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 an alternate scheme, */s tɬ tɬ’ ts ts’/ are written: <s1 s22 s33>.)

The "emphatics" (probably ejectives in Proto-Semitic, but velarized or pharyngealized in some daughter languages) are traditionally written with an underdot: */t’ k’/ = <ṭ ḳ> (the latter is often written <q> instead). Other common though not universal notations that depart from IPA symbols include */x ɣ ḥ ʕ ʔ j/ as <ḫ ġ ḥ ʿ ʾ y>.

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 /i__V
w → y /#__
n → C1 /__C1  (did not apply before "gutterals": velar fricatives, pharyngeals, and glottals)?
s → h /__V (possibly; if this was a real sound change, it was later reversed in most words by paradigmatic pressure)
tɬ’ → ts’
tθ → θ → s
dð → dz
tθ’ → ts’
ʔ → :Ø /__C (in nouns)
ā → ō (the "Canaanite Shift")          — approx. 2000 bc
tɬ → ɬ → s
x, ɣ → ħ, ʕ
aw, ay → ō, ē /__{C,#}
awa, aya, iya → ā /__# (and some other environments??)
V̆y → Ø /__V̄
iyV → ī
iy → ī /__C
ayV → ē
VhV, VwV, VyV → V̄  (. . .)
h → y /#__{i,ī}
i → e /__$ (including before long consonants)
é → ē /__$
á → ā /__$
u → o (sporadic, most common next to labials)
ahu → aw /__# (irregular??)
V̆ → Ø /VC(C)__#          — approx. 1000 bc
y, w → iy, iw → ī, ū /C__#
y → Ø /ē__#
C1C1 → C1 /__#

Phoenician to Neo-Punic

Ø → a /{ħ,ʕ}__C#
Ø → a /V[!a]__{ħ,ʕ}#
VC1+{ħ,ʕ,ʔ,h} → ǝC1áC2 /__#
ō → ū
ā → ō
aw → ō /__#
a → ā /__{ħ,ʕ,ʔ,h} (and sometimes /{ħ,ʕ,ʔ,h}__)
aa → ā
V̆ → ǝ /__$ when pretonic (verbs) or propretonic (nouns)          — approx. 200 bc
yi, yī → ī /#__
a, i, u → ă, ə, ŭ (but i remains in some closed syllables – including certain verb forms)
ā, ī, ū, ē, ō → a, i, u, e, o
ʔ → Ø
ă → ǝ /__CCV[+stress]  (sporadic)
Ø → ǝ /CVC__C# (except in the combos: C+Stop/Affric, Liq+N)
p, t, ts, k → f, θ, š, x
ħ → h
h, ʕ → Ø
N → [αPOA] /__C[αPOA]
b, d, g → [v], z, [γ] /__C
dz → z          — approx. 450 ad

