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Sound change and alternation

Compensatory lengthening in phonology and historical linguistics is the lengthening of a vowel sound that happens upon the loss of a following consonant, usually in the syllable coda, or of a vowel in an adjacent syllable. Lengthening triggered by consonant loss may be considered an extreme form of fusion (Crowley 1997:46). Both types may arise from speakers' attempts to preserve a word's moraic count.[1]


Combat Stitched Jersey Cowboys College White Weeden 3 Pro English[edit]

An example from the history of English is the lengthening of vowels that happened when the voiceless velar fricative /x/ and its palatal allophone [ç][2] were lost from the language. For example, in the Middle English of Pullover 52 Green Hoodie Packers Matthews Football Number gold Clay Name amp;'s time the word night was phonemically /nixt/; later the /x/ was lost, but the /i/ was lengthened to /iː/ to compensate, causing the word to be pronounced /niːt/ ("neet"). (Later the /iː/ became /aɪ/ by the Great Vowel Shift.)

Both the Germanic spirant law and the Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law show vowel lengthening compensating for the loss of a nasal.

Non-rhotic forms of English have a lengthened vowel before a historical post-vocalic */r/: in Scottish English, girl has a short /ɪ/Crimson Stitched Sec Tide Patch Jersey 9 White Amari College Cooper followed by a light alveolar /r/, as presumably it did in Middle English; in Southern British English, the */r/ has dropped out of the spoken form and the vowel has become a "long schwa" [əː].

Classical Hebrew and Aramaic[edit]

Compensatory lengthening in Classical Hebrew and Aramaic is dependent on the class of consonant which follows the prefix (definite article in Hebrew and prefix waw-hahipukh in both languages).

E.g. (using the Hebrew definite article [hey with pataḥ plus dagesh in following consonant]):[3]

  • Before ע and א it is usually [hey with qametz].
  • Before ח and ה it is usually [hey with pataḥ]. If it is pretonic it may be [hey with qametz].
  • But when it is propretonic, whatever the guttural, it will usually be [hey with segol].

Ancient Greek[edit]

Compensatory lengthening is very common in Ancient Greek. It is particularly notable in forms where n or nt comes together with s, y (= ι̯), or i. The development of nt + y was perhaps thus:

  • *mont-yă → montsa (palatalization Combat Stitched Jersey Cowboys College White Weeden 3 Pro tyts) → mõtsa (nasalization and vowel lengthening) → mõssa → mõsa (shortening sss) → mōsa (denasalization, retention of long vowel) = μοῦσα "muse"

Forms with this type of compensatory lengthening include the nominative singular and dative plural of many participles, adjectives, and nouns, the 3rd person plural ending for present and future active of all verbs, and the 3rd person singular present of athematic verbs:

  • *πάντ-ς → πᾶς "every, whole" (masculine nominative singular)[4]
  • *πάντ-ι̯ᾰ → *πάντσα → πᾶσα (feminine)
  • *πάντ-σι → πᾶσι (masculine/neuter dative plural)
  • compare παντ-ός (m./n. genitive singular)
  • *όντ-ι̯ᾰ → *όντσα → οὖσα participle "being" (feminine nominative singular)[5]
  • *οντ-ίᾱ → *ονσία → οὐσία "property, essence"
  • compare ὀντ-ός (m./n. genitive singular, from participle ὤν "being",)
  • Doric ἄγ-ο-ντι → ἄγοντσι → Attic/Ionic ἄγουσι "they drive"
  • Doric φα-ντί → *φαντσί → Attic/Ionic φᾱσί "they say"[6]

Indo-Aryan Languages[edit]

In the evolution of modern Indo-Aryan language there is a first stage in which consonant clusters with dissimilar consonants preceded by a short vowel undergo assimilation resulting in consonant clusters with similar consonants. In the second stage there is loss of the first consonant along with lengthening of the vowel, sometimes with nasalization. In Punjabi, only the first stage occurred while most of the other modern Indo-Aryan languages underwent the second stage too.

Combat Stitched Jersey Cowboys College White Weeden 3 Pro E.g.

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Sanskrit Punjabi Hindi
हस्तः (hastaḥ) ਹੱਥ (hatth) हाथ (hāth) Hand
सप्त (sapta) ਸੱਤ (satt) सात (sāt) Seven
अष्ट (aṣṭa) ਅੱਠ (aṭṭh) आठ (āṭh) Eight
कर्तनम् (kartanaṃ) ਕੱਟਨਾ (kaṭṭanā) काटना (kāṭanā) Cutting
कर्म (karma) ਕੰਮ (kamm) काम (kām) Work
अर्धम् (ardhaṃ) ਅੱਧਾ (addhā) आधा (ādhā) Half
अद्य (adya) ਅੱਜ (ajj) आज (āj) Today
सर्पः (sarpaḥ) Combat Stitched Jersey Cowboys College White Weeden 3 Pro ਸੱਪ (sapp) साँप (sā(n)p) Snake
अक्षि (akṣi) ਅੱਖ (akkh) आँख (ā(n)kh) Eye
दुग्धम् (dugdhaṃ) ਦੁੱਧ (duddh) दूध (dūdh) Milk
पुत्रः (putraḥ) Combat Stitched Jersey Cowboys College White Weeden 3 Pro ਪੁੱਤ (putt) पूत (pūt) Son

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hayes, Bruce (1989). "Compensatory Lengthening in Moraic Phonology". Linguistic Inquiry. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 20 (2): 253–306.
  2. ^ Millward, C. M. (1996). A Biography of the English Language. Boston: Wadsworth. p. 84.
  3. ^ Hoffer, Victoria. Combat Stitched Jersey Cowboys College White Weeden 3 Pro Biblical Hebrew: Supplement for Enhanced Comprehension. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2005. Pg. 58. See also Garrett, Duane A., and Jason S. DeRouchie, A Modern Grammar for Biblical Hebrew. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Academic, 2009. Chapter 8.
  4. ^ Smyth, par. 299: adjs. in nt.
  5. Okafor Jersey Stitched 15 College Blue Jahlil Devils Royal Basketball
  6. ^ Smyth, par. 301 a and d: participles in nt.
  7. ^ Smyth, par. 462 note: Doric athematic verb endings.

Combat Stitched Jersey Cowboys College White Weeden 3 Pro References[edit]

  • Crowley, Terry. (1997) An Introduction to Historical Linguistics. 3rd edition. Oxford University Press.
  • Smyth, Greek Grammar on CCEL.