I removed the entry for "cheshirization". This is clearly a non-established neologism, and there was a previous discussion to eliminate this term [1], so it has no business being here. Please see WP:NEO. Benwing (talk) 21:05, 16 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]

This was removed, restored, removed, and restored again a couple months ago (see this set of diffs: [2][3][4][5]), but I don't remember if it was discussed anywhere at that time. Kwamikagami would know more.
Also, you should probably talk to Kwami before redirecting Cheshirization; it used to be a redirect, and I'm pretty sure he had a reason for making it into an article. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 21:18, 16 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Benwing, you do not decide what is and is not valid linguistics. And while the term "cheshirization" may be associated with Matisoff, the phenomena it covers are not, so a redirect to Matisoff is inappropriate. According to your edits, nasalization, tonogenesis, and floating tones are not valid elements of sound change. I think most of us would disagree. Now, if you can come up with a synonymous term that would enable us to discuss these phenomena intelligently, without recourse to the term you dislike, I don't think we'd mind.
Some of the linguists who have used the term are McWhorter, Aikhenvald, Dahl, Heine, Hopper, and Himmelmann. Dahl says he prefers the term to the various circumlocutions that could be used instead, and Heine simply uses it without explaining it or attributing it to Matisoff. kwami (talk) 21:29, 16 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
My two cents... I'm not a phonologist and don't have much opinion on whether we should use "cheshirization" or "trace remains" in the template, but I agree with kwami that that section needs to stay, whatever it's called. This kind of opacity is a real phenomenon, regardless of whether we use "cheshirization" to refer to it. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 21:49, 16 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
If the section remains, however, I think it should either be renamed, or the corresponding article be restored. It's simply baffling to click on the word and be redirected to an article pertaining to someone's biography. LjL (talk) 22:17, 16 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
LjL: I restored the article. Benwing had also deleted nasalization and tonogenesis from the template, so that there was nothing to click onto. That's part of what I was objecting to: we shouldn't deny that these are part of sound change, merely because Benwing doesn't like a word.
Rjanag: "Trace remains" works in the template. However, out of context it can easily mean something like trace fossils, and so might not work as well as the title of an article. "Cheshirization" is at least unambiguous. kwami (talk) 22:37, 16 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Look, I'm personally tempted to retain the article, but, kwami, when you keep restoring this article, and telling Benwing "you do not decide what is and is not valid linguistics", you seem to be forgetting that Benwing does link to an archived AFD discussion, which is a formal process, after which an article should not simply be restored like that without further discussion. Discussion, not delete-restore-delete-restore, which seems to be happening between you too in this article and in a number of other related places. Or am I missing something here? LjL (talk) 23:38, 16 June 2009 (UTC) - (and to Benwing: regardless of how you feel about the issue, I think it was pretty irresponsible of you to remove all those links to valid sound changes from the template just because you felt the term "cheshirization" should be removed from it)[reply]
That AfD discussion is over 3 years old and was based on an entirely different version of the article. It's irrelevant to this conversation. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 00:07, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
You can clearly see from the (unanimous) "merge" votes that the decision was based on the merit of the term itself, not of the then-current article. I am not saying that this article should definitely not be restored, but, as always, discussion is much preferred over edit wars, especially when there is an AFD voting result already! LjL (talk) 00:33, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Not really. Only 1 of the 4 users in that discussion are still active; there's no telling if any of them (other than the nominator, Angr) have a linguistics background, and one of them was 16 when that AfD happened. Plus, they were basing their merge decision off a completely different article, with less information to prove that the subject is notable.
Just as a side note, there is no edit warring going on here yet. Benwing redirected the page, and kwami restored it and asked for Benwing to discuss; no further edits have been made since then. Anyway, if you really think the cheshirization article is not appropriate, all you can do is start a new AfD; there's no reason to keep paying attention to a three-year-old AfD that had minimal participation and was based on an entirely different article than the one we're discussing now. The old version of the article was poorly written and did deserve to be deleted; the current version, though, does not (as far as I can tell). rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:13, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Ok, I suggest moving discussion about this to Talk:Cheshirisation, and instead concentrate here on whether or not to use that term in the template itself, which is actually a different issue (although of course, with no article there would be less grounds to keep the term in the template). LjL (talk) 01:25, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]

How to classify "Cheshirisation" changes

Even if the Cheshirisation article is not removed (I don't actually think that discussion belongs here in the first place), a decision needs to be made on whether 1) to employ the term on this template, as is done now 2) to use an equivalent but more universally accepted term or circumlocution 3) to move the sound changes grouped under it to other categories.

