Romance tidbits

A forum for discussing linguistics or just languages in general.
User avatar
Ser
sinic
sinic
Posts: 274
Joined: 30 Jun 2012 06:13

Romance tidbits

Post by Ser »

I think and read a ton about Romance linguistics so I'm constantly thinking of or finding interesting things that I feel like sharing. So I thought I should make a thread about them instead of posting them in some general thread like the L&N QA thread.

Let's get started:

One fun thing I sometimes wonder about is whether the interpretation of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which Eve and Adam eat and then get expelled from the Garden for, as an apple, was partly influenced by Latin mālum 'apple' and malum 'evil' becoming homophones, pronounced the same since /a/ and /a:/ merge in all of Romance.

This would've meant that people hearing that line of the Lord's prayer, sed līberā nōs ā malō 'but deliver us from evil' (or, 'from the evil one') would've sounded exactly the same as sed līberā nōs ā mālō 'but deliver us from the apple'.

(I'd say my confidence that this is true is somewhat low, 35%, but still fairly possible because of the prominence of this sort of images in Medieval Latin, notably in the explanation of phenomena based on word etymology, as seen in Isidore of Seville's Etymologiae sive Origines, one of the most important books of the period. No idea how old the idea that the fruit was an apple is though: if it appears among pre-Christian Jews or the early Greek church, then it's obviously wrong. It wouldn't surprise me if scholars have thought of this before as well.)
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.

User avatar
Pabappa
sinic
sinic
Posts: 426
Joined: 18 Nov 2017 02:41
Contact:

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Pabappa »

It might have something to do with the body part:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam%27s_apple#Etymology

Though I suspect that the Hebrew phrase by itself is not the sole reason we see the fruit as an apple, it may have contributed.
I'll take the theses, and you can have the thoses.

User avatar
Ser
sinic
sinic
Posts: 274
Joined: 30 Jun 2012 06:13

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Ser »

Pabappa wrote:
06 Mar 2020 00:24
It might have something to do with the body part:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam%27s_apple#Etymology

Though I suspect that the Hebrew phrase by itself is not the sole reason we see the fruit as an apple, it may have contributed.
Oh, great. Although I still wonder about the timing... When does pomum Adami start being used in Latin? Is it right about the time when knowledge of Hebrew was recovered among Latinate Christians around the Renaissance? The phrase doesn't appear in the early Christian books that Google Books has, which gives some credence to the explanation of that linguist Wikipedia mentions, but who knows.

I found this supposed explanation for the term "Adam's apple" in a book published in Dutch in 1682 (Franciscus van Sterbeeck's Citricultura). Unfortunately, I can't read Dutch, but I wonder if it says anything of value to contradict that linguist... A transcription I just made follows, including the sidenote to the right of the paragraph:

Orani-appel met ſoete ſchelle.

4. IN het latijn wordt ons deſen van FERRARIUS ghenoemt Aurantium dulci cortice. En van BAUHINUS Malus aurantia cortice dulci eduli. Ick meyne vaſtelijck dat dit den ſelven is, waer van dat CLUSIUS betuyght twee boomen gheſien te hebben in Spanien ontrent de Reviere Betim tot de Paters Cartuyſers, die ſy in't Spaens Las cuevas noemen : en van CLUSIUS in't latijn Aurea malus eduli cortice. Ende het is ghewiſch dat onſe Neerlanders deſen appel wel te onrecht Pomum Adami dat is Adams appel ghenoemthebben Naer het ſegghen van den Roomſen Heſperides. Waer van in het beſonder Capittel van de Adams appelen meerder te leſen is.

I. B. FERR lib. 4. cap. 16.
B. BAU. in PIN XI.ſect.6
CAR. CLU Hiſto plant lib. 1. cap. 4.
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.

User avatar
Pabappa
sinic
sinic
Posts: 426
Joined: 18 Nov 2017 02:41
Contact:

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Pabappa »

I cant read Dutch either, but I played with that a little bit and it seems to be mostly talking about apples and oranges, as in the fruit. Even the last sentences may be a reference to Greek mythology where an apple grove existed called the Garden of the Hesperides. Im not sure there's much in there that we can use, but Im really just guessing at this because thats what I like to do. Surely someone here has a better grasp of what's going on in that paragraph and can provide more insight.
I'll take the theses, and you can have the thoses.

Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2014
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 19:37

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Salmoneus »

It's a tempting theory, certainly. But I suspect it's just that "apple" is the general word for, or prototype of, a fruit in many European languages.

C.f. its use in compounds:
English earthapple (Jerusalem artichoke)
Dutch ardappel and French pomme de terre (potato)
Dutch sinaasappel (orange)
English pineapple (pineapple)
Dutch pijnappel (pinecone)
Irish úlla gráinneach (pomegranate - lit. "granulated apple")

Conversely, Vulgar Latin "poma", "apple", comes from the Classical word for "fruit".

