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> I read an article at britannica.com about the romance languages. It
> touched a decent amount on the sound changes from vulgar latin to the
> romance languages, but really didnt go into detail (it touched on the
> changes that happened to intervocalic p and t). I'm mostly interested in
> the changes to the vowels. What were some of the other sound changes? If
> it's too much to post here, are there any books I can check out to read
> about this, or websites to visit?
>
> (yes, i've been contemplating a possible romance lang of my own ;)).

This is the part of my dialect's grammar I've been translating to put on the
web... but it's very long (about 40 pages) and I've translated only 3 of
them. So even the phonology isn't finished. But it can be interesting
(especially the part about vowels):

<<
Sound changes
This little note isn't pretentious, and here we don't want to solve all the
problems posited by the laws that rule the evolution of the words from latin
down to the dialect. It will be only to give an idea of the system, with
some opportune exemples, to bring out these rules that determinated the
passage from a Latin word (etymon) to the dialect (sometimes we'll also have
to deal with an Orobic or Etruscan substratum - especially in toponyms - and
with a lot of Longobaridian words).

When we speak about Latin, we shouldn't consider the classical language,
that of Cicero or Vergilius, but the vulgar Latin, the spoken language, the
alive tongue used in the whole Empire during the first centuries of the
Christian Era and already divided in regional varieties, conditioned by
local substratum. And when we speak of vulgar Latin nouns or adjectives we
always refer to the singular accusative without its -m ending. This for two
main reasons: because in the vulgar regional varieties the ending was
already dropped, and because the most surprising phenomenon within the
passage from Latin to the Roman languages is the loss of the declensional
system, whose relics are the accusative and, sometimes, the nominative.


Vowels
Classical Latin had the following vocalic system, based on lenght:

high:  i i         u u
mid:     e e   o o
front:       a a

We'll see which have been the particular outcomes of this vocalic system in
Cumasch, bearing in mind that we'll have to deal with two sounds,  /y/ and
 /Y/ that are characteristic of Galloromance and Altoitalian dialects and
that lack in Italian.
Sudying the vowels, we'll see how important is to distinguish stressed and
unstressed vowels; amongst stressed ones we'll have to distinguish those in
an open syllable, that is at the end of the syllable, and those in closed
syllable, that is not at the end of the syllable, but is followed by another
consonant. This concept is obviously to be refered to the vulgar Latin
etymon. The evolution of the vowels from Latin down to Cumasch can be
spontaneous (i.e.: o --> o in closed syllable) or conditioned, generated by
next sounds or by particular conditions, as will be seen in the following
text.

Stressed vowels
Vulgar Latin a (classical Latin a and a): it remains the same in Cumasch in
open syllables (casa > c; sabbatu > sabat; rapa > rava; carru > caar;
tabula > tavul) as well as in closed ones (mamma > mama / mamm; valle >
vall; calcaneu > calcagn; largu > largh; sartu > sart); the rule applies
also with -an, which in other regions of Lomardy is a particular case (pane
> pan; cane > can; de mane > dumn; santu > sant; quandu > quand; germ.
blank > bianch; glanda > ghianda; mandiu > manz; campu > camp); In some
cases we have a > o in the town's surroundings (altru > altar CT oltar;
caldu > cald CT cold) or even a > u (calcina > calcina CT culcina,
culcinett). The -are ending of the infinitive becomes - via -ar(e)
(parambulare > parl; portare > purt; rutare > rz). From -arj > -air we
have two different outcomings: -ra (cal(i)daria --> caldra) and -ra (aria
> ra farmyard). For -ariu we have different outcoming forms as well: -aar
(januariu > genaar; telariu > telaar; macelariu > macelaar); -e (mulinariu
> murne; pristinariu > prestine; pullinariu > pule); -aa (cocleariu >
cgiaa; oculariu > ugiaa). The -ame desinence becomes -amm (laetame >
ledamm; coriame > curamm; strame > stramm). The -ata ending becomes -ada
(strata > strada; spatha > spada). -atu and -aceu become respectively: -aa
(mercatu > mercaa; cognatu > cgnaa; pratu > praa) and -asc (homaceu >
umasc; ministeriaceu > mesterasc).

