(L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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Post by LinguoFranco »

Was the Ancient Greek pitch accent lexically contrastive?
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Post by Sequor »

LinguoFranco wrote: 11 Jun 2021 15:46Was the Ancient Greek pitch accent lexically contrastive?
Yes, it's not only inflectional, e.g. τόμος 'a slice', τομός 'sharp, cutting', ἄρα 'therefore', ἆρα '(particle for yes/no questions)', ἀρά 'prayer', σκευή 'attire, dress', σκεύη 'implements, utensils' (plural of σκεῦος), λιθοτόμος 'for cutting stones', λιθότομος 'sth cut on a stone'.
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Post by clawgrip »

Khemehekis wrote: 10 Jun 2021 20:39
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 10 Jun 2021 17:54 I notice this too with names beginning with "Mc". Many people say what to my ears sounds like /mɪk/, as in "MickDonalds" (even the parody name "SickDonalds" reflects that pronunciation). I seem to say /mək/ or as close to it as I can. I'm not saying I'm better, I'm just noticing /ɪ/ in places where I don't say it. Do you come across these pronunciations as well?
People turn Mc- into "Mickey D's" instead of "Mackey D's", so clearly the /ɪ/ in Mc- is there.
People call it "Macca's" in Australia.
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Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

This is the first I'm hearing that "half-assed" may come from a malapropism of "haphazard". Any consensus in the linguistic community about this phrase's origin?
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Post by Khemehekis »

clawgrip wrote: 17 Jun 2021 05:58
Khemehekis wrote: 10 Jun 2021 20:39
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 10 Jun 2021 17:54 I notice this too with names beginning with "Mc". Many people say what to my ears sounds like /mɪk/, as in "MickDonalds" (even the parody name "SickDonalds" reflects that pronunciation). I seem to say /mək/ or as close to it as I can. I'm not saying I'm better, I'm just noticing /ɪ/ in places where I don't say it. Do you come across these pronunciations as well?
People turn Mc- into "Mickey D's" instead of "Mackey D's", so clearly the /ɪ/ in Mc- is there.
People call it "Macca's" in Australia.
Interesting. I know the short form is Makudo in Japan, which is short for Makudonarudo.
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Post by clawgrip »

In most of Japan it's Makku. They only call it Makudo in Kansai.
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Post by Khemehekis »

clawgrip wrote: 18 Jun 2021 05:18 In most of Japan it's Makku. They only call it Makudo in Kansai.
Really? Well, I guess I know where my Japanese teacher was from then!
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Post by Khemehekis »

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 18 Jun 2021 02:14 This is the first I'm hearing that "half-assed" may come from a malapropism of "haphazard". Any consensus in the linguistic community about this phrase's origin?
According to https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/half-assed, this theory is agreed upon by the Online Etymology Dictionary.
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Post by Salmoneus »

Creyeditor wrote: 10 Jun 2021 22:45
Khemehekis wrote: 10 Jun 2021 20:39
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 10 Jun 2021 17:54 I notice this too with names beginning with "Mc". Many people say what to my ears sounds like /mɪk/, as in "MickDonalds" (even the parody name "SickDonalds" reflects that pronunciation). I seem to say /mək/ or as close to it as I can. I'm not saying I'm better, I'm just noticing /ɪ/ in places where I don't say it. Do you come across these pronunciations as well?
People turn Mc- into "Mickey D's" instead of "Mackey D's", so clearly the /ɪ/ in Mc- is there.
In Germany people often use /mɛkəs/. Whatever that means.
I assume that it means that Germans have borrowed the nickname "Macca's", with /{/. English /{/ is then traditionally borrowed as /E/ in German (does that still happen?).

[fwiw, I don't know if I've ever heard 'Mickey D' - I don't tend to spend much time with McDonalds enthusiasts - but it would make no sense to me as a phonemic reduction - 'Mc' has /@/, not /I/, at least in modern SSBE (I don't know about RP). That said, it could still occur as a nickname simply because 'Micky' is already a name, and 'Mackey' isn't (well it is, but it's not a common first name), so this could be understandable playfulness and analogy.]
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Post by ixals »