Wiktionary cites the OE word for 'apple' as also being able to mean any fruit, but I suspect that informally this was true of many European languages.

Regarding 'Adam's apple', I'd note that in many languages (including Old English and Modern Irish) "apple" can also generally mean any round object, lump, blob, knob or ball.


I suppose there's also a question of rational assumptions. If you told a mediaeval European that X was a fruit you could pluck off a tree, what would they think X might be? It pretty much has to be either an apple or a pear, doesn't it? I guess in the mediterranean it could be an olive...

User avatar
Ser
sinic
sinic
Posts: 274
Joined: 30 Jun 2012 06:13

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Ser »

Maybe also a fig... Pōmum 'fruit' in Latin at least can also refer to figs and berries. My thought was that there could be something about mālum because that was the specific word for 'apple' in Latin, but it's true that apples were the stereotypical type of fruit (as can be seen in the evolution of the word pōmum in Western and Italo-Romance).

(Romanian poamă still just means 'fruit'.)
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.

User avatar
qwed117
mongolian
mongolian
Posts: 3787
Joined: 20 Nov 2014 02:27

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by qwed117 »

Ser wrote:
05 Mar 2020 22:39
One fun thing I sometimes wonder about is whether the interpretation of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which Eve and Adam eat and then get expelled from the Garden for, as an apple, was partly influenced by Latin mālum 'apple' and malum 'evil' becoming homophones, pronounced the same since /a/ and /a:/ merge in all of Romance.
From my understanding, the interpretation of the forbidden fruit and hence the original being portrayed an apple is a part of wordplay on part of the authors of the Bible and Western theologians. It's also standard in non-OT Western mythos, like the golden apples of the Hesperides.
Spoiler:
My minicity is Zyphrazia and Novland
What is made of man will crumble away.

User avatar
J_from_Holland
sinic
sinic
Posts: 217
Joined: 19 Mar 2015 17:19
Location: On this forum

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by J_from_Holland »

Ser wrote:
06 Mar 2020 01:28
Pabappa wrote:
06 Mar 2020 00:24
It might have something to do with the body part:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam%27s_apple#Etymology

Though I suspect that the Hebrew phrase by itself is not the sole reason we see the fruit as an apple, it may have contributed.
Oh, great. Although I still wonder about the timing... When does pomum Adami start being used in Latin? Is it right about the time when knowledge of Hebrew was recovered among Latinate Christians around the Renaissance? The phrase doesn't appear in the early Christian books that Google Books has, which gives some credence to the explanation of that linguist Wikipedia mentions, but who knows.

I found this supposed explanation for the term "Adam's apple" in a book published in Dutch in 1682 (Franciscus van Sterbeeck's Citricultura). Unfortunately, I can't read Dutch, but I wonder if it says anything of value to contradict that linguist... A transcription I just made follows, including the sidenote to the right of the paragraph:

Orani-appel met ſoete ſchelle.

4. IN het latijn wordt ons deſen van FERRARIUS ghenoemt Aurantium dulci cortice. En van BAUHINUS Malus aurantia cortice dulci eduli. Ick meyne vaſtelijck dat dit den ſelven is, waer van dat CLUSIUS betuyght twee boomen gheſien te hebben in Spanien ontrent de Reviere Betim tot de Paters Cartuyſers, die ſy in't Spaens Las cuevas noemen : en van CLUSIUS in't latijn Aurea malus eduli cortice. Ende het is ghewiſch dat onſe Neerlanders deſen appel wel te onrecht Pomum Adami dat is Adams appel ghenoemthebben Naer het ſegghen van den Roomſen Heſperides. Waer van in het beſonder Capittel van de Adams appelen meerder te leſen is.

I. B. FERR lib. 4. cap. 16.
B. BAU. in PIN XI.ſect.6
CAR. CLU Hiſto plant lib. 1. cap. 4.

In het latijn wordt ons deſen van FERRARIUS ghenoemt Aurantium dulci cortice.
In Latin, FERRARIUS calls this one Aurantium dulci cortice.


En van BAUHINUS Malus aurantia cortice dulci eduli.
And BAUHINUS calls it Malus aurantia cortice dulci eduli.


Ick meyne vaſtelijck dat dit den ſelven is, waer van dat CLUSIUS betuyght twee boomen gheſien te hebben in Spanien ontrent de Reviere Betim tot de Paters Cartuyſers, die ſy in't Spaens Las cuevas noemen :
I'm quite sure that these are the same, although CLUSIUS asserts, to have seen two (of these?) trees in Spain in the area from the river Betim till the Carthusian monks, called Las Cuevas in Spanish:


en van CLUSIUS in't latijn Aurea malus eduli cortice.
and CLUSIUS calls it/them Aurea malus eduli cortice. (Literally, the construction "and from..." is used, which isn't too common for this purpose in modern Dutch.

