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Palatalization in Vulgar Latin

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  • Benct Philip Jonsson
    I just found out that the change of Vulgar Latin [c] (i.e. Latin C before front vowels) to [ts ] can t have been very early, or there wouldn t be Latin DICERE
    Message 1 of 7 , Aug 9, 2008
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      I just found out that the change of Vulgar Latin [c]
      (i.e. Latin C before front vowels) to [ts\] can't
      have been very early, or there wouldn't be
      Latin DICERE > Italian and French _dire_.
      The voicing of [c] to [J\] and/or weakening to [j\]
      must have preceded any change of [c] into an affricate.
      Note that in Italian and Eastern Romance generally
      there was no merger of VL C before front vowels and
      VL TJ, so this change of [c] > [j\] before a consonant
      must have preceded even the French change of [c] > [t_j]!

      What do ye all think?


      /BP 8^)>
      --
      Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient
      à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil
      ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*,
      c'est qu'elles meurent." (Victor Hugo)
    • thomasruhm
      I did only see now, that that was on topic. I am interested in Vulgar Latin palatalization much, but I find it very strange. It looks like if tSi for ti
      Message 2 of 7 , Aug 11, 2011
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        I did only see now, that that was on topic. I am interested in Vulgar Latin palatalization much, but I find it very strange.

        It looks like if 'tSi' for 'ti' and 'tsi' for 'ci' are the oldest forms. Old High German already took 'ts' from french Latin for older 'tSi'.

        The descriptions one can read about it are so obscure.

        Retic latin, at about the ninth century often got 'ci' for 'ti' even though Retoromance has 'ts' as often as Italian.
      • thomasruhm
        There is something else, I am wondering lately. Did j , I mean like in jocus develop quickly as quickly to dZ as g ?
        Message 3 of 7 , Aug 11, 2011
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          There is something else, I am wondering lately. Did 'j', I mean like in 'jocus' develop quickly as quickly to 'dZ' as 'g'?
        • davidjohnmccann
          ... {je} is treated exactly like {ge} in languages that palatalise, so I assume that they merged as /je/ quite early.
          Message 4 of 7 , Aug 11, 2011
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            --- In romconlang@yahoogroups.com, "thomasruhm" <thomas@...> wrote:
            >
            > There is something else, I am wondering lately. Did 'j', I mean like in 'jocus' develop quickly as quickly to 'dZ' as 'g'?
            >
            {je} is treated exactly like {ge} in languages that palatalise, so I assume that they merged as /je/ quite early.
          • Pituxalina
            ... Rhetic latin was most likely the written mode for Rhaeto-romance until the 9th or 10th centuries. Someone wrote Diderros ne habe diege muschas in the
            Message 5 of 7 , Aug 12, 2011
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              --- In romconlang@yahoogroups.com, "thomasruhm" <thomas@...> wrote:
              >
              > I did only see now, that that was on topic. I am interested in Vulgar Latin palatalization much, but I find it very strange.
              >
              > It looks like if 'tSi' for 'ti' and 'tsi' for 'ci' are the oldest forms. Old High German already took 'ts' from french Latin for older 'tSi'.
              >
              > The descriptions one can read about it are so obscure.
              >
              > Retic latin, at about the ninth century often got 'ci' for 'ti' even though Retoromance has 'ts' as often as Italian.
              >

              Rhetic "latin" was most likely the written mode for Rhaeto-romance until the 9th or 10th centuries. Someone wrote "Diderros ne habe diege muschas" in the 9th or 10th centuries in Switzerland.
            • BPJ
              ... They may well have merged by //j// becoming [J ] (voiced mediopalatal stop), and then on to [dz ] either at the same time as //g// or somewhat later,
              Message 6 of 7 , Aug 13, 2011
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                On 2011-08-12 00:38, davidjohnmccann wrote:
                >
                >
                > --- In romconlang@yahoogroups.com, "thomasruhm"<thomas@...> wrote:
                >>
                >> There is something else, I am wondering lately. Did 'j', I mean like in 'jocus' develop quickly as quickly to 'dZ' as 'g'?
                >>
                > {je} is treated exactly like {ge} in languages that palatalise, so I assume that they merged as /je/ quite early.

                They may well have merged by //j// becoming [J\]
                (voiced mediopalatal stop), and then on to [dz\] either
                at the same time as //g// or somewhat later, rather
                than //g// becoming [j]. In early Middle Indo-Aryan old
                /j/ merged with old /J\/ at the same time as there
                developed a new /j/ next to front vowels in hiatus,
                which never ever became [\J] so there is no question
                that a /j/--/\J/ merger can go towards the obstruent.
                IIRC misspellings with G for I seem to be rather more
                frequent than the other way around, which probably
                amounts to something. Note also the quite early Greek
                spellings with zeta for Latin //j//; they would hardly
                have occurred if //g// > [j] rather than //j// > [J\].
                Neither of course is it certain that they merged in the
                same way everywhere and at the same time.