Salmoneus wrote: 18 Jun 2021 14:01
Creyeditor wrote: 10 Jun 2021 22:45
Khemehekis wrote: 10 Jun 2021 20:39
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 10 Jun 2021 17:54 I notice this too with names beginning with "Mc". Many people say what to my ears sounds like /mɪk/, as in "MickDonalds" (even the parody name "SickDonalds" reflects that pronunciation). I seem to say /mək/ or as close to it as I can. I'm not saying I'm better, I'm just noticing /ɪ/ in places where I don't say it. Do you come across these pronunciations as well?
People turn Mc- into "Mickey D's" instead of "Mackey D's", so clearly the /ɪ/ in Mc- is there.
In Germany people often use /mɛkəs/. Whatever that means.
I assume that it means that Germans have borrowed the nickname "Macca's", with /{/. English /{/ is then traditionally borrowed as /E/ in German (does that still happen?).
I've googled it but there doesn't seem to be anything on whether German got it from Macca's or not. Only questions on how to write it (Mäckes, Meckes, Mäcces, Mecces, MC's). Is Macca's only used in Australia or do other countries call it like that as well? It would be weird if we borrowed it from Australian English. Otherwise I could see it being from MC's, just with a schwa added, maybe to divide the MC and the 's?

And /{/ is still borrowed as /E(:)/, yeah.
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Post by All4Ɇn »

Spoiler:
Salmoneus wrote: 10 Jun 2021 23:56Yes, a great many people have noticed this. It's called "the weak vowel merger". It's also sometimes called the "Roses/Rosa's merger" or the like, after its most famous minimal pair; another clear minimal pair (that is merged in these dialects) consists of the famous 20th century names, "Lenin" vs "Lennon".

Most speakers have this merger. In many dialects, it's not universal (particularly among older speakers); however, it's only systematically resisted in England, in RP-influenced 'colonial' English dialects (Caribbean, African, Indian Englishes), and in Southern US English. Contrariwise, it's the norm in all other US dialects, in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and to a lesser extent Scotland.

However, there is one complication: in the US, the merger is usually in favour of /I/, but in the rest of the world it is usually in favour of /@/.

Wikipedia says that it's also increasingly common in SSBE. I'm not sure about that in my experience; for me (an SSBE speaker, albeit of a rather 'posh' or 'old-fashioned' sociolect) the distinction is very clear, and while I wouldn't be surprised by someone being confused by a minimal pair in allegro speech, I would expect them to understand the difference, and articulate which one they intended, in careful speech.
It's funny I was just reading this whole conversation and wasn't really sure how I myself dealt with these phonemes. I was just now listening to the radio when an ad came on and used the phrase "fire up your senses" but I got extremely confused as I heard "fire up your census". For me these two words would be pronounced <senses> /sɪnt͡sɪz/ and <census> /sɪnt͡səs/. The ad pronounced <senses> instead as /sɛnt͡səz/ leading to confusion on my end.
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Post by Khemehekis »

I just googled "Mickey D's" and found this online listicle apropos to our conversation:

https://www.businessinsider.com/mcdonal ... es-2016-12

Can anyone picture, say, Avril Lavigne or Justin Bieber saying "McDick's"? McDick's is a telling name, because it has not one but two /ɪk/s.

FWIW, in the nineties, an article in my high school newspaper was discussing racism and racist stereotypes on TV commercials, and observed that in commercials, "African-Americans refer to McDonald's as 'Mickey D's', while White boys stick to the real title". If the McDonald's commercials of the time (some of which I remember) were a reflection of demographic trends, maybe the shortening "Mickey D's" originated in the urban African-American community, among young people, and spread afterwards (as in, throughout the nineties)?
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Post by Xonen »

Salmoneus wrote: 18 Jun 2021 14:01[fwiw, I don't know if I've ever heard 'Mickey D' - I don't tend to spend much time with McDonalds enthusiasts - but it would make no sense to me as a phonemic reduction - 'Mc' has /@/, not /I/, at least in modern SSBE (I don't know about RP). That said, it could still occur as a nickname simply because 'Micky' is already a name, and 'Mackey' isn't (well it is, but it's not a common first name), so this could be understandable playfulness and analogy.]
Besides, Mickey is associated with another American megacorporation known for feeding the world truly unhealthy amounts of bland, overprocessed junk, so it's quite a natural analogy... [¬.¬] But there does seem to be a tendency in some varieties of American English for /ə/ to be raised towards /ɪ/, perhaps especially in pretonic syllables, so I guess that could have had an effect as well. Obviously, though, "Mc" or "Mac" has /æ/ when stressed (as in Macintosh, McEnany or, indeed, Big Mac), so it's not really surprising that most of these McNicknames have /æ/, or whatever the language in question uses as a substitute for it.
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Post by ixals »

