24 October 2009

Dentalization of velar stops

Another non-standard phonological feature of Basque is dentalization of velar stops1. This phenomenon is very often accompanied by expressive palatization2:

kakur 'dog' > ttattur
-ko 'diminutive suffix' > -t(t)o
konkor, kunkur 'hunchback(ed); bump' > ttonttor, t(t)unt(t)ur.

Dentalized variants of Latin and Romance borrowings like *fongo 'mushroom' > onddo, kipula 'onion' > tipula, (k)upa 'barrel' > dupa show the process was still going on in the High Middle Ages.

Unlike assibilation, dentalization only affects velars and can occur at any syllable onset and not only at word-initial. Sometimes, we can also find non-dentalized forms in Iberian corresponding to dentalized ones in Basque:

idi 'ox'3 ~ Iberian biki4 (PNC *bHe:mttɬɨ (˜ -u,-i)  'deer, mountain goat')
borda 'hut' (PNC *borGwV: (˜ -ǝ-) 'stall; shed, tower')
gurdi, burdi 'cart' ~ Iberian oŕke (PNC *k’wVrk’V 'something round or rotating')
idor 'dry'5 ~ Iberian bekoŕ6 (PNC *=iGGwAr 'dry, to dry')
urde 'pig' ~ Iberian uŕke (PNC *wHa:rttɬ’wǝ 'boar, pig')

Dentalization also arises in compound variants7 where a velar stop gets to final position:
begi 'eye' > *bet-
behi 'cow' (EPBasq. *pekhi) > *bet-
ogi 'bread' > *ot-
zohi 'clod of earth' (EPBasq. *tokhi) > *zot-
1 Commonly found in children's language.
2 As in the case of assibilation (see), this is why Vascologists haven't indentified it.
3 Also non-standard pit(t)ika 'goat kid' and similar forms.
4 Compare also Spanish pequeño/a (without palatization!) and Italian piccino/a 'little' with Catalan petit/a and French petit/e 'id.'
5 There's also ador (L), a form contaminated by agor 'dry'.
6 There's also Basque pegor 'sterile, poor'.
7 Called combinatory forms by Vascologists.

1 comment:

  1. 1. How do we know Iberian /biki/ meant "ox"???
    2. Do we know the meaning of Iberian /oŕke/? How?
    3. How do we know the meaning of Iberian /bekoŕ/????
    4. How do we know the meaning of Iberian /uŕke/?????????

    This is very suspicious stuff.