(Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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VaptuantaDoi
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by VaptuantaDoi »

Babies pronouncing /k g/ as /t d/ is probably just because of how easy the plosives are to imitate from watching adults speak. Labials are usually the first consonants used because it's easy for the baby to see how they're being produced by adults; coronals are slightly harder and velars are the hardest as they're not very visible. That's why babies' babbling is predominantly stuff like "mama papa" and occasionally "dada", only later including velars; thus they would be more likely to pronounce /k/ as /t/ than vice versa.
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Post by sangi39 »

One thing I've read about concerning the /t/ > /k/ shift, I think anyway, is that, with older *k > /ʔ/ change as "freeing up space", what's effectively happened is that /t/ just becomes perceived as "lingual" (pronounced with the tongue at all) rather than "dorsal" (pronounced with the front of the tongue), so it can freely move backwards without any intermediate steps.

I think this runs into the same sorts of problems Sal mentions above, though, since, well, surely /c/, being "lingual" as well, could also be an outcome in languages that have this unconditional backing, but it doesn't turn up, so there must be something else going on as well. If plosives are "easier to pronounce", but the palatal plosive has a tendency to shift around, then maybe "it's a plosive" stuck in people's heads and they settled on /k/ because it's more stable than that pesky "middle of the tongue" sound. Like, flipping from one extreme to the other (but then where's /q/? Was that too extreme, or too close to /ʔ/, which is frequently becomes? So was /k/ "still lingual" but not "pesky" enough, while being "just different enough from /ʔ/" to be a nice place to land?)




Aaaanyway, to answer the original question, where /c/ is intermediate, I tend to use Index Diachronica, which by no means an exhaustive list of sound changes, and there's no mention of a /c/ > /k/ shift (/c/ tends to become an affricate or a fricative either in the palatal range or further forward, apparently). However, given the RUKI sound law in Slavic (and other branches of IE to one extent or another), I don't think it's too unreasonable to suggest that some condition might see /t/ shift to /k/, but for the life of me I can't figure it out beyond "big gap in POA".
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa »

VaptuantaDoi wrote: 28 Dec 2020 01:13 Babies pronouncing /k g/ as /t d/ is probably just because of how easy the plosives are to imitate from watching adults speak. Labials are usually the first consonants used because it's easy for the baby to see how they're being produced by adults; coronals are slightly harder and velars are the hardest as they're not very visible. That's why babies' babbling is predominantly stuff like "mama papa" and occasionally "dada", only later including velars; thus they would be more likely to pronounce /k/ as /t/ than vice versa.
I think its really just down to motor development ... we master lip movements first so we can breastfeed, ... I dont know why the tongue needs to develop from front to back as well, but it seems clear that it does. 🤷‍♂️Does breastfeeding involve the tip of the tongue as well? I honestly dont know.

Personally I dont think babies are imitating their parents at all ... it's a reflex that we do on our own and we would be doing it even if we were raised by parents who couldnt speak. But that's a whole other subject, not really related to this project.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 »

Pabappa wrote: 28 Dec 2020 04:00
VaptuantaDoi wrote: 28 Dec 2020 01:13 Babies pronouncing /k g/ as /t d/ is probably just because of how easy the plosives are to imitate from watching adults speak. Labials are usually the first consonants used because it's easy for the baby to see how they're being produced by adults; coronals are slightly harder and velars are the hardest as they're not very visible. That's why babies' babbling is predominantly stuff like "mama papa" and occasionally "dada", only later including velars; thus they would be more likely to pronounce /k/ as /t/ than vice versa.
I think its really just down to motor development ... we master lip movements first so we can breastfeed, ... I dont know why the tongue needs to develop from front to back as well, but it seems clear that it does. 🤷‍♂️Does breastfeeding involve the tip of the tongue as well? I honestly dont know.

