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
Vls Fric*s*x*h
Vd Fric

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

w → y /#__
n → C1 /__C1 (did not apply before "gutterals": velar fricatives, pharyngeals, and glottals)
ʔ → :Ø /__C
ā → ō (the "Canaanite Shift")
tθ’, tɬ’ → ts’
tɬ → ɬ → s
dð → dz
tθ → θ → s
x, ɣ → ħ, ʕ
aw, ay → ō, ē /__{C,#}
awa, aya → ā /__# (and some other environments??)
i → e /__$
é → ē /__$
á → ā /__$
ú → o /__C$ (sporadic, most common before lC)
ahu → aw /__# (irregular??)
V̆ → Ø /VC(C)__#
C1C1 → C1 /__#

Phoenician to Neo-Punic

y → iy → ī /C__#
y → Ø /ē__#
Ø → a /{ħ,ʕ,ʔ,h}__C#
Ø → a /V[!a]__{ħ,ʕ}#
VC1+{ħ,ʕ,ʔ,h} → ǝC1áC2 /__#
u, ū → ü, ǖ (representing phonetic *[y, y:])
ō → ū
ā → ō
aw → ō /__#
i → ɪ /__C$
a[-stress] → i /__C[!gutteral]$ (occasionally did not apply, especially when /#ʔ__)
p, t, ts, k → ph, th, tsh, kh /#__, __#, V__V[+stress], __CV
ph → f
Ø → ǝ /CVC__C# (except in the combos: Fric/Stop/Affric/Liq/N+Stop/Affric, Liq+N)
loss of feminine -t(h) ending following a vowel
y → Ø /#__i
ħ → h
h, ʕ → ʔ (but retained after voiceless stops/affricates in the dialect leading to Modern Punic)
ʔ → Ø
N → [αPOA] /__C[αPOA]
b, d, g → [v], z, [γ] /__C
dz → z
z → s

V̆ → ǝ /__$ when pretonic (verbs) or propretonic (nouns)
i → ǝ → Ø /prepositional prefixes

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

Ø → ǝ /#__CC
ts → s

Neo-Punic to Modern Punic (Ghuniim)

ǝ → Ø /{V,#}{Obs,N}__{r,l}V̄, {V,#}S[vd]__S[vd]V̄
b, d, g → v, z, γ /__S
z → s
C[+grave] → Cw /__{ü,ǖ,ū}
V̆ → ǝ /V[!ǝ]%__%V[+stress]
a → ǝ /#C__CV̄C#
e, ē, ǝ → i, ī, e /__N__
ü, ǖ → e, ō /__w__
ü, ǖ → e, o /__V__
ü, ǖ → ǝ, ī
V1V1 → V̄1

in the following changes, a short, unstressed vowel next to a long or stressed vowel becomes ǝ; ie, ei, ea, oa remain [including long versions of those combos, which are shortened]
Ø → w /V[+rd]__V
Ø → y /V[+front]__V
Ø → w /V__V[+rd]
Ø → y /V__V

ɪ → i /__CV
ɪ → ǝ
a[-stress] → o /{C[+lab],l,w}__$, __${C[+lab],l,w}
a → ɔ /#r__CC, __rC#
V[-stress]CV[+stress] → [+str]C[-str] /__#
V̄ → V̆ /[-stress]
gw → bw
{p,t,ts,k}h → f, th, tsh, kh
{p,t,ts,k}ʕ → p’, t’, ts’, k’
ii, ee, oo → ie, ea, oa /__{p’,t’,ts’,k’,k’w,r}
ii, ee, oo → ei, aa, ɔɔ /{p’,t’,ts’,k’,k’w}__
i, u, e, o → ǝ /__{p’,t’,ts’,k’,k’w}__
p’, t’, ts’, k’, k’w → p, t, γ, k, kw
pw, fw → γ
p → f
sth → š
th → h /__#
th, tsh, kh, khw → ts, š, x, xw
h → š /i(i)__#, C__
C: → C
ǝ → Ø /{#,V}C__CV̄  (but not #y__, __{w,y})
S → [vls] /{s,š}__
l → Ø /V[+rd]__#
i, a, ǝ → ɔ, o, ɔ /__l$
lC → CC
F → Ø /__š
s → š /__C, C__ii
a → e /__š
l → y /__i(i)__
r → F[+cor] /__F[+cor]__
r → l /__l__
Ø → ǝ /r__C#
ts{i,ǝ}[-stress]s → tts /__V__
N → C1 /C1__  ??
m, n → b, d /__{l,r}
N → C1 /__C1  ??
ee, ii → ie /__#
C+w → v /__ie
ee, oo → ea, oa /__h#
ǝyi, ayi, eyi → ei
ǝǝ → aa
ǝ → a /[+stress]  (in content words of >1 syllable; if neighboring syllable contains /a/, it shifts to /ǝ/)
b → w /V__V
C → C: /ǝ__V
b, d, g → p, t, k /__#
Obs → [αvoice] /__Obs[αvoice]
Ø → ǝ /FF__#
Ø → ǝ /#__bγ, dg, xwts . . .
bb, dd, gg → pp, tt, kk
vv, ss, ww → bb, tts, bbw . . .

Correspondence Tables

Proto-Semitic > Neo-Punic

*pf, p
*bb, v
*tth, t
*dd, s
*tθ <ṯ>s
*dð <ḏ>s
*tθ’ <ṯ̣>ts’
*ts <s>ts (s), (tsh)
*dz <z>s
*ts’ <ṣ>ts’
*tɬ <ś>s
*tɬ’ <ṣ́>ts’
*kkh, k
ɡ, γ
*k’ <q>k’
*s <š>s
*x <ḫ>Ø, h
*ħ <ḥ>Ø, h
*ɣ <ġ>Ø, ʕ
*ʕ <ʻ>Ø, ʕ
*ʔ <ʼ>Ø
*hØ, h
*ww, y-
*j <y>y
*aō, a, i, ǝ, (ā)
*iē, e, ɪ, ǝ
*uü, o, ǝ

Neo-Punic > Modern Punic

Neo-PunicModern Punic
pf, γ
bw, -p, b-, bw
thts, -h, -š
dd, -t
khx, xw
kk, kw
k’k, kw
ɡɡ, -k, bw
ss, š
ff, γ
mm, mw, b
nn, d
ll, Ø(:), y
aa, o, ɔ, e, ǝ, Ø
(ā)aa, a, ɔɔ
oo, ǝ
ōoo, o, oa, ɔɔ, ǝ
ūuu, u, ǝ
üǝ, e, ɔ, Ø, a
ǖii, oo, ie, ee, o, i, oa
(i)i, ɔ, ǝ
īii, i, ie, ɔ, ǝ
ɪǝ, i, ɔ, Ø, a
ee, i, ɔ, ǝ
ēee, ii, ie, ea, e, aa, i, ɔ, oa
ǝǝ, e, ɔ, Ø, a

Modern Punic Inventory

LabialVel. LabialDentalAlveolarPalatalVelarLabiovelarGlottal
Vls Stoppppttttsttskkkkwkkw
Vd Stop(b)bbbwbbwdɡ
Vls Fricfffsšššxxxxwxxw(h)
Vd Fricv[z][ž]γγγ