WW #10: Of Lice and Fire

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This week, I start at the top of the Liepzig-Jakarta list with the Nitherian word for “fire”. It’s va [va], which happens to be homophonous with the possessive preposition. Nitherian neutralized quite a few contrasts as the imperial standard form developed, so homophones are common.

Muipidan and Kharulian, which both have words for “fire” already, start lower on the list, with words for “louse”. Muipidan has pegeayte [ˈpe.ɡɛˌaj.tə] and Kharulian has eghav [eˈɣaβ]. As in English, both words have odd plural forms: pekhegeayte [ˈpe.kʰɛˌɡe.aj.tə] in Muipidan and egyeghwi [eˈɟe.ɣʷi]. The Muipidan one, though, isn’t irregular; it’s part of a whole family of nouns that pluralize this way. Other examples include odakïndo “person” => othodakïndo and tibüïyte “bowl” => tiphibüïyte.

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