Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 21)

Sindarin Phonetic Development (Part 21)

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OS. medial [s] became [x] before [j], [w]; [-s{jw}-] > [-x{jw}-]

In (Old) Sindarin medial [s] became [x] before semi-vowels y, w [j, w]. There is pair of a very clear examples of this sound change in linguistic notes from the late 1950s:

  • lisyā > liχı̯ā > leχı̯ > leich > S. laich “sweet” (PE17/148).
  • teswā > teχwā > teχw̯ > S. tewch “(?chip)” (PE17/148).

As the examples above indicate, this was a very early change, occurring even before long final vowels were shortened, and perhaps in parallel to the initial developments whereby initial [s] unvoiced following consonants. There seems to be at least one example of a similar change in Noldorin:

  • ᴹ√PIS > N. peich “juice, syrup” vs. ᴹQ. pirya (Ety/PIS).

David Salo gave a different explanation of this word in Gateway to Sindarin, positing that [h] became [x] after [i] (GS/§4.101), but the Sindarin evidence given above was not available when Salo did his research.