First, the question of an alternative term. The Cheshirisation article says it is "where a trace remains of an otherwise disappeared sound in a word". What is meant by "a trace"? I suppose not a "weaker" version of the sound, or this would be a case of Lenition. So I can only think of two other possibility: a sound in the vicinity of the "cheshirized" sound changes because the latter disappers, or, alternatively, a sound in the vicinity changes (initially creating an allophone) and then, later, the "cheshirized" sound disappear (making the initially allophonic contrast phonemic).

The article seems to support both possibilities in a way: it says "Before disappearing, a sound may trigger or prevent some phonetic change in its vicinity that would not otherwise have occurred" (emphasis mine). But it also gives "For example, in the English word night, the gh sound disappeared, but as it did so it lengthened the vowel i" (emphasis mine again).

I wonder, however: wouldn't the latter be a case of simple assimilation? Everything (place of articulation, manner of articulation, etc) of the "g" are assimilated to the "i"; the only thing that remains is the original chroneme of the "g", which lengthens the vowel. I admit this might be a bit far-fetched.

In both cases, anyway, it seems clear that "cheshirisation" isn't just any garden-variety generic sound change, but it is, by definition, a phonological change. The article about that mentions phonemic split, and that, to me, seems to be what "cheshirisation" is ultimately about: when an allophonic rule linked to a disappearing phoneme creates a new phonemic differentiation between what were previously just allphones.

Or, in other words, as the Phonemic differentiation article says: "[...] when a phoneme has two allophones appearing in different environments, but sound change eliminates the distinction between the two environments. For example in umlaut in the Germanic languages, the back vowels /u, o/ originally had front rounded allophones [y, ø] before the vowel /i/ in a following syllable. When sound change caused the syllables containing /i/ to be lost, a phonemic split resulted, making /y, ø/ distinct phonemes."

Note that this (Germanic umlaut) is one of the examples given in the Cheshirisation article.

My conclusion: the concept phonemic split seems to overlap with that of "cheshirisation" in most circumstances, except possibly in the "sound disappears and concurrently a trace of it is left in another sound" case (the "night" case), which might, however, be explained as assimilation (or the assumption of concurrency dropped). So I suggest that the term "phonemic split" be used in this template instead of "cheshirisation" (the latter being possibly a neologism, and apparently debated here), but I do also recommend that someone with more expertise in these topic have a look at the whole template, and consider whether the current categorizations are appropriate, given some of the changes listed are by necessity phonological, and others might not be.

LjL (talk) 01:22, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]

