Friday, December 12, 2008

Hidden consonant stems

I was just realizing while lying in bed this morning that, since /t/ disappeared word-finally, there's bound to be a whole class of nouns that appear vowel-final (and might even end with /-e/ or /-o/ which otherwise don't exist in the absolutive because of the final raising rule) but decline differently in some cases than the genuine vowel stems. For example:

Stems in -t, Singular

A perhet-Ø > perhe
E perhet-nës > perhennes > perhes* (?)
G perhet-v > (perhetu)
I perhet-hën > perheten > perhen* (?)
S perhet-še > perheitsi > perheis
P perhet-da > perhetta
V perhet-t > perhe

* We really need to decide about that paradigmatic leveling issue ASAP.

Stems in -t, Plural

There's a big question here as to what happens to the /-t-/. Followed as it is by /i/, it ought to become an /s/ in every case; but it's also not inconceivable that it could have dropped out, leaving a bunch of vowels to resolve themselves into something pronounceable. Part of this is going to involve figuring out the chronology of the changes.

A perhet-i-Ø > perhesi > perhie (?)
E perhet-i-nis > perhesis > perhies (?)
G perhet-i-u > (perhesiu > perheju (?))
I perhet-i-hin > perhesin > perhien (?)
S perhet-i-še > perhesis > perhies/perheis (?)
P perhet-i-da > perhesia > perheja (?)
V perhet-i-t > perhesi > perhie (?)

I'm interested to see what happens when other vowels precede the /-t/. For example, from original rahat, velit, huonot, olut we'd have:

raha, rahas, rahan, rahais, rahatta, raha; rahai, rahais, rahain, rahaja, rahai
veli, velis, velin, velis, velitta, veli; velī, velīs, velīn, velija, velī
huono, huonos, huonon, huonois, huonotta, huono; huonoi, huonois, huonoin, huonoja, huonoi
olu, olus, olun, oluis, olutta, olu; olui, oluis, oluin, oluja, olui.

So, then, the cases in which we see a departure from vowel-final stems with the same ultimate vowel would be absolutive singular (-et and -ot stems), similative, partitive singular, ergative and instrumental plural (all except -ut stems), partitive plural (-et stems) and vocative plural (all except -it stems).

I have this feeling that maybe the -s- only rather recently dropped out, recently enough for those forms to be used in the modern language to evoke an old-fashioned or very formal feel.

Next question: What about verbs? Should they also exist with all possible vocalic stems? And what happens with /-t/ stems?

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