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Not an easy text to snip in, but here goes: 

* Henrik Theiling said on 2008-10-10 16:41:59 +0200
> After reading a lot about Portuguese recently, I started to
> think about Terkunan again.  One of my favorite sound shifts,
> /../ the reduction of unstressed vowels to /a i u/, meaning
> e>i and o>u in unstressed syllables.

/snip/ 

> Second problem: usually, all original inflection endings drop, usually
> including the thematic vowel (e.g. _not_ < NOCTEM, _prot_ < PORTA,
> _rot_ < HORTUM).  The current language requires an epenthetic _e_ from
> an earlier /@/ on stems ending in certain voiced consonants and most
> clusters, which cannot end a word.  Some examples:
> 
>    mange  < *mang@   'to eat
>    deve   < *dev@    'to have to'
> 
> These vowels drop before another vowel:
> 
>    mange + (a)t  >  mangat 'eaten' (participle)
>    ave   + (a)t  >  avat   'had'   (participle)
> 
> Some verbs do end in -i because of a retained glide
> or because of -i conjugation:
> 
>    odi + (a)t  >  odit   'heard' (participle)
> 
> This is where the problem arises: -e and -i collapse to /i/ with the
> new /a i u/ rule.  And I do not like stems being not written as they
> are pronounced.

> Today, I talked to a friend and he suggested a very simple and elegant
> solution I had not thought of before: make the epenthetic vowel an
> /a/.

Fronted a (/a/) is quite close to lax /e/ anyway, and epenthetic
/a/ is not that uncommon. Maybe not in Romance but certainly in
for instance Sanskrit and its relations! Perhaps Terkunan was
spoken in Goa :)


t.