Re: [tied] Affects of immigrant communities in language change

From: Danny Wier
Message: 8395
Date: 2001-08-09

>Lastly, when Germanic and especially Celtic venture further west, they
finally come across some truely exotic substrate languages beyond the blazé
Tyrrhenian fringe, like Vasconic, Iberian and Tartessian languages. These
quite different substrate
languages help to alter these IE languages in unique ways, thus explaining
EVERYthing!        Glen

Glen, do you think some peculiarities of Germanic (initial stress, ü, ö...?)
could be explained by a Finnish-Estonian or so speaking people adopting an
IE language?
I know, I'm not Glen; I'll answer anyway.
The emergence of fronted vowels or Umlaut in Germanic may have been *influenced* by Uralic and Altaic vowel harmony.  However, Umlaut and vowel harmony are not related.
Umlaut results from the loss of final vowels in Proto-Germanic, leaving behind a shift in the initial vowel.  The rules for Old Norse (using Danish-Norwegian vowel letters):
1) a-Umlaut and a-"breaking"
   CeCa > CjaC
   CiCa > CeC
   CuCa > CoC
2) i-Umlaut
   CaCi > CeC or CæC
   CoCi > CøC
   CuCi > CyC
   CauCi > CøyC
3) u-Umlaut and u-"breaking"
   CaCu > CåC
   CeCu > CøC (Umlaut)
   CeCu > CjoC (breaking)
   (both case in Old Icelandic: CjøC)
   CiCu > CyC
Vowel harmony, on the other hand, affects the non-initial and suffixal vowels mostly.  Uralic languages classify front, back and neutral vowels.  In Finnish, if the stem has a front vowel and the suffix has a back vowel, the back vowel is fronted: i-a > i-ä, i-o > i-ö, i-u > i-ü.  Turkic has backing of the vowel /i/ with back vowels, so where e-i remains e-i, a-i becomes a-I (dotless i).  There are some more rules related to rounding of vowels, but I forgot what they are exactly.
~DaW~ (it's pronounced Throat Warbler Mangrove)