bhk at hd1.vsnl.net.in
Tue Jan 13 14:33:32 UTC 1998
>Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 22:10:13
>To: Larry Trask <larryt at cogs.susx.ac.uk>
>From: "Bh. Krishnamurti" <bhk at hd1.vsnl.net.in>
>Subject: Re: Q: term
>I noticed a similar phenomenon in the history of the Telugu language. I
called the process involved 'morphologization of sound change'. In short,
the process was as follows: Verb roots of the type (C)Vn- (some 7 in number)
when followed by a dental stop in modern Telugu change it to a retroflex,
e.g. an- 'to say' +tu: --> aN-Tu:'saying' (caps for retroflexes). There is
no phonetic motivativation for a dental stop to become a retroflex after a
non-retroflex nasal (dental-alveolar). Historically, the final n represents
a merger of an alveolar n and a retroflex N. The intermediate rules were (1)
n+tt-->n+t't' (a dental t following an an alveolar n became an alveolar t';
(2) some roots ended in N, so N+tt--> N+TT ( a dental t became aa retroflex
T after a retroflex N): (3) Alveolar t't' merged with retroflex TT
unconditionally; (4)N-->n in all environments except before retrolexes
[phonetically]. So we have roots ending in n (< n and N); t't'-->TT; these
two sound changes are followed by another regular sound change,(5)Geminate
reduction: CC-->C/C+__. Rules (1) to (5)are all automatic. As a consequence
of these we have a complicated morphophonemics in modern Telugu, e.g. an+tu:
--> aN-Tu: 'saying' (older *aN-TTu: < *an-t't'u:); kon-Tu: ('buying' from
*koN+TTu:; older root was *koN-). The problem here is that we have to shift
the cause (conditioning factor) of retroflexion of t to T to the canonical
form of the root (i.e. (C)Vn-) which is not either phonetically or
phonologically a natural cause for a dental to become a retroflex.
>In the Spanish case, one solution is to treat diphthongized e and o as a
separate class of stems from those with e and o which do not diphthongize.
This classification reflects their history. This is also a case of a regular
sound change creating morphological conditioning; simplification achieved in
phonology has a cost in morphology. This phenomenon is common in many languages.
>With regards, Bh.K.
>At 21:16 11/01/98 EST, you wrote:
>>I'm looking for a term. The phenomenon in question is extremely
>>familiar, but I don't know of an accepted name for it.
>>The phenomenon is this: a linguistic change which simplifies one
>>subsystem of a language may complicate another subsystem.
>>A typical example is the history of Spanish mid vowels. Earlier
>>Spanish had two low-mid vowels and two high-mid vowels; the low-mid
>>vowels were *automatically* diphthongized under stress, while the
>>high-mid vowels were not. But then the two low-mid vowels merged
>>with the two higher ones. This change simplified the phonological
>>system by removing two phonemes, but it greatly complicated the
>>morphology: the formerly automatic and transparent diphthongizations
>>became totally unpredictable and opaque, since some instances of the
>>new /e/ and /o/ diphthongized while others did not.
>>Does anybody know of an accepted label for this phenomenon, which I
>>suppose we might elevate to the status of a "principle"? If not,
>>wuld anybody like to propose one?
>>University of Sussex
>>Brighton BN1 9QH
>>larryt at cogs.susx.ac.uk
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