In part 2, I asked,

Which reconstruction of [the Middle Korean vowel] arae a best accounts for 15th century hangŭl transcriptions of Old Ryukyuan?

The three reconstructions mentioned in part 2 were [o] (Kim-Renaud), [ɔ] (Yi and Martin), and [ʌ] (Ramsey). Koono Rokurou proposed [ɐ] and Pulleyblank (1984) proposed [ə]. All five are nonhigh and nonfront, but otherwise vary:

central back unrounded back rounded
upper mid ə
lower mid ɐ ʌ ɔ

I have not seen upper mid back unrounded [ɤ] proposed as a possible value of arae a.

In 海東諸國紀 Haedong chegukki (1471, shortly after the invention of hangŭl in 1443), arae a generally transcribes an Old Ryukyuan vowel corresponding to Old Japanese u: e.g.,

'month': Old Japanese tukɨ, Old Ryukyuan ts?ki (transcribed in hangŭl as ㅈㆍ기)

One might assume that the mystery OR vowel was o as reconstructed by Kim-Renaud. o is close to u. However, if one accepts K-R's Middle Korean vowel reconstruction as a whole, the correspondences between OR, Old Japanese, and modern Okinawan become very complex, whereas my reconstruction of Middle Korean vowels leads to a simpler set of correspondences:

Old Japanese (Miyake 2003) OR vowel using K-R to interpret hangŭl
My interpretation of the OR transcriptions Modern Okinawan
a ɔ a a
i i i i
e i, jɑ
i, jə(j) (for OR [je]?)
əj əi ɨi, jəj (for OR [je]?)
u o after sibilants ʌ after sibilants
ɨ elsewhere u elsewhere u
o ɨ, u
u, o

(The above table is not comprehensive and only illustrates the basic pattern of correspondences.)

OR interpreted through K-R's reconstruction

- has but no simple a-vowel, which is highly unlikely

- has o almost exclusively after sibilants (see my next post for exceptions)

- necessitates the bizarre sound change OR o > Oki i

e.g. 'month': OR tsoki > Oki chichi

(2.20.00:33: Ukrainian did undergo such a change, but I don't understand it. I wrote a post about this shift in Ukrainian, but I didn't finish it and I can't find it. I'll upload it if I find it.)

My interpretation of OR has two similar problems:

- ʌ is almost exclusively after sibilants (see my next post for exceptions)

- it necessitates the bizarre sound change OR ʌ > Oki i

If I had never seen Haedong chegukki, I would have proposed a more normal sound change

Proto-Japonic *u > OR ɨ > Oki i after dentals and alveolars

which is similar to the changes

PJ, OJ *u > modern standard Japanese [ɯ] (backer than [ɨ] but otherwise identical)

Late Middle Chinese > i after sibilants in many modern Chinese languages (e.g., Cantonese)

But if OR had ɨ instead of a vowel resembling any of the proposed values of arae a, why wasn't OR ɨ transcribed with the hangŭl letter for a high nonfront unrounded vowel (K-R's ㅜ or my ㅡ)?

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