Ende het is ghewiſch dat onſe Neerlanders deſen appel wel te onrecht Pomum Adami dat is Adams appel ghenoemt hebben, naer het ſegghen van den Roomſen Heſperides
It's quite sure that we, the Dutch, have named this apple Pomum Adami, for us "Adams appel", incorrectly, after the way the Roman Hesperides said it.


Waer van in het beſonder Capittel van de Adams appelen meerder te leſen is.
About this, there is more to read mainly in the chapter about "Adams appelen".
A few years, I posted about Bløjhvåtterskyll. That's Barmish nowadays, and it's quite different from back then.
:nld: :mrgreen: | :eng: [:D] | :deu: [:D] | :fra: [:P] | :ell: [:$] | :nor: [:$]

User avatar
Aevas
admin
admin
Posts: 1415
Joined: 11 May 2010 05:46
Location: ꜱᴇ

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Aevas »

Would you happen to know where the second /l/ comes from in Catalan malalt 'sick'? French (malade) and Italian (malato) both lack it, but Occitan has malaut, which seems to have existed in Old Catalan as well, leading me to guess that it might be a hypercorrection of [awt] > [aɫt]?

User avatar
Ser
sinic
sinic
Posts: 274
Joined: 30 Jun 2012 06:13

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Ser »

J_from_Holland wrote:
09 Mar 2020 08:05
Waer van in het beſonder Capittel van de Adams appelen meerder te leſen is.
About this, there is more to read mainly in the chapter about "Adams appelen".
Urgh, so I chose the wrong passage. I guess I'll have to look for that chapter...
Aszev wrote:
24 Mar 2020 19:36
Would you happen to know where the second /l/ comes from in Catalan malalt 'sick'? French (malade) and Italian (malato) both lack it, but Occitan has malaut, which seems to have existed in Old Catalan as well, leading me to guess that it might be a hypercorrection of [awt] > [aɫt]?
It is. So, male habitus > *[maˈlabto] > Old Catalan malaute > hypercorrected to OCat malalte > with regularized gender marker, modCat malalt.

Other examples:
- cubitum 'elbow' > *[ˈkov(ə)do] > *[ˈkɔwdə] > hypercorr. OCat colde and colze > modCat colze.
- decimus 'tenth part' later 'tithe' > *[ˈdɛdz(ə)mo] > (with regular [dz] > [w] change) OCat deume > hypercorr. to OCat delme > modern delme.

See also: the use of <l> to reinforce [w] in Old French after it became [w], as in Old French mult/molt [molt] > mout/moult [mowt] > Middle French moult [mut]. See also: English "could" (< Middle English coude, can), spelled that way after "should" (< scholde, schal) and "would" (< wolde, wil) lost their [l] sounds. See also: Polish <Ł ł> /w/, but that's just a straight l > w change.
Last edited by Ser on 25 Mar 2020 18:24, edited 3 times in total.
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.

Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2014
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 19:37

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Salmoneus »

C.f. the way some Americans apparently have an /l/ in the word "almond" (which derives from Greek "amygdala").There are other examples too, but I can't quite think of one.

[ "saumon" became "salmon", but not because anyone has ever pronounced the L - it's like the B in 'debt', added orthographically to look nice. Middle English "faucon" became "falcon", but wiktionary lists L forms in MdlE as well, so it's possible that the modern l-forms are reborrowed from dialect, rather than a pure hypercorrection. And "sauter" became "psalter" (and likewise "sawtry" became "psaltry"), which is an archaising correction, but also (like 'falcon') a correct one, bringing the modern pronunciation closer to the Greek (despite the completely unrelated modern meaning!), so it's not really the same thing]

User avatar
Aevas
admin
admin
Posts: 1415
Joined: 11 May 2010 05:46
Location: ꜱᴇ

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Aevas »

Ser wrote:
24 Mar 2020 21:09
It is. So, male habitus > *[maˈlabto] > Old Catalan malaute > hypercorrected to OCat malalte > with regularized gender marker, modCat malalt.

Other examples:
- cubitum 'elbow' > *[ˈkob(ə)do] > *[ˈkɔwdə] > hypercorr. OCat colde and colze > modCat colze.
- decimus 'tenth part' later 'tithe' > *[ˈdɛdz(ə)mo] > (with regular [dz] > [w] change) OCat deume > hypercorr. to OCat delme > modern delme.
Thank you! And interesting to see that it was a recurring thing.
Salmoneus wrote:
25 Mar 2020 14:49
C.f. the way some Americans apparently have an /l/ in the word "almond" (which derives from Greek "amygdala").
Wouldn't this rather be a spelling pronunciation than a hypercorrection?

Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2014
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 19:37

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Salmoneus »

Aszev wrote:
25 Mar 2020 16:39
Salmoneus wrote:
25 Mar 2020 14:49
C.f. the way some Americans apparently have an /l/ in the word "almond" (which derives from Greek "amygdala").
Wouldn't this rather be a spelling pronunciation than a hypercorrection?
In English, probably, though I'm not certain. But the L appeared in the word between Latin and French, so I was thinking it was a hypercorrection there, presumably triggered by rounding before /m/. If the French did have /l/, American /l/ might simply be a dialectical continuation of that.

However, that's all probably not true. Wiktionary implies two different origins: longscale metathesis from 'amendla' to 'almanda'; and some helpful hypercorrection under the false assumption of Arabic origin (and also some interference from 'amanda' to get the vowels right). So not really very relevent, no.

[though even with that contorted explanation, it still kind of leaves a big question mark on how Vulgar Latin managed to produce 'amendla' from classical 'amygdala'! And, for extra fun, the original Greek word is itself of unknown origin! And in Greek itself appears not only as 'amúgdalos', but also 'amusgúla'!]

User avatar
Ser
sinic
sinic
Posts: 274
Joined: 30 Jun 2012 06:13

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Ser »

The normal form of the word is feminine ἀμυγδάλη, but the masculine version you mention and its neutral form also appear in a few occasions, according to Greek dictionaries. To add more variants, the Diccionario Griego-Español also mentions ἀμυσγέλα as a Doric variant, with -gel-.

The Trésor de la langue française says that amygdala is attested as amandula in Late Latin, presumably in various works (with what appears to be a reinterpretation of unstressed -ala as the unstressed diminutive -ula, as Latin tends to not respect Greek accent), and also as amyndala in the Notae Tironianae (a Late Antique collection of several thousands of stenographic abbreviations said to have been supposedly used by Cicero's slave Tiro has anyone ever developed a logography in a conlang with an alphabet under the same pretense?).

The Trésor says that amandula seems to survive, with and without the ending (*amanda), with -a- in varieties from northern Italy and France: Abbruzzese manele and malle, Lombardian amandola, Imola Gallo-Italic amandel, Florentine mandola, Old Dauphiny Occitan (a)mandole, Old Lyon Oïl amandole and amandre, Old French alemande, amande and amandie (the last one with the stressed suffix -ie).

Amyndala seems to underlie variants from southern Europe showing up with reflexes of Late Latin mid-close /e/: Neapolitan/Sicilian/Sardinian and Old Provençal (in the narrow sense) having something resembling amendola, modern Provençal amenlo. They don't say anything about Iberian Romance, but Spanish does have almendra and not *almiendra (reflecting LL mid-close /e/).

The Trésor ascribes Provençal amella and Catalan amenla to amandula, but the Diccionari Català-Valencià-Balear (DCVB) slightly disagrees and reasonably goes back to a supposed spoken *amyndula (with -y- > LL mid-close /e/, but an -u- that disappears). Also, ametlla (or ametla) [ə(m)ˈmεʎʎə] is more standard in Catalan. The DCVB lists about 20 variants of the word, but one that called my attention is the highly reduced [ˈməɫɫə] used in most of Balearic. Valencian uses alme(t)la [alˈmeɫ(ɫ)a] (or [aɾˈmeɫa]...).


None of the above explains [gd] > [nd], but considering that [gd] is a non-native cluster in Latin, maybe that's just how speakers ended up handling it... See also: Greek κύκνος > Classical Latin cygnus/cycnus, with the Late Latin variant cicinus (presumably [ˈtsitsenos], [ˈtsidzenos] or the like) that gives Old French cisne [ˈtsiznə] (which is then borrowed by Spanish/Portuguese before it gets replaced by the learned cygne [siɲ(ə)] in French). [gn] was pretty awkward too (native <gn> was [ŋn] later [ɲ:]).
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.

Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2014
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 19:37

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Salmoneus »