Personally I dont think babies are imitating their parents at all ... it's a reflex that we do on our own and we would be doing it even if we were raised by parents who couldnt speak. But that's a whole other subject, not really related to this project.
"Weaning" in humans can vary quite a bit, IIRC, from anywhere between 2 years and I think around 6 or 7? Again, there's a good chance I could be wrong, but it seems that earlier weaning ages comes with a dairy supplement, so cattle and thing like that. It would be interesting to see if, say, Khoe speakers and Zulu speakers have a differing development in terms of phonological acquisition (I'd assume not, given that children basically just go "give me a sound to imitate that you, the parent, think is meaningfully different, and I shall endeavour to get it as close to right as I can, but who knows?).
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Omzinesý »

Pabappa wrote: 27 Dec 2020 14:21
Omzinesy wrote: Slavic has this s => š => x change under some conditions.
Could there also be t => c => k change under some conditions in a lang? It could create interesting morphological alternations. Does it even appear somewhere?
A conditional /t/ > /k/ is certainly within reach ... I just dont think Polynesian is a good model to follow.

What are the phonotactics of your language? Do you have a lot of consonant clusters? If not, are there preexisting vowel alternations you could pull on?
I don't have very specific contexts yet.
My idea was just analogical to Slavic fricatives.
After discussion, it seems that unconditional c => k is improbable.

I think the simplest development would be

1) /t/ => /c/ after front vowels
2) /k/ => [c] after front vowels allophonically
(or alternatively /k/ looses its front allophones for /ts/ or something)
3) It's easy to reanalyse all [c]s as allophones of /k/, so no sound change is needed.

I think that could have happened in West-Slavic that has /c/ but it didn't.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Vlürch »

Pabappa wrote: 09 Dec 2020 18:24 maybe from /w/. I dont know of any such languages offhand
Southern Ryukyuan languages have /b/ where other Japonic languages have /w/, so presumably /w/ -> /b/ is the exact shift that happened. Some argue it was the other way around, that Proto-Japonic had /b/ and it was lenited to /w/ except in Southern Ryukyuan, but IIRC there's actual evidence showing that that can't be the case because old Chinese loanwords have undergone the shift.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Shemtov »

In languages with "Austronesian Alignment", is it possible to have one root for UV, and one for other voices, that when unmodified means AV? And in a lot of cases, the UV to AV change is a unpredictable affix or change on the UV, but they're clearly related, and the other voices are just extra affixes added to the AV?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus »

Shemtov wrote: 03 Jan 2021 16:21 In languages with "Austronesian Alignment", is it possible to have one root for UV, and one for other voices, that when unmodified means AV? And in a lot of cases, the UV to AV change is a unpredictable affix or change on the UV, but they're clearly related, and the other voices are just extra affixes added to the AV?
I think you're asking two different questions here.

Your first sentence appears to ask about having two different roots - that is, having voice marked entirely by suppletion. This is possible, but it seems very unlikely.

Your second sentence, though, seems to be about having one root, with the agent voice formed from the patient voice form, and all other voices formed from the agent voice. This is unlikely in an actual Austronesian system, in which the bare form of the root does not appear (or is an imperative) and all voice forms are derived from it directly. However, it's hardly implausible in an a priori language that's less strictly 'Austronesian'. Although in general of course it's more common for the passive to be derived from the active than vice versa.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Shemtov »

Salmoneus wrote: 03 Jan 2021 20:55
Shemtov wrote: 03 Jan 2021 16:21 In languages with "Austronesian Alignment", is it possible to have one root for UV, and one for other voices, that when unmodified means AV? And in a lot of cases, the UV to AV change is a unpredictable affix or change on the UV, but they're clearly related, and the other voices are just extra affixes added to the AV?
I think you're asking two different questions here.

Your first sentence appears to ask about having two different roots - that is, having voice marked entirely by suppletion. This is possible, but it seems very unlikely.

