Finnish Consonant Gradation

The term consonant gradation refers to a set of alternations that involve intervocalic voiceless stops, k, p, and t, and the corresponding geminate consonants kk, pp, and tt. Historically, the alternation was a simple phonetic alternation between "strong" and "weak" forms. In a closed syllable, voiceless geminate stops were replaced by single stops, and single voiceless stops were replaced by the corresponding voiced fricatives. The following examples illustrate this phenomenon,  as it existed in Finnish five hundred years ago, with the partitive singular and genitive singular forms of several nouns. Note that the forms in the first column end with an open syllable (no coda consonant) with -a as the partitive ending, whereas the forms in the second column terminate in a closed syllable with -n as the genitive suffix.

Old Finnish

Partitive (strong form)
Genitive (weak form)
Gloss
tukkaa
kakkua
tikkaa
harakkaa
tukan
kakun
tikan
harakan
hair
cake
dart
magpie
pappia
tippaa
huppua
anoppia
papin
tipan
hupun
anopin
priest
drop
hood
mother-in-law
kattoa
juttua
rottaa
ammattia
katon
jutun
rotan
ammatin
roof
story
rat
profession
likaa
liγan dirt
ripaa
riβan handle
sotaa
soδan war

In Modern Finnish, the phenomenon is more complicated. What originally was a simple phonologically controlled alternation has become opaque. Because of sound changes that have taken place over the last centuries, strong forms now show up systematically in some closed syllables and weak forms appear in open syllables in certain morphological categories. For the purpose of this exercise, we ignore this complication and consider only the nominative and genitive forms of singular nouns where the original, purely phonological, distinction between open and closed syllables controls the alternation between strong and weak forms.

Another complication, that we will pay close attention to, is that the voiced fricatives, γ, β, and δ, no longer exist in Modern Finnish. The weak grade of single stops now depends on the phonetic environment. For each of the three single voiceless stops, there is a general rule and exceptions for specific environments.

Gradation of single k

Strong
Weak
Gloss
Rule for the weak grade
likaa
makua
rakoa
tukea
halkoa
jalkaa
virkaa
nahkaa
niska
matka
lian
maun
raon
tuen
halon
jalan
viran
nahan~nahkan
niskan
matkan
dirt
taste
hole
support
log
leg
job
skin
neck
trip



In general, a single k is deleted.



Exception: deletion of k is optional after an h.
Exception: k remains unchanged after an s.
Exeption: k remains unchanged after a t.
lankaa
linkoa
langan
lingon
thread
sling
After n, a single k becomes g (Phonetically: ηk → ηη).
pukua
sukua
puvun
suvun
dress
relative
Between two short u vowels a single k becomes v.
tiukua
raakaa
tiu'un
raa'an
chime
raw
After a long vowel or diphton and followed by an identical vowel, a single k becomes ' (glottal stop).
kurkea
solkea
kurjen
soljen
crane
buckle
Between a liquid (r or l) and e,  a single k becomes j.

Gradation of single p

Strong
Weak
Gloss
Rule for the weak grade
ripaa
sopua
tapaa
kalpa
varpu
piispa
rivan
sovun
tavan
kalvan
varvun
piispan
handle
harmony
manner
sword
twig
bishop

In general, a single p is replaced by v.



Exeption: p remains unchanged after s.
kampaa
rumpua
sampea
kamman
rummun
sammen
comb
drum
sturgeon

A single p assimilates to the preceding m forming a geminate mm.

Gradation of single t

Strong
Weak
Gloss
Rule for the weak grade
sotaa
pataa
kitaa
vahtia
kostoa
sodan
padan
kidan
vahdin
koston
war
pot
maw
guard
revenge

In general, a single t is replaced by d.


Exception: t remains unchanged after an s.
rintaa
kantoa
rantaa
rinnan
kannon
rannan
breast
stump
shore

A single t assimilates to the preceding n forming a geminate nn.
iltaa
kultaa
illan
kullan
evening
gold
A single t assimilates to the preceding l forming a geminate ll.
partaa
kertaa
parran
kerran
beard
time
A single t assimilates to the preceding r forming a geminate rr.

The old gradation rule for geminate consonants remains unchanged in Modern Finnish. In the weak grade, geminate kk, pp, and tt are replaced by k, p, and t, respectively. Note the exeptional behavior of a single k, p, and t after s.

The Task

The script below defines small lexicon for Finnish in which all the intervocalic voiceless stops occur in their strong form. Your task is to write replace rules for producing the corresponding weak forms in closed syllables. Compose the rules with the lexicon in the proper order and end the script with the line

print lower-words

to verify that the output matches the examples above.

# finnish.script

define Stems [ {tukka}| {kakku} | {pappi} | {tippa} | {katto} | {juttu} |
               {tikka} | {huppu} | {rotta} | {harakka} | {anoppi} | {ammatti} |
               {lika} | {maku} | {rako} | {tuke} | {halko} | {jalka} | {virka}|
               {nahka} | {niska} | {matka} | {lanka} | {linko} | {puku} |
               {suku} | {tiuku} | {raaka} | {piispa} | {kalpa} | {varpu} |
               {ripa} | {sopu} | {tapa} | {kampa} | {rumpu} | {sampe} |
               {sota} | {pata} | {kita} | {rinta} | {kanto} | {ranta} |
               {ilta} | {kulta} | {parta} | {kerta} | {vahti} | {kosto} ];

define Case  [ "+Part":a | "+Gen":n ];

define Finnish [Stems Case];