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

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

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KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 06 Apr 2020 06:19Always been interested in iecur and iter, bizarre words they are. They seem to have been original r/n stems that then did a "cake and eat it too" thing in the obliques by stacking both -r and -n stems one after the other.
And hilariously, the common IE pattern is reflected in the word without IE cognates (femur feminis feminī femine...).
I also remember once asking about pecus/pecudis (where does that "d" come from?) [o.O]
De Vaan, who is far, far better than me at this, simply says it "is unclear".

I notice that pecus pecoris is a typically mass, collective noun meaning 'cattle', and the related pecus pecudis (with short -u-!) is a countable noun meaning 'a single animal' (typically for sacrifice). Maybe it is relevant that rudis rudis (also with a short -u-) exists as a noun meaning '(wooden?) cooking rod; wooden rod for military training (wooden sword?)', and an adjective meaning 'wild; unskilled'. Overall though, this alternation of entirely unstressed -us/-udis with short -u- is very weird (contrast palūs palūdis 'swamp', nepōs nepōtis 'grandson; descendant'). Rudis is the only common word that otherwise ends in -udis with a short -u-, too.

EDIT: changed my mistake of thinking of pecus/pecudis as pecus/*pecodis.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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Does anyone know if /d/ is turned into [ɾ] in New Zealand English for speakers who also do this with /t/? I find plenty of sources who talk about /t/ but no one mentions /d/...
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Aszev wrote: 07 Apr 2020 19:26 Does anyone know if /d/ is turned into [ɾ] in New Zealand English for speakers who also do this with /t/? I find plenty of sources who talk about /t/ but no one mentions /d/...
I[ɾ] is.

It's funny that this phenomenon is commonly called "t-flapping" now that you mention that. It's not just /t/ that gets flapped, but also /d/. Maybe it's because native speakers tend to naïvely perceive it as "pronouncing the t like a d", whether they have it in their dialect or not.

I'd be interested in hearing about differences of where it occurs. I remember Xephyr from the ZBB saying that his grandpa used to pronounce "at all" like "a tall" [əˈtʰɑɫ], with no flapping but in fact with aspiration, and since then I've heard it in older movies too in actors that otherwise have the usual flapping.

Flapping generally occurs at the end of a word before a word beginning with a vowel, even if that vowel is stressed. So "cat island", "rabbit island" and "whatever" (underlyingly "what ever") have flapping. Xephyr's grandpa likely didn't have flapping it in "at all" because he thought of it as one word: atall.
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Ser wrote: 08 Apr 2020 00:05Maybe it's because native speakers tend to naïvely perceive it as "pronouncing the t like a d", whether they have it in their dialect or not.
This is what I suspected, but all the references to /d/ were of this kind, which looks too much like a layman's approximation for me to be able to take seriously. Especially since I did manage to find references to AuE (and others) where it's apparent that /t/ and /d/ don't always behave identically with regards to flapping.
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Aszev wrote: 08 Apr 2020 12:53
Ser wrote: 08 Apr 2020 00:05Maybe it's because native speakers tend to naïvely perceive it as "pronouncing the t like a d", whether they have it in their dialect or not.
This is what I suspected, but all the references to /d/ were of this kind, which looks too much like a layman's approximation for me to be able to take seriously.
By "layman's approximation", you mean things like guides that tell you Spanish J is pronounced /h/, right?
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Ser wrote: 08 Apr 2020 00:05
Aszev wrote: 07 Apr 2020 19:26 Does anyone know if /d/ is turned into [ɾ] in New Zealand English for speakers who also do this with /t/? I find plenty of sources who talk about /t/ but no one mentions /d/...
I[ɾ] is.

It's funny that this phenomenon is commonly called "t-flapping" now that you mention that. It's not just /t/ that gets flapped, but also /d/. Maybe it's because native speakers tend to naïvely perceive it as "pronouncing the t like a d", whether they have it in their dialect or not.

I'd be interested in hearing about differences of where it occurs. I remember Xephyr from the ZBB saying that his grandpa used to pronounce "at all" like "a tall", with no flapping but in fact with aspiration, and since then I've heard it in older movies too in actors that otherwise have the usual flapping.

