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English & Old French (was: How you pronunce foreign place names)

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 24, 2007, 17:17
Wesley Parish wrote:
> On Wednesday 24 January 2007 04:49, wrote:
>>I wonder how much of this is related to French. After all, English >>borrowed a lot of vocabulary from French over its history and possibly left >>a legacy of <j> being /Z/ in loanwords, at least until the loanwords become >>more assimilated where they will take on the fully anglicized /dZ/. We >>still have words like "garage" with the last <g> being /dZ/ or /Z/ >>depending on the speaker.
A relatively modern borrowing.
> > Actually, if I remember my dabbling in Old French well enough, Old French (in > the Ile de France region) _did_ pronounce 'j' as /dZ/, and English would then > have picked the phoneme up from Old French and Norman French. > > Words in English with /dZ/ with cognates in French with /Z/ would then be > fossils of the older pronunciation.
Exactly!! And Old French _ch_ was pronounced /tS/ as borrowings like chair, chain, charity etc etc. The shift from affricate pronunciation in French the the fricative one familiar in modern French took place sometime in the mid 13th century.
> Old English had the semivowel 'y' (as 'ge') where German has 'g', so I think > the /dZ/ phoneme actually came from Old French borrowings
Yes - but the Saxon 'cg' was apparently similar and certainly, e.g. bridge <-- Old English _bricg_. - Old English, if
> left to go its own way with a minimal of Romance borrowings and no > Norman/Acquitainian court influences, would have ended up a lot more like > Frisian and Low Saxon/Niedersassisch/Plattdeutsch.
Possibly if the Danes & Vikings had left us alone as well :) -- Ray ================================== ================================== Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu. There's none too old to learn. [WELSH PROVERB}


Wesley Parish <wes.parish@...>