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Re: OT: Origin of Catalan reinforced weak pronouns

From:ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>
Date:Monday, July 7, 2008, 0:18
Eric Christopherson wrote:
>Does anyone know where the Catalan reinforced weak pronouns come from? >Many of them appear to be the reverse of the corresponding plain form weak >pronouns, e.g. plain forms me/te/se : reinforced forms em/et/es. Did these >come about via metathesis, or by some other route (e.g. by prefixation of >e- followed by deletion of final -e)?
Can't comment knowledgeably on this, but I'd suspect it might have something to do (historically at least) with environment--- ...V#me C.... vs. ...C#me V... > [vowel insertion/deletion rules] ...C#em V...
> >Also tangentially related is something I've wondered about for a while: do >linguists make a distinction between the *process* of metathesis and *end >results* which appear to show metathesis (whether in fact those results >came about through said process)?
I do, at least. I think true metathesis is sporadic-- cf. Engl. wart :: Du. wrat, or OE hros :: later horse; there may be some phonological motivation ("difficult" clusters??). Spanish speakers are _said to_ have difficulty with the word "atlántico", mispronouncing it as "altántico" though I've never heard that........ Then there's a non-sporadic kind. At least two widely separated Austronesian langs. have grammatically motivated metathesis-- Rotuman (in the Pacific) and Timorese (in Indonesia); in these, CVCV bases > CVVC in various environments, often with changes to the nature of the VV cluster. This is not well understood, to say the least :-))) Another group of Indonesian languages (spoken near Timor and eastward) have what I've termed "pseudo-metathesis", where bases may have one of two forms, e.g. Leti ulti ~ulit 'skin'. Historically this has an explanation: canonic AN shape is CVCV(C), and original final C were preserved by adding an echo vowel, so *kulit > kúlit-i, and the post-tonic original final-syl. V was then deleted, > **kúlti. This could well have started with "fast-speech" rules. Other workers in this area seem to have accepted my historical explanation, but still go to great and complicated lengths to explain it synchronically. I guess it depends on how willing one is to accept the "reality" of underlying forms, and the persistence of historical rules. Another type of met. occurs in these langs., whereby compounds, nominalizations and conjugated verbs are "bound" together by metathesis: Leti compd. /pipi+duma/ pipdiuma 'sheep' Leti noml. sora 'sew' + infix -in- > sniora 'needle' Leti vb. au 'I' + laa 'go" > aluaa 'I go' (the i/u reduce to [j, w] respectively) These can be explained with rules of anticipatory assimilation of the i/u element (other vowels do not take part). And probably (originally) another form of fast-speech phenomena.