(L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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Ælfwine
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(L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ælfwine »

Edit: (Original description)

This thread is for quick questions related to the forum topic; Post your question and hopefully receive an answer here.

In what positions and under what conditions did French keep morphological nominative -s, even after it lost cases? C.f. French fils.

Edit: Topic continued from the previous Q&A Thread. -Aevas, 2020-09-06
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Post by VaptuantaDoi »

Ælfwine wrote: 02 Dec 2019 02:45 In what positions and under what conditions did French keep morphological nominative -s, even after it lost cases? C.f. French fils.
The only instances where it was kept nominative forms were irregular exceptions. These are either proper nouns (Jacques, Charles) or isolated incidences (apparently randomly, although almost all the ones I can find are refering to people), i.e. sœur, traître. There are some cases, also mostly referring to people, where both forms were retained separately; on vs. homme, gars vs garçon, copain vs. compagnon, sire vs. seigneur. No real "conditions" other than perhaps semantic ones.

(This isn't about the nominative -s specifically, I hope it answers your question)
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Ælfwine wrote: 02 Dec 2019 02:45 In what positions and under what conditions did French keep morphological nominative -s, even after it lost cases? C.f. French fils.
What VaptuantaDoi said. It is true that all French's retained nominative forms refer to humans. I'd wager that's the case because human nouns are more likely to be subjects.

If you're thinking about the particular pronunciation of fils as /fis/, that is essentially a spelling pronunciation; in the 1700s, the /s/ was dropped as part of a regular sound change, giving /fi/. CNRTL, which has a lot of etymological information on French, says the /s/ was restored soon after, in limited phonological contexts, because of the word's use as a vocative. It seems to have been governed by rules similar to the ones currently operating on six and dix: /s/ at the end of an utterance, /z/ before a vowel, silent before a consonant.
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Post by Ælfwine »

For a while I was considering eliminating the case system of my Gothic conlang, but what was preventing me was the existence of final -s in many words in the corpus (fers "man," bars "beard" ies "he") but not in others (plut "blood," alt "old," tag "day"). However, it was suggested to me that the -s might have been preserved in a manner similar to French: the case system was eliminated and most words were generalized around the accusative, except for some words which took the nominative. So this gives me some constraints at least, thanks guys. :)
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Post by Xonen »

Dormouse559 wrote: 02 Dec 2019 07:49
Ælfwine wrote: 02 Dec 2019 02:45 In what positions and under what conditions did French keep morphological nominative -s, even after it lost cases? C.f. French fils.
What VaptuantaDoi said. It is true that all French's retained nominative forms refer to humans.
I seem to recall seeing that claimed for ours 'bear', but can't seem to find an explicit confirmation for that. Apparently (at least if I'm understanding the French correctly), the final /s/ has been lost and re-established similarly to fils, in any case.
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Post by Zekoslav »

Xonen wrote: 02 Dec 2019 19:40
Dormouse559 wrote: 02 Dec 2019 07:49
Ælfwine wrote: 02 Dec 2019 02:45 In what positions and under what conditions did French keep morphological nominative -s, even after it lost cases? C.f. French fils.
What VaptuantaDoi said. It is true that all French's retained nominative forms refer to humans.
I seem to recall seeing that claimed for ours 'bear', but can't seem to find an explicit confirmation for that. Apparently (at least if I'm understanding the French correctly), the final /s/ has been lost and re-established similarly to fils, in any case.
For ours it doesn't matter much if it's nominative or accusative, since in Old French these two cases merge in nouns whose stem ends in /s/ (to be more precise, all cases merge, and these nouns become undeclinable). However, final /s/ being pronounced is certainly an exception similar to fils, as you've said.

