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THEORY: Difthongization across Europe

From:John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
Date:Wednesday, February 20, 2008, 11:23
>John Vertical skrev: > > A thing I've been wondering. I've noticed that some quite > > similar vowel shifts occur in several European languages > > around the beginning of the Middle Ages... Most > > prominently, this bunch: Romance - E: O: > je wo West > > Slavic - o: > u / wo SW Germanic - e: 2: o: > i@ y@ u@ <ie > > üe uo> Baltic - e: o: > ie uo Finnish - e: 2: o: > ie y2 > > uo Northern Sami - E: O: > ie uo which does not look co- > > incidental at all...
>Clearly there may be areal influence >at work, as has been suggested e.g. for Old French and >Old High German E: O: > iE uO at about the same time >(5th- 10th century -- in OHG the progeression in spellings >e > ea > ia > ie can actually be observed in manuscripts >through the 6th to 10th century!)
Hmm, that progression partially messes up my hypothesis - clearly it couldn't've been a part of the same M: > HM difthongization wave then. (Possibly influenced by it, still.) The Finno-Samic and Romance changes might still be linked thru Slavic & Baltic... I should relocate that document recently mentioned by Amanda, I don't remember if there's a date there.
>There was certainly >areal influence at work when German had i: y: u: > @i @y >@u > ai 9i au, Dutch had i: u: > @i @u, o: O: > u: o:, >English had i: u: > @i @u and Frisian had centralizing >diphthongization of practically all its long vowels at >the same time!
Yes, that's another one (tho not nearly as widespred as the first).
> > But I also recently noticed Faroese has &: A: > ea oa. > >Actually &: > ea and Q: > oa, with later secondary a: >merging with &:. Old Norse had no long a:/A:, since >Common Scandinavian A: had merged with Q:. Only one very >old text -- the so-called First Grammatical Treatise >distinguishes the two.
Is this a document with Pre-Norse which still actually distinguishes the two phonemes or a 1800sy diachronic analysis? I would assume the latter, except I can't see why would older analyses distinguish more vowels than newer, if the language under analysis is still far older.
> > I wonder if the pre-GVS change of &: A: > E: O: in > > English went thru this stage too, seeing that they're > > spelled <ea oa>? > >No. Old English had a real /&:@/ diphthong which was spelled >_ea_, but merged with /&:/ in late OE or early ME, so that >_ea_ became a spelling for /&:/; _oa_ probably being a late >analogical creation (...) ME spelling usually didn't >distinguish E:/e: and O:/o:, writing _ee_ and _oo_ for both >members of each pair. Ironically the _ea_ and _oa_ spellings >didn't come in vogue intil shortly before the GVS!
OK then, thanks. I'm badly-versed when it comes to medieval literary evidence.
>although some ME dialects had >centralizing diphthongization of E: O:, as witnessed e.g. by >the modern pronunciation of _one_ /w@n/ < OE /A:n/ which was >borrowed from such a dialect.
I was under the impression this was some kind of shortening, o: > o > U plus some kind of epenthetic /w/...
> > So anyone kno of any crosslinguistic reserch on the > > chronology & propagation of these sound changes? Where > > did they start and when? Were languages such as Estonian > > or Swedish simply standardized from a non-difthongizing > > 'lect or did the sound change "jump over" them in some > > fashion? etc. > >No they standardized from non-diphthongizing lects, or >rather they standardized *before* diphthongization.
Seems to works for Scandinavian. Estonian, not so sure...
> > (PS. Sorry to mess with your email filters. I couldn't > > decide whether to put this under NATLANG or THEORY.) > >Clearly THEORY IMNSHO! > > >/BP 8^)>
And THEORY it shall be. I'll be switching the YAEPT to NATLANG plain on my next message... John Vertical PS. I'm delighted to see no snarky comments whatsoever about moons of Jupiter ;)


Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>