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Re: Blah blah blah natlangs

From:Thomas R. Wier <artabanos@...>
Date:Friday, July 20, 2001, 9:46
Oskar Gudlaugsson wrote:

> Hi all :) (finally back from voyaging through China, and other mischiefs), > > On Tue, 17 Jul 2001 00:37:50 -0500, Justin Mansfield <jdm314@...> wrote: > > > Note also the spurious [k]s in Medieval Latin, where words like > ><nihl> and <mihi> ended up as <nichil> and <michei>. Since intervocalic > ><h> may well have represented [?] in Classical times, this could be a > >case of /?/ > [k[... but in fact it's just as likely this was an attempt > >at pronouncing [h]. This case is also special because it involved > >non-native speakers trying to pronounce a dead language. > > I have a countertheory: the orthographic forms <nichil> and <michei> > represent Greek influence; I gather Greeks have long tended to equate [h] > with their native /x/, whose Greek script character ("chi") is rendered by > Latin <ch>. This would also be supported by the <ei> in <michei> - > orthographic <ei> has long represented /i/ in Greek script (since Koine, I > think; Attic Greek <ei> was /e:/, supposedly). So <nichil> and <michei> > could be an error originating among native Greek users of Latin - IMHO :)
So... at what point in history are you asserting that Greeks had a sufficient influence over Western monastic life to cause that kind of change to happen? There was a significant influx of Greek scholars into Italy and the West generally in the chaotic years leading up to and culminating in 1453, when Constantinople fell to Mehmet II. But I gather (perhaps incorrectly?) that these variations on the classical forms are extant much earlier than what was effectively the early Renaissance. The salient questions seem to me to be: (1) When are these forms first extant, and (2) what are the social conditions surrounding their use? I find reasonable the idea that both of y'all have suggested, that there was some kind of discontinuity in the pronunciations between classical and medieval orthography and pronunciation, but I'm not sure that you could pin it to one particular source. =================================== Thomas Wier | AIM: trwier "Aspidi men Saiôn tis agalletai, hên para thamnôi entos amômêton kallipon ouk ethelôn; autos d' exephugon thanatou telos: aspis ekeinê erretô; exautês ktêsomai ou kakiô" - Arkhilokhos