Previously I wrote about the system of Proto-Turkic vowels as consisting of 8 qualities spanned by features of height, frontness and rounding with three additional phonemes sometimes suggested: /ia/, /e/ and /*ë/.
The first phoneme is reflected identically to *a, except it caused palatalization in Chuvash, so that we have:
Continue reading “Turkic vocalism revisited”
The form of the ablative case suffix in Mongolic is a well isogloss separating all modern Mongolic varieties and all Middle Mongol sources save Muqaddimat al–Adab. Middle Mongol reflects *-(a-)ča, while modern languages (and MA) show *-(a-)sa. Thus, irregular deaffrication of *č in this suffix is taken to be a Common Mongolic innovation.
There are no external comparisons that could hint to a further etymology of the ablative suffix. Khitan has an unrelated ablative in <e(n)d.ii>, homographical with dative+genitive. Sometimes a comparison with the Turkic equative (likely an original prolative) *-ča is made, but the semantics are off. Poppe also claims cognacy to Manchu či, but Jurchen data (Kiyose 309) shows that the original form was ti and the similarity probably fortuitous.
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While all Turkic languages show distinction between voiceless and voiced stops  word-internally, only Oghuz languages have it initially, and only between k/g in front vowel words and t/d .
Most reconstructions take this distinction to have been phonemic in Proto-Turkic, but Doerfer makes the case in Ein altosmanisches Lautgesetz im Kurdischen that we’re dealing with a secondary voicing in Oghuz.
Continue reading “Turkic initials”
Proto-Mongolic shows two peculiarities regarding coda consonants. First, unlike other (unaspirated) obstruents, *ǰ is not found in coda positions, and second, coda *r groups together with obstruents by synchronically aspirating a following obstruent of a suffix . It doesn’t take much imagination to try and combine these two.
Continue reading “Pre-Mongolic rhotacism”
For some time now, I’ve been considering the possibility that Proto-Mongolic *ï derives, at least partly, from an earlier *ia diphthong. This would be in line with both Turkic and Tungusic possessing such a phoneme and with their correspondences such as CT *sarïg ‘yellow’ ~ Chuvash šur ‘white’ ~ PM *sïra ‘yellow’ or CT *taš ~ Chuvash čul ~ PM *čïlaxun ‘stone’ (but Tungusic *ǯola). 
Continue reading “Mongolic *gI”
Unstable n refers to the phenomenon found in several Mongolic languages (Classical Mongol, Khalkha, Buryat, Mongghul…) of certain stems alternating final -n with zero across their declensional paradigm. For those desiring more detail than given here, this paper covers the Khalkha situation, and for those unfamiliar with the Mongolian declension Poppe’s grammar may be consulted.
The mainstream view is that the phenomenon is morphological in nature and dates to Proto-Mongolic (The Mongolic Languages, The Phonology of Mongolian, Mongolic Phonology and the Qinghai-Gansu Languages, …), however I would like to defend a different position.
Continue reading “Mongolic unstable *-n”
In comparative Mongolic phonology, two sounds are usually distinguished, one, which I will write *x, disappears between vowels (presuming it existed, Nugteren reconstructs these sequences as vowel hiatuses) forming diphthongs and long vowels, while the other, which I will write *g, is preserved in all languages as an unaspirated or voiced stop or fricative.
Continue reading “Mongolic *x and *g”