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The letter śádí.

So the other day I was working on a page for the Kirumb Alphabet on FrathWiki.  There are a few things here that I’d forgotten, and it took comparing a few other files to work out the details, but one thing everything seemed to have in common is that the standard Kirumb dialect had one superfluous letter in its alphabet, called śádí /sɑːˈdiː/ ~ /ʃɑːˈdiː/.

As the transliteration—which appears to be derived from Etruscan practice—suggests, it was a sibilant, and as standard Kirumb had fewer sibilants than the Semitic alphabet from which it borrowed its letters, this letter (a descendant of ṣade)ended up being the odd man out.   I have down that there were dialects that used śádí for a sibilant separate from but ‘intermediate to’ /s/ and /ʃ/ and not present in standard Kirumb.  In the standard language they merged variously with s and š, and some not using such a dialect would use the letter indiscriminately with either value.

The shape of the letter is similar to its relative, the Greek σάν (Ϻ) but unlike that letter, did not fall out of use in later stages of the language;  instead, it came to refer to many sibilants that were not felt to match /s/ or /ʃ/, such as the Drake /ç/and the sibilant in Spanish ”ch”.    (/ç/ became the standard pronunciation of the letter’s sound.)

A lot of this I had no idea about when I came back to the Kirumb alphabet, but I had very little left to make up when I did get around to reading my notes, which I suppose is  a good hint that you want not only to write everything down but make sure a copy of everything is handy, as nearly anything can be forgotten.

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