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Contracted Diphthongs in Old Khotanese

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image of Indo-Iranian Journal

Metrical patterns in the great Buddhist poem known as The Book of Zambasta reveal previously unrecognized features in the Old Khotanese synchronic morphophonological processes known collectively as contraction. The contractions examined here are limited to nominal stems ending in /a/, /i/ and /u/, and to certain case forms. The coalescences a+e>e and a+o>o produce phonemically overlong final vowels /ē̄/ and /ō̄/ which figure in the explanation of the final phonetic shortening of e and o. In some instances falling diphthongs are created. There is umlaut of stem final /a/ in certain cases. There is also a high-to-high diphthong /u̯i/, written or , created when a suffix /-i/ is attached to stem final short /u/.

Affiliations: 1: Independent scholar, Whitehorse, YT


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