There's not really any good wording other than "cheshirization"; as you point out, there are things that overlap with it but are not the same thing. For example, above I mentioned opacity...phonological opacity overlaps a lot with cheshirization, and often words with opacity also happen to be ones that have 'undergone' cheshirization, but the actual underlying definition of those two things are different. There's nothing else that is quite the same thing as cheshirization (which I imagine is why the term was coined in the first place), so I think it's appropriate to have in the template. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 02:25, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Your point about before vs. as it did so is valid. Actually, in most cases we don't know the timing of the changes, but I do expect that in most cases they are not simultaneous, so that we should stick with "before" unless we have evidence to the contrary in a particular situation.
Ch. is neither assimilation nor a split, at least not necessarily. The i in night did not assimilate to the gh (unless maybe you're considering chronemes), and neither did it result in a new phonemic distinction. kwami (talk) 02:52, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Yep. As you guessed, LjL, a "trace" is not really a lenited version of a's generally some feature or another that used to be distinctive/contrastive where it was, and when some diachronic changes caused that distinction to be lost, the distinction moved elsewhere. At least, that's my understanding of it. For example, say you have two imaginary words of the form xxxyA and xxxyB (the x's can be anything). Originally, A and B are two different sounds. But as time passes, some various sound shifts cause the contrast between A and B to be lost, making these two words sound similar. They are different words, though, and since there is no longer a contrast between A and B, that contrast moves to y. Maybe the y in one of the words is nasalized, or labialized, or lengthened, or what have you; the idea is just that the A~B distinction is gone, but it leaves some residue that has affected the pronunciation of sounds near where that distinction used to be. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 02:58, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
I understand the definition you give, and it seems sound and consistent with the one I have in mind. The problem here is: if all the phenomena described as "cheshirisation" also overlap, as you say, with other descriptive categories, why shouldn't they be simply listed there in the template?
I actually see several problems with each of the articles currently listed under the "Cheshirisation" label. 1) The "Nasalisation" article isn't actually about a sound change (due to Ch. or otherwise), but rather merely about "the production of a sound while the velum is lowered". On the other hand, the "Assimilation" article does talk about "vowels acquiring the feature nasal before nasal consonants when the velum opens prematurely", but assimilation is already listed as its own category. 2) The "Floating tone" article doesn't talk about sound change, either, but merely describes the concept of a floating tone without regard to how it may have originated ("A floating tone is a morpheme or element of a morpheme that contains no consonants, no vowels, but only tone"). 3) The "Cheshirisation" article gives umlaut as one example of Ch., but umlaut is already listed under the "Assimilation / Metaphony" category.
So, only Tonogenesis would be left dangling, the rest already being listed under other categories.
But the fact is that I seem to see a fundamental difference between Ch. and the other categories listed in the template: Ch. is defined as something implying phonological change, while that is left unspecified in the other categories (i.e. the sound changes associated to them may or may not impact a language phonemically, for various reasons).
So honestly I'm starting to think that Ch. is simply out of place in this template - and that is without regard to the issue of the validity or not of the term. It's simply not the kind of thing that the template is describing, although some of the sound changes it describes, when combined in succession, may result in cheshirisation. But if that is so, then Ch. should be mentioned in the "Phonological change" article, not in this template.
LjL (talk) 15:34, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