Flapping generally occurs at the end of a word before a word beginning with a vowel, even if that vowel is stressed. So "cat island", "rabbit island" and "whatever" (underlyingly "what ever") have flapping. Xephyr's grandpa likely had it in "at all" because he thought of it as one word: atall.
That's interesting, because in AmE, I don't think /t/ is flapped across word boundaries, but /d/ is.
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qwed117 wrote: 08 Apr 2020 20:36That's interesting, because in AmE, I don't think /t/ is flapped across word boundaries, but /d/ is.
I was talking about American English there; Xephyr is from South Dakota. I've met some people here who sometimes or often pronounce /t/ + a vowel-initial word as [Vt̚ʔV], e.g. "cat island" [ˈkʰæt̚ ˈʔaɪlənd] (probably most often when the vowels around are both stressed, as in this example), but in general /t/ gets flapped across word boundaries. I'm pretty sure the vast majority of AmE speakers would flap the word-final -t in "to exhibit a new statue".
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Ser wrote: 08 Apr 2020 21:16
qwed117 wrote: 08 Apr 2020 20:36That's interesting, because in AmE, I don't think /t/ is flapped across word boundaries, but /d/ is.
I was talking about American English there; Xephyr is from South Dakota. I've met some people here who sometimes or often pronounce /t/ + a vowel-initial word as [Vt̚ʔV], e.g. "cat island" [ˈkʰæt̚ ˈʔaɪlənd] (probably most often when the vowels around are both stressed, as in this example), but in general /t/ gets flapped across word boundaries. I'm pretty sure the vast majority of AmE speakers would flap the word-final -t in "to exhibit a new statue".
Hmm. I think I can do either, just depends on the time of day, and the color of the leaves. Weird
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Ser wrote: 08 Apr 2020 21:16
qwed117 wrote: 08 Apr 2020 20:36That's interesting, because in AmE, I don't think /t/ is flapped across word boundaries, but /d/ is.
I was talking about American English there; Xephyr is from South Dakota. I've met some people here who sometimes or often pronounce /t/ + a vowel-initial word as [Vt̚ʔV], e.g. "cat island" [ˈkʰæt̚ ˈʔaɪlənd] (probably most often when the vowels around are both stressed, as in this example), but in general /t/ gets flapped across word boundaries. I'm pretty sure the vast majority of AmE speakers would flap the word-final -t in "to exhibit a new statue".
Same rules in my idiolect of Australian English. I can't speak for New Zealand English, but there are still a lot of equivalencies between the two.
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Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

According to Buck, the nominative singular of n-stem nouns in Oscan is -uf/f. I don't see how this can be.

I get that in Sabellic, there was a change of -ns to -f, but in order for this to make sense, this change would've had to occur before Szemerenyi's law and I thought that occurred at the PIE level. *stations --> *statins (zero grade) --> statif (cf. Latin statiō). Is there some other way this can be explained? Are the Latin -iō/-ionis nouns not explained by Szemerenyi's law?

(Heh. Imagine if we had gotten our -tion words from Oscan. We'd be speaking of temptatiuf and actiuf).
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KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 23 Apr 2020 21:48According to Buck, the nominative singular of n-stem nouns in Oscan is -uf/f. I don't see how this can be.

I get that in Sabellic, there was a change of -ns to -f, but in order for this to make sense, this change would've had to occur before Szemerenyi's law and I thought that occurred at the PIE level. *stations --> *statins (zero grade) --> statif (cf. Latin statiō). Is there some other way this can be explained? Are the Latin -iō/-ionis nouns not explained by Szemerenyi's law?
Presumably analogy is involved, where the -n was restored on the basis of the oblique stem. So maybe Proto-Italic -tio: (oblique -tio:nV-) had its nominative singular restored from -tio: to -tio:-n-s.

A similar example would be the PIE NOM.SG ḱwo: ACC.SG ḱwonm evolving into Latin canis canem, where Proto-Italic *ko: had the ending analogized to *k-an-(i)s on the basis of accusative singular *kwanem (which then became *kanem too).

Another similar example would be the massive analogy of the oblique stem into the nominative singular in Old French and Old Occitan. The likes of amāns amantem became *[ˈamas aˈmante], but then first element was regularized because of the -is nominative singular elsewhere in the 3rd declension, creating *amant-is amantem *[aˈmantes aˈmante], and so OFr amanz amant [aˈmants aˈmant] and OOc amantz amán. Contrast Latin īnfāns īnfantem, borrowed as *[ˈenfas enˈfante], and showing up as semi-learned OFr enfes enfant [ˈenfəs enˈfant] and OOc enfas enfán.

On the basis of the normal -is and -em nominative and accusative singular, calor calōrem were regularized to *calōr-is calōrem [kaˈlo:res kaˈlo:re], then OFr chalors chalor [tʃaˈlɵrs tʃaˈlɵr]. Latin cor cor was also regularized to cor-is cor-em *[ˈkɔres ˈkɔre] > *[ˈkwɔres ˈkwɔre], producing OFr cuers cuer.
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Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

Thank you. I was thinking it might be analogy; it just seemed unlikely to me, but I can't think of any other explanation that makes sense!
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Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

There are a lot of instances of reduplication in English where the first element contains /ɪ/ and the second contains some other vowel (often /æ/ or /ɑ/), so-called "ablaut reduplication".

