Proto-West Altaic'

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Proto-Altaic' to Erly Proto-West Altaic'

  • /s ʂ/ → [ts tʂ] and /ɽ/ → [ɖ] when initial or prenasalized
  • Lenition of dorsal stops to fricativs in vicinity of other stops
  • Retroflexes (but not the palato-alveolar sibilant allophones) acquire velarization
  • /w/ is also possibly alreddy [βˠ] by this stage (areal influence? CF Proto-Betamax)
  • /N/ drops before affricates and [ɖ], phonemicizing 'em
  • Lengthening of stress'd nonclose vowels; /a/ attracts stress from a close vowel
  • Reduction of /ɛ ɔ a/ to [ə] when unstress'd (also aj aw → əj əw)

Erly to mid PWA'

Till ca. -3ka.

Middle PWA' had two main dialects: Northern, spoken in the vicinity of the Aral Sea; and Southern, spoken as a continuum across a wide area south of this, with the most important subdialects being West proper just south of the Caspian Sea, and Proto-Sadabax, spoken around where Samarkand exists in reality.

  • /ɪ ʊ/ → /e o/, phonemicizing length
  • Fronting /u/ → /ʉ/
  • Before uvulars, /ei ai/ smooth to /eː ɛː/
  • General difthong raising
    • /ə əi əu/ → /ʌ ɪi ʊu/
    • /ai au ou/ → /əi ou əu/.
    • (There may be some confusion between *əi, *ai and *əu, *ou however, will hafta wait for stress details)
  • /x xʷ Nx Nxʷ χ χʷ Nχ Nχʷ/ → /h f ŋh mh ħ fˤ ŋħ mħ/
  • Retroflex stops (but generally not affricates) → velars before front vowels, emphatics elsewhere; [ɽˠ] → /ɡ/ consistently

From here on, dialect divisions appear:

  • POA chain shift involving labials. The results differ a bit by the dialect - West proper develops an emphasis contrast, while North shifts this further to a palatalization / velarization contrast (in some cases with a third dimension too). This all may have been brought about from contact with the Transcaspian' family.
    • /kʷ qʷ/ → /p pˤ/ (South), /pˠ kʴ/ (North)
    • /p f fˤ/ → /t̻ s̻ s̻ˤ/ (South), /pʲ fʲ fˠ/ (North)
    • Note that this dedorsalization is later than the one affecting spirants, since their reflexes behave here as labials!
  • Approximant drift
    • /l/ → /n̻/
    • /j/ → /ɟ/ → /dʲ/ (North), → /d̻/ (South)
    • /w/ → /βˠ/ → /bˠ/ (North), → /bˤ/ (South)
  • /q/ → /kˤ/ [qˤ] (South), /kʴ/ (North)
  • /s̻/ → /sʲ/ (North and Sadabax)
    • --hang on, where does North get this /s̻/? Is there a split development of *f or *h?
  • /ts/ → /s̻/ (only in West)
  • /ɪi ʊu/ → /i u/ (remember, these are unstress'd only)
  • /i e ə/ → /ʉ/ [ɵ] /ɔ/ when before /u/ etc. (in North, only the last of these seems to occur)
  • Unrounding /ʉ/ → /ɨ/
  • /aː/ → /oa/ → /ua/, leaving the dialects without an open vowel at all and prompting different repair strategies:
    • In West proper, /o ɔː/ → /a(ː)/, triggering a chain shift: /oː/ → /ɔː/, /ou/ → /oː/
    • In North, /ɨ/ → /a/
  • More difthong raising:
    • /ei/ → /iː/ (general)
    • /ou/ → /uː/ (North and Sadabax; West cf. prev.)
    • /əi əu/ → /ɨi ɨu/ (South), furthermore /ɨi/ → /ɨː/ (West only)
    • /əi əu/ → /iː uː/ (North, but without palatalization/velarization)
  • Southern /kˤ/ → West /ʔ/
    • in Sadabax, all non-emphatic stops lenited (may be late): /p b t̻ d̻ t ts k g/ → /f v θ ð ɾ s x ɣ/, /pˤ bˤ tˤ dˤ kˤ/ → /p b t d k/

Mid to late PWA'

ca. -1.5ka

  • /t tʂ s n/ → /ṯ ṯ s̱ ṉ/ (with the [ʧ] allophone also generalized to both stops)
  • Voicing processes (or maybe later? NB /h ħ/ will not voice)
  • Introduce /ɬ̻ ɬˤ/, whence /l̻ ɫ/ (cf. East Persian'!)
  • /θˤ/ → /ħ/, /ɫ/
  • Velar rounding before /ua/, which itself returns to /aː/ (& elsewhere?)
    • also hʷ → xʷ
  • Short vowels lengthen before _CLASS (short sonorants?); also /i/ → /iə/
    • [ɵ] returns to /e/; however [ɵː] breiks → [eɔ]
  • Insertion of shwa before _CLASS (pharyngeals?), with length and /ee ɛɛ/, /oo ɔɔ/ contrasts neutralized
    • /iə ɨə uə/ remain difthongs; the last of these attracts remaining /ua/
  • [ə] renormalizes to [ɔ] outside of difthongs
    • [eɔ aɔ] → [ɛː ɔː]
  • Pharyngeal harmony (spills over into vowels too)
    • Emphasis spreds thru a word unless blocked by a velar obstruent or nasal.
    • The laminal/apical distinction in coronals is neutralized when emphatic.
Labial Lamino-
Velar Laryngeal
Plain Emphatic Plain Emphatic Plain Labial Plain Emphatic
Stops Voiceless p ṯˤ k (ʔ ~ ∅)
Voiced b ḏˤ ɡ ɡʷ
Fricatives Voiceless ʂˣ h ħ
(Voiced ʐˠ (ɣʷ))
Nasals m ṉˤ ŋ
Laterals (ḻ) ɫ
Semivowels ɻˠ j w

(Depending on the font, the laminality signs (subsc. square) may look like dentality sings (subsc. bridge), but since they're dental anyway, that's no problem.)