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[gothic-l] Bagms

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  • etsasse@acsu.buffalo.edu
    How do you pronounce bagms ? I can think of 4 possible ways, only one of which involves the straightforward pronounciation of every letter. What s confusing
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 17, 1999
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      How do you pronounce 'bagms'? I can think of 4 possible ways, only
      one of which involves the straightforward pronounciation of every
      letter. What's confusing me are the other forms for this word in
      English/German/Dutch such as boom/beam/baum/boim where the -g- has
      either been lost, rounded or glided (which account for the other 3
      possible ways I am thinking of). Also, I am being influenced by
      Icelandic words such as 'safn', pronounced basically as /sap/ in the
      nom. and 'safns' = /saps/ in the gen., with the -n- coming out only
      prevocalically (or is it syllable initially?) 'safniĆ°' = /sapniĆ°/.
      So the Gothic word, I imagine, is either bagms/baums/bams or possibly
      bags.
    • David Salo
      ... This remarkable concatenation of consonants arises because of the collapse of the -az (or -as) nominative singular ending to just -s; it had been *bagmaz,
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 17, 1999
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        > How do you pronounce 'bagms'? I can think of 4 possible ways, only
        >one of which involves the straightforward pronounciation of every
        >letter. What's confusing me are the other forms for this word in
        >English/German/Dutch such as boom/beam/baum/boim where the -g- has
        >either been lost, rounded or glided (which account for the other 3
        >possible ways I am thinking of).

        This remarkable concatenation of consonants arises because of the
        collapse of the -az (or -as) nominative singular ending to just -s; it had
        been *bagmaz, which divides nicely as two syllables bag-maz. So if worst
        came to worst, and you couldn't pronounce it any other way, you could do
        worse than inserting a schwa before the s and saying "bagm's". Or you
        could treat the m as a syllabic nasal (as in the words "prism", "prisms").
        But with a little practice, it is not so hard to pronounce it as one
        syllable. The g is, after all, not a stop but a fricative "gh" sound, not
        really that different from a Parisian "r"; so if you can say "barms",
        giving the "r" a velar pronunciation, you're probably not that far from
        Ulfila's pronunciation.
        We can't be quite sure what that pronunciation is, though; it's quite
        likely that a number of pronunciation adjustments in the nom. or acc.
        singulars were lost, if Ulfila adjusted the spelling to agree with other
        cases of the noun: with bagmis, bagmos, bagmans, bagma, bagme, bagmam
        (which present no pronunciation problems) Ulfila would almost have to write
        bagms, bagm even if he pronounced them slightly differently!
        The Dutch, German, and English words you give point to a common change
        *bagm > *baum (and then au > ea in Old English, au > oo in Dutch); I don't
        think there's any evidence for such a change in Gothic, but if you want to
        adopt a "West Germanic" accent and pronounce "bagms" as "baums", who can
        stop you?

        /\ WISTR LAG WIGS RAIHTS
        \/ WRAIQS NU IST <> David Salo
        <dsalo@...> <>
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