Ser wrote:
25 Mar 2020 21:38
has anyone ever developed a logography in a conlang with an alphabet under the same pretense?).
I haven't, although I did have the idea of a bisyllabary that originated in scribal ligatures of adjacent syllabic symbols (the earlier writing system is syllabic, TTB, but with two syllables on each line, LTR, creating a mayan-style block system in effect). I've also had the idea of a sort-of logographic shorthand from modern English in a sci-fi setting, but it wouldn't exactly be shorthand [as the sound-symbol link weakend in future Anglic languages, someone has the idea to replace purely alphabetic strings with blocks of a set size that incorporate distinctive features of the written word, and in some cases also semantic clues to disambiguate words that would otherwise be written the same, in order to be maximally recognisable; as this is designed to be 'written' only digitally, these logographs can be quite complicated, so it's almost the opposite of a shorthand... I haven't actually worked out the details of this idea, though. It would probably have ideas like 'keep first and last letters, mark the number of descenders and ascenders and maybe also the number of circles' - so maybe "octopus" would look more like OOS with one line out the top and one below and six other small wavy lines around it...]
None of the above explains [gd] > [nd], but considering that [gd] is a non-native cluster in Latin, maybe that's just how speakers ended up handling it... See also: Greek κύκνος > Classical Latin cygnus/cycnus, with the Late Latin variant cicinus (presumably [ˈtsitsenos], [ˈtsidzenos] or the like) that gives Old French cisne [ˈtsiznə] (which is then borrowed by Spanish/Portuguese before it gets replaced by the learned cygne [siɲ(ə)] in French). [gn] was pretty awkward too (native <gn> was [ŋn] later [ɲ:]).
I wondered whether that last point might explain it. Perhaps either as a spelling pronunciation, or as a reflection of /N/ as the most common pre-consonantal coda nasal, maybe the <gd> cluster was pronounced as /Nd/, which then yielded /nd/. Still doesn't explain the variation between <y> and later <a> (maybe that's meant to be inspired by 'amanda'?), or the wild variety in the greek (e vs a, masculine vs femine, that's easy enough, but /gd/ vs /sg/ is a really weird alternation!).


And so weird that this one word has apparently continued to show so much variation and alteration in so many different languages!


While we're on the subject, though, here's a set that interlinks with that one: tambourine, mandolin, banjo (and the Mongolian dombra).

The origin of this massive set seems to be Greek "pandoura" (a guitar). From there, it seems to have been borrowed into Persian as "tanbur", by switching the place and voicing of the stops (it's also possible both pandoura and tanbur are borrowings from a substrate word?). This name spread east as far as the Indian "tanpura" or "tambura", and also spread back into Greek, where it became the "tambouras", and Albania (the "tampura"). In the north it picked up a voiced initial stop and produced the Russian "domra" and Mongolian "dombra", though I don't know which influenced the other.

"tanbur" was then also borrowed into Arabic to mean not a guitar, but a drum, and in this sense was borrowed into Old French as "tambor". From this, English derived the word "tabor", while the version with metal discs attached remained in France long enough to become the diminutive "tambourine".

But the word lost the nasal in Persian, and the final /r/ became an /l/. This was borrowed into Arabic again, and again spread to India, this time to produce the "tabla" drum. The word also spread from Arabic to Turkish, again with voicing, to produce the Turkish "davul" drum. Meanwhile, Armenian shared the r>l change, but not the guitar>drum change, so their 'tawil' is a harp.

Meanwhile! The original Greek 'pandoura' (though supplanted by the tambouras in its own country) became a "bandura", and spread west through the mediterranean. The Spanish 'bandurria' and Portuguese 'bandore' eventually yielded the American 'banjo' (though the instrument itself is African in origin, and not directly from the Iberian guitars).

In France and Italy, however, the bandura changed its initial letter again, to become the French "mandore" and Italian "mandora". At this point we come back to the "almond" words, because it's believed that the influence of various Italian words for the almond caused the "mandora" to become the "mandola", from which the diminutive "mandolin" was formed.

User avatar
Ser
sinic
sinic
Posts: 274
Joined: 30 Jun 2012 06:13

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Ser »

A post about the development of the French rounded vowels, front and back. To discuss this, I think it's easiest to look at early Old French and then look both backwards to Classical Latin and forwards to late Old French, when the modern system of rounded vowels was basically established (with only a few changes happening since then).


In Early Old French, some time around the 10th and 11th centuries, we begin with a back vowel system of /ʉ o ɵ ɔ/. Besides this, we'll also consider the diphthong /wɛ/ and words with /al ɛl jɛl el ɔl ol/ (in Late Latin, so this may include Classical /ɪl/, etc.) followed by a consonant (typically inside the last syllable).

