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Re: USAGE: indefinite "a" before vowel-initial words

From:Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...>
Date:Friday, March 19, 2004, 10:39
There is a similar problem in French with the
preposition 'a' (a grave). If the name that follows
also begins with a 'A', it's rather embarrassing:
- a Arles
- a Avignon

So some people say 'en Arles', 'en Avignon' instead.
This is kind of a tolerance rather than a rule. It
seems that this is more used in the South of France
(like for Arles and Avignon) than elsewhere: I never
heard 'en Arras' for ex. Also, if it's in the South of
France, the pronunciation of 'en Arles' would be
closer to 'an Arles' (nasal dropped).

But the poet P.J.Toulet managed to go around the
problem in his famous (and very beautiful) poem:

"Dans Arle, où sont les Aliscams,
Quand l'ombre est rouge, sous les roses,
            Et clair le temps,

Prends garde à la douceur des choses..."

(Note that he also dropped the final 's' of the name
Arles; poetical licence again. 'Les Alyscams' is a

--- "Thomas R. Wier" <trwier@...> wrote:
> From: Mike Ellis <nihilsum@...> > > Thomas R. Wier wrote: > > >"A alternative definition promoted by astronomers > is that..." > > >So, it seems to be something more than my crazy > "language > > >module" acting up again. Maybe a sound change in > progress? > > > > "an" appears nine times in that article. Not every > typo is a "sound change". > > I am well aware of this; you were missing my point. > The point is > that (a) the phenomenon exists, and (b) it can > probably be reduced > to some actual mechanism of language. I also have > noted with many > people who do this that they seem to have little > actual dental > closure in their oral tract for coda nasals, and > thus the behavion > might be somehow related to the loss of coda nasals > with compensatory > nasalization of the preceding vowel. I only brought > up the example > online because it reminded me of the phenomenon.
===== Philippe Caquant "He thought he saw a Rattlesnake / That questioned him in Greek: / He looked again, and found it was / The Middle of Next Week. / "The one thing I regret', he said, / "Is that it cannot speak !' " (Lewis Carroll) __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Mail - More reliable, more storage, less spam