                /bpj
              • BPJ
                ... You have to bear in mind that the process probably differed a lot in time and space and even between individual speakers, and the outcome certainly
                Message 7 of 7 , Aug 13, 2011
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                  On 2011-08-11 16:36, thomasruhm wrote:

                  > I did only see now, that that was on topic. I am
                  > interested in Vulgar Latin palatalization much, but I find
                  > it very strange.

                  You have to bear in mind that the process probably differed
                  a lot in time and space and even between individual speakers,
                  and the outcome certainly differed in space.

                  > It looks like if 'tSi' for 'ti' and 'tsi' for 'ci' are the
                  > oldest forms. Old High German already took 'ts' from
                  > french Latin for older 'tSi'.

                  Mind you that in Old French, and Western Romance
                  generally //tiV\// and //ki// actually did merge
                  totally, and probably quite early at that. It isn't
                  even certain that //ki// went through a [tS] (or rather
                  [tSj]) stage everywhere (though Picardie was an island
                  of [tS] deep in [ts] territory!)

                  > The descriptions one can read about it are so obscure.

                  Well, it *is* complicated. Simplification e.g. by the
                  common strategy of just listing the reflexes in word-
                  initial position may be simpler, but it's also
                  uninformative to the point of verging on falsification,
                  since it hinders rather than helps understanding of the
                  detailed reality. Meyer-Lübke has several pages
                  detailing the different outcomes of palatalization not
                  only in different areas, but also in different
                  positions in the word, relative surrounding sounds, the
                  number of syllables and last but not least the position
                  of stress. I too found such descriptions hard to follow
                  before I had studied phonetics -- a necessary study if you
                  want to understand *why* things happened. You don't have
                  to go to university (or rather, nowadays you only have to go to
                  Google University) to get an introduction in phonetics:

                  <http://www.unc.edu/~jlsmith/pht-url.html>

                  You can skip the acoustic stuff on the first
                  round about, although scribes of course wrote
                  similarly what they heard as similar!

                  <http://www.unil.ch/ling/page30184.html>

                  Keep following the links and you will eventually come
                  to sound file links!

                  <http://wso.williams.edu/~jdowse/ipa.html>

                  Full color-coded chart

                  <http://www.archive.org/details/ComprehensiveArticulatoryPhonetics>

                  Free as in beer!

                  <http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~danhall/phonetics/sammy.html>

                  Shows only the grosser distinctions, but very
                  informative none the less -- step from velar forwards
                  to dental and remember that the positions intermediate
                  between those shown are quite possible and occurring,
                  and that most of them can be produced with slight
                  variations in tongue shape and more or less palatal
                  coarticulation.

                  > Retic latin, at about the ninth century often got 'ci' for
                  > 'ti' even though Retoromance has 'ts' as often as Italian.

                  One has to remember that ancient writing is no exact
                  phonetic transcription! Moreover all the sounds
                  resulting from palatalization lacked a letter of their
                  own, and were written with letters and letter
                  combinations which, apart from <z>, were used for other
                  sounds too. Moreover spelling of Romance languages, at
                  least west of the Adriatic, was always influenced by
                  the spelling of Latin, and the way Latin was pronounced
                  at the time and place of the scribe, and by older
                  vernacular texts which the scribe had copied or read.
                  Some scribes were happy with a gross approximation,
                  using <c> for both /tS/ and /ts/, or <ch> for both /k/
                  and /tS/, or <z> for both /dz/ and /ts/, or even for
                  /dZ/ (especially in Imperial times). The scribes more
                  concerned with accuracy had a hard time, since it was
                  hard to come up with spellings for all necessary
                  distinctions. A scribe may have used <ti> for /ts/
                  because he thought (with some reason) that <z> was
                  proper only for /dz/, and he might not have wanted to
                  use <tz> or <zz> for /ts/ because /tts/ with a long /t/
                  actually existed in the language. He may also have been
                  intending to write Latin, where <ti> was simply the
                  normal spelling for /ts/ according to the current
                  pronunciation. The difference between Latin- influenced
                  vernacular and vernacular-influenced Latin can be hard
                  to tell sometimes, especially early on, and the
                  difference might not even have been clear to the
                  scribe; what looks like vernacular to us may have been
                  intended as Latin, only the scribe wasn't any good at
                  Latin. There are even those who think that people
                  before ca. 800 didn't make a conceptual distinction
                  between Latin and vernacular: everything was Latin,
                  only written/spoken with more or less skill! :-)

                  /bpj
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