Valyrian Historical Linguistics

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Contents

Varieties

The term "Low Valyrian" is used to refer to all extant languages descended from High Valyrian. It can be divided into three groups: Northern, Southern and Ghiscari[1]. The Northern group is made up of Braavosi, Lorathi, Pentoshi, Norvosi and Qohorik. The Southern group is made up of Myrish, Tyroshi, Lyseni and Volantene.

Ghiscari group

The Ghiscari group comprises Astapori, Yunkish and Meereenese. Astapori and Yunkish are nearly identical to each other, while Meereenese has a fundamentally similar grammar but a very different pronunciation[2]. Astapori and Meereenese are the only varieties of Low Valyrian spoken on the show so far. The Ghiscari group has many words of Ghiscari origin, such as mhysa "mother".

The main grammatical changes in Ghiscari Valyrian are the reduction in the number of cases and genders, and the development of articles, of which High Valyrian had none. Ghiscari Valyrian has merged the solar and lunar genders into the celestial gender, and the aquatic and terrestrial into the terrestrial gender.

Astapori Valyrian

Abbreviations

  • _: indicates the phoneme's place in a phonological environment
  • #: word boundary
  • ∅: null, elision
  • V: vowel
  • C: consonant
  • P: plosive, stop
  • L: liquid

Consonant sound changes

  • Unconditioned sound changes
    • /ɲ/ > /n/ (dȳñes > dyni)
    • /j/ > /ʒ/
    • /z/ > /ʒ/ (māzigon > majigho, brozi > broji, ziry > ji)
  • Voiced stop > voiced fricative vowel-medially
    • /b/ > /v/ (jēlēbagon > jelevagho, kostōba > kotova)
    • /d/ > /ð/ (dovaogēdy > dovoghedhy)
    • /g/ > /ɣ/ (zūgagon > zughagho)
  • Voiceless stop > voiced stop vowel-medially
    • /p/ > /b/ (epagon > ebagho, kepa > kiba, rapa > raba)
    • /t/ > /d/ (otāpagon > odabagon, teta > tida, botemagon > bodmagho)
    • /k/ > /g/ (pēko > pegu, pikībagon > pigivagho)
    • /q/ > /g/ (beqitsos > begistos)
  • Voiceless fricative > voiced fricative vowel-medially
    • /s/ > /z/ (kesa > kiza, syt > zy)
  • Metathesis of /s/ followed by a stop (/Ps/ > /sP/)
    • /ks/ > /sk/ (āeksio > aeske)
    • /ts/ > /st/ (rytsas > rysta, tōmītsos > tomistos)
    • perh. also /ps/ > /sp/ (e.g. *apsos > aspo)
  • Deletion of /s/ before stop word-medially (/s/ > ∅ \ _P)
    • /sk/ > /k/ (hoskagon > hokagho)
    • /st/ > /t/ (ivestragon > ivetragho, kostōba > kotova, kostilus > kotlu)
    • perh. also /sp/ > /p/ (e.g. nuspes > *nupe)
  • Debuccalization of voiceless stops before /t/ (P > /h/ \ _t)
    • /kt/ > /ht/ (unektogon > unehtogho)
    • /pt/ > /ht/ (teptan > tehtan)
  • Syncope of unstressed /i/ between a stop and a liquid before a vowel (/i/ > ∅ \ P_LV)
    • /kiri/ > /kri/ (kirimvos > krimvo)
    • /qilo/ > /qlo/ (qilōny > qlony)
    • /tilu/ > /tlu/ (kostilus > kotlu)
  • Various other changes
    • /qr/ > /q/ (qrimbrōsta > qimbrota)
    • /s/ > ∅ \ V_# at least in the sg.nom. (daorys > dory, hontes > hunte, hobres > hubre)

Vowel sound changes

  • Shortening of all long vowels
    • /Vː/ > /V/ (gēlenka > gelinka)
  • Flattening of diphthongs
    • Rising
      • /ao/ > /o/ (gaomagon > gomagho, dovaogēdy > dovoghedhy, daorys > dory)
      • /ae/ > /e/ (hae > he, laes > les)
      • /aːe/ > /aj/ > (āeksio > aeske, brāedion > braedhe)
      • perhaps by analogy, /aːo/ > /aw/
    • Falling
      • /io, ioː/ > /e/ when not word-initial (āeksio > aeske, liorilaksa > lerraska)
      • /ia, iaː/ > /e/ when not word-initial
      • /ie, ieː/ > /i/ when not word-initial (giēñilaros > ginilaro)
  • Fricatization of word-initial /u, i/ before a vowel
    • /u(ː)/ > /v/ \ #_V (ūī > vi)
    • /i/ > /ʒ/ \ #_V (iōragon > joragho)
  • Raising of stressed short mid vowels /e, o/
    • /e/ > /i/ when stressed (gēlenka > gelinka, hen > hin, kepa > kiba)
    • /o/ > /u/ when stressed (kona > kuna, hobres > hubre, lo > lu)

Meereenese Valyrian

Consonant Sound Changes

  • Palatalization:
    • h, s > sh
    • z > j
    • t > ch
    • d > dj
    • n > ny / _{i, y, e}
Many sounds become palatalized before front vowels.
  • Spirantization:
    • p > f
    • t > th
    • ch > sh
    • k, q > kh
    • s > sh / V_V, _C[+stop], _#
Voiceless stops spontaneously spirantized in between vowels and before other non-identical stops (i.e. geminates remain) and at the end of a word.
  • Gliding:
    • v > w
    • j > y
    • i > ye
    • u > wa / #_
    • oa, ua > wa
    • oe, ue > we
These fricatives became glides at the beginning of a word. Also, generally, v became w many places.
  • Lenition Chain:
    • dh, gh, h > Ø
    • d > dh
    • dj > j
    • b > v
    • g > gh
A second round of lenition deleted a number of consonants present in Astapori Valyrian. (Though dh and gh were not deleted at the beginning of a word.)
  • Nasal Degradation:
    • n, m > ng / _#
Occurred in all paradigms.
  • Degemination (Mutation):
    • nn > ny
    • ll > ly
    • vv > w
    • zz > r
Ubiquitous sound change.
  • Degemination (Other):
    • CC > C
Ubiquitous sound change.
  • Devoicing:
    • C > [-voice] / #_, _#
Radical devoicing affected the edges of words.
  • Vowel Loss:
    • V > Ø / C[+fric]_C[-cont], C[+obs]_C[+glide], _#
    • y > i
This will include nasals and liquids. Single syllable words were left in tact (i.e. their vowels will not be deleted). (Note: Where complex clusters would be left, the vowel instead reduced to schwa.)
  • Lateralization/Rhoticization:
    • r > l / _#
    • l > r / #_
Ubiquitous sound change.
  • Vowel Lowering:
    • u > o
    • i, y > e
    • o, e, a > ǝ / _#
Affects those remaining vowels.

Notes

  1. http://dothraki.com/dl/sdcomicfest.pdf
  2. http://www.dothraki.com/2014/05/the-state-of-valyrian/
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