Does anyone know how Spanish acquired the pronunciation of /x/ for <g> before front vowels? /g/ before front vowels never (IIRC) palatalised into /ʒ/ in Spanish but instead either deleted it, turned it into /ʝ/ or /θ/ or merged it e.g. /ngF/ > /ɲ/, so there were no native /ʒF/ sequences that stem from /gF/. Is it just due to influence from other romlangs and/or Liturgical Latin?
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Post by Pabappa »

maybe it comes from other sounds .... all i can think of offhand is verbs like corregir, where the -g- is not from inherited -g- but rather a cluster. i was surprised to learn that words like gente were once spelled with y, suggesting either a fuzzy spelling in Old Spanish or a reborrowing (since other /j/ did not become /x/), but there's got to be at least some modern spellings with a g that are directly inherited, whether from Latin /g/ or from something else.

edit .... 🤷‍♂️ wiktionary says corregir is in fact just from /g/ after all, so I dont know. maybe the position of the stress in the original Latin is important?
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Post by VaptuantaDoi »

ixals wrote: 28 Jun 2021 14:01 Does anyone know how Spanish acquired the pronunciation of /x/ for <g> before front vowels? /g/ before front vowels never (IIRC) palatalised into /ʒ/ in Spanish but instead either deleted it, turned it into /ʝ/ or /θ/ or merged it e.g. /ngF/ > /ɲ/, so there were no native /ʒF/ sequences that stem from /gF/. Is it just due to influence from other romlangs and/or Liturgical Latin?
According to Penny's History of the Spanish Language, "/ǰ/ [i.e. /ʝ/] was sometimes modified to /ʒ/ ... probably under the influence of medieval Latin". The only examples he gives are justo and juezes, but I assume this would also apply to <g> (which would explain gente)

French might've been another influence, given that AFAICT French <g>+i/e was already /ʒ/ by about 1300 and Spanish only lost /ʒ/ in the 16th century.
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Post by Sequor »

ixals wrote: 28 Jun 2021 14:01 Does anyone know how Spanish acquired the pronunciation of /x/ for <g> before front vowels? /g/ before front vowels never (IIRC) palatalised into /ʒ/ in Spanish but instead either deleted it, turned it into /ʝ/ or /θ/ or merged it e.g. /ngF/ > /ɲ/, so there were no native /ʒF/ sequences that stem from /gF/. Is it just due to influence from other romlangs and/or Liturgical Latin?
Yes, it is an influence of the medieval pronunciation of Latin by Old Spanish speakers, which had /ʒe ʒi/ for <ge gi>. And then just as in England, the pronunciation of Latin in Spain evolved with the vernacular language. Old Spanish /ʒ/ became merged with /ʃ/ as [ʃ] and then became today's /x/.
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Post by LinguoFranco »

What can you tell me about Berber's phonotactics. I hear it gets weird when it comes to syllable boundaries, and thus uses epenthesis.

Is this correct? Do you have any examples?
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Post by Salmoneus »

Here are some (Tashlhiyt) Berber words:

[kk] - take the road
[tbdg] - it is wet
[tkkststt] - you took off
[tSStstt] - you ate it (FEM)
[tsskSftstt] - you dried it (FEM)
[tftktstt] - you sprained it (FEM)
[ks] - feed on
[kks] - take off!
[nqql] - sprinkle!
[trzmttnt] - you opened them (FEM)
[tntlttnt] - you hid them (FEM)
[tkti] - she remembered [it's two syllables, not one!]
[fqqs] - irritate

A Tashlhiyt sentence:
[tsXrbqqttnt tsrsttnt R lq_wq_wbbt] - you mixed them (FEM) up and put them (FEM) in the dome


There have been two general schools of thought on all this:
- Berber linguists tend to argue that these words have no vowels. They claim this because:
a) there are no audible vowels (except sometimes at the end of words, which may be for phrase-marking reasons)
b) vowels are not perceived by native speakers
c) versification by native speakers treats syllables like [tk] as light, whereas if there were an epenthetic vowel it should be heavy
d) physical studies of laryngeal and glottal motions of natives pronouncing these words show no hint of anything suggesting vowels

- English linguists, on the other hand, have tended to argue that there are epenthetic vowels in these words. They claim this because:
a) all words in all languages must have vowels, it's a universal rule of language
b) dude, how the fuck are you meant to pronounce that if there are no vowels!?

Consensus has, AIUI, yet to be reached on which side of the debate has the more compelling case.


A fun sidenote, however: these vowelless words are natural and commonplace in Tashlhiyt, but at the same time MOST Tashlhiyt words have vowels, and a lot of them look perfectly normal and pronounceable. The vowelless words are something like 10% of the lexicon, and are mostly verb forms.
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Post by Creyeditor »

Interestingly though, there are syllables and/or word stress. I feel this paper might explain it well, if you can get your hands on it.
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