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KathTheDragon
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Posts: 381

So, I've run the entire morpheme set of D'ni which I have on my computer through a frequency analyser, and here's what it spat out. I am not counting <'> as either a consonant or a vowel.


Syllables may be of the forms CV CVC VC V CCV CCVC CVCC VCC

All consonants can be the onset of a syllable.

Only /y h w/ and maybe /p/ cannot be the coda of a syllable.

Onset clusters may be /pr tr gl br bl kr kl gr fl/.

Coda clusters may be /rn nt rx rk rg st rþ/.

Syllable forms and clusters are listed in order of probability.

Any omitted clusters are not necessarily impossible.


There was information about which phonemes may occur next to each other, but the list was very long, and I can't be assed to go through it.

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October 21, 2013 at 4:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Talashar
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Posts: 30

Lonep and the name Rolep indicate that a /p/ coda isn't entirely absent from D'ni.

Some other examples of nasal+stop codas are seen in umt and mahnshootahvting.  There doesn't seem to be any restriction on place or voicing.

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Talashar Geltahn; Ki 183867 An overview of D'ni grammar | My books

October 22, 2013 at 10:20 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Khreestrefah
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Posts: 96

Also note that it is possible that /þ/ cannot be the onset of a syllable.  The only example is "thoe" from The Book of Ti'ana, at the time of the publication of which Rawa was using "TH" to transcribe /þ/ and "th" to transcribe /ð/ (see http://cho.cyan.com/rawa/JPGS/DEConvert.JPG ;) and of course "thoe" seems like it should be related to the word written dho 'how' in the transcription used later.  Rawa also used "I" (i.e. capital "i" not small "L") to transcribe the diphthong /ai/ and small "i" for /i/; and there do not seem to be any syllables beginning with /ai/ either.


These transcriptions seem to have been based on Atrus's usage when he taught Yeesha the D'ni language, and at that time of course he would have had no motive for using "dh" for /ð/, and in English "ai" is actually a relatively rare spelling of the sound /ai/.  The fact that /þ/ and /ai/ could not occur initially (if true) might have made it less inconvenient to use capital letters for these sounds since one could still capitalize D'ni proper names in transcription unambiguously.


There remains an element of speculation in this, but if these two sounds cannot occur intially then they may have originated as allophones conditioned by the neighboring sounds.  Thus /þ/ occurs most frequently in the suffix used to form nouns from adjectives, as garoth 'greatness' from garo 'great'.  We could paraphrase an abstraction like 'greatness' as "how to be great"; so it seems possible that the suffix is related to the word dho 'how'; and perhaps had an earlier form *garodh.  Once the abstractions like "greatness" were applied to individual occurrences or metaphorically to individual persons, the nouns would come to take the plural ending -tee, thus *garodhtee 'greatnesses, great ones'.  This could have developed a pronunciation garothtee by assimilation in voicelessness (with th becoming an allophone of dh); and with spread by analogy to the singular would become liable to contrast with final dh of other origin, th thereby becoming a distinct phoneme.

October 23, 2013 at 5:00 AM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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That would explain why þ is not an accented t. I find it very likely that D'ni originally had more than the present two series of stops, some of which lenited to form the series of fricatives. Also, I will run my morpheme set through the analyser again, with the various affices removed. I think that -þ might have introduced the initial þ. The results won't be definitive, and can be adjusted if necessary to accommodate our own observations.
--

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October 23, 2013 at 5:56 AM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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Posts: 381

And the results are in! In addition to /þ/ not being a word-initial consonant, /j/ can only appear in the coda of a syllable in the suffix <ij>.

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October 23, 2013 at 6:46 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Khreestrefah
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Posts: 96

Following up on the fact that /ai/ does not occur word-initially (in contrast with the other "accented" vowels), note that this is attested so far in written sources in just 7 words: maiood; mairuh; raiway 'procedure'; reemai; torinai 'cold'; vaiduh; and vailee 'month'.  Of these 5 have ai preceded by one of the voiced labial continuants m or v.


It also happens that words beginning *moy- or *voy- do not occur, although again /oi/ is relatively rare in the attested corpus, except for the 1st person singular possessive -oy in reasonably many examples, and presumably attachable to follow any other sound that can occur word-finally, including m and v.  


This distrubution suggests that ai may have started out as an allophone of oy.  Phonetically this involves dissimilation in lip-rounding of the first part of the diphthong from the labial intial consonants.  The allophone would have become phonemic if there was later analogical regularization of the pronunciation of the 1st singular suffix with allomorphs [-oi] / [-ɑi], e.g. [mɪʃtɑ-tɑv-ɑi] > [mɪʃtɑ-tɑv-oi] to match the "regular" pronunciation of [kor-oi].

October 30, 2013 at 7:20 PM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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Posts: 381

The following (morpheme internal) bigrams involving ai exist in the corpus: aid ail ain air aiu aiu: aiw bai mai nai rai tai vai.

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October 30, 2013 at 7:40 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Khreestrefah
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Posts: 96

Kath, I suspect that somewhere in your collection process /ei/ (spelled "ai" and "ay") and /ai/ (spelled "I" and "ai") have gotten confused.  As far as I recall there are just the 7 words I cited that contain the latter (aside from one or two instances that might occur in spoken recordings).

October 30, 2013 at 10:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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Posts: 381

No, I don't think so. When I compiled my wordlist, I was very careful to make sure I got every spelling right. Here are the words I have containing ai: keebai maiood mairu reemai raiwei torinai vainu vaidu vailee vaiu yootai. All of those do appear in your dictionary, though the last one's presence in mine is down to being unsure of the reading of what you give as 'yootay ~ Guinea Pig'

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October 31, 2013 at 7:36 AM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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Oh, and you miscounted. 6 words have ai after a labial continuant.

