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Re: Roumania, alligators, "this here" (was: Just a Little Taste ...)

From:Raymond A. Brown <raybrown@...>
Date:Monday, April 12, 1999, 20:40
At 12:10 pm -0400 12/4/99, John Cowan wrote:
>Raymond A. Brown wrote: > >> In unstressed syllables the pattern was simpler, but the details differ for >> western & eastern Romance. > >This seems like a good place to ask: is there any accounting for >the form "Roumania/Rumania" in English, from the French "Roumanie"? >In other words, why the [u] in the first syllable?
Don't know!
>The Romanian spelling has been "Romania", with a-circumflex (meaning >a high central vowel normally written i-circumflex) since the >adoption of the Latin alphabet in the 19th century. > >> (I'm >> pretty sure there was a bit of Arabic influence in getting the Italian 'il' >> and Spanish 'el' instead of 'lo' [I know the latter is used in Spanish as a >> neuter article :) ], so this is maybe not implausible). > >If so, why were all those Arabic nouns borrowed with al- prefix intact?
Early borrowings, before Arabic was widely known or understood, maybe. A true Arabic influence would come later when Arabic was wstablished in parts of the peninsular. But I'd not press this - but I think it can't be dismissed as a possibility either. I think the Italian one is clearer - IIRC the arabic article comes across as 'il' in Maltese & in Egyptian Arabic. .....
>> cf. >> colloquial English "this 'ere"). > >Pronounced [DISj@R] in my dialect.
:) Ray.