Vulgar Latin i (classical Latin i): it remains unchanged in Cumasch in open
syllables (vita > vida; urtica > urtiga; primu > prim; mori / morire > mur;
oboedire > bid) as well as in closed ones (visculu > visc; biscoctu >
biscott; circulu > circul). -inu becomes -in (vinu > vin; vicinu > visn;
catinu > cadn; basiu-inu > basn). Sometimes we have i >  (strictu >
strnc; tinca > tnca) or even i >  (lignu > lgn; graminia > gramgna;
tiliu > tj; miliu > mj; picea > pscia).

Vulgar Latin u (classical Latin u) generally becomes  in open syllables
(luna > lna; cunula > cna; duru > dr; aerugine > rgin; pulice > plas;
luce > ls; fumu > fmm) as well as in closed ones (suctu > scc; curtu >
crt; fructa > frta; tructa > trta). The numeral unus becomes (v)n,
(v)na as well, but the article is un, una. But u can become u in open
syllables (cutica > cdiga; cruce > cruus) as well as in closed ones (mundu
> mund; cultellu > curtell). And rarely u can become i as well ((in)subulum
> sibi) or even  (gubba > gbb / gba; excutere > sct)

The diphthong au becomes , also in secondary derivation (auru > or;
tesauru > tesor; auca > ca; paucu > poch; ca(p)u(t) > cau > c; claudu >
cid; para(b)ula > paraula > parla). Sometimes it becomes u (ausare >
(v)ulz); some other times it remains unchanged (lauru > lur; flautu >
flut); whatsmore it can become av (Mauru > Mavar; Maurinu > Mavarn; but
Mauritiu > Maurizi).

Vulgar Latin  (classical Latin e and i) is nearly always preserved in open
syllables (seta > sda; rete > ret; acetu > ase; apotheca > butga; debitu
> dbit; peju > pec; pienu > pin; fide > fed; vidua > vdua; nigru >
ngar; piper > pvar; dominica > dumniga; cinere > scndar; viride > vrd).
In closed syllables the outcoming is generally  (sagitta > sata; episcopu
> vscuf; magister > mastar teacher/ mastar foreman; capillu > cavell;
pectine > ptin; pectu > pcc; tectu > tcc). Even in the suffixes -illu
/ -ettu it becomes -tt (homettu > umett; parapettu > parapett; lagu+ettu >
laghett). In the town's surroundings many of these voices have the 
outcoming instead.

Vulgar Latin  (classical Latin e) often becomes  in open syllables (decem
> des; ministeriu > meste; integru > intrech; tepidu > tvid; tene > tn;
vene > vn; heri > ier; pede > p). But it can become  as well (meliu >
mj; mediu > mzz; pretiu > przi). In closed syllables it always becomes 
(septem > sett; pelle > pell), also if followed by r (tertiu > trz;
cuverclu > cuvrc; persicu > przich; merlu > mrlu; hibernu > invrnu;
apertu > (a)vrt; herba > rba; terra > tra; ferru > fer); it becomes 
also when followed by s and another consonant (festa > fsta; vesper >
vspar; mespilu > nspula). The suffixes -ellu / -ella become -ll, -la
(castellu > castell; fratellu > fradell; bellu > bell; patella > padla).
Before a nasal the outcoming is  instead (ventu > vnt; tempu > tmp; gente
> gnt; semper > smpar). Metaphonesis sometimes changes the vowel to i in
the passage from singular to plural (qull > quij / quj; qust > quist /
qusti).