For example: wishy-washy, mish-mash, bric-a-brac, pitter-patter, flip-flop, chit-chat, hip-hop, etc.

Is there any "explanation" for why the pattern is high vowel first/low vowel second?
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KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 28 Apr 2020 18:44 There are a lot of instances of reduplication in English where the first element contains /ɪ/ and the second contains some other vowel (often /æ/ or /ɑ/), so-called "ablaut reduplication".
Pish posh! Stop with all this flim-flam and jibber-jabber! Vowels are such a wibbly-wobbly mishmash of knick-knacks and zigzags, you might as well hop into your jim-jams and go beddy-bye. (Ah! Broke the streak!)

Anyway, this has been something on my mind, too (I even have a list of examples in an unposted draft.) so I'd be interested in seeing an answer. [:)]
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KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 28 Apr 2020 18:44 There are a lot of instances of reduplication in English where the first element contains /ɪ/ and the second contains some other vowel (often /æ/ or /ɑ/), so-called "ablaut reduplication".

For example: wishy-washy, mish-mash, bric-a-brac, pitter-patter, flip-flop, chit-chat, hip-hop, etc.

Is there any "explanation" for why the pattern is high vowel first/low vowel second?
Not only does this distinction involve high vowel/low vowel but also front-central-back. There are several terms in English where instead of it being 2 words with the pattern /ɪ~i æ~ɑ/, it's 3 words with the pattern /ɪ~i æ~ɑ u~ʌ~o/ such as tic-tac-toe or Big Bad Wolf (which even goes against the typical English rules for adjective order).

From what I've read about this, no one really knows exactly why it's like this for sure. It seems to me like it has something to do with high vowels being perceived as more distinct than low vowels and front vowels being perceived as more distinct than back vowels. To me the first one of these seems more important. In two syllable reduplication, the preference looks more like height preference as English speakers prefer the order /ʊ~u æ~ɑ/ over the inverse. But once we're dealing with 3 syllable reduplication, it seems to me like then frontness comes into play as well. In that case we see /æ ɑ/ placed in the middle as the low vowels are seen as less distinct than the high vowels, and we see /ɪ~i/ before /ʊ~u/ because the front vowels are perceived of as more distinct than the back vowels.
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Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

Things like this, things that hint at language not being entirely arbitrary (like all those words referring to "shiny" things that start with /gl/, e.g. glow, gleam, glimmer, glisten, glitz, glamor, etc.) always interest me.

Steven Pinker's theory is that some basic words referring to more immediate things, e.g. "here", "this", "me", etc. contain front/high vowels as well and that this gives them primacy, hence why the front-high-vowel syllable occurs first.
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KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 28 Apr 2020 19:39Steven Pinker's theory is that some basic words referring to more immediate things, e.g. "here", "this", "me", etc. contain front/high vowels as well and that this gives them primacy, hence why the front-high-vowel syllable occurs first.
It's interesting that this largely lines up in German too and somewhat but not as much in Dutch. What's interesting how much this differs in other languages. A really obvious example being the Romance language terms for 1s and 2s
:ita: io & tu have the same front vowel/back vowel distinction as English and German
:esp: yo & tú both contain back vowels
:bra: eu & você both not only contain the same front vowel /e/ but considering that in Portuguese /o̯/ merged with /w/, also in a way share a back vowel
:fra: je & tu traditionally had the first one pronounced with a central vowel /ə/ while the second was pronounced with front vowel /y/. Nowadays the first one is often either also pronounced with a front vowel /ø/ or not pronounced with a vowel at all. Meanwhile stressed moi and toi have the same vowel sound.

And meanwhile in Japanese the distinction between here and there is distinguished not by their vowels but by their consonants: koko (here) vs. soko (there) where the consonant used for "here" is actually pronounced further back than the one for "there". And then there's asoko (over there) which just makes the paradigm even more confusing.

So yeah, lots of interesting stuff with all this phonetically
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All4Ɇn wrote: 28 Apr 2020 20:10 And meanwhile in Japanese the distinction between here and there is distinguished not by their vowels but by their consonants: koko (here) vs. soko (there) where the consonant used for "here" is actually pronounced further back than the one for "there". And then there's asoko (over there) which just makes the paradigm even more confusing.

