Phonology
Anthologica Universe Atlas / Universes / The Allosphere / Kangshuic / Proto-Kangshuic / Phonology

Phonologically, Proto-Kangshuic is characterized by a distinction between "type A" and "type B" syllables, the former being unglottalized and the latter glottalized. Glottalization is best understood as a general property of the syllable and in all likelihood was mostly realized on the final (vowel + coda) as a whole. Type B syllables have a fairly restricted phonology.

Maximally, the PK syllable had a structure of C₁RVC₂, with R and C₂ being optional. We may refer to C₁ as the 'initial', R as the 'medial', and V + C₂ as the 'final'.

Initial (C₁) phonology for Type A syllables, in working orthography:

*p  *t *c     *ć  *k  *q
*b  *d *ʒ     *đ  *g
*m  *n            *ŋ
*mˀ *nˀ           *ŋˀ
*ṁ  *ṅ            *ŋ̇
       *s     *ś  *ḫ      *h
       *z     *ź
*w  *r    *l  *y          *ḥ 
*ẉ  *ṛ    *ḷ  *ẏ
*wˀ *rˀ   *lˀ *yˀ


An underdot or overdot on a sonorant indicates voicelessness. <ʒ> is /dz/ and <c> /ts/; <ḫ> is /x/ and <ḥ> /ʕ/. /ć đ ś ź/ are not really phonemic, but represent a Mandarin-style merger of the alveolars (*c *ʒ *s *z) and velars (*k *g *ḫ; velar nasals are unaffected) before front vowels or yod (*y).

R may be any of *w *r *l *y *ḥ. There does not seem to have been a voicing or glottalization distinction on R. C₁ may be a glottalized or voiceless glide in type A syllables, however. (That is, *lˀát and *lát are distinguished in type A syllables, but not *plát and **plˀát.) There may have been other restrictions on R relative to initials or nuclei.

Nucleus (V) phonology for Type A syllables permitted any of seven vowels *i *e *a *ɤ *ɯ *o *u, with no other distinctions. High vowels *i *ɯ *u seem to have been disfavored before or after the uvular stop *q, but not the pharyngeal *ḥ. *ɯ *ɤ additionally do not appear after velars (including nasals and *ḫ). Resultingly, if there is no medial glide, *k *g can only appear before *a *o *u.

Any or no coda was allowed in Type A syllables. Allowed codas were *p *t *k *q *b *d *g *m *n *ŋ *s *ḫ *z *ḥ *w *r *l *y *ẉ *ṛ *ḷ *ẏ. Again, *q did not appear after the high vowels.

Type B syllables were a bit more restricted. Initials (C₁):

*p  *t *c     *ć  *k  *q
*b  *d *ʒ     *đ  *g
*m  *n            *ŋ
*ṁ  *ṅ            *ŋ̇
       *s     *ś  *ḫ      *h
       *z     *ź
*w  *r    *l  *y          *ḥ 
*ẉ  *ṛ    *ḷ  *ẏ


Same as Type A, but no glottalization distinction. Probably the plain sonorants were phonetically glottalized and patterned in sound change with Type A glottalized sonorants, not Type A plain.

R may be any of *w *r *l *y *ḥ. No voicing or glottalization distinction.

No high vowels were allowed in type B syllables (cf. Klallam, which doesn't allow them before a coda /ʔ/), which thus had only four phonemic vowels *eˀ *aˀ *ɤˀ *oˀ. As in type A syllables, *ɤ(ˀ) doesn't appear after velars, and *e(ˀ) merges velar and alveolar obstruents to the postalveolars.

Permitted Type B codas (C₂) were *p *t *k *q *b *d *g *m(ˀ) *n(ˀ) *ŋ(ˀ) *s *w(ˀ) *r(ˀ) *y(ˀ) *l(ˀ).

Orthagonal to the type-A/type-B distinction is tone. All syllables had one of two tones, high or low, regardless of glottalization or other segmental features. We are still not entirely sure how to do both glottalization and tone in the working orthography. Perhaps we will just mark the coda of type B syllables with a superscript ˀ: *dèkˀ, *mjɤ́nˀ.

Early/Pre-Proto-Kangshuic seems to have looked morphologically rather like Bantu or somewhere between Bantu and Romance, with verbs (and nouns?) preceded by a handful of lightly bound inflectional prefixes/clitics not entirely glued to the root. The prefixes clearly had tone, but it seems likely that they did not have codas, or a type-A/type-B distinction: ó-mà-ćéŋ. In most (all?) of the daughters, the prefix system does not really survive. Early during the break-up period the Kangshuic languages undergo an early change known as the "disyllabicity constraint", which forces most words into a disyllabic mold, but not necessarily in the same way. Thus from a verbal complex ó-mà-ćéŋ one daughter may bracket ó-mà | ćéŋ and another ó | mà-ćéŋ, with far-reaching implications for which original morphology is preserved.