Vulgar Latin  (classical Latin o) usually becomes  in open syllables (focu
> fch; volet > vr; jocu > gich; ovu > f; scola > scla; sola > sla;
rota > rda; morior > mri; oculu > cc; core > cr). But homo > mm. In
closed syllables it becomes  instead (cornu > crn; hortu > rt; porticu >
prtich; forfice > frbis; hospite > st; ossu > oss; molle > moll; extortu
> strt; corpu > crp; hordeu > rz; nocte > nott / nocc; coctu > cott; octo
> (v)ott; somniu > sgn; corda > crda). Before an n it becomes u in open
syllables as well as in closed ones (fronte > frunt; monte > munt; ponte >
punt).

Vulgar Latin  (classical Latin o and u) generally becomes u in open
syllables (scopa > scuva; hora > ura; flore > fiuur; voce > vuus; sapone >
savn; statione > stagin; seniore > sciuur; prehensione > presn; pipione >
pvin; leone > len; a(d i)ll(am h)ora > allora > alura; sole > suu;
illorum > luur; amore > amuur; dolore > duluur; honore > unuur). In a closed
syllable the outcoming can be u (promptu > prunt; ordo > urdin; cepulla >
scigula; curte > curt; gutta > guta; ne gutta > nagutt CM; furnu > furnu;
crusta > crusta; pulvere > pulvar; vulpe > vulp; dulce > dulz; ung(u)la >
ungia) or  (spongia > spgna; pullu > pj; nos > nn; vos > v; duo > d).


Unstressed vowels
It has to be said, above all, that in Cumasch as in the most of the
Gallo-Italic dialects (in the Emilian dialects the phenomenon is even
stronger) often befalls a weakening or the complete disappearence of
unstressed vowels. So many unstressed vowels undergo apheresis
word-initially and inside the word (ericie > risc; ecclesia > gsa; episcopu
> vscuf; aerugine > rgin; hirundine > rndina; acuculata > ggiada;
amorosu > muruus). Medial unstressed vowels' disappearence add other
complications to the elisions characterizing the passage from classical to
vulgar Latin (cerebellu > cervell; digitale > didaa; seminare > surn ARCH;
Carolu > Carlu; merolu > merlu; ministeriu > meste; molinariu > murne;
prehensione > presn; verecundia > verggna). Naturally the lack of the
vowel is not compulsory and there's plenty of exemples of words that retain
it (cutica > cdiga; dominica > dumniga; saetula > sdula; manica > mniga;
simula > smula).
Pretonic a remains generally unchanged (radice > radiis; captivu > catiif;
farina > farina; gallina > galina; catinu > casn). In some particular cases
it can become u (calce+etta > culzta / calzta; falce+inu > fulcn) or even
e (falce > flc). In two particular cases it becomes  (placere > pies ARCH
for pias; Abbiategrasso > Biegrass). Posttonic a becomes u as well (cannape
> canuf).

i generally remains unchanged in pretonic positions (gingiva > gingiva;
castigare > castig; tirare > tir; gigante > gigant; ministra > minstra;
sitella > sidla) as well as in postonic ones (pertica > prtiga; porticu >
prtich). Sometimes it becomes e (linteolu > lenz).

e behaves in a completely irregular manner: it can remain unchanged in
pretonic (septembre > setmbar; tempesta > tempsta; mercatu > mercaa;
laetame > ledamm; februariu > febraar) and in posttonic position (vipera >
vpera); it can become i especially in pretonic position (cepulla > scigula;
genuculu > gincc; jejunu > digin; oboedire > bid; securu > sicr;
fenestra > finstra); it can become a when pretonic (serrare > sar;
credentia > cardnza ARCH; sternutare > starnd) as well as when posttonic
(generu > gnar); finally it can become u (sementia > sumenza).

o generally becomes u in pretonic position (formica > furmiga; ortica >
urtiga; homettu > umett; moneta > munda; coltellu > curtell; coriame >
curamm) and in posttonic position (episcopu > vscuf). Sometimes it becomes
 (cognato > cgnaa; cocleariu > cgiaa).

u generally becomes  (sudore > sduur; germ.buska > bsc; lucanica >
lganiga; erucare > rg; muralia > mraja; extufatu > stvaa).

