Re: Consonant harmony (and intro)
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, July 20, 2005, 5:41|
On Tuesday, July 19, 2005, at 02:09 , Kate Sherwood wrote:
>> Oh, and another natlang example that comes to mind is Latin.
>> In Latin (and there are lots of Latin buffs on the list, so jump in
>> here if you've got some more info), you could never have two
>> /l/'s or two /r/'s in close proximity.
Yes, you can.
>> This is how we get "moral" and "molar".
No - it was only a tendency to dissimilate neighboring r-r and l-l, thus
we find _caeruleus <-- *caeluleus, derived from _caelum_. So, as you say,
the adjectival ending -alis is changed to -aris when attached to a stem
containing /l/, thus:
naualis, mortalis - but: militaris, consularis, lunaris.
>> Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this went
>> all the way through the word, didn't it?
With the ending -alis/-aris, yes (see above). But there are plenty of
words that do *not* show such dissimilation; for example:
urere (to burn), gerere (to bear, wear etc), peregrinus (foreign, strange)
, armarium (closet, chest), remurmurare (to murmur back [to someone]) etc;
ulula (screech-owl), folliculus (small bag, sack), lilium (lily),
pellicula (small hide, skin), maliloquax (slanderous) etc.
>> Thus, "floral", but *froral would be impossible?
No. The the word for 'flower' is _flo:s_ with genitive _flo:ris_ from an
earlier *flo:sos. Intervocalic -s- had regularly become -r- in classical
Latin (something similar happened also in the Germanic languages, cf. our
'was' ~ 'were'). But in fact _floralis_ is an *exception* to the rule if
the stem contained /l/ then the ending -alis --> -aris. It seems the
intervening -r- was enough to counteract that.
But the tendency to dissimilate these two sounds continued into Vulgar
Latin in some regions; for example in French we find _pélerin_ <-- VL
_pelegrinus_ = CL _peregrinus_. Also Latin _arbor_ (earlier _arbos_) "tree"
has become _árbol_ in Spanish and _albero_ in Italian - but there sister
languages are not so fussy: French & Catalan: _arbre_, Portuguese: árvore.
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