Re: [tied] Abstractness (Was Re: [j] v. [i])

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 22627
Date: 2003-06-04

----- Original Message -----
From: Jens Elmegaard Rasmussen
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2003 4:09 PM
Subject: Re: [tied] Abstractness (Was Re: [j] v. [i])

> Then what about an analyis of PIE in which all root vowels are (rightly or
wrongly) reduced to varieties of /e/, and /y/ and /w/ are realized as [i],
[u] when not adjacent to vowels, so that the language has /e/, /i/ and /u/
(because we choose to call /y/ and /w/ by their vocalic names)? Or /a/, /i/,
/u/ for that matter, if we choose to call /e/ by a variant we like better?
Would *that* language be typologically permissible?

Not only permissible, but of a rather widespread type. Both /a, i, u/ and
/a, e, i, o, u/ are extremely common cross-linguistically. The former
represents the three elementary vowel "colours" (symbolically, [low],
[front] and [round]), and the latter includes the most common "complex"