R: Re: Some questions about Romance langs
|Date:||Monday, May 21, 2001, 15:15|
> >>What is the origin of Spanish "como"/Fr "comme", etc? In desperation, I
> >>might answer Latin "quo modo", but I'm all but certain that I'm wrong.I'm
> >>totally stumped :p
> >Right as far as I am aware.
> Rant alert:
> Oh... Thanks :) That's an interesting case of accelerated sound change (by
> frequency of use, I suppose). I try not to make any statements about
> Italian, because I don't know much about it; I could have sworn there's
> a "como" in Italian too... (?)
No. 'come' is the right word.
> Now, I know Standard Italian retains the Latin 'qu' labio-velars... so if
> there's a "como" in Italian (instead of, say, "quomo"), that's either a
> case of even-more-accelerated sound change, or simply a borrowing from
> French or Spanish (probably the latter, I'd guess (?)).
Italian retains qu- only before /a/. Latin qualis > Italian quale, but Latin
qui > It. che /ke/. <qu> /kw/ in questo, quello etc. is retained because
it's the result of a secondary development (ECCU ILLU > CU ILLU > /kwello/).
> Now there's another thing; Lat "quo modo" is an interrogative ("how?"),
> while Sp "como" can be either that, or an adverb ("this way", "likethat");
> in French however, "comme" can only have the adverbial meaning.
> This is what led me to reject "quo modo" in the first place - that the
> adverbial meaning is currently more prevalent (using only those two
> languages as a sample - which I allow myself because I believe Portuguese
> and Italian to act the same as Spanish, roughly, in this matter).
Yes: sono alto come te (I am as old as you), Come stai? (How are you?).
> So supposedly, the old "quo modo" got an additional adverbial meaning, and
> later the interrogative meaning was lost in French (although thesucceeding
> form, "comment", is suspicious... what's the origin of that? Adverbial
> suffix -ment glued onto the "comme"?). Any of that make sense?
> Also: in reading Latin, I would tend to put more stress on the "modo"
> in "quo modo". The development to "como/comme" would indicate stress onthe
> original "quo", however (otherwise we might have Sp "comó" and
> French ..er.. "quemeu" (? :p) at our hands). Anybody find that the least
> bit strange?
Lombard spoken in my town, Como, suffers an alternation cuma /'kuma/ vs.
cumè /ku'mE/, but the latter is a frozen contraction between cuma + è
('is'), roughly meaning 'how is it'. This is also evident if we consider
that /ku'mE/ is mainly followed by the conj. 'che': cumè che l'è (roughly:
how is it that it is? = how is it?) vs. cuma l'è (simply 'how is it?').