The diphthong au becomes u (auricula > urgia; pauperettu > puvarett). But
augellu > sell and auditore > dituur. au can even remain unchanged
(autumnu > autn) or become ul (ausare > (v)ulz)

The diphthong eu becomes  (Eusebio > sbi; Eufrasia > frasia; Eufemia >
fmia).

In proparoxytone words medial unstressed vowels are preserved (lgura,
prtiga, fmina), but we must, above all, say that many proparoxytones have
become, in Cumasch, paroxytones because of the loss of the ending vowel.

As for final unstressed vowels we can say that a is always preserved, also
in proparoxytone words as we have just seen (buca, pianta, furmga, prtiga,
fmina). Other final unstressed vowels e, i, o, and u are almost always
lost. Merlu, merli; furnu, furni; invernu, inverni are not real exceptions
because -u and -i are added to make the pronounciation simpler. There are
then some educated loanwords: sci, cunsili, przi, gili. As for Romance
endings -re, -ro and -ru we must remember that the reflex is almost
everywhere -ar(magru > magar; patre > padar; latro > ladar; ventre >
ventar). A widespread tendence in the dialect is the passage from unstressed
e and i to a in secondary final position, where other Lombard dialects
have -e (asin > asan; duodecim > dudas; tredecim > trdas; homines > man;
termine > terman; mantice > mantas; fraxinu > frasan; larice > laras).

Consonants
Also consomamts undergo many modifications that, as for vowels' ones, can be
spontaneous or conditioned. Naturally we'll have to distinguish initial,
medial or intervocalic and final consonants (and many times medial
consonants become final ones); simple consonants or clusters.
Initial consonants
b is alwyas preserved in Cumasch (bove > b; bellu > bell; balneu > bagn;
germ.buk > bs; bonu > bun).
c is preserved before a, o and u (castellu > castell; corda > corda; coda >
cua); sometimes we have sonorizations in g (carophyllu > garfan; cavea >
gabia; cattu > gatt; cubitu > gumbat). It becomes an affricate /tS/ before e
and i, as in Italian (cerebellu > cervell; centum > cnt; cincta > cinta;
coemeteriu > cimitri; cera > cra); but it can become also sc (cinere >
scendar; cimice > scimas) or even z (cincta > znta CT ARCH).

d remains unchanged (dente > dnt; digitu > diit; decem > des; duodecim >
dudas).

f remains unchanged (farina > farina; fenu > fn; fumu > fmm; fel > fiel).

g is preserved before a, o and u (gallina > galina; gula > gula; gustu >
gst) and is really rarely affricatized (galbinu > giald, perhaps influenced
by Old French jalne). It becomes an affricate /dZ/ before e and i, as in
Italian (gelu > gel; genuculu > gincc; gerula > grla; glire > giir).

h is completely lost word-initially.

j becomes an affricate /dZ/ (januariu > genaar; jocu > gich; juniu >
gign); this happens also for French and Provenal loanwords (jardin >
giardn).

l is preserved (lana > lana; lacte > latt / lacc CT; lectu > lett / lecc CT;
lignu > lgn; lume > lmm).

m is unchanged (manu > man; malva > malva; mundu > mund; mulu > mll).
Rarely we have n (milza > nilza ARCH; mespilu > nspul).

n is preserved (nasu > naas; negru > negar; nodu > nd; nidu > niid).

p is almost always unchanged (pinu > pin; pulice > plas; palu > paal);
sometimes we have sonorizations in b (apotheca > butga; epiphania > befana;
pruna > brgna; pruina > brina).

q remains almost always unchanged (quandu > quand; quantu > quant; quattuor
> quatar; quadru > quadar; quartu > quart) Quinque becomes cinch, and the
affricate is kept in all derived words except quindas.

r is preserved ( rana > rana; risu > riis; rota > rda; remu > rmm).


Consonantal Clusters

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