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October 31, 2013 at 7:37 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Khreestrefah
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Posts: 96

Both vainuh and yootay 'guinea pig' contain /ei/; while keebai (my "keebí- or keebah-") and vaiu (my "ví[uh]") are both tentative transcriptions of otherwise unknown words from voice-recordings in the games.  So it looks like our summaries of the data do actually tally up on closer examination.  


The interesting thing is that, if /ai/ was originally an allophone of /oi/, then we are left with two "pure" vowels /a/ and /æ/ without corresponding "original" diphthongal or long forms; so perhaps one of these originated as a diphthong incorporating the other that was later reduced to a simple vowel. 

November 1, 2013 at 3:08 AM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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Posts: 381

This is why we need a universal standard.


Actually, I've speculated that /æ/ was originally a short vowel (*a), and /a/ was its long form (*ā). However, if one of these vowels were to be analysed as *ai, I'd put my money on /æ/, that being the rarer vowel.

--

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November 1, 2013 at 8:12 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Talashar
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Posts: 30

The front quality of a would also weigh in favor of it developing from *ai and ah from *a, not vice-versa.

--

Talashar Geltahn; Ki 183867 An overview of D'ni grammar | My books

November 1, 2013 at 10:24 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Khreestrefah
Member
Posts: 96

For some words and (especially) names we are unsure whether they contain ah or a, when they are spelled "a" in the books or games or in Atrus's Prayer where both are spelled with letter #9.  But the following words are in other D'ni texts with letter #22 used exclusively for "a" = [æ] or in the glossary section of the DLG where "ah" and "a" seem to be carefully distinguished:

 

atinor; gatah; kat

kahnrad; prad

pazgo

enyalo; inaltahv; kaligo; malo; palmen; rinaltahv

bantee; devokan; gorahyan; irvan; lan; tanuh

kam; shaml...

ilais

 

I have listed these on separate lines according to the consonant (or vowel in one case) that immediately follows the vowel [æ].  These sounds are t, d, z, l, n, m, i.  This is not a determining factor, because "ah" can also occur before all of these sounds.  But it might point to some sort of constraint on the original development of [æ]; most of the consonants that can occur are dentals.

November 2, 2013 at 3:04 AM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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Might the preceeding consonant also have an effect?

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November 2, 2013 at 8:36 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Khreestrefah
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Posts: 96

In theory the preceding consonant could also have an effect, but in this case the possibilities seem fairly unrestricted: p, b, v, m, t, r, n, sh, l, y, k, g.


If there was an earlier diphthong *ai that lost its diphthongal element, than one way would be by becoming more open and then eventual loss (being the unstressed part of the syllable): *ai > *ae > * > a.  The exceptional development before dentals could have been early retention of *ai due to the proximity in pronunciation of [i] to the dental consonants. The allophonic contrast between [ai] and [ae] may have been subsequently intensified to [æi] vs. [ae]; and when the allophone [ae] later merged with /a/ then [æi] would become phonemic, perhaps losing its diphthongal element to become more distinctive from /ei/.


A possible corroboration of this may come from the word devokan 'rebirth' which might derive from de- + *vokah 'to bear, give birth' + -in. We know that -in forms verbal adjectives, like oshahnin 'lost' or riltahgahmin 'unknown'; but it also occurs in some nouns, like boogin 'creature' and terelin 'contact'.

November 4, 2013 at 3:29 PM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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Posts: 381

You think there might once have been a nominalising suffix *-in? (Btw, this discussion would be better suited in the Pre-D'ni thread, since this isn't really about D'ni phonotactics.)

--

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November 4, 2013 at 5:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Khreestrefah
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Posts: 96

Everything is connected, of course ;)  Phonotactically, the discussion seems to show that the i-glides in the D'ni "accented" vowels /oi/, /ai/, /ei/ take the place of vowel + consonantal /y/ in coda or coda-cluster position. To this extent they lend credence to the apparent limiting of /y/ to syllable-onset position in our attested corpus.  


If we include /iː/ ("ee") as phonotactically /i/ + /y/, then we would have this glide-vowel occurring after 4 of the "pure" vowels. This leads to the natural next question: what about /w/ and /uː/ ("oo") ?  If the latter is phonotactically /u/ + /w/, then the constraints on the occurrence of i-glide (in 4 accented vowels) vs. u-glide (in only 1 accented vowel) is interesting; and we might want to look for some sort of internal parallel.


In syllable-final position there are very few limitations on the other consonants (only /h/ cannot occur); but in the case of final clusters the sounds that can occur between the central vowel and the final consonant are (so far) limited to our 2 "glides" and the consonants r, s, m, and n.  In the case of the nasals we have a phonetic constrast parallel to that between w and y. And the examples we have of nasal between vowel and syllable-final consonant are:

po'ahnt 'saliva'

mahrent 'follow'

mahnshootahvting '?'

omd '?'

umt '?'

This is a very limited set of data, and the parallel is not exact since we have "oy" not "ow"; but I think it is suggestive.

November 6, 2013 at 4:46 PM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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Posts: 381

Well, the validity of those last two is debatable, and the digraph <ng> might indicate [ŋ(g)].

--

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November 6, 2013 at 6:36 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Khreestrefah
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Posts: 96

I am uncliear as to what "validity" means in this context -- I can attest to the existence of these forms, I have seen the puzzle that contains them.  And regardless of how "ng" is pronounced the spelling shows that phonotactically in connects with /n/ rather than /m/, which is the significant point.

November 7, 2013 at 12:15 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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