In general:
- /ʉ/ descends from Classical Latin /u:/ (lūna 'moon' > lune /ˈlʉnə/, nūllum 'not any X' > nul /nʉl/)
- /o/ from Classical /ʊ o:/ inside closed syllables (curtum 'trimmed down' > cort /kort/ 'short'), /ʊ o/ in unstressed sylables (*dupl‑ā‑tis > doblez /doˈblets/ 'you guys double sth'), and also /ɔ/ in unstressed open syllables (colōrem /kɔˈloːrɛm/ 'colour' > color /koˈlɵr/)
- /ɵ/ from Classical /ʊ o:/ inside open stressed syllables (calōrem 'heat' > chalor /tʃaˈlɵr/) (Note that "ɵ" is a bit notational: considering that it's the counterpart at the back of the vowel space of Classical /ɪ e: ɔɪ/ > /ei/, as in tēla > teile [ˈteɪlə], "ɵ" may have been a diphthong such as [ɵw], or a flattened form of it, [o:], even if that would've been the only long vowel... Naturally I personally favour the [ɵ] conjecture, paralleling /ʉ/ for the developments below.)
- /ɔ/ from Classical /ɔ/ in closed syllables (tostum 'roasted' > tost /tɔst/ 'fast') or /aw/ (aurum 'gold' > or /ɔr/, causa 'reason' > chose /ˈtʃɔzə/ 'thing')
- /wɛ/ from Classical /ɔ/ in openstressed syllables (dolium 'trick' > dueil /dwɛʎ/)

Early Old French had a pretty ambiguous writing system for the mid‑rounded vowels. Although /ʉ/ could only be <u> and /ɔ/ could only be <o>, both /o/ and /ɵ/ could be written either <u> or <o>, e.g. <chalor/chalur> /tʃaˈlɵr/. You can actually find manuals of Old French that recommend looking up both the modern French descendant and the Latin etymology, besides medieval rhymes, to find what vowel phoneme a word had.

Examples for the lateral groups: caballōs 'horses' > chevals /tʃəˈvals/, caelōs 'heaven' > ciels /tsjɛls/, capillōs 'someone's hair on the head' > chevels /tʃəˈvels/, colaphum 'blow, hit' > colp /kɔlp/, multum 'a lot' > molt /molt/.



By the 12th century, the lateral coda of /alC jɛlC elC ɔlC olC/ began to vocalize as [w], also merging the height distinction of the mid‑vowels: [awC jewC ewC owC owC]. /ɛlC/ became something like [jaw] before quickly losing the [j]-like first segment.

Then, as the 13th century went on, a new system was created by means of a great vowel shift where /ʉ ɵ/ were further fronted to the new /y ø/, /ew/ joined /ø/ (including /jew/ > /jø/), and /wɛ/ became /œ/. The big vowel space left at the high back corner was then simultaneously filled in by /o/ and /ow/ which merged into the new high /u/, and the gap left by that was filled by /aw/ which became the new /o/ (including /(j)aw/ > /o/). (Meanwhile, /ɔ/ stayed there peacefully, not moving an eighth of an inch.)

Or putting it another way:
- /ʉ/ > /y/
- /ɵ el/ > /ɵ ew/ > /ø/, and /jɛl/ > /jɛw/ > /jø/
- /wɛ/ > /œ/
- /o ol ɔl/ > /o ow ɔw/ > /u/
- /al ɛl/ > /aw jaw/ > /o/
- /ɔ/ > /ɔ/

The writing system also settled with /y/ = <u>, /ø œ/ = <eu> (except for occasional odd spellings for /œ/: cœur /kœr/, cueillir /kœʎir/ > modern /kœjiʁ/), /u/ = <ou>, /o/ = <au>, /ɔ/ = <o>. The change of /ɛl/ > /jaw/ > /aw/ > /o/ explains the orthographic changes seen in bel > beau > beau (plural bels > beaus/beaux > beaux).

Since then, things haven't changed much. /y/ and /u/ have been very stable. /ø/ and /œ/ have undergone a near‑complete merger, with /ø/ appearing in open syllables and before coda /z/, and /œ/ in closed syllables not ending in /z/, except for a few instances of /ø/ before other codas. /o/ and /ɔ/ have also merged into /o/ before coda /z/ (and coda /s/ in Middle French, with the /s/ usually disappearing afterwards) and word‑finally in an open syllable (except in Belgium: peau [po], pot [pɔ], which are both [po] elsewhere).

These rules about phonotactics involving coda consonants also apply today now that word‑final -e /ə/ is gone (phonemically), so chose Late OF [ʃɔzə] > [ʃɔz] > [ʃoz] > [ʃo:z] (with an /ɔ/ > /o/ change due to coda /z/), and chaleur Late OF [ʃaˈlør] > [ʃaˈlœr] > [ʃaˈlœːʁ] (with an /ø/ > /œ/ change due to the syllable being closed with coda /r/). These rules have also had effects in the writing system, since the effects of coda /z s/ mean that /o/ is sometimes spelled <os> (where <s> = /z/) or <ô> now, even though <o> = /ɔ/ overall.



Thus we end up with the following in late Old French:

Classical Latin ca. 1st c. BC > Early Old French ca. 11th c. > Late Old French ca. 14th c.

