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[gothic-l] Re: Bagms

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  • 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 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).

      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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