To be honest, it's difficult to make any good decisions about what does and doesn't belong in this template, since its scope right now is somewhat awkwardly defined. Right now it mixes diachronic sound change with synchronic alternation...granted, they often go hand-in-hand (a diachronic change is usually something that started out as a synchronic alternation and eventually people just learned the word whatever way in their lexicon), but they are still different things; that's why I ended up changing the template's title-text to "Sound change and alternation". Cheshirization seems to be more about the diachronic than the synchronic, whereas many of the other terms in this template can, I think, be applied to both (for example, lenition can refer both to rule-based alternation within a speaker, such as pronouncing stops as fricatives in intervocalic position, or to the historical change by which the very underlying form of a word changes from one with a stop to one with a fricative). rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 15:39, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Well, that's why I suggested an(other) expert opinion in one of my postings. I think the template needs a good overall looking at.
After all, while (as you say) cheshirization probably only refers to diachronic changes, it might not necessarily only refer to phonological changes as I was implying earlier, since the "Phonological change" article does say: "phonological change is any sound change which alters the number or distribution of phonemes in a language". Now, if two sounds A and B disappear leaving two tones A' and B' as traces, that would be cheshirization, but if the language previously didn't have any tone, this isn't altering the number or distribution of phonemes, is it? (just like, for instance, lenition won't really alter anything if the sound undergoing it changes to something that didn't previously exist in the language, and it undergoes it in all cases, like the Tuscan gorgia).
Anyway, my main point (aside from "the template needs attention") is: since 1) the changes that are grouped under "cheshirisation" could be (or are already) put under other categories as well 2) it's not clear whether the template should merely list sound changes regardless of their phonemic significance 3) the term "cheshirisation" is being debated as possibly falling under WP:NEO -> then since it can be avoided relatively easily, it should probably be avoided.
I've made a proposed template, ("tonogenesis" moved to its own place, "nasalisation" made part of "assimilation") LjL (talk) 16:16, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
I think it can alter the number/distribution of contrasts...looking back at my made-up example of xxxyA and xxxyB, you could imagine that the length (for example) of y' and y" are not contrastive, but after the A~B distinction is lost then the two different y's are the only thing distinguishing the two words....thus, the loss of a distinction in one place can cause differences that were previously just allophonic (such as length) to become phonemic.
I'll try to have a look at your proposed template this afternoon and offer comments. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 16:38, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Uhm, I had a different idea of "phonemic distribution", honestly. In your example, I would not say that the distribution of contrasts is changed (the number certainly isn't), although it's obviuously true that something that was allophonic has become phonemic.
Compare with this statement in "Phonological change": "This classification does not consider mere changes in pronunciation, that is, phonetic change, even chain shifts, in which neither the number nor the distribution of phonemes is affected."
If "pa" and "ba" become "(tone1)a" and "(tone2)a", and tones weren't previously present, or as you say "a(short)" and "a:", isn't that a "mere change in pronunciation"? Sure, it's a bit "fancier" than if they became "fa" and "va" (phoneme -> tone, or phoneme -> chroneme, instead of just plosive -> fricative), but isn't it ultimately the same sort of phenomenon?
LjL (talk) 16:47, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
I guess I was thinking of it more in terms of contrastive features than in terms of specific sounds changing to other specific sounds. ie, in your example, in the beginning stop voicing is contrastive (in language X) and syllable tone (or vowel length) is not, since it's predictable; after some changes, stop voicing is no longer contrastive but syllable tone (or vowel length) is: it's no longer predictable, it's just something left over (people learned it, in the lexicon, like that) from when consonant voicing used to affect the tone/length/whatever. In any case, it's a contrast that used to be located on one feature and has been shifted to another. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 17:00, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
An interesting distinction you make here (if I'm reading it correctly): basically, you say "pa"->"fa" & "ba"->"va" wouldn't be "cheshirisation" because the main feature that distinguishes the pair is voiceless/voiced (which is preserved, while only the supposedly non-phonemic plosive/fricative is modified), but the other examples would be "cheshirisation", because the contrast is moved to another feature.
I like this. But is it just our original research, or does James Matisoff or someone actually make this distinction part of the "cheshirisation" definition?
LjL (talk) 22:02, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]