Your second sentence, though, seems to be about having one root, with the agent voice formed from the patient voice form, and all other voices formed from the agent voice. This is unlikely in an actual Austronesian system, in which the bare form of the root does not appear (or is an imperative) and all voice forms are derived from it directly. However, it's hardly implausible in an a priori language that's less strictly 'Austronesian'. Although in general of course it's more common for the passive to be derived from the active than vice versa.
Yes, I was more asking the second question for an A Priori lang that is inspired by Austronesian. The first sentence should have acknowledged that given the morphophonetics, someone not familiar with the language's morphophonetics might see it as suppletion- that is, their are multiple regular ways to derive the secondary root, and depending on the method, and the morphophonetics the regularity of a few methods might be obscured.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguistCat »

Japanese had a lot of /k/s disappear at one point of its development, especially before /i u/ (tho /k/s were reinserted before /u/s in most dialects, or some verbs and adjectives had forms with a /k/ and forms with it dropped). Question: could there be a similar sound change for /t/ in some language and what vowels would it be likely to drop in front of? Or could I just have whatever conditional loss of /t/s in front of whatever vowels I wanted?
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Post by Sequor »

LinguistCat wrote: 12 Jan 2021 21:54Japanese had a lot of /k/s disappear at one point of its development, especially before /i u/ (tho /k/s were reinserted before /u/s in most dialects, or some verbs and adjectives had forms with a /k/ and forms with it dropped). Question: could there be a similar sound change for /t/ in some language and what vowels would it be likely to drop in front of? Or could I just have whatever conditional loss of /t/s in front of whatever vowels I wanted?
It may be worth noting that /k/ was able to drop like that probably in part because it had the allophone [g] in that position, as OJ /g/ was often pre-nasalized instead... Unless that's just one view among other reconstructions.

Anyway I don't know of an example of vowels affecting lenition or drop of /t/, but I love this sort of thing... A couple related but ultimately irrelevant things I'd like to share:

Common Romance *ʝ drops after /e ɛ/ in the formation of Spanish but not after /a/, e.g.
Latin leget > *[ˈleʝet] > Old Spanish lee
Latin peiōrem > *[peˈʝoɾe] > OSp peor (but somehow legērunt > leyeron)
but
Latin iacet > OSp yaze [ˈʝadze]
Latin maiōrem > *[maˈʝoɾe] > OSp mayor.
And it undergoes fronting/fortition to /ʒ/ when initial before a back vowel, as in iocus > juego [ˈʒwego], iūnctus > junto [ˈʒunto].

Also, literally just a few days ago someone told me that from Old Latin to Classical and even into Late Latin, w > β is often dropped in the vicinity of ō ŏ, as in devŏrsum > Classical deorsum, ioverat > iūrat, things like movēre as MOERE in ancient inscriptions, and PAVOR NON PAOR in the Appendix Probi (ca. the 4th century AD).
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Post by Salmoneus »

And also in English (eg. "hawk", from Gmc habukaz* - see German "Habicht"). But that's an ordinary change, crosslinguistically: /w/ and /j/ frequently appear and disappear in hiatus adjacent to round and front vowels respectively.


A change like /t/ > /0/ before front vowels or back vowels. wouldn't be expected to just happen. Of course, with intermediaries it's always possible.



*habukaz still has a fricative in Old English, Old Frisian, Old Irish, and Proto-Finnic (which we can tell from the Veps reflex) - it was already lost in Old Norse. Yet the fricative has been dropped in Modern English, Modern Frisian, Modern Irish**, and Modern Finnish.

**Irish shows another nice shift: seabhac reflects Old English /h/ borrowed as Old Irish /S/...
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguistCat »

Salmoneus wrote: 13 Jan 2021 01:26 A change like /t/ > /0/ before front vowels or back vowels. wouldn't be expected to just happen. Of course, with intermediaries it's always possible.
I'm wondering if I could work with on of:
/t/ > /?/ > /0/
/t/ > /θ/ (> /h/)? > /0/
/t/ > /s/ (which would merge it with already existing /s/, but that could be interesting) > /h/ > /0/
/t/ > /r/ (again, a merger which could be interesting, but would make a lot of things very confusing very quickly, and I don't know what I'd do with that grammatically)

Would any of those changes be more likely near/between certain vowels?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sequor »

LinguistCat wrote: 13 Jan 2021 03:42I'm wondering if I could work with on of:
/t/ > /?/ > /0/
/t/ > /θ/ (> /h/)? > /0/
/t/ > /s/ (which would merge it with already existing /s/, but that could be interesting) > /h/ > /0/
/t/ > /r/ (again, a merger which could be interesting, but would make a lot of things very confusing very quickly, and I don't know what I'd do with that grammatically)

Would any of those changes be more likely near/between certain vowels?
Rotokas has /ti/ [tsi]>[si] and otherwise /t/ [t], but it might help that language doesn't have a distinct /s/...

