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Re: German Spelling Reform (fwd)

From:FFlores <fflores@...>
Date:Thursday, August 12, 1999, 1:56
Eric Christopherson <raccoon@...> wrote:

[I wrote:]
> > There's this > > terribly stupid rule that says that word-initial /w/ *must* be > > preceded by <h>, so _hueso_ and _=F3seo_ are from the same root (it > > begin with long /o:/ in Latin, diphthongized to /we/ in _hueso_, > > but kept like /o/ in the cultism _=F3seo_.)
> I don't think it's such a stupid rule. I read somewhere that the ration=
> for it was to distinguish between /w/ and /v/ (or /B/ or whatever), bac=
> when u and v were interchangeable. Thus ueso could be read either /weso=
/ or
> /Beso/. Of course, nowadays u and v are separate, but I think initial > u+vowel looks strange (Italian doesn't seem to mind though).
I'd figured that out (the U and V stuff), though I wasn't sure. Since /v/ or /B/ aren't usually found after another consonant in Spanish (and in Latin, I think), placing a silent consonant before was a neat way to solve the ambiguity. But as of today, the rule *is* quite stupid. Though <u> + vowel does look strange, so children learn the rule by themselves with no trouble.
> What's really interesting is that at one time the rule to use hu- was n=
> that standard; sometimes people used gu- instead, thus dialectal varian=
> such as g=FCeso for hueso and g=FCevo for huevo.
Was it orthographic or phonetic? A lot of people nowadays tend to add /g/ before initial /w/. It's more an idiolectal variant than a dialectal one, I think. Where I live, it's considered rather rustic. But some words took /g/ very early, for example _guanaco_, borrowed from Quechua _wanaku_. I think Brithenig has /w/ > /gw/ initially... Or was it Kernu? Andrew, Padraic, am I right? Why did you decide to have that change? --Pablo Flores