I never understood this template to refer to non-phonological sound change, so I don't understand the objection. Cheshirization is phonological change (though not necessarily introducing new phonemes), as the triggering environment disappears, but many of the topics in this template are or can be phonological change.

As for not all of the linked articles covering sound change, that's a defect with the articles, not the template. Nasalization should cover development. (I just added a stub.) AFAIK, floating tones are always cheshirization. kwami (talk) 20:18, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]

The objection is that the template otherwise lists sound changes according to what sort of change is occurring, not whether it is phonological or not. "Assimilation", for example, says that a sound becomes like another that is next to it, it doesn't say anything about whether that's phonological or not. On the other hand, "cheshirisation" seems to be strictly about phonological changes only (you said that yourself), and some of the sound changes that fall under its umbrella also fall under other umbrellas (when judged by their "form", not by whether or not they have some phonological effect).
Are you going to list sound changes twice - such as nasalisation, which is both a kind of assimilation and, apparenty, a cheshirisation?!
Also, are you very sure that the "Nasalization" article was wrong in not mentioning what you now call diachronic nasalization? Maybe (just maybe, I don't know) nasalization itself actually only refers to vowels acquiring nasalized features, not to the process by which this happens or to the loss of neighboring consonants that caused phonemization of it.
Since I don't know, I'll mark that as citation needed in the article
LjL (talk) 21:18, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
"the template ... lists sound changes according to what sort of change is occurring, not whether it is phonological or not." Exactly. Whether they are sometimes phonological or always phonological is irrelevant.
Of course many sound changes can be classified under more than one category. We have created a binary template for the real world, and the real world is not binary. That doesn't mean we should throw up our hands are eliminate all categories. Epenthesis is sometimes assimilation too, as is fortition. Elision is often lenition. Cheshirization is often a combination of assimilation and elision. The point is not to pigeon-hole topics in exclusive categories, which is impossible, but to organize them in a way that makes them accessible to the reader. As for nasalization, I think it belongs there because it frequently involves both assimilation and elision. kwami (talk) 21:47, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
I see and understand your point about a non-binary word, but I do think we should still strive to categorize things in the most symmetric, reasonable, or what-have-you way possible even when they seem to escape categorization (or science wouldn't exist and this encyclopedia wouldn't exist ;).
But seriously, perhaps creating another separate "Phonological changes" template where sound changes are categorized according to their effect on a language's phoneme inventory and the like (rather than according to what sort of changes they are phonetically) might be worthwhile? After all, it would simply mirror the fact that we have two separate articles (and that was apparently discussed at length, with valid reasons for doing it).
LjL (talk) 21:56, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
I fear such a template would be counterproductive. The distinction between "phonological" and "non-phonological" sound changes is pretty nuanced, and most readers looking at these articles don't even know what a "phoneme inventory" (heck, if I were reading this discussion just several years ago, I wouldn't have understood a word of it). Templates like this are navigational tools, not necessarily in-depth analyses for specialists; thus, the template should be kept relatively simple, such that it makes sense to regular readers. I think grouping all sound changes and alternations together, regardless of whether they actually change the phoneme inventory, is desirable for those purposes. (Besides, trying to determine which sound changes are "phonological" and which are not could get very hairy...for most languages, even experts can't quite agree on what exactly the phoneme inventory is!) rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 22:39, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Well so if a second template is not a good idea, what do we do? Whether or not the term "cheshirisation" is good to use, I think by now we all agree that it describes something that might be useful describing, but also that some terms (such as nasalisation) may fall both under it and other categories (assimilation in the case of nasalisation). So - list sound changes twice (or as many times as necessary) for each category they might be seen as belonging to under certain circumstances? LjL (talk) 22:45, 17 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
I guess it's going to be hard to ever decide where to fit cheshirization, because the term has so much overlap with other things here. Most of the other phenomena in the template describe the result of the change, more so than the process/motivation for it—for example, "assimilation" refers to the end result (a segment takes on features of a segment that's next to it) but not necessarily the underlying cause ("it's easier to pronounce that way"). Cheshirization, on the other hand, seems to me like it refers to both—it can refer to the end result (words with the sort of opacity where a contrast is "misplaced") as well as the process (a contrastive feature appearing in one place because something was lost elsewhere). Insofar as cheshirization is referring to the "process", it seems that it could line up with lots of the "result" things in the template: for example, nasalization or what have you could all be motivated by cheshirization, and so how do you classify this particular change in this particular language? That's what I mean (I think) when I refer to the overlap this term has with some of the other terms in the template. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 04:04, 19 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]

OK, I'm moving this back to the left side. I didn't see the comments here until now, but I made the same point as LjL in Talk:Cheshirisation. Quoting that article:

On top of this, the concept of a transferred phonetic distinction (or "cheshirization" or whatever) doesn't belong in the current Sound Template at all, since it's not parallel with the other terms. Lenition, loss, epenthesis, etc. are basic processes in phonetics that refer to specific sorts of low-level sound modifications. There is nothing specific to historical linguistics about them and there is nothing higher-level or "meta" about them. "Cheshirization" or whatever is a different sort of thing and belongs with a template that describes changes such as splits and mergers, which refer to higher-level changes in the entire sound system that come about as a result of simple changes such as lenition, segment loss, etc.
So I'd suggest the following:
  1. Rename this article to something generic like transferred distinction (phonetics) with cheshirization a redirect to this page, and in the intro indicate that (a) transferred distinction (or whatever) is a description of the process and is being used because the process has no established name; (b) some authors have used the term "cheshirization" but this term has no general currency in the community as of yet.
  2. Don't use the term "cheshirization" in the Sound Change Template. Either remove the concept entirely, rename the template to "Phonetic Processes" and create a separate "Sound Change" template giving higher-level concepts such as conditioned and unconditioned mergers, splits, "transferred distinctions" (or whatever), etc.; or, split the Sound Change template into two sections, one covering the low-level phonetic processes and the other the higher-level sound change processes.

