r --> z (was: English Changes or what into Conlangs)
|From:||Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Monday, December 6, 1999, 6:01|
At 2:28 pm -0500 5/12/99, Nik Taylor wrote:
>Sally Caves wrote:
>> Now I've
>> never cottoned to this rule; z seems such an unlikely
>> sound to end up as "r."
>Not the American r, certainly, but an alveolar r is quite close to /z/,
>differing only in manner of articulation.
Yes - and it's not uncommon. It happened in proto-Latin, e.g. *ezam -->
eram, "I was" etc, etc.
Classical Latin had no [z], they'd all changed to [r], until it started
adopting Greek words with /z/ in them. Even then, at first they were, so
to speak, Romanized and adopted with -ss- (Greek medial /z/ was always
geminate), until the literary classes insisted on giving them the correct
Greek prounciation and added Z to the end of the alphabet after the Greek Y
The change of -z- --> -r- in early Germanic is well known and still shows
up in English, cf. was ~ were, is ~ are.
At one period in French the opposite happened: medial -r- became -z- in the
popular speech of 16th cent French. The efforts of grammarians and the
maintenance of the old orthography banished this from 'correct' use, so
that by the 17th cent. the phenomenon was confined to the lower classes -
but not before 'chaise' had replaced the earlier 'chaire' (cf. English
'chair' from Norman French), and the feminines of words ending in -eur had
become -euse (e.g. chanteur, chanteause etc). Apparently also 'leur'
continued to be pronounced [l=F8z] when in liaison for some afterwards.
If you relax the articulation of the voiced linguo-dental trill /r/ you the
voiced linguo-dental fricative [z]; likewise, get the tongue vibrating when
you say [z] and you get the trilled [r].
A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
[J.G. Hamann 1760]