So yeah, lots of interesting stuff with all this phonetically
In Old Japanese/before Classical Japanese proper ko- is thought to be speaker oriented, and so- non-speaker. Asoko and similar terms were a later innovation. So I think maybe k- = closer to the center = the speaker themself, s- = farther from the center = non-speaker, if we're seriously considering this.
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All4Ɇn wrote: 28 Apr 2020 19:33
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 28 Apr 2020 18:44 There are a lot of instances of reduplication in English where the first element contains /ɪ/ and the second contains some other vowel (often /æ/ or /ɑ/), so-called "ablaut reduplication".

For example: wishy-washy, mish-mash, bric-a-brac, pitter-patter, flip-flop, chit-chat, hip-hop, etc.

Is there any "explanation" for why the pattern is high vowel first/low vowel second?
Not only does this distinction involve high vowel/low vowel but also front-central-back. There are several terms in English where instead of it being 2 words with the pattern /ɪ~i æ~ɑ/, it's 3 words with the pattern /ɪ~i æ~ɑ u~ʌ~o/ such as tic-tac-toe or Big Bad Wolf (which even goes against the typical English rules for adjective order).
I don't see the relevance of the second one - 'big bad wolf' is just some ordinary words in a story. If you pick any three words from a fairy time, eventually you'll get the pattern you want. ("Once upon a time" and "happily ever after" don't follow any obvious pattern!). And how does it go against the typical rules? Size adjectives typically precede other adjectives - hence the opening song of Reservoir Dogs has someone singing about a "little green bag", not a "green little bag". Cf little red riding hood. It's true that adjectives of estimation can come first ("nice little place you have here!"), but often not ("There's a small bad apple in the barrel", not *bad small apple). And 'big bad' has the same order as similar phrases like 'big horrible...', 'big scary...', 'big ugly...', etc Come to think of it, is it just 'little' that can violate this rule?
From what I've read about this, no one really knows exactly why it's like this for sure. It seems to me like it has something to do with high vowels being perceived as more distinct than low vowels and front vowels being perceived as more distinct than back vowels. To me the first one of these seems more important. In two syllable reduplication, the preference looks more like height preference as English speakers prefer the order /ʊ~u æ~ɑ/ over the inverse. But once we're dealing with 3 syllable reduplication, it seems to me like then frontness comes into play as well. In that case we see /æ ɑ/ placed in the middle as the low vowels are seen as less distinct than the high vowels, and we see /ɪ~i/ before /ʊ~u/ because the front vowels are perceived of as more distinct than the back vowels.


I would go for a much simpler explanation: rhythm. Consider the phrase "tick-tock". In reality, most clocks don't go 'tick-tock' - they go 'tick-tick' (or 'tock-tock' if you prefer). But we hear them instinctively as 'tick-tock'. [if you concentrate, you can 'make' a clock go 'tock-tick' instead, or 'tock-tick-tick, tock-tick-tick' like a waltz, for example]

This is because we instinctively create rhythmic structures out of sequences of sound; these structures instinctively begin with strong beats, and strong beats are associated with higher pitch. /i/ has a high pitch, so we instinctively associate it with strong beats (every child knows a siren goes 'neee-norrrr' or 'weee-wahhh', even though you've got a 50% chance of actually hearing norrr-neee or wahhh-weee instead...). We associated back vowels and nasals with weak beats - which is why everybody knows that beethoven's fifth symphony goes 'da-da-da-DUM'. (why not di-da-da-DUM? you do get that, but less often, because it suggests a stronger initial beat, whereas the tune actively tries to blur that beat over the first three notes).

Anyway, it's a bit more complicated than that, but:
- if we hear or invent two similar sounds in sequence, we instinctively make the first one a stronger beat and the second one a weaker beat
- if we vocalise sounds, we tend to associate the stronger beat with /i/
- English in particular tends to have a strong initial beat anyway, so i-a and i-o patterns are even more likely.


So when we make up a nonsense word of two syllables, one intentionally mirroring the other there's going to be a strong instinct to make the first syllable /i/ and the second syllable something else. Talking about a zogzigging mashmish would be as counterintuitive as talking about a clock's tocktick!

As for 'tic-tac-toe' and the like... well, when you have 'tick' and 'tock' (or here 'tack'), the third beat needs to be a different vowel. If you repeat 'tock', you're putting into triple time, which doesn't come naturally. And if you repeat 'tick', then you leave people waiting for the 'tock'. So you need something that sounds like the end, but is distinct from the off-beat. So you'll have lots of /o/ and /u/ and /Um/ and the like.
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Regarding proximity: it continually trips me up that Irish sin means 'there', while 'here' is seo. It should be the other way around, damn it!
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