Another easy intermediate would be the Japanese/Italian-type [tɕi]/[tʃi] (and [tsɯ]), treated differently from /t/ [t], say, > [çi] > [(ɦ)i], or > [sɯ] > [ɸɯ] > [ u]...
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Omzinesý »

LinguistCat wrote: 12 Jan 2021 21:54 Japanese had a lot of /k/s disappear at one point of its development, especially before /i u/ (tho /k/s were reinserted before /u/s in most dialects, or some verbs and adjectives had forms with a /k/ and forms with it dropped). Question: could there be a similar sound change for /t/ in some language and what vowels would it be likely to drop in front of? Or could I just have whatever conditional loss of /t/s in front of whatever vowels I wanted?
My knowledge about Japanese is very limited, but I have understood that Japanese /i/ and /u/ are extra-high (and thus often devoiced). Extra-high vowels often make adjacent plosives aspirated/fricatives. Any fricative can be easily lenited further as far as zero.
Proto-Bantu also had extra-high /i/ and /u/ that also created aspirates/fricatives.
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Post by Omzinesý »

Salmoneus wrote: 13 Jan 2021 01:26 *habukaz still has a fricative in Old English, Old Frisian, Old Irish, and Proto-Finnic (which we can tell from the Veps reflex) - it was already lost in Old Norse. Yet the fricative has been dropped in Modern English, Modern Frisian, Modern Irish**, and Modern Finnish.
Interesting
There is a famous Finnish novel "Havukka-ahon ajattelija" 'The Philosopher of Havukka-aho' or something.
Havukka-aho is the house where he resides. "aho" is 'field' but I have never thought what "havukka" means.
If I'm not wrong, "havukka" can be used as an unpolite word for 'old woman'.
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Post by LinguistCat »

Omzinesý wrote: 13 Jan 2021 16:29 ...
My knowledge about Japanese is very limited, but I have understood that Japanese /i/ and /u/ are extra-high (and thus often devoiced). Extra-high vowels often make adjacent plosives aspirated/fricatives. Any fricative can be easily lenited further as far as zero.
Proto-Bantu also had extra-high /i/ and /u/ that also created aspirates/fricatives.
Interesting! Combining this with something from a sister thread on another board, Japanese-that-is took its coronals and made them affricates while the peripherals went to fricatives and in some cases, disappeared. I suppose I could have reasons that the processes were reversed for my language, with labial and velar affricates(? or some other allophonic change) but coronal fricatives, some of which disappear. [:D]

Also, I've noticed a lot of the time when someone mentions another language doing something Japanese does, it's Bantu or Proto-Bantu IIRC. Which is kind of interesting how many similarities they share, being unrelated.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus »

Omzinesý wrote: 13 Jan 2021 16:38
Salmoneus wrote: 13 Jan 2021 01:26 *habukaz still has a fricative in Old English, Old Frisian, Old Irish, and Proto-Finnic (which we can tell from the Veps reflex) - it was already lost in Old Norse. Yet the fricative has been dropped in Modern English, Modern Frisian, Modern Irish**, and Modern Finnish.
Interesting
There is a famous Finnish novel "Havukka-ahon ajattelija" 'The Philosopher of Havukka-aho' or something.
Havukka-aho is the house where he resides. "aho" is 'field' but I have never thought what "havukka" means.
If I'm not wrong, "havukka" can be used as an unpolite word for 'old woman'.
That is interesting. Would seem to suggest that the shift to 'haukka' in the standard dialect is relatively recent. And yet it's also happened in Estonian, which suggests again its frequency.

Alternatively, maybe Finnic actually borrowed both *havukka and *haukka independently - either from two Germanic sources, or right at the moment of change - and some dialects have gone with one and others with the other...
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