User talk:Espreon

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Again, welcome! --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:09, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

/v/ a phoneme in Old English?[edit]

I'm not sure whether it is a phoneme, but I wonder why or why not. And if not, what is it an allophone of? Do you think that at some point in the history of Old English, the Germanic sound [β] moved from being an allophone of /b/ to an allophone of /f/? —CodeCat 17:50, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Everything I’ve read says that [v] is an allophone of /f/ that occurs between voiced sounds. As for your other question, I don’t know; I haven’t really studied Proto-Germanic and the like. ― Espreon (talk) 17:54, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I imagine that it's just a matter of coincidence, really, now that I think about it. Proto-Germanic had two phonemes, /f/ and /b/. /f/ was always [ɸ], /b/ was [b] at the beginning of a word, after /m/ or when doubled, and [β] elsewhere. At some point in the history of most West Germanic languages, [ɸ] and [β] shifted to [f] and [v] (they changed from bilabial to labiodental) without changing any phonemes. But in Old English, [f] became [v] in-between vowels, merging with the existing [v]. So, in theory, [v] is an allophone of both /f/ and /b/ in Old English, and only etymology can determine which.
But there is still a point I'd like to address. In Middle English, /v/ became a phoneme because of Norman loanwords, which introduced the sound in positions that were not complementary to /f/, distorting the allophonic status. I wonder if there are any loanwords already in Old English that show this as well; loanwords from Romance languages that have /v/ word-initially. Do you know if there are any? —CodeCat 18:02, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
The only possibility I can think of off the top of my head is vīpere; I don’t know if it actually has word-initial [v]. And, of course, I don’t know when it was introduced to the language. ― Espreon (talk) 18:13, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Old English IPA transcriptions and other things[edit]

Hello, Ƿidsið.

For quite a long time, I've been using Wiktionary to look up Old English words, declensions, and conjugations. Since you seem to be one of the main supporters of Old English around here, I've decided to tell you about some things I've seen. First, I've noticed things like [ç], [ð], [v], and [x] in broad IPA transcriptions, which is not good since it implies they're phonemes... and everything I've read says they're not. I took the time to fix the narrow transcription for æht and provided a more narrow transcription right next to it. It'd be nice if someone helped fix the rest of the narrow transcriptions (but perhaps I'll do it all myself if need be).

I also noticed the page for èfen; I never seen Old English words marked with grave accent marks, so I was wondering if you might know anything about that... because I'd like to know why this is.

And then there's the double-u–wynn inconsistency; some main pages of words use wynn while others just use double-u. For the sake of consistency, this should be fixed so that one is used in the main pages and the other in alternate form pages, but I wonder why this issue still is. If I can do anything, then I'd be willing to help fix this issue.

Also, how well-versed are you in Old English? Can you compose some stuff in it? I'm just curious.

Thanks for your time and for caring about my favorite language. ― Espreon (talk) 02:20, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Hi Espreon. In common with many dictionaries, the transcriptions we use for specific languages are often not totally phonemic, but nor are they very narrow either. The exact set is to be settled on by editors experienced in the language in question. When it comes to OE there haven't always been many of us :) I believe it's important to distinguish [ç], [ð], [v], and [x]. Now when I studied phonology it was impressed on me that transcriptions are not ‘broad’ or ‘narrow’ but rather there is a sliding scale between the two, however if you would prefer that these transcriptions go in square brackets I would be OK with that, as long as we agree exactly how narrow the transcription should be. I think that is better than making transcriptions too broad, as you have been.
On your other points. Grave accents should not be used. The use of wynn is currently in a bit of flux. Most main pages exist with Ws, and wynn-forms tend to be redirects, but personally I would eventually like to see this reversed. Finally, the policy for OE is set down at WT:AANG. The first draft was written by me but other editors have made changes as community consensus has arisen. Ƿidsiþ 07:16, 15 April 2012 (UTC)


Thanks for catching that! :) Wiktionary needs all the watchful eyes reverting vandalism/spam it can get. - -sche (discuss) 04:56, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

You’re welcome, but, actually, someone on IRC pointed it out to me and let me have the pleasure of dealing with it. ― Espreon (talk) 04:59, 28 April 2012 (UTC)



Also, suggestions for translation of 'a wiki-based open content dictionary' ??

- Amgine/ t·e 15:52, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

I'd transcribe it as [ˈwikiwordboːk].
As for that phrase... only "ƿici" and "ƿordbōc" come to mind. Speaking of "ƿici"/"ƿiki", you should try to find out which spelling would be preferred.
Espreon (talk) 20:01, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! As for ƿici vs. ƿiki, I expect like most loan words unable to be normalized it will retain it's 'foreign' characteristics. I'll use what I see in use now. - Amgine/ t·e 14:53, 7 November 2012 (UTC)