/u:/ > /ʉ/ > /y/
- lūna > lune [ˈlʉnə] > lune [ˈlynə] (> modern [lyn])
- nūllum > nul [nʉl] > nul [nyl] (> modern [nyl])

/ʊ o:/ (some syllable types) and /ɔlC {ʊ,o:}lC/ > /o ɔlC olC/ > /u/
- curtum > curt/cort [kort] > court [kurt] (> modern [kuːʁ], Quebec [kʊuʁ])
- *dupl‑ā‑tis > dublez/doblez [doˈblets] > doublez [duˈbles] (> modern [duˈble])
- colōrem > colur/color [koˈlɵr] > couleur [kuˈlør] (> modern [kuˈlœːʁ], Quebec [kuˈlaœ̯ʁ])
- colaphum > colp [kɔlp] > coup/coulp [kup] (> modern coup [ku])
- multum > mult/molt [molt] > mout/moult [mut] (the word is now obsolete, replaced by beaucoup [boku]; modern spelling pronunciation moult [mult])

/ʊ o:/ (some syllable types) and /aɪlVC {ɪ,e:,ɔɪ}lC/ > /ɵ/ and /ɛlC elC/ > /ø/ (...and also /ɛlVC/ > /jɛlC/ > /jø/)
- calōrem > chalur/chalor [tʃaˈlɵr] > chaleur [ʃaˈlør] (> modern [ʃaˈlœːʁ], Quebec [ʃaˈlaœ̯ʁ])
- caelōs > ciels [tsjɛls] > ciels/cielx [tsjɛws] > cieux [sjøs] (> modern [sjø])
- capillōs > chevels [tʃəˈvels] > chevels/chevelx [tʃəˈvews] > cheveux [ʃəˈvøs] (> modern [ʃəˈvø], les cheveux [leˈʃfø])

/ɔ/ (some syllable types) and /aw/ > /ɔ/ > /ɔ/
- tostum > tost [tɔst] > tost [tɔst] (> Middle French [tost] > modern tôt [to])
- aurum > or [ɔr] > or [ɔr] (> modern [ɔːʁ], Quebec [ɑɔ̯ʁ])
- causa > chose [ˈtʃɔzə] > chose [ˈʃɔzə] (> modern [ʃoːz], Quebec [ʃouz])

/ɔ/ (some syllable types) > /wɛ/ > /œ/
- dolium > duel/dueil/doel/doeil [dwɛʎ] > dueil/deuil [dœʎ] (> modern deuil [dœj])

/alC ɛlC/ > /alC ɛlC/ > /o/
- caballōs > chevals [tʃəˈvals] > chevals/chevalx [tʃəˈvaws] > chevaux [ʃəˈvos] (> modern [ʃəˈvo], les chevaux [leˈʃfo])
- bellōs > bels [bɛls] > beaux/biaux [bjaws] (or similar: [be̯aws]) > beaux [bos] (> modern [bo])

Some of the above phonemes are fed words through a lot of borrowings from Latin too, e.g. Medieval Latin auctorizare was borrowed with /o/ due to the spelling <au>: autoriser [otɔriˈze(r)], and trucidare with /y/: trucider [trysiˈde(r)].

In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the convention to borrow Latin words involved getting rid of the -Vm endings. In the early modern period, this is sometimes not followed, and in such words -m is [m], and -um specifically is pronounced /ɔm/ (not /ym/). So Latin auditorium was borrowed as auditorium [oditɔʁiˈ(j)ɔm] 'auditorium' (if the medieval convention had been followed, we'd now have auditoire [odiˈtwaːʁ] instead, which does happen to exist as well meaning 'the audience').
Last edited by Ser on 12 Apr 2020 22:21, edited 6 times in total.
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.

Khemehekis
mayan
mayan
Posts: 2393
Joined: 14 Aug 2010 09:36
Location: California über alles

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Khemehekis »

@Salmoneus: Cool! Kind of like the way guitar, sitar, zither, chitarra, and cithara are basically all the same word?
♂♥♂♀

Squirrels chase koi . . . chase squirrels

My Kankonian-English dictionary: 66,000 words and counting

31,416: The number of the conlanging beast!

Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2014
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 19:37

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Salmoneus »

Khemehekis wrote:
31 Mar 2020 00:24
@Salmoneus: Cool! Kind of like the way guitar, sitar, zither, chitarra, and cithara are basically all the same word?
Yes, but even more extreme.

Although here's something interesting: just as the pandoura family has shown initial voicing in Spain (and full nasalisation in Italy), so too the kythara family shows initial voicing in Spain (and then borrowed back from spain, giving the gittern/cittern doublet).

Does this, I wonder, reflect some difference in consonant production? I wonder whether perhaps at one point Iberian speakers expected a greater degree of aspiration of voiceless initial stops, so heard an unaspirated initial voiceless stop as voiced? The case of 'bandurria' is complicated by the fact that there's apparently also a Portuguese 'pandeiro' - which, amusingly enough, underwent the same guitar>drum shift as in the middle-east - which shows the expected regular derivation from Latin. Which makes me think that the b- forms are reborrowings into Iberia.