The basic issue here is that "cheshirization", like "merger" or "split", is describing the result of a phonetic process, while "lenition" or "assimiilation" are describing the nature of the process. I think this is an important distinction and suggests, as I mentioned, either splitting to two templates or two sections of the same template. In addition, the higher-level result-oriented processes are mostly historical, whereas the lower-level nature-oriented ones are clearly either synchronic or diachronic. ("Mostly" because in cases where a historical change leaves an extremely regular alternation, it's arguably best analyzed as a synchronic process. As an example, take a look at the section on vowel processes in Egyptian Arabic -- there are separate, ordered processes of vowel lengthening, stress assignment, vowel deletion, vowel shortening, vowel epenthesis and syllable linking, and are all regular enough to be (arguably at least) considered to be synchronic processes, although they clearly came about due to diachronic changes (e.g. the closely related Levantine dialects in Syria/Lebanon/Israel/Palestine/Jordan have none of these changes but instead a different set of vowel changes, which for the most part are not active synchronically). Benwing (talk) 06:32, 19 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]

BTW I have absolutely no idea why Kwami is making the accusation above that I deleted nasalization, tonogenesis, and floating tones from the template, as it simply isn't true. AFAIK they weren't in the template before, and they're not in there now either -- maybe you intended to put them there but accidentally didn't do it? Look in the history at my one change and you'll see no evidence that I deleted such things. Now, what I did do is delete the text from the "Cheshirization" page and move it to Matisoff's page; on that page were links to nasalization, tonogenesis, and floating tones under "see also", and they got deleted and not replaced on Matisoff's page, since they didn't belong. But that's a far cry from taking them out of the template. Benwing (talk) 06:43, 19 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]

They were in the template then, as they are now. Here[6] you removed them. Here[7] I restored them. I made the accusation because I took for granted you were aware of what you had deleted. kwami (talk) 10:09, 19 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Yep, you deleted them, they were within the ((show)) template—beneath "cheshirization" on the display, or to the right of it in the wikitext. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 11:24, 19 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]


Following the thread is getting a bit confusing for me now, so I'll see if I can make some specific statements that we may agree or disagree about:

(Again, please see and use this test template to check out how the proposed changes look in practice)

I'm saying this regardless of what happens to the "cheshirisation" article itself. I'll discuss that on its talk page.

LjL (talk) 16:43, 19 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]

I think the category, whatever we call it, is a useful one. The concept of sound change also includes the results of sound change. I think that's pretty elementary. We might want to add split, merger, etc., but I don't see the advantage of having two templates. That's like having two maps to get you where you want to go--more straightforward to have everything on one, so long as it fits. If people don't like "cheshirization", we can just delete that word and call it "trace remains". Within context, that's perfectly clear. kwami (talk) 19:39, 19 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
I agree that there's no need for two templates. If some clear line does need to be drawn, we can always just split the template into a top and bottom. In reality, though, I don't think there's such a clear line between "low-level" and "high-level" changes, and it might get messy trying to draw the line. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 19:46, 19 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Fusion vs. coalescence

What's the difference between fusion and coalescence? (And why is one under elision and one under assimilation? It seems clear that both are assimilation.)

If the articles are accurate, the only difference is that fusion is merging of features of sounds, but coalescence is merging of the sounds themselves. If so, the terms are close enough to be covered in one article.

So, is this an accurate analysis? And which term is best for the title of a merged article? — Erutuon (talk) 23:12, 5 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Good question. Will have to get back to you when I have more time. (Unless s.o. else gets here first.) But these are more than just assimilation, for they involve the loss of a sound as well, so IMO it's appropriate to have them under both categories. kwami (talk) 21:51, 24 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]


Added synalepha under sandhi, with subtypes elision (specifically elision of one vowel in a pair), crasis, synaeresis, synizesis (ordered by how much they change the original vowels: most to least).

Synalepha is usually defined as the uniting of two words by elision of the vowel of one. (This is probably because elision is the only sound-change that occurs in English poetry.) But the OED indicates that the definition includes more types of sound change ("coalescence or contraction of two syllables into one"). The chart of "Types of vowel junction" in Vox Graeca defines synalepha as including crasis, synaeresis, synizesis, and elision (thlipsis).

