Henrik Theiling wrote: > Hi! > > Yesterday I was wondering what interesting stuff could happen to an > /y/ phoneme? Same question about the lax variant /Y/. > > The only (boring) thing I could come up with was /y/ > /i/ unrounding > as seen in so many languages (German dialects, Icelandic, Greek, > Kreyol Ayisyen, to name only a few). > > This question came up when I thought about sound shifts where > labialisation spreads to vowels, e.g. when German 'schlimm' is > pronounced [SlYm] (instead of [SlIm]) or 'bischen' like ['bYSn=] > (instead of [bIsC@n]). So with [I] > [Y], a shift to [I] is really > boring, so I was searching for something else for additional > spiciness. Didn't /y:/ become something like /2y/ in Dutch along with a similar change to /i:/ ? ISTR our Swedish friends saying there's some frication in some dialects of Swedish, something like /i/ > [z=] and /y/ to [z=_w]. Probably I'm forgetting some other diacritic, too. And I have no idea what a syllabic /z/ would change into anyway, possibly epenthetic vowels along the lines of /i/ > [iz] and /u/ > [uz]. But then: why bother? But, both of these have parallel changes with the unrounded vowel so it merely puts off the decision :( You could have a regular anti-clockwise chain-shift, and allow unrounded vowels to lower more than round vowels (because low vowels and rounded vowels don't usually mix, especially in the front). But that's a long way to go down... Some cases of /y/ in OE have become /e/ or /U/ (> /V/) in ME, e.g. merry, bury; much, church. AFAIK these are always conditioned changes, but that doesn't necessarily mean it can't happen in other languages unconditionally. -- Tristan.