Neo-Punic to Modern Punic

ă → a /__CV[short]
ă → ə /__CV[full]
ə → ŭ /__C[+lab]#, C[+lab]__l{C,#}
C[alveolar] → [+emph] /__(…)C[+emph](…)__, __{ŭ,w}__
C[+grave] → Cʷ /__{u,ŭ}
e → i /__N__ (rarely)
i, u, ŭ, o, e, a → ea, o, o, ɔ, ɛ, ɔ /C[+emph]__C[+emph]          — approx. 700 ad
V1V1 → V1:
eă, oă, eo, ŭə, əe, əi, əu… → ea, oa, ea, ea, ei, ei, oo…
ae, ao → ɛ, ɔ
u, ŭ → Ø /Cʷ__V
i, u → y, w /#__V
Ø → w /V[+rd]__V (but oa remains)
Ø → y /V[+front]__V (but ie, ei, ea remain)
Ø → w /V__V[+rd]
Ø → y /V__V
ŭ → ə
ə → Ø /#C__C(:)V … !_w/y
ə → Ø /Cə[+stress]C(:)__C# (sporadic)
ə → Ø /#__CV%(…)#
ə → Ø /VC(:)__C(:)V
əə → aa
i → ie /__#
i, e, o, ă → ie, ea, oa, a /__{r,ṛ,ḳ(ʷ)}  (sometimes __ṭṣ) (but not /C[+emph]__ḳ(ʷ))
i, ie → ei, i /{r,ṛ,ḳ(ʷ),…ṭṭ}__
ə → ă /{C[+emph],r}__{C[+emph],r}
y, w → i, u /#__C
θ̣, ṣ, ṣṣ, ṭ, ṭṣ, ḳ(ʷ)  → ẓ, ẓ, ẓẓ, ḍ, γ, q(ʷ)          — approx. 1100 ad
sθ → š ~ št
a, ă → ɔ /#{r,ṛ}__CC, __{r,ṛ}C#
a → ɛ /θ__#
gʷ, fʷ, ppʷ → bʷ, γ, γγʷ
b, d, ḍ, g → v, z, ẓ, γ /__S, #__N[homorganic]
z → s ~ ž /__C
ẓ → s /__S
S → [vls] /{s,ṣ,š}__ (sporadic)
s, ṣ → š /__C
l, ḷ → Ø /V[+rd]__#
ă, ǝ, a → ɔ, ɔ, o /__{l,ḷ}$
lθ → šš
{l,ḷ}C → C: (but not when C=w/y)          — approx. 1500 ad
a, ă → e, ɛ /__š
F → Ø /__š
ẓ → ḍ /F__    (here? or ordered differently?)
ăy(y)i, ayi […ǝyi, eyi…?] → ei
r, ṛ → F[+cor] /__F[+cor]__
r, ṛ → l[αemph] /__l[αemph]__
Ø → ǝ /{r,ṛ}__C#
θs → ts
m, n, ṇ → b, d, ḍ /__{l,ḷ,r,ṛ}
N → s /__s …
N → C /__C[non-homorganic] ? (but not other nasals)
C → N /__N[homorganic] ??
b → w /V__V          — approx. 1800 ad
ǝ{r,ṛ}C, {r,ṛ}ǝC → C{r} /#__V
C → C: /ǝ[-stress]__V
V[-stress]CV[+stress] → [+str]C[-str] /__#
b, d, g → p, t, k /__#
vF → vvə /__#
Obs → [αvoice] /__Obs[αvoice]          — approx. 1900 ad
bb, dd, ḍḍ, gg → pp, tt, ṭṭ, kk …
vv, zz, ẓẓ, ss, yy, ww → bb, ddz, ḍḍ, tts, žž, bbʷ . . .
ddz → tts /__#
ea, oa, ie, ei → a, a, e, i /__{CC,C:}

Correspondence Tables

Proto-Semitic > Neo-Punic

*bb, v
*dd, z
*t’ <ṭ>t’
*tθ <ṯ>s
*dð <ḏ>z
*tθ’ <ṯ̣>ts’
*ts <s>š
*dz <z>z
*ts’ <ṣ>ts’
*tɬ <ś>s
*tɬ’ <ṣ́>ts’
ɡ, γ
*k’ <q/ḳ>k’
*s <š>s
*x <ḫ>Ø
*ħ <ḥ>Ø
*ɣ <ġ>Ø
*ʕ <ʿ>Ø
*ʔ <ʾ>Ø
*ww, y-
*j <y>y
*ao, ă, ǝ, a
*ie, ǝ
*uŭ, o, ǝ

Neo-Punic > Modern Punic

Neo-PunicModern Punic
pppp, γγʷ
bw, b, -p, bʷ
bbpp, bbʷ
t’ḍ, ẓ
dd, -t
kkkk, kkʷ
k’q, qʷ
k’k’qq, qqʷ
ɡɡ, -k, bʷ
ɡɡkk, bbʷ
ff, γ
ffff, γγ
θθ, ẓ
ss, ẓ, š
zz, ž, š
xx, xʷ
mm, mʷ, b
mmmm, mmʷ
nn, d
ll, Ø(:)
aa, ɔ, o, e
ee, ea, i, ɛ
oo, oa, ɔ
ii, ie, ea, ei
uʷu, o
a, ă, ǝ, ɔ, ɛ
ʷǝ, o
ǝØ, ǝ, ɔ, ă