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- Sanskrit's phonemic vowel length has been lost. Vowels are long when nasalized or in a final syllable.
- Gujarati contrasts oral and nasal, and murmured and non-murmured vowels, except for /e/ and /o/.
- In absolute word-final position the higher and lower vowels of the e/ɛ and o/ɔ sets vary.
- /ɛ/ and /ɔ/ developed in the 15th century. Old Gujarati split into Rajasthani and (Middle) Gujarati.
- English loanwords are a source of /æ/.
- A fourth nasal phoneme is postulated for the phones [ɲ, ŋ] and the nasalization of a preceding vowel [Ṽ]. Before velar and palatal stops, there is variation between these; e.g. [mɑ̃ɡʋũ]~[mɑŋɡʋũ] ('ask for'), [ɦĩcko]~[ɦĩɲcko] ('swing').
- Stops occurring at first members of clusters followed by consonants other than /ɾ, j, ʋ/ are unreleased; they are optionally unreleased in final position. The absence of release entails deaspiration of voiceless stops.
- Intervocalically and with murmuring of vowels, the voiced aspirated stops /ɡʱ, d̪ʱ, bʱ/ have voiced spirant allophones [ɣ, ð, β]. Spirantization of non-palatal voiceless aspirates has been reported as well, including /pʰ/ being usually realized as [f] in the standard dialect.
- The voiced retroflex stops and the nasal /ɖʱ, ɖ, ɳ/ have flapped allophones [ɽʱ, ɽ, ɽ̃]. Intervocalically all three are flapped. /ɳ/ is unflapped before retroflex stops, and in final position varies freely between flapped and unflapped. The stops are unflapped initially, geminated, and postnasally; and flapped intervocalically, finally, and before or after other consonants.
- /ʋ/ has [v] and [w] as allophones.
- The distribution of sibilants varies over dialects and registers.
- Some dialects only have [s], others prefer [ʃ], while another system has them non-contrasting, with [ʃ] occurring contiguous to palatal segments. Retroflex [ʂ] still appears in clusters in which it precedes another retroflex: [spəʂʈ] ('clear').
- Some speakers maintain [z] as well for Persian and English borrowings. Persian's /z/'s have by and large been transposed to /dʒ/ and /dʒʱ/: /dʒin̪d̪ɡi/ ('life') and /tʃidʒʱ/ ('thing'). The same cannot be so easily said for English: /tʃiz/ ('cheese').
- Lastly, a colloquial register has [s], or both [s] and [ʃ], replaced by voiceless [h]. For educated speakers speaking this register, this replacement does not extend to Sanskrit borrowings.
Phonotactical constraints include:
- /ɭ/ and /ɳ/ do not occur word-initially.
- Clusters occur initially, medially, and finally. Geminates occur only medially.
- Biconsonantal initial clusters beginning with stops have /ɾ/, /j/, /ʋ/, and /l/ as second members. In addition to these, in loans from Sanskrit the clusters /ɡn/ and /kʃ/ may occur.
The occurrence of /ɾ/ as a second member in consonantal clusters is one of Gujarati's conservative features as a modern Indo-Aryan language. For example, languages used in Asokan inscriptions (3rd century BC) display contemporary regional variations, with words found in Gujarat's Girnar inscriptions containing clusters with /ɾ/ as the second member not having /ɾ/ in their occurrence in inscriptions elsewhere. This is maintained even to today, with Gujarati /t̪ɾ/ corresponding to Hindi /t̪/ and /t̪t̪/.
- Initially, s clusters biconsonantally with /ɾ, j, ʋ, n, m/, and non-palatal voiceless stops.
- Triconsonantal initial clusters include /st̪ɾ, spɾ, smɾ/ - most of which occur in borrowings.
- Geminates were previously treated as long consonants, but they are better analyzed as clusters of two identical segments. Two proofs for this:
- The u in geminated uccār "pronunciation" sounds more like the one in clustered udgār ('utterance') than the one in shortened ucāṭ ('anxiety').
- Geminates behave towards (that is, disallow) [ə]-deletion like clusters do.
Gemination can serve as intensification. In some adjectives and adverbs, a singular consonant before the agreement vowel can be doubled for intensification. #VCũ → #VCCũ.
The matter of stress is not quite clear:
- Stress is on the first syllable except when it doesn't have /a/ and the second syllable does.
- Stress is barely perceptible.
- Stress typically falls on the penultimate syllable of a word, however, if the penultimate vowel in a word with more than two syllables is schwa, stress falls on the preceding syllable.
Schwa-deletion, along with a-reduction and [ʋ]-insertion, is a phonological process at work in the combination of morphemes. It is a common feature among Indo-Aryan languages, referring to the deletion of a stem's final syllable's /ə/ before a suffix starting with a vowel.
