The origin and synchronic status of mid front vowels in Kazym Khanty
Ilya Egorov (School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, RANEPA, Moscow)
Journal of Language Relationship, № 17/3-4, 2019 - p.197-209
The present paper provides synchronic and diachronic analyses of two mid front vowels (e and ɛ) in the Kazym dialect of the Khanty language. Investigating the distribution of these vowels shows that they are phonemically contrasted in some positions and neutralized in others. The phonological status of both vowels is additionally confirmed by a perceptual experiment. The source for e and ɛ are two Proto-Khanty vowels, which are merged or distinguished depending on the consonantal context. Phonemic contrast is extended into some new positions through borrowings from Nenets, Komi-Zyrian, and other dialects of Khanty itself.
Keywords: vocalic systems, historical phonology, dialectology, Khanty language, Uralic languages