Old Oxic Diachronics and Phonology
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This article presents a general overview of the historical and diachronic context of Old Oxic. This is mostly an annotated list of sound changes; grammatical diachronics will be presented in the articles on Old Oxic grammar.

Within the wider range of Indo-European, Old Oxic fits neatly within the late-stage template found in Latin, Greek or Sanskrit, with three genders, a large verbal system with more than two moods, and evidence of several wider phonological isoglosses (such as centumization). Cladistically, it is most closely related to Graeco-Phrygian (it has a preterite augment, is Centum, retains some distinction between *a and *o, and vocalizes word-initial preconsonantal laryngeals). On the other hand, it has undergone some unique sound shifts and doesn't look particularly like Greek (as was true with Armenian, scholars believed at first that Oxic was simply an unusually deviant branch of Indo-Iranian).

Discounting the early laryngeal changes, the following sound changes from Proto-Indo-European to Old Oxic are presented in chronological order.

1. Laryngeal vocalization (also found in Graeco-Phrygian and Armenian).

Word-initial laryngeals before a consonant vocalize to their underlying vowel, as follows:

h₁ h₂ h₃ -> e a o / #_C

2. Centumization (also found in Graeco-Phrygian, Italo-Celtic, Germanic, and Tocharian).

The palatovelars *ḱ ǵ ǵʰ merge with the plain velars *k g gʰ:

Ḱ -> K (resulting Kw -> Kʷ)

3. First Palatalization.

Plain velars (whether deriving from PIE plain or palatovelars) become alveolar affricates between front vowels, as well as /y/:

k g gʰ -> ts dz dz / _[i e y] EXCEPT /s_.

4. Initial semivowel loss.

Initial y deletes before front vowels; initial w deletes before back.

y -> Ø / #_F
w -> Ø / #_B

5. Merger of labiovelars, and loss of *w in clusters:

o -> u / Cw_, Kʷ_

This is quickly followed by:

w -> Ø / C_ EXCEPT #s_
Kʷ -> K

6. Nasal loss (with lengthening) before aspirates and /s/:

VnCʰ -> VːCʰ
Vns -> Vːs

7. Grassmann's law:
Cʰ...Cʰ -> C...Cʰ

8. Plosive shift (note the differences from Grimm's law or the Armenian consonant shift!):

p t k -> ɸ θ h / #_
bʰ dʰ gʰ -> pʰ tʰ kʰ -> p t k / #_
b d g: no change word-initially.

b d g -> w ð ɣ / except when preceded by a non-syllabic nasal.
bʰ dʰ gʰ -> b d g
p t k : no change medially.

sw -> ɸ / #_ also happens at about this stage.

9. Various resonant changes:
ṃ́ ṇ́ -> ám án (when stressed)
ṃ ṇ -> a (when unstressed)
mb nd ndz ng -> m n z ŋ
mp nt nts nk -> b d dz g
ṛ ṛ: -> ar ār
ḷ ḷ: -> al āl

10. y -> w / #_o, -> Ø / #_u

11. ɸ -> w /_[ie]
ɸ -> h / otherwise

12. short *a *o merger:
ŏ -> ă (including in diphthongs)

13. Changes in clusters with /s/:
sp st sk -> ps ts ks / medially
sp st sk -> p t k / initially
remaining #sC -> #asC

14. i-devocalization:
ĭ -> y /C_#

15. Vocalization of labials and velars:
K -> y /_C
P -> w /_C

16. /l/ loss:
l -> w / V_V
l -> y / C_
l -> r / _C, #_

17. Second palatalization:
k g -> y / V_C
t d s ts dz n r -> ts dz ʃ tʃ dʒ ɲ rʲ/ _y
k g ŋ-> t d ɲ/ _y
w -> y / _y
y -> Ø /C_

18. tʃ dʒ -> ʃ ʒ

19. rʲ -> ʐ -> ʒ

20. ʒ -> y /#_
ʒ -> ʃ /V_V (likely, this was a merger of ʃ -> ʒ which later devoiced in all environments)

21. Vowel shift:

Firstly, in stressed or unstressed posttonic syllables:

ā -> ɔ
ē -> ɛ
ī -> e
ō -> ɔ
ū -> o

a -> a
e -> ɛ
i -> i
u -> u

ai -> ɒ
ei -> i

aw -> o
ew -> u

āj -> e
ēj -> i
ōj -> o

āw -> ɔ
ēw -> o
ōw -> u

In unstressed pretonic syllables, vowels simply lost their length distinction (as well as *ĕ -> ɛ), with the second element of diphthongs disappearing (except that ā ō -> ɔ, not a or o).

ɔ -> o / if stressed
ɔ -> ɒ / otherwise
ɛ -> e / if stressed
ɛ -> æ / otherwise
a -> ɒ / if stressed
a -> æ / otherwise

23. ɣ, y -> Ø /V_V; either w or y appears in their place depending on whether the preceding vowel was front (i e æ) or back (u o ɒ).

24. θ -> s
ð -> z -> r

25. dz -> z
ts -> s /_#

26. m -> n /_#
ŋ -> g

27. Stress shifts to penult.

The resulting phonology:

Stopp bt dk g
Fricatives zšh


/ə~a~æ/ is written <a>; /ɒ/ is written <ā>.

I have not yet figured out the syllable structure or phonotactics of Old Oxic.