Consonant Harmony in Ejectives?

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teotlxixtli
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Consonant Harmony in Ejectives?

Post by teotlxixtli »

Is there any language out there that has consonant harmony in which plain stops /p t k/ cannot appear in words with ejectives /p' t' k'/? My language Khalsngaa has ejectives and when they appear with plain stops I always want to make them all ejectives, like my mouth has a mind of its own (which I understand is how accents develop into dialects into languages in the first place). Would introducing this sound change into a daughter language be a natural choice? It's important to me that I stick with changes and features that exist in the natural world.
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Re: Consonant Harmony in Ejectives?

Post by Salmoneus »

It's more common to have the opposite: only one ejective is allowed in the root.

However, ejective harmony does exist - eg in Chaha. Apparently in all known cases it's regressive, but it's usually confined to the root. It's more likely to happen when there are at least three series of stops (eg ejective vs plain vs voiced) - unsurprisingly, since the more contrasts there are, the less 'damage' is done by neutralising one contrast.

Apparently it's hard to distinguish a word with one ejective from a word with two ejectives (eg t'at' vs t'at), so it's common to not allow that contrast, either by requiring harmony or by requiring disharmony.
teotlxixtli
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Re: Consonant Harmony in Ejectives?

Post by teotlxixtli »

Thanks! Chaha has a pretty fascinating phonology.

So if I understand regressive harmony correctly, if the last consonant of the word is ejective the previous plain stops become ejectives? So a word like tat'a would become t'at'a but a word like pik'uta would only be p'ik'uta. I think? Neat!

Also I found an article suggesting that Lezgian also has ejective harmony but it's behind a paywall unfortunately.
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Re: Consonant Harmony in Ejectives?

Post by Creyeditor »

Mayan languages have something similar, though I can't recall if it is dissimilatory or assimilatory.
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Re: Consonant Harmony in Ejectives?

Post by Ahzoh »

Salmoneus wrote: 14 Jun 2021 01:30 Apparently it's hard to distinguish a word with one ejective from a word with two ejectives (eg t'at' vs t'at), so it's common to not allow that contrast, either by requiring harmony or by requiring disharmony.
Would it be easier to distinguish with intervening elements? like t'arat' or t'arapat'
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Re: Consonant Harmony in Ejectives?

Post by Creyeditor »

Intuitively, the problem ist that intervening sonorants become slightly glottalized/creaky. If all intervening segments are sonorants, the likelyness of confusion could be proportional top distance. Non-ejective intervening stops probably make words easier to distinguish.
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