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02/08/2012

Comments

Glen Gordon

Neat. This is yet another case of what I've been railing against earlier: bad orthographies that create obfuscation rather than clarity in linguistics. I shake my finger at it! ;o)

The rise of schwa to /i/ here seems to me superficially like a case of height dissimilation between /ə/ and /a/ to make the phonemic distinction between the two vowels more audibly salient. Is that right? Or are there other reasons for it?

phoenix

Hmm, I was talking about this today. And Maarten Kossmann mentioned that someone has argued the /i/ might be the accented variant of /ə/ in open syllables. I think that explanation is probably the most elegant, but I'd need to read up on it/study it carefully, to make sure.

Glen Gordon

Ah ok. So in other words, an open syllable effectively provides extra room for vowel length in the absence of a coda, leading to the natural rise of the (half-)lengthened vowel from schwa to /i/. Reasonable. Is schwa the only vowel that rises like this or does this phenomenon affect other low vowels?

phoenix

It's the only vowel that does this. But schwa is also the only short low vowel in the Aujila phonology, so this is not very surprising.

An unrelated phenomenon is the shift of Proto-berber /a/ to /i/, which seems to occur in final syllables.

Open final /a/ seems to shift to /i/, and when it is followed by /w, r, l, n, m/. I'm currently working out the details, but that seems to be the bottom line. But there are quite a few words that violate this law, so it's no longer productive.

Lameen

Glad my thesis came in handy! The reason I opt for the vague label "relevance" is that in Siwi this suffix doesn't just go on perfect(ive) verbs; it also shows up - with the same alternations - on adjectives, adverbs, and intensive (imperfective) verbs. "Resultative" works as a label for its commonest single function, but doesn't capture its use with intensive verbs to mean "while", for example. But in Awjila as far as I know there's no evidence for any of these additional uses, so "resultative" may well be the right label there.

In Siwi final-syllable schwa also becomes i (or e) when lengthened for prosodic reasons, as often in questions. Again, though, don't know if this happens in Awjila...

phoenix

In Siwi final-syllable schwa also becomes i (or e) when lengthened for prosodic reasons, as often in questions. Again, though, don't know if this happens in Awjila...

I haven't noticed that yet, no. But must say that I haven't been on the lookout for it either. I will once I go over the texts again in the near future.

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