From Ælfwine's examples here and in other places, it seems that final /s/ from the nominative is more common in Crimean Gothic than in Modern French, and doesn't seem to be limited to humans, or even animates. Something else might be at hand. I don't know if this is what Crimean Gothic really did, but Surselvan (see here and the following pages) preserves the nominative case for predicate adjectives, replacing it with the accusative for attribute adjectives, and you can use this as an inspiration for your language (maybe do it for both nouns and adjectives).
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa »

Dormouse559 wrote: 02 Dec 2019 07:49
Ælfwine wrote: 02 Dec 2019 02:45 In what positions and under what conditions did French keep morphological nominative -s, even after it lost cases? C.f. French fils.
What VaptuantaDoi said. It is true that all French's retained nominative forms refer to humans. I'd wager that's the case because human nouns are more likely to be subjects.
one exception: temps "time"
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Post by Dormouse559 »

Pabappa wrote: 02 Dec 2019 20:31
Dormouse559 wrote: 02 Dec 2019 07:49 What VaptuantaDoi said. It is true that all French's retained nominative forms refer to humans. I'd wager that's the case because human nouns are more likely to be subjects.
one exception: temps "time"
Temps is deceptive at first glance. It can be interpreted as coming from the Latin accusative form, which was tempus.
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Post by Ser »

Ursus > ours /uʁs/ is definitely an exception, cf. cursus 'flow' > cours /kuʁ/ 'path; flow', morsus 'bitten thing, animal' > mors /mɔʁ/ 'horse bit'. It's still an animate though. It reminds me of the similar Spanish retention of the nominative serpēns > sierpe 'snake' (as a doublet of the much more common serpentem > serpiente), and curculiō 'weevil' > gorgojo (cf. Italian gorgoglione), also animals. Deus > Dios is another one, but then a god is some sort of super-human.

A truly weird exception is the adjective minor > French moindre, a doublet of minōrem > Old French meneur. Maybe in Old French this adjective mostly modified humans? (Meneur would later get kicked out by moindre. Modern mineur is an outright learned borrowing.)

Another weird one is caput 'head', which was apparently so common that it retained its neuter accusative form, getting reinterpreted later on as a 2nd declension masculine ("capum"), giving Old French chief, Spanish cabo and Italian capo. The expected development would've been to survive with its oblique stem, so > (merged) *[ˈkapete] > Old French *caft or *cat, Spanish *cabde > *caude, cf. nom./acc. lūmen, dat. lūminī > (merged) *[ˈlumne] > Spanish lumbre. A similar one is cor, also neuter, which is cuer in Old Spanish as opposed to the expected > (merged) *[ˈkɔɾde] > *cuerde.
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Re. a phrase like "deceptively simple". Does this phrase mean that something is simple, but appears not to be? Or does it mean the opposite: it is complex and appears to be simple? I've heard contradictory answers on this.
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Post by shimobaatar »

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 28 Dec 2019 07:28 Re. a phrase like "deceptively simple". Does this phrase mean that something is simple, but appears not to be? Or does it mean the opposite: it is complex and appears to be simple? I've heard contradictory answers on this.
Good question! In my experience, it means that something appears to be simple, but is actually difficult. The apparent simplicity of the situation is what's deceptive.
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shimobaatar wrote: 28 Dec 2019 07:41
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 28 Dec 2019 07:28 Re. a phrase like "deceptively simple". Does this phrase mean that something is simple, but appears not to be? Or does it mean the opposite: it is complex and appears to be simple? I've heard contradictory answers on this.
Good question! In my experience, it means that something appears to be simple, but is actually difficult.
Yeah, that's what I've always assumed. The simplicity is a deception; it lures you in by the false promise of an easy task/solution/whatever, and before you know it, you're tangled up to your eyestalks in the thorny tendrils of chaos.

Irregardless, a quick Google search suggests that "deceptively simple" may, for all intensive purposes, be becoming the new way of saying "surprisingly simple". [¬.¬]
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Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

Interesting, because I seem to have been taking it to mean the exact opposite: it appears difficult but is actually simple. I think I understand it this way because I read the sentence without the adverb, i.e. “X is simple” and take that to be true, and the insertion of “deceptively” to mean “in reality but not in appearance”. But given the fact that two diametrically opposed meanings are possible, I think this phrase is functionally useless. [:P]
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Post by Salmoneus »

I think it depends on context.

