Diachronics
Anthologica Universe Atlas / Universes / Lirar / Modern Punic / Diachronics

Proto-Semitic Inventory



LabialDentalDent. Affr.SibilantLateralVelarPharyngealGlottal
Vls Stop*p*t*tθ*ts*tɬ*k
Vd Stop*b*d*dð*dz
Ejective*t’*tθ’*ts’*tɬ’*k’
Vls Fric*s*x*h
Vd Fric
Nasal*m*n
Liquid*r*l
Glide*w*j


The affricates are traditionally written as fricatives: */tθ dð tθ’/ = <ṯ ḏ ṯ̣>, */ts dz ts’/ = <s z ṣ>, */tɬ tɬ’/ = <ś ṣ́>; and the alveolar sibilant fricative */s/ is traditionally written <š>. In this document the phonetic reconstructions will be used in place of the traditional notation.

However, the palatal glide */j/ will be written <y>.

Vowels were long and short */a i u/, and diphthongs */aj aw/; the long vowels are written <ā ī ū>, and the diphthongs <ay aw>. Stress will be indicated with acute accents when necessary. At least by the time when stress becomes relevant for Phoenician/Punic's vowel changes, it fell on the penultimate vowel in most words (which later became the ultimate when final short vowels were lost).


Proto-Semitic to Phoenician


tθ’, tɬ’ → ts’
tɬ → ɬ → s
n → C1 /__C1 (did not apply before "gutterals": velar fricatives, pharyngeals, and glottals)
w → y /#__
dð → dz
ā → ō (the "Canaanite Shift")
aw, ay → ō, ē
V1yV → V1:
i → e /__$
e → ē /[+stress]
a → ā /[+stress]
(a)ʔ → (ā)Ø /__C
V̆ → Ø /VC(C)__#
tθ → θ → s
x, ɣ → ħ, ʕ
C1C1 → C1 /__#


Phoenician to Neo-Punic


Ø → a /{ħ,ʕ,ʔ,h}__C#
Ø → a /V__{ħ,ʕ}#
Ø → ǝ /CVC__C#
ahu, āhu → ō
u, ū → ü, ǖ (representing phonetic *[y, y:])
ō → ū
ā → ō (except in the environment #C__C#)
i → ɪ /__C$
a → i /__C$
p, t, k → ph, th, kh /#__, __#, V__V[+stress]
ph → f
ħ → h
h, ʕ → ʔ (but retained after stops)
ʔ → Ø
b → v /__C
dz → z
z → s

V̆ → ǝ /pretonic (verbs), propretonic (nouns), __CC#
i → ǝ → Ø /prepositional prefixes


Attested in late inscriptions but did not occur in dialect leading to Modern Punic


ts → s


Neo-Punic to Modern Punic (Fwuniim)


C[+grave] → Cw /__{ü,ǖ,ū}
V̆ → ǝ /V[ǝ]%__%V[+stress]
e, ē, ǝ → i, ī, e /N__, __N
ü, ǖ → e, ō /__w__
ü, ǖ → e, o /__V__
ü, ǖ → ǝ, ī
ɪ → i /__CV  ??
ɪ → ǝ
a → o /{C[+lab],l,w}__$, __${C[+lab],l,w}  [-stress]
a → ɔ /#r__CC, __rC#
V[-stress]CV[+stress] → [+str]C[-str] /__#
V1V1 → V̄1
V̄ → V̆ /[-stress]
gw → bw
t, ts, k → th, tsh, kh /#__, __#, V__V[+stress] (already in Neo-Punic)
{p,t,ts,k}h → f, th, tsh, kh
{p,t,ts,k}ʕ → f, t, γ, k
pw, fw → γ
p → f
st(h) → š /__#
th → h /__#
th, tsh, kh → ts, š, x
h → š /i(i)__#, C__
C: → C
ǝ → Ø /{#,V}C__CV̄
l → Ø /V[+rd]__#
i, a, ǝ → ɔ, o, ɔ /__l$
lC → CC
F → Ø /__š
s → š /__C
a → e /__š
l → y /__i__
r → F[+cor] /F[+cor]__, __F[+cor]
Ø → ǝ /r__C#
ee, ii → ie /__#
ee, oo → ea, oa /__h#
ǝyi, ayi, eyi → ei
b → w /V__V
b, d, g → p, t, k /__#
bb, dd, gg → pp, tt, kk