This does not apply for monosyllabic stems and consonant clusters. So, better put, #VCəC + V# → #VCCV#. It also doesn't apply when the addition is an o plural marker (see Gujarati grammar#Nouns) or e as an ergative case marker (see Gujarati grammar#Postpositions). It sometimes doesn't apply for e as a locative marker.
|verb root||[keɭəʋ]||educate||[iʃ]||1st person singular, future||[keɭʋiʃ]||will educate||CVCəC + VC → CVCCVC||Yes||Polysyllabic stem with /ə/ in its final syllable, with a suffix starting with a vowel (verbal declension).|
|[səmədʒ]||understand||[jɑ]||masculine plural, perfective||[səmdʒjɑ]||understood||CVCəC + CV → CVCCCV||Polysyllabic stem with /ə/ in its final syllable, with a suffix starting with a semi-vowel (verbal declension).|
|[ut̪əɾ]||descend||[t̪o]||masculine singular, imperfective||[ut̪əɾt̪o]||descending||VCəC + CV → VCəCCV||No||Suffix starting with a consonant.|
|[t̪əɾ]||swim, float||[ɛ]||2nd person singular, present||[t̪əɾɛ]||swimming, floating||CəC + V → CəCV||Monosyllabic.|
|[ʋəɾɳəʋ]||describe||[i]||feminine, perfective||[ʋəɾɳəʋi]||described||CVCCəC + VC → CVCCəCVC||Consonant cluster.|
|[ɑɭoʈ]||wallow, roll||[iʃũ]||1st person plural, future||[ɑɭoʈiʃũ]||will wallow, roll||VCoC + VCV → VCoCVCV||Non-ə.|
|noun||[ɑɭəs]||laziness||[ũ]||adjectival marker||[ɑɭsũ]||lazy||VCəC + V → VCCV||Yes||Polysyllabic stem with /ə/ in its final syllable, with a suffix starting with a vowel (adjectival marking).|
|[ʋəkʰət̪]||time||[e]||locative marker||[ʋəkt̪e]||at (the) time||CVCəC + V → CVCCV||Sometimes yes — e as a locative marker.|
|[d̪iʋəs]||day||[d̪iʋəse]||on (the) day||CVCəC + V → CVCəCV||No||Sometimes no — e as a locative marker.|
|[ɾəmət̪]||game||[o]||plural marker||[ɾəmət̪o]||games||CVCəC + V → CVCəCV||Plural o number marker suffix.|
|adjective||[ɡəɾəm]||hot||[i]||noun marker||[ɡəɾmi]||heat||CVCəC + V → CVCCV||Yes||Polysyllabic stem with /ə/ in its final syllable, with a suffix starting with a vowel (noun marking).|
A stem's final syllable's /ɑ/ will reduce to /ə/ before a suffix starting with /ɑ/. #ɑC(C) + ɑ# → #eC(C)ɑ#. This can be seen in the derivation of nouns from adjective stems, and in the formation of passive and causative forms of verb stems.
|[ɑʋ]||[kəpɑʋ]||cause to cut||Causative|
|[kəpɑʋ]||[ɑ]||[kəpɑʋɑ]||cause to be cut||Causative Passive||No1|
|[ɖɑʋ]||[kəpɑʋɖɑʋ]||cause to cause to cut||Double Causative|
- It doesn't happen a second time.
- It can take place after an ə-deletion. #ɑCəC + ɑ# → #əCCɑ#.
Between a stem ending in a vowel and its suffix starting with a vowel, a [ʋ] is inserted. #V + V# → #VʋV#. This can be seen in the formation of passive and causative forms of verb stems.
|sing||[ɡɑ]||[ɑɽ]||[ɡəʋɑɽ]||cause to sing|
The second example shows an ɑ-reduction as well.
|1||Word-initial ɦV → V̤2||[ɦəʋe]||[ə̤ʋe]||now|
V̤non-high, more open
|3||ə/aɦVhigh → ə̤/ɑ̤ (glide)||[ɾəɦi]||[ɾə̤j]||stayed|
- 1 Gujarati spelling reflects this mode. The script has no direct notation for murmur.
- 2 Rule 1 creates allomorphs for nouns. For example, /ɦəd̪/ ('limit') by itself can be [ə̤d̪], but can only be [ɦəd̪] in /beɦəd̪/ ('limitless').
- 3 More open.
The table below compares declensions of the verbs [kəɾʋũ] ('to do') and [kɛ̤ʋũ] ('to say'). The former follows the regular pattern of the stable root /kəɾ/ serving as a point for characteristic suffixations. The latter, on the other hand, is deviant and irregular in this respect.
Fortunately the [kɛ̤ʋũ] situation can be explained through murmur. If to a formal or historical root of /kəɦe/ these rules are considered then predicted, explained, and made regular is the irregularity that is [kɛ̤ʋũ] (romanized as kahevũ).
Thus below are the declensions of [kɛ̤ʋũ] /ɦ/-possessing, murmur-eliciting root /kəɦe/, this time with the application of the murmur rules on the root shown, also to which a preceding rule must be taken into account:
- 0. A final root vowel gets deleted before a suffix starting with a non-consonant.
However in the end not all instances of /ɦ/ become murmured and not all murmur comes from instances of /ɦ/.
One other predictable source for murmur is voiced aspirated stops. A clear vowel followed by a voiced aspirated stop can vary with a pair gaining murmur and losing aspiration: #VCʱ ←→ #V̤C.
- Mistry (2003:115)
- Mistry (2003:116)
- Cardona & Suthar (2003:662)
- Mistry (2003:115–116)
- Mistry (1996:391–393)
- Masica (1991:97)
- Mistry (1997:659)
- Cardona & Suthar (2003:665)
- Masica (1991:97)
- Mistry (2001:275)
- Mistry (1997:658)
- Cardona & Suthar (2003:666)
- Mistry (2001:274)
- Mistry (1997:670)
- Mistry (1997:660)
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