As if getting into the spirit of Lexember, my local radio station trotted out this wiki excerpt about Mele Kalikimaka and phonological shift.
Today’s words are an experiment in phonological
shift adaptation with a bonus geography/history note.
The continent the people who became the Bitrani and the Cālenyena came from held two other nations – the proto-Bitrani on the East Coast, the Cālenyena in the southwest, the [West Coast People] on, obviously the west coast, and the Ice Tribes in the north.
The Ice tribes discovered metal-working first, and traded with the West Coast people and the proto-Bitrani. They called a particular blade, a short one with a barbed edge, yee-shoon.
When the Cālenyena first encountered knives, the west coast people called them allishia. That word can’t exist in three different ways in the Cālenyena language; it became zēzu (zee-zuh)
When they first encountered swords, it was from the proto-Bitrani, who called them tyajoon. Since a starting ty- sound in Cālenyen indicates a useless object, and a sword clearly isn’t, and since they don’t have a j sound, sword ended up tazhō
zēzu (zee-zuh) – knife
tazhō (tah-zhoo) – sword
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