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A funny linguistic subway experience + some questions about nouns of days and months

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Monday, November 27, 2000, 10:56
Hi everyone,

I first want to share with you an interesting experience I had in the subway two
days ago:
I was coming back from work (it was already 9:30pm!) and was in the Parisian
subway. A man standing in front of me (who was quite sympathetic or completely
drunk, I'm not sure :) ) was trying to talk to another one sitting next to me,
but the first one didn't speak French, but only Spanish, while the second one
didn't understand Spanish. So I proposed myself to translate, and we had a nice
conversation afterwards, until the Spanish man left. Now the interesting part of
the experience is:
- that I discovered that after 4 years without uttering a word of Spanish, I can
still understand it and speak it quite correctly,
- that the man was speaking a strange dialect of Spanish I never heard before,
and I'd like to share with you what I remember of it. Maybe you know what kind
of dialect it may be.
First of all, I'm absolutely sure the man was speaking Peninsular Spanish (he
said himself: "soy español", I think it's clear enough :)) ). But his Spanish
had variations I didn't know they existed in Peninsular Spanish. First, and
that's the least strange of his dialect's features, all final /s/'s were
deleted. Second, he didn't have the /T/ sound but used /s/ instead (at least I'm
sure he wasn't from Castilla. There they tend to over-use /T/ where /s/ should
be used). Third, s between two vowels was voiced /z/ (so he was pronouncing
"nosotros": we as /nozotro/). But the strangest feature of it all was that
instead of using "hacer" /aTEr/ for "to do", he was consistently using /fazEr/,
which made his Spanish dialect sound strangely Portuguese.
So now I'm wondering where he came from in Spain. From the features I described
in his speech, I would say, somewhere in the south of Spain, near the Portuguese
border. But I may be completely wrong. It could be anywhere... Do you have any
idea? I'm thinking of the Galician dialect, but I have no idea what it looks

Now let's see the second part of my post. I'm currently trying to find out what
are the names of days and months in "Roumant". But I have a few problems with
them in other Romance langs (I've collected them in French, Spanish, Portuguese,
Italian, Romanian, Catalan and Occitan, as well as the CL forms they are derived
from. I don't know the VL forms).

The months names are not a problem, except for Italian luglio (certainly
pronounced /'lul_jo/, am I right Luca?): July, for which I cannot except the
initial "l". Does anyone know where it comes from, which phenomenon brought it
there? Personally, I'm thinking of a process of assimilation followed by
dissimilation: iulius -> liulio -> luglio, but I'm not sure how likely it is
(and sorry if I'm using the wrong linguistic terms).
I'm also wondering how likely it would be that the Latin month names (which were
originally adjectives) be used with "mens": month so consistently that evolution
would collapse the whole phrase into one word, as it happened with days names in
French, Italian, Occitan and Catalan (where Lunae/Lunas dies, dies Lunae/Lunas
-alternative forms are respectively CL and VL- gave lundi, lunedì, diluns and
dilluns), while Spanish and Romanian got rid of the "dies" (giving lunes and
luni). This phenomenon, if it occured with days names, didn't occur with months
names in any Romance language I know, so I'm wondering if it has any likeliness.

As for days names, I have no problem with the first five days (Only Portuguese
changed them to ordinal numbers, in all other Romance languages I know they come
from the same origin, only the position of dies changes sometimes). But the
weekend days (Saturday and Sunday) give me quite a few troubles. As for Sunday,
All the forms seem to come from either domínica (French dimanche, Italian
domenica, Romanian dominica, Catalan diumenge, Occitan dimenge) or domínicus
(Spanish and Portuguese Domingo). Am I right? In Medieval (Christian) Latin,
"dies" could be masculine as well as feminine, so it sounds likely to me. Even
the strange /i/ vowel in dimanche and dimenge is explained through the Catalan
diumenge (a sound change /o/ -> /ju/ doesn't sound unreasonable to me). As for
Saturday, Spanish and Portuguese sábado and Italian sabato seem to derive from
Medieval Latin sáb(b)atum: S(h)abbat (I'm not quite sure of the spelling in
English). Romanian sambata, Catalan and Occitan dissabte seem to derive from
(dies) sábbata (but I thought sábbatum was a noun, so I would have guessed
(dies) sábbati instead). Then comes the French form samedi /sam'di/. It seems
completely off this system. Does it derive from, say, sábbata dies, or does it
have another origin? When I've seen the Romanian form, I've realized that a
change /b/ -> /m/ is not unlikely, but I would have thought that it would be
regular, while I cannot find it anywhere else in French. So, does anyone know
the origin of the French word "samedi"?

Okay, that was a long post, but I think an interesting one, especially for other
Conromance langs inventors. I'm now waiting for you all's replies :) .