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By Gunter Schaarschmidt
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Additional info for A Historical Phonology of the Upper and Lower Sorbian Languages (Historical Phonology of the Slavic languages)
Po and Pb were peripheral to the So - P area~ as evidenced by their tendency to leave the original CoarC sequence intact, cf. a bwrna 'harrow', Pb bornti : USo brdna, LSo P brona. As far as the phonological structure of OSo is concerned, the metathesis of liquids resulted in the further reduction of words with closed syllables. Actually, after metathesis, the functional diphthongs CiSC/CuSC remained the only type of closed syllable in So. , by creating new sequences pr Ir kr that now contrasted with P[ If k[ (see chapter 12).
In t'utiifnaicil 'kettle hook' < *koatul- < *koat'i/-, cf. Pb t'ut'cif 'kettle' (without umlaut); pap 'a, 'pepper' < *pup·ir- < *p'ip'ir-, cf. LSo pjepjef. The structural motivation for the above labialization developments is to be sought in the radical changes in syllabic structure brought about by the numerous palatalization processes. These processes in effect resulted in a situation where, with a few exceptions, a syllable had to be either back or front. Especially after the rise of the automatic palatalization of consonants before front vowels (chapter 9) and the qualitative cbange of vowels which must have occurred at the same time as the umlaut cases discussed here, the front vowel: back vowel distinctions often became redundant (chapter 11).
The reason for this assumption is that a must be descended here directly from a backjer (see chapter 19). It is not possible to assume that a is derived here from e by the cbange e> a, since ihis change required the preceding consonant to be palatalized. At the time of the application of the change e> a, the coronal spirants si and the affricate c had already been depalatalized (see chapter 47). Finally, it is tempting to assume an umlaut i> u with concomitant depalatalization of the preceding consonant in an environment before nonpalatalized denials.
A Historical Phonology of the Upper and Lower Sorbian Languages (Historical Phonology of the Slavic languages) by Gunter Schaarschmidt