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Re: Confusatory

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Thursday, June 14, 2001, 20:06
At 8:03 pm -0500 13/6/01, Eric Christopherson wrote:
> >[snip] >> But in Italy & Romania the palatalized /t/ remained separate from the later >> palatalized /k/; the former is /ts/ as in _nazione_ or _zio_ (uncle << >> /tiU/), and the latter is /tS/ as in _cinque_ [tSiNkwe] << VL *cinque >> /kinkwe/. > >Hmm, how did /tiU/ become /tsio/, if (as I've always thought, and as you >said) that the /t/ palatalization only happens before the *glide* /j/?
Latin /i/ before another vowel normally did become a glide in Romance. Latin _natione(m)_ has four syllables, but Italian _nazione_ has only three because /i/ is [j] there. The Latin _theiu(m)_ [t_hiU] (<< Greek _theio-_) is interesting in that in Italy the /i/ was treated as a glide, hence modern Italian _zio_ as I give above. But in the Iberian peninsular it retained its vocalic value, hence Spanish _tio_.
>> >But now that I say that, I recall that >> >/t/ before yod AND /k/ before front vowels came out identically in Spanish, >> >so perhaps they did merge at some time to [t_j]. (But then mightn't >>[k_j] be >> >just as good a possibility? :) ) >> >> Not likely as in medieval Spanish soft-c and {cz} = [ts]. At the time {z} >> = [dz], so that to represent [ts] before a back vowel they adopted the >> convention of {cz}, eventually putting the {z} _beneath_ the {c} and hence >> inventing the cedilla ('little zed)! The diacritic still has its Spanish >> name in English. > >True enough, but I don't see how it's relevant; I was speaking only of the >merger of [t_j] and [k_j], not the orthography.
It's certainly relevant as the orthography makes more sense if the onset is dental; therefore it seems to me very unlikely from orthographical evidence that [t_j] >> [k_j]. At some stage [k_j] certainly had changed to /ts/. It seems odd to me that we'd have a change: [t_j] >> [k_j] >> [c] >> [tC]
>> [ts].
I still think on evidence it is more likely that [k_j] and [t_j] merged either directly to [c] or, at some stage [k_j] merged with [t_j] and then subsequently changed.
>> Later [dz] was devoiced to merge with [ts] which became the modern [T] in >> Castillian and [s] in Andalucian and gave the Spaniards the opportunity to >> tidy up their spelling and drop the cedilla entirely. > >Tidy up? But Portuguese looks so much nicer, with those cedillas everywhere >:)
A matter of taste. I don't think any Spaniards would agree and its orthography is certainly more regular.
>> >Related topic: Does anyone know why /c/ and /j\/ [...] >> >seem to become affricates so frequently, where other stops don't? >> >> But what other stops would go that way? (I suppose aspirated /p/ became >> /pf/ in High German.) > >Yeah, I was thinking of German. Presumably, there are other languages where >plain stops went to affricates across the board, instead of just in one >point of articulation.
I would think it not unlikely if the stops are aspirated. It happens, in fact, with final voiceless stops of the Scouse dialect of English where the aspirate off-glide has become a homorganic fricative.
>> >I've wondered that for quite a while, and my guess would be that as a plain >> >stop they sound to close to either the alveolars or the velars, but I'm >> >really not sure. >> >> Certainly [c] is close to both [t`] and [k`]. > >I assume by [t`] and [k`] you mean here palatalized, instead of retroflex.
Yes, sorry - I should've written [t'] and [k']; I was getting the SAMPA diacritics confused.
>Following that assumption, I agree with you there, but if [k_j] had already >shifted to [c], there wouldn't be a [k_j] for it to be close to; and I don't >know where the [t_j] would come from.
Sorry - I wasn't intending to be commenting on the Romance situation but rather making a general comment. Personally, I find [t'], [tS] and [c] all very similar, but have no problem in distinguishing [k'] from those other sounds. But I know that others find [k'] almost indistinguishable from [c] or [tS], but find [t'] significantly different. It depends a good deal on the speech habits of one's native language; I was brought in southern England where _tune_ /tjun/ is more often than not pronounced /tSun/. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================