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VW (was: Digest 2 Apr)

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Wednesday, April 4, 2001, 18:20
At 4:32 pm -0700 3/4/01, Aidan Grey wrote:
>> Yoon Ha Lee wrote: >> > That reminds me--how/why, insofar as the question >> is answerable, did >> > Latin v [w] go to v [v] in the Romance languages > > /w/ is a bilabial fricative, of sorts, just bring >the libs closer and closer together and you'll get a >sound more and more /v/-like. Fairly simple, I think.
...and, of course, this all assumes that Latin v (or more strictly, consonantal {u}) was pronounced [w]. Unless one has a time machine, this is unprovable. We can be fairly certain, I think, that it was a labial approximant of some sort; but whether it was the bilabial [w] of British & American English, or the labio-dental (denoted rather oddly IMO as [P] in SAMPA, a stylized lower case upsilon in real IPA) of Indian sub-continental English, we simply do not - and cannot - know. In either case (tho more particularly in the latter, obviously), if friction is added to the approximant, the sound becomes [v]. Frictioned versions of approximants are not uncommon; the European Spanish speakers I've met have had a tendency to add slight friction to /j/, so that it sounds more like [Z], thus, e.g. _yo_ (I) tends to sound like [Zo]. This sort of thing was clearly going on in Vulgar Latin/Proto-Romance. -------------------------------------------------------------------- At 10:35 pm -0400 3/4/01, David Peterson wrote:
> For some reason, several >German professors here who were born in Germany can't say "village", they say >"willage" (English orthography), even though there is a [v] in their sound >system. Somebody else has probably already responded to this in a better >fashion, though--I haven't gotten that far down the e-mail list. >
As I haven't met your German professors, you may well be right about their [v]; but that makes it odd that they say _village_ as "willage". I would listen carefully to their /v/ to hear if it is really a [v]. For several years we had students from Swabia, Bavaria & Austria staying with us. They never said the English /v/ or /w/ properly; the result, in fact, was that, as you say, _village_ sounded like "willage", and that vice-versa _window_ sounded similar to "vindow". In fact they were using the labiodental approximant of southern German. I have Iranian colleague at work who does just the same, with the same effect in the way that his /w/ and /v/ are "heard" when he speaks English. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================


Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>
Barry Garcia <barry_garcia@...>
Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>