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Re: Origin of Spanich /ch/ and /j/

From:Roger Mills <romilly@...>
Date:Tuesday, November 26, 2002, 20:22
Isaac Penzev wrote:
> >Can anybody help me to find the origins of Spanish phonemes /ch/ and /j/
>my Arabo-Romance project? > >I know that /ch/ in many positions originates from consonant clusters *-ct- >like in noche < *nocte and *-lt- like in escuchar < *a(u)scultare. But how >do we get all those _chiquitas_ and _muchachos_? > >As for /j/. I know it hides several Old Spanish phonemes: /S/, /Z/, /dZ/. I >can fugure somehow that in e.g. _dije_ it was /S/ comparing with
>dije < *dixe ["diSe] < *dissi < *dixit. But what on earth made /L/ turn
>jota? What stages had the process? I'm comparing Sp. _ojo_ to Po. _olho_
>VL _oclu_ and get lost in doubts... >
W. D. Elcock, _The Romance Languages_, Faber 1960, or any more recent summary of Vulg.Latin > Romance should go into the subject. Basically, it seems *l palatalized > L (Elcock uses IPA lambda) in the case of *-liV- (e.g. filius > *fiLu) which then reduced > *j, then ("by the 12th C") >affricate **dZ [or perhaps just *Z, as in modern dialects], then devoiced **S, then to velar /x/-- this last change apprently circa XVI C. After initial *k, *p and somtimes *f (clamare > *cLamar, plenum > *pLenu). Then the old initial Cons. was lost, and the /L/ remained (llamar, lleno). According to Elcock, Aragonese still preserves the Cl- pronunciation, and a sub-dial. even has Clj-. Cf. the similar development in Italian, *kl- > kj-, *pl- > pj etc.(chiamare, pieno etc.) Sometime after these developments, old *-ll- was palatalized to yield mod. Cast. /L/ "thereby filling the place vacated in the internal consonant system; it underwent no further change until recent has tended to be reduced to [j]" (so calle [kaje], and note dial. [kaZe]-- while Pablo Flores (Argentine) usually transcribes the sound with [S]). IMO this would appear to be what's called a "persistent rule" in phonology-- i.e. the same things keep happening over and over, but at different times. Contrast Portuguese, where *-liV- > **ljV, and stopped-- so olho, Span. ojo. Whereas in the initial clusters, e.g. *kl- > **klj- > **0lj-, but then followed part-way the path that word-medial **lj took in Spanish: *lj > Z or dZ > S, so chamar (llamar), chuva (lluvia) etc. (I don't recall offhand the fate of *-ll- in Port., though probably it remains /L/ |lh| ) An interesting set of almost parallel developments. It suggests that the change spread from a single center, but the rules were adopted in different order, and with slightly different environments, in Span. vs. Port. (as often happens in cases of rule-borrowing, or so we're told)--- Common to both: Palatalization of *-li- and certain cases of *Cl- (with loss of the initial C). Then Spanish 1. affrication/devoicing of medial **lj (with later changes > velar fric.) 2. retention of initial *lj- (and note that dialects are continuing to apply Rule 1 to instances of /L/) versus Portuguese 1. retention of medial *lj 2. affrication/devoicing of initial *lj (and unless I'm mistaken, Port. lacks further development of these sounds) As to _why_ VL/Proto Romance *l palatalized...alas, why does any sound change take place? Who knows? But it must have been a common feature at an early period (in Western Romance, I don't know about Romanian), in order for it to be found to greater or lesser extent, in Span/Port, Italian and French. Hope this helps-- but you should probably check with more up-to-date sources than Elcock (or me!).......