Michael McCafferty mmccaffe at
Thu Feb 7 16:42:13 UTC 2013

Hi, Susana,

There is always a wiser voice than mine to chime in, but from where I 
stand the /y/ *is* there "chia". What we have is an orthographic 
problem rather than a phonological one. This happened across the board 
when European languages with their orthographical and phonological 
mindsets encountered the "exotic" languages of the Americas. In your 
cases, orthographic "chia" is in fact [chiya], and orthographic "pia" 
is [piya].

I came across an interesting example of how Europeans spelled Native 
words in "unusual" ways just the other day with an Illinois language 
exclamation. The Jesuit missionary wrote it "ii8e".

The letter 8 can represent a number of things, mostly /w/, /oo/, but 
even /o(o)w/ and /wa/.

So, what does ii8e represent? We're not sure of vowel length, but it 
was something either /iiyoowe/ or /iyoowe/. ;-)


Quoting Susana Moraleda <susana at>:

> Piyali listeros,
> Por favor alguien podria hablarme del fenomeno de la "desaparicion de
> la Y" en palabras como CHIA en vez de CHIYA, PIA en vez de PIYA, etc.?
> Los diccionarios de Molina y de Simeon ignoran la Y, igual que
> Sullivan en su gramatica, mientras que en el diccionario de Karttunen
> y en el curso de Campbell aparece la Y.
> Como llegò a desaparecer esta Y?
> Gracias
> Susana
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