w
  • ʲ ʷ > 0
  • dz dʒ > z ʒ / #_, [+voice]_
1sg da ahta zaɾa
1pl guʈ ohkuʈ  ?
2sg toɲ ohtoɲ zodoɲ
2pl we aʂø  ?
3sg-anim ɲø oʃnø zoɲø
3sg-inan mih ahmih  ?
3pl luts oɬuts  ?
int/rel-anim kej ahkej  ?
int/rel-inan bej ahpej  ?

Late Doroh

As testified by Doroh borrowings in the eastern dialects of Fáralo, preaspiration on consonants simplified over the course of the centuries by first developing into homoorganic fricatives or glides, and later forming geminates. This was accompanied by the loss of single word-final plosives and a regularization of stress to the first syllable. The sound changes between Early and Late Doroh can be summarized as follows:

  • β > w / _(C,#)
  • j > 0 / (e,i,ø,y)_(C,#)
  • w > 0 / (o,u,ø,y)_(C,#)
  • e ø o > ɛ œ ɔ / _C($,#)
  • i y u > e ø o / _h, _[+voice]
  • hp ht hʈ hk > fp st ʂʈ xk
  • hC > CC
  • N > Ø / _CC (including affricates)
  • [+affricate] > [+fricative] / _(C,#), #_V
  • p t ʈ k x > h / V_#
  • ɬ > tɬ / (V,N)_, _[+stress]
  • ɬ > θ
  • fp st ʂʈ xk > pp tt ʈʈ kk / V_
  • mb nd ɲz ɳɖ ŋg > mm nn ɲɲ ɳɳ ŋŋ / V_V, V_#
  • m n ɲ ɳ ŋ > w l j ɻ h / V_V
  • b d ɖ g > p t ʈ k / _[+stress], when geminate, or in clusters with non-plosive consonants
  • b d ɖ g > β ɾ ɻ ɣ except #_
  • β ɾ ɣ > v r ʀ
  • ɛ œ ɔ > e ø o / _C#
  • stress moves to first syllable

1sg da atta zara
1pl goh ɔkkoh  ? *zoʀoh
2sg tɔɲ (by analogy: *dɔɲ) ɔttɔɲ zorɔɲ
2pl we aʂø  ? *zawe
3sg-anim ɲø ɔʃnø zojø
3sg-inan meh ammeh  ? *zaweh
3pl lus ɔtɬus  ? *zolus
int/rel-anim ke (by analogy: *ge) akke  ? *zaʀe
int/rel-inan be appe  ? *zave

Revising the Faraghin sound changes?

We may want to do a little revision here. As a help in cleaning up the Faraghin changes, I've compiled a list of active phonotactic processes in Faraghin that I was able to discern from the lexicon:

We know about the o/u alternation. A few words still have the wrong vowel in the lexicon though (gudan, mašmuršesa, praghud, menghonin... rušnen I'm not sure of, since it has a nasal but with another consonant intervening).

kh -> k /_{š,s}

  • čokh 'fist ' -> čoks 'threatening, ready to fight'
  • tekh 'sword' -> tekšes 'soldier, swordsman'
  • Other consonants don't change, though (cf. rifs, khrans, muns, drors, gars, ners, šors, moršes, seršan, and all the instances of ts cited in the next entry).

t-s -> č /V_V

  • pat 'one' + sun 'two' -> pačunan 'reckon, count'
  • Ndak Ta ts is likewise loaned as č (cf. lač < NT lats, lečeu < Lêtsau).
  • But elsewhere morphological t-s remains (cf. čints, fistats, kats, kerts, lets, Porats, sats, tats).

Incidentally, it appears that Ndak Ta au may become either eu (lečeu < Lêtsau) or oi (soi < sau) in loans. The latter development looks a little strange to me.

t -> 0 /_n

  • nagat 'lord, baron' -> nagane 'seat (of a noble), capital'

Possibly t -> 0 /C_C

  • mašt 'house, palace' + moršes 'knight, warrior' -> mašmuršesa 'Council of Warriors' (On the other hand, the t is an obscure nominal suffix which might never have been present in this compound.)
  • In any case, t remains when the following C is s (cf. čints, Čintsin, kerts).

(Maybe the above two can be combined as t -> 0 /_[nasal]?)

Sporadic syncope of unstressed vowels

  • khiselan 'bequeath' -> khislod 'heir'

Maybe these should be worked into the Faraghin sound changes? - Corumayas 02:53, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

With oi-eu alternations, perhaps there was an intermediate /œ/ stage after au? It reminds me of the random oi-ai alternations in French. - Zhen Lin 14:29, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

[au] -> [ay] -> [œy], then either way? Cf. {au} in Icelandic... --Basilius 18:09, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

PI to Faraghin changes

I went ahead and added the above to the Faraghin sound changes.

There are still a few undecided details on the way from Proto-Isthmus to Faraghin; the biggest is what happens to the remaining vowel sequences. Cedh and I discussed this some time ago but didn't finish it... here's a chart from my notes.