Usually, it means 'simpler than it appears'. So if I say "In fact, I found the application process deceptively simple!" or "At first it seemed inmpossible, butt mastering the game was actually deceptively simple!", or "the trick to this puzzle is deceptively simple!" I mean it looks dauntingly, discouragingly complicated, but actually isn't.

However, sometimes it can mean that the simplicity of one thing leads you to underestimate the complexity of something related to it. So if I say "the assembly instructions are deceptively simple" or "the input panel is deceptively simple", or "the recipe is deceptively simple", or "Fotherington's own account of the affair is deceptively simple" or the like, I mean that the thing we're talking about directly is indeed simple, but that the thing it's describing or instructing or representing is not.
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Post by Dormouse559 »

Kai, you gave me a mini existential crisis as I went through the stages of "Of course I know what that means", "What does that mean?" and "I have no idea what that means!" But …
Salmoneus wrote: 28 Dec 2019 18:25However, sometimes it can mean that the simplicity of one thing leads you to underestimate the complexity of something related to it. So if I say "the assembly instructions are deceptively simple" or "the input panel is deceptively simple", or "the recipe is deceptively simple", or "Fotherington's own account of the affair is deceptively simple" or the like, I mean that the thing we're talking about directly is indeed simple, but that the thing it's describing or instructing or representing is not.
I'm going to say this is how I would normally use the phrase. Your question about the meaning of "deceptively simple" was deceptively simple.
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Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

:mrgreen: Thanks for the answers!

Another problematic term: "bimonthly". Does it mean "every two months" or "twice a month"? Wiktionary says "just don't use it!" I don't like the idea of words having to drop out of usage because of their ambiguity.
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Post by shimobaatar »

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 28 Dec 2019 21:28 Another problematic term: "bimonthly". Does it mean "every two months" or "twice a month"? Wiktionary says "just don't use it!" I don't like the idea of words having to drop out of usage because of their ambiguity.
For me, the "biXly" terms mean "once every two Xs", but I know others use them differently.
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Post by sangi39 »

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 28 Dec 2019 21:28 :mrgreen: Thanks for the answers!

Another problematic term: "bimonthly". Does it mean "every two months" or "twice a month"? Wiktionary says "just don't use it!" I don't like the idea of words having to drop out of usage because of their ambiguity.
Well, there's "twice monthly", "fortnightly" and "semi-monthly" for the "twice a month" meaning, and "bimenstrial" if you then feel that those other terms don't disambiguate "bimonthly" at all.

Like "biannual". There's "biennial" for "every two years" and "semiannual" for "twice a year", and "half-yearly".

Seems that a fair few people have gotten sick of the ambiguity, and it's mostly become the problem of catchy, poster-friendly names. "Biannual" is shorter than "half-yearly", and it sounds more... prestigious, I suppose.
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Post by Ælfwine »

Does anyone know the origin of the diphthong in Romansch words like chaun < canem?

Some sort of umlaut or metathesis like *canu > chanu > chaun (with a portuguese reanalyzation?)
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Post by VaptuantaDoi »

Ælfwine wrote: 29 Dec 2019 15:51 Does anyone know the origin of the diphthong in Romansch words like chaun < canem?

Some sort of umlaut or metathesis like *canu > chanu > chaun (with a portuguese reanalyzation?)
This is just based on looking at Wiktionary, but there's also
abante → avaunt
angelus → aungel
Christiānus → carstgaun
demāne → damaun
Francia → Frauntscha
īnfāntem → iffaunt
lāna → launa
manus → maun
panis → paun
planta → plaunta
etc.
Where stressed /a/ becomes /au̯/ before /n/, whereas other examples of stressed /a/ are retained.* Assuming this to be true, the change was more like cane(m) > *chan > chaun.

*The word "rumantsch" looks like an exception, but the Puter form is listed as rumauntsch so it might be a dialectal thing. Most of the other examples of modern /an/ seem to be borrowings apart from sang "blood," pesant "heavy," and a few others. It mostly holds true.
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