Since this broader definition agrees with the Greek ("smearing together"), I've glossed synalepha as "contraction". I don't know another general Greek term for English "contraction": all other terms are more specific. (Allen glosses crasis as "contraction", since Greek contraction is crasis, but since English contraction is elision, contraction should be defined as including both.)

Any comments on this analysis are welcome, and especially disagreements with it. — Erutuon (talk) 21:19, 24 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Is synalepha sound change, or accommodation to poetic meter? Or both, maybe? kwami (talk) 21:48, 24 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]
It depends, but most often it's not specifically poetic. In Latin, it's more common in colloquial stuff like Plautus than in poetry like Vergil. In Spanish, it's a regular feature of the language. In Ancient Greek, it depends on the type: probably only synizesis is specifically poetic (though it's the hardest to determine since it's unwritten). But synalepha does figure in to reading poetry whether it's specifically poetic or not. — Eru·tuon 18:49, 11 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Text Zoom word overlap (technical)

This box does not seem to adjust its dimensions like other boxes when I use text zoom in Firefox. This results in words being compressed and overlapped when the lines are too long: --Anthonzi (talk) 04:54, 6 April 2010 (UTC)[reply]

The zooming works fine for me. rʨanaɢ (talk) 04:55, 6 April 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Possible addition to template

Is it worth adding Lambdacism and/or Lallation to this template? Grutness...wha? 00:58, 13 July 2010 (UTC)[reply]

These are generally speech defects rather than sound changes. Benwing (talk) 02:03, 14 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]


The term "rhinoglottophilia" simply doesn't belong in this template. I am reluctantly tolerating "cheshirization" even though it violates WP:NEO, because it refers to a common sound change. But "rhinoglottophilia" is not only a complete neologism with no major currency, but the concept itself is obscure and not generally accepted. Even the page on this putative type of sound change can only cite a small number of examples in obscure languages. There's a reason why Wikipedia has policies regarding neologisms, fringe theories, and similar stuff that are designed to exclude them. Otherwise we end up completely inappropriately promoting every random scientist's pet theories into prominent parts of a discipline just because some Wikipedia editor happens to really like a particular random scientist (as Kwami appears to in the case of James Matisoff). Benwing (talk) 01:45, 14 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Sorry, but just because you personally haven't heard of something, that doesn't mean it's a neologism unworthy of inclusion in Wikipedia. The term has been around for over 35 years and is used by a good number of authors, not just Matisoff (search Google Books and Google Scholar to get an idea of who all uses it), and the alleged "obscurity" of the languages in which it's found is utterly irrelevant. Of course it isn't as widespread a term as lenition and assimilation, but that's merely because the phenomenon isn't as common as lenition and assimilation are. I won't revert your removal of it from this template, though, because it isn't strictly speaking a sound change, but doing even some cursory research should make it clear that this more than some random scientist's pet fringe theory. Incidentally, cheshirization doesn't "fail WP:NEO" either. Angr (talk) 07:04, 14 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I don't know it too, and I am a professional phonologist. The concept, even if accepted, do not belong at all with that cateogry. Ask any teacher of linguistics, they will just laugh at you, as much as they will laugh at this table. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:48, 21 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I am a teacher of phonology and I agree, both terms do not belong to the list at all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:35, 1 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Delete synalepha?

I don't think "synalepha" belongs as a category under sandhi. The term "elision" is outrighted duplicated here and elsewhere, and the other terms are simply more specific versions of fusion, which already appears under the assimilation category. These terms like "crasis" and "syneresis" are old terms that were created largely to describe specific phenomena in Latin and Greek, and seem to have been applied to a small number of primarily Romance languages, evidently by consciously classicizing Romance-speaking linguists. I really don't think the sound change template should end up being a wastebasket of every term that has ever been used to describe sound changes. As it is, there are already too many terms, and it's just going to end up being overly confusing to the type of reader who would benefit the most from this template. This is especially the case when there is ill-defined overlap between major categories and/or too many major categories.

(For example, rhotacism might be better placed under lenition rather than being its own top-level category, since most cases of rhotacism are in fact lenitions: fricative /z/ to approximant /r/, stop sound /n/ to continuant /r/, etc.)

Benwing (talk) 02:01, 14 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]