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Re: Some questions about Romance langs

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, May 21, 2001, 17:44

At 7:41 pm -0400 20/5/01, Oskar Gudlaugsson wrote:
>Obconlang: > >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
No - you are correct. In Vulgar Latin it was /"komQdo/ or /"komdo/. ---------------------- At 12:27 am -0400 21/5/01, Oskar Gudlaugsson wrote: [snip]
> >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... (?) > >Now, I know Standard Italian retains the Latin 'qu' labio-velars...
chi <-- qui ? Not quite so simply - and _only_ where /kw/ was retained in Vulgar Latin.
>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 (?)).
Neither - the change from /kwo/ ---> /ko/ goes right back to the Roman period. There was no /kw/ in this word in Vulgar Latin.
>Now there's another thing; Lat "quo modo" is an interrogative ("how?"),
or a relative and in exclamations.
>while Sp "como" can be either that, or an adverb ("this way", "like that"); >in French however, "comme" can only have the adverbial meaning.
Yes, but no longer as an interrogative adverb of manner. The latter is _comment_ in modern French, where the older _comme_ has be reformed by analogy with adverbs of manner ending in -ment. [snip]
> >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 on the >original "quo",
...which without doubt it was. ---------------------- At 12:17 am -0500 21/5/01, Eric Christopherson wrote: [snip]
> >Not to me. I'm told that that accentuation came from its use as a set >phrase, therefore phonologically a single word (Actually, I just checked my >dictionary and it's listed as <quo:modo>, with no space).
Correct - the spelling "quo modo" or "quomodo" depends upon the editor of your printed text. The Romans didn't use "white space" so we don't know how they would've written it if modern punctuation & word division had existed 2000 years back. But you are right that "quo-modo" was certainly pronounced as one phrase with, as you rightly show, _short_ final -o.
>As you know, the >accent on words with a light penultimate (short vowel, vowel-final) syllable >falls on the ante-penult, thus /"k_wo:modo/.
Spot on.
>What puzzles me is why the >middle syllable didn't just drop, leaving */"k_wo:mdo/.
Probably did in VL, tho by that time /kwo:/ had given way to /ko/. ================================================================== [ALTER] At 7:41 pm -0400 20/5/01, Oskar Gudlaugsson wrote:
>Also, I suppose French "autre" comes from Latin "alter/altra/altrum" >(correct forms, right?)
Yes to the first question, no to the second. In Classical Latin it's "alter/altera/alterum". But obviously the Vulgar Latin forms were /"altro/ and /"altra/
>Spanish "otro/otra", however, would supposedly be >>from "uter/utra/utrum", then? Or is that an isolated case of l-vocalization >in Spanish?
Good point. The meaning is quite wrong for 'uter'.
>Speaking of which, why on earth did that Latin velarized-l only vocalize to >[w]/[u] in French,
Why does post-vocalic /l/ become [w] in London & surrounding areas of south-east England and not elsewhere? ---------------------------------------- At 12:17 am -0500 21/5/01, Eric Christopherson wrote:
>On Sun, May 20, 2001 at 7:41:20PM -0400, Oskar Gudlaugsson wrote:
> >The same l vocalization happened in Spanish, in those words as well as some >others, such as <cauce> < <CALCE>.
colcear = to kick <-- /kalk-/
>I don't know offhand, but I don't think that >process was very widespread in Spanish.
Ah, so modern Spanish, like modern English, does not use forms derived from one dialect only :)
>> Speaking of which, why on earth did that Latin velarized-l only vocalize to >> [w]/[u] in French, and not in at least half the Romance languages? >> Typologically normal, or bizarre (as I'm finding it)? Did it vocalize in >> Romanian, btw? > >As I said, it also happened a bit in Spanish, and also Portuguese (<outro>), >and probably others too.
Yes, I think it's more widespread than Oskar believes. But with western Romance, especially, we must not discount the influence of schools in the late Roman period (the retention of final -s outside of Italy is often attributed to this) and the pervasive influence of medieval Latin for centuries. [snip]
> >I don't know about the typology, but it doesn't seem an unlikely change to >me. It's happened in various English dialects and Polish, at least.
Not at all unlikely - I was brought up with it on my doorstep, so to speak. And altho the London region is always cited as the example of this, I'm sure it is not unknown in other parts of the anglophone world (Australia?). Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================