Wiktionary says that 'guitar' comes via Arabic, but that 'bandurria' comes straight from Latin - but I don't know how secure that is. Another complicating point? The Arabic kwitra has the voiceless stop, but is also apparently known as the Andalusian oud (i.e. suggesting that it's seen as taken from the Spanish, which makes the idea of the Spanish word itself coming from the Arabic more counterintuitive - but of course, 'andalusian oud' could well be a folk theory not in line with the actual history).

And speaking of which, there is of course a voicing change in the other direction: 'al-oud' with a voiced stop produces 'lute', with a voiceless one. [the oud is not related to the pandoura, which is of ancient near eastern origin; like most european and asian instruments, the oud instead originates somewhere in central asia. Ironically, all of Europe once played guitars, only for them to be replaced by lutes, which spread from Spain; only for, a few centuries later, all those lutes to be replaced by guitars again, and AGAIN all spreading out of Spain. Make up your minds, Spaniards!]


Anyway, yes, the big lesson is: musical instruments and their names move around a LOT (though sometimes independently of one another!), so they're almost paradigm cases of wanderwoerter.

Khemehekis
mayan
mayan
Posts: 2393
Joined: 14 Aug 2010 09:36
Location: California über alles

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by Khemehekis »

Salmoneus wrote:
01 Apr 2020 01:45
Khemehekis wrote:
31 Mar 2020 00:24
@Salmoneus: Cool! Kind of like the way guitar, sitar, zither, chitarra, and cithara are basically all the same word?
Yes, but even more extreme.

Although here's something interesting: just as the pandoura family has shown initial voicing in Spain (and full nasalisation in Italy), so too the kythara family shows initial voicing in Spain (and then borrowed back from spain, giving the gittern/cittern doublet).

Does this, I wonder, reflect some difference in consonant production? I wonder whether perhaps at one point Iberian speakers expected a greater degree of aspiration of voiceless initial stops, so heard an unaspirated initial voiceless stop as voiced? The case of 'bandurria' is complicated by the fact that there's apparently also a Portuguese 'pandeiro' - which, amusingly enough, underwent the same guitar>drum shift as in the middle-east - which shows the expected regular derivation from Latin. Which makes me think that the b- forms are reborrowings into Iberia.

Wiktionary says that 'guitar' comes via Arabic, but that 'bandurria' comes straight from Latin - but I don't know how secure that is. Another complicating point? The Arabic kwitra has the voiceless stop, but is also apparently known as the Andalusian oud (i.e. suggesting that it's seen as taken from the Spanish, which makes the idea of the Spanish word itself coming from the Arabic more counterintuitive - but of course, 'andalusian oud' could well be a folk theory not in line with the actual history).

And speaking of which, there is of course a voicing change in the other direction: 'al-oud' with a voiced stop produces 'lute', with a voiceless one. [the oud is not related to the pandoura, which is of ancient near eastern origin; like most european and asian instruments, the oud instead originates somewhere in central asia. Ironically, all of Europe once played guitars, only for them to be replaced by lutes, which spread from Spain; only for, a few centuries later, all those lutes to be replaced by guitars again, and AGAIN all spreading out of Spain. Make up your minds, Spaniards!]


Anyway, yes, the big lesson is: musical instruments and their names move around a LOT (though sometimes independently of one another!), so they're almost paradigm cases of wanderwoerter.
Fascinating! Classic (sometimes classical [xD]) Wanderwoerter indeed. That inspires me to have some musical instrument words be spread around in the Damta project, in which, due to its collaborative nature, we're planning on having a lot of Wanderwoerter.

I never realized "oud" and "lute" were related! The L from al- spilling over almost sounds like naranja/orange, an apron/a napkin, an eft/a newt, etc. I figure the popularity of the lute preceding the guitar wave is why guitar-makers are called luthiers and their craft is called lutherie?
♂♥♂♀

Squirrels chase koi . . . chase squirrels

My Kankonian-English dictionary: 66,000 words and counting

31,416: The number of the conlanging beast!

User avatar
qwed117
mongolian
mongolian
Posts: 3787
Joined: 20 Nov 2014 02:27

Re: Romance tidbits

Post by qwed117 »

re: Spanish initials, it's worth remembering that initial voiced plosives used to be pronounced with a "hard" plosive articulation, and that unvoiced plosives tend to be "more aspirated" than other languages (though, not as much as English). So it could be like how English borrows Beijing with a clear voiced /b/, even though the Chinese pronunciation is a unaspirated unvoiced /p/.
Spoiler:
My minicity is Zyphrazia and Novland
What is made of man will crumble away.

Post Reply