Vowel sequences in the Ferogh languages

-a -ai -e -i -o -u
a- a(:) (ai) ai (ai) (au) au
ai- (ai) ai (ai) (ai) ai
e- e(:) ai (ai) (au) au
i- (e, e:) (i, i:) i(:) (?e or ɨ) (ɨ)
ɨ- a ai e i ɨ(:) o u
o- (ai) (ai, ɨ, o:) (ai or ɨ) o(:) (au)
u- (?o) (?o) (ɨ) (ɨ) (u) u(:)

This is meant to represent the period when late Proto-Ferogh was just beginning to split into early Faraghin and Feråjin, so some outcomes might be different in each dialect. Obviously the parentheses indicate tentative suggestions.

A few suggestions of mine:
  • *oi *oɨ *oe > [ɔɪ] in Proto-Ferogh, which gives oi in Faraghin and *[oː] > åː in Feråjin.
  • *ea *oa > e o (possibly long in Feråjin)
  • *eai oai > ai
  • *iai uai > e o (possibly long in Feråjin)
  • *ou > [uː] at first, becomes o(ː) in both languages later
Cedh 22:45, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Another thing Cedh and I discussed more recently is adding some dissimilation... this helps explain the form daradan "dance" as coming from a reduplicated form *da-daja-njo in Proto-Isthmus. (We thought the reduplication might have an iterative or atelic meaning: "dance and dance" or "dance around".) I think the change should happen in either Western Isthmus (*dadaðan > *daðadan) or Proto-Ferogh (*dadaran > *daradan).

Cedh and I talked this over on IRC, and I updated the article with our conclusions. We think the changes from PI to Faraghin are pretty much done now, although there could be room for a few more little fiddly changes that tweak specific words (like the dissimilation one). In fact, I think PEI to PI is pretty much done too, so there's no barrier to projecting the Faraghin wordlist all the way back. Which will be my next project. Corumayas 01:38, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
I've been testing the sound changes with some randomly generated root shapes, and I've come across three open issues in the PEI > PI phase:
  • Do medial/final *rts *rdz become retroflexes too? (I would guess so.)
  • What happens to clusters like *rn *rs? It would seem logical to have those become [ɳ ʂ] along with the other coronals, but PI isn't currently listed as having those. Otherwise, they would remain distinct from plain *n *s only after *i, since non-retroflexed coda *r > *w > Ø, but *iw > *ju.
  • I think maybe there should be an environment that protects obstruents after *r from becoming retroflexes; for instance when they are followed by a consonant with which they can form a legal onset cluster. Why? It would give us paradigmatic alternations that look like suppletion, for instance the reflexes of a PEI root *rirk (> PI *iʈ~*juk) would alternate between *eč and *rok in Faraghin.
Cedh 18:27, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
Those are all good points.
  • For *rts *rdz, should any trace of the affrication remain? Maybe they become *ʈj *ɖj or something?
  • I'm reluctant to add phonemes to PI, but maybe *rn *rs could do something other than just become *n *s. I'm not sure what that would be though.
  • That's a great idea. Let's suppose your example *rirk is a noun, and the plural marker goes back to Pre-Proto-Isthmus as *-wa... I think it could have a paradigm something like this in Faraghin:
NOM roka
ACC ečes rokois
GEN šečum šikum
Also, there's something else I thought of last night: why doesn't Proto-Ferogh get a dative suffix to go with its accusative and genitive ones? It could fill in the gaps in the pronoun system that way (like the plural pronouns that are the same as the singulars, and the ones that just use the genitive), and also use it for dative nouns.
Anyway, we know Faraghin has a case suffix meaning "outside", which makes me think it has a large, Hungarian-like case system; so I think there should be a lot more case suffixes derived from postpositions. They could be mostly built on the old genitive-accusative stem (like the forms šečum šikum above)...
Corumayas 20:51, 14 August 2010 (UTC)


Here's a crude chart with most of the Isthmus morphology that we know about so far...

Proto-Isthmus Western Isthmus Eastern Isthmus
Nominal affixes
GEN/ACC as- initial stop --> fricative as-/os-
DAT/LOC dza- ða- dza-/dzo-
PL (?) -o -o -o (may cause umlaut)
ACC its itsʰ
GEN um um um
Extraessive ('outside') nak nak nakʰ
Tense/aspect infixes
S-grade (resultative) < s > following stop --> fricative < s > (devoices a following b d ɖ dz g)
N-grade (imperfective) <n> <n> <n>
J-grade (inceptive) <j> a e o i u --> ai ai ai i ɨ a e o i u --> aj ej oj ʲej ʷoj
W-grade no change, except i --> (j)u i --> ɨ/u i --> ʲu/ʷu
R-grade following stop --> ʈ ɖ¹; otherwise same as W-grade following stop --> tʃ dʒ following stop --> ʈʰ ɖ
L-grade <l> <l> <l>
Voice/valency suffixes
Active -a -a -a
CAUS -i, -aj -i, ai -ʲi, -aj
PASS -u, -a -u, -a -ʷu (may cause umlaut), -a
PASS of CAUS -ju -ʲu
CAUS of PASS -uj -ʷoj (may cause umlaut)
Deverbalizing suffix
PTCP -di -d -dʲi
Subject agreement suffixes²
3SG -njo -n -nʲo

1. With w-coloring of the following vowel when *rp *rb > ʈ ɖ.

2. I've left the other agreement suffixes out for now because I think we need to think about them some more. Previous discussion of them is at Talk:Proto-Eigə-Isthmus#Agreement.

Corumayas 03:47, 24 October 2010 (UTC)