Monday, July 28, 2008

Softening and ·

One thing we didn't mention in the last post is what we do with softening of g and k in the case of the presence of a hyphen ·. As an example, take ON þak 'roof; ceiling', which in the definite form was þak·it 'the roof; the ceiling'. In Jamtlandic, ON þak·it has evolved into the pronounciation [tʰɑːtʃə] (acute accent) with a softening of the k due to the i. We have three possibilities here:

(1) We spell tak·eð using a rule that e is always
soft in all positions and situations;

(2a) We spell tak·jeð using a rule that e is not
soft in an unstressed position, and that the j
is associated with e;

(2b) We spell takj·eð using a rule that e is not
soft in an unstressed position, and that the j
is associated with k.

Of course, (1) means that ë would be used when there's no softening involved (e.g., takkë [ tʰakːə] (grave accent) 'thank', ON þakka). When choosing between (2a) and (2b) we note that the most etymological choice is (2a) since the j can be seen as being part of the etymological i causing the softening. The problem is of course that the hyphen will separate k and j in this case, but I think it possible to accept this "flaw". Note that both (2a) and (2b) means that ë can't be used in an unstressed position. (Unlike ï which can only be used in an unstressed position, which we will discuss in a future post.)

My personal choice between (1), (2a) and (2b) is (2a), i.e., tak·jeð.

We conclude that when using the hyphen · when
softening of g or k is involved, we write g·j or k·j,

As examples, consider

veg·jen [ʋɛjːən] 'the road',
from ON acc. veg·inn [weɣɪnː];

serk·jen [sæʂːən] 'the sark',
from ON acc. serk·inn [sɛrcɪnː];and

bełk·jen [bæʈʂən] 'the beam; the section',
from ON acc. balk·inn.

stokk·jen [stɔtʃːən]/[statʃːən]/[stɞtʃːən] 'the log',
from ON acc. stokk·inn.

All examples have an acute accent. Note also that stokk 'log' is pronounced [stakː] in Hammerdal and [stɞkː] in Klövsjö, both consistent with a vowel o rather than u. If the spelling would've been "stukk" the most common pronounciation would still be [stɔkː], which would be the pronounciation in Klövsjö too, but [stɞkː] in Hammerdal. Though slightly off topic, I think it's a good idea to write down how short a, á, o and u are pronounced in common Jamtlandic (C), Hammerdal dialect (H) and Klövsjö dialect (K):


This is pretty complicated, and is due to how ON (or rather Old Jamtlandic to be specific) a [ɑ], á [ɒː], o [ɔ] and u [ʊ] have evolved in different parts of Jämtland.

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