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On Sunday, March 13, 2005, at 06:55 , Roger Mills wrote:

> Stephen Mulraney wrote:
>
> Still, it's hard to
>> imagine that Zamenhof got the idea for including these diphthongs [ew,
>> au]
>> in E-o
>> *specifically* from Polish, since they're fairly marginal in that
>> language, and
>> present mainly only in borrowings....

Indeed - and how widespread was the pronunciation of 'dark l' as [w] in
Polish at the end of the 19th century?

> Most likely not from Polish, IMO. Surely he had a pan-European outlook;
> "eu"
> in particular has many odd pronunciations, but [ew] exists in Span. and
> Ital. (and presumably Latin and Classical Greek???).

Common enough certainly in ancient Greek (now pronounced [Ef] or [Ev],
according to context, in modern Greek) - but marginal in Classical Latin,
being found only IIRC in:
a. exclamations:
	heu! "oh!, alas!"
	heus! "hey!"
b. the words:
	ceu (<-- *ceue /kewe/) [adv.] "just as"
	neuter (<-- ne + uter) (masc), neutra (fem.), neutrum (neut.) [adj]
"neither [of two]"; from which is derived: neutralis "of or pertaining to
the neuter gender".
c. the optional contractions:
	neu _or_ neue /ne:we/ [conj.] "and not, nor" (in constructions where
'not' = ne).
	seu _or_ siue /si:we/ [conj.] "or of"
d. words, mainly proper names, borrowed from Greek.

Zamenhof IIRC had learnt both ancient Greek and Latin at school. I imagine
it was these languages that suggested the diphthong. Indeed, how was E-o
otherwise to deal with words of Greek or Latin origin with the diphthong?
I suppose he could have followed the modern Greek practice (which, I
believe, the Slav languages do); but while *Evropo might possibly have
been OK instead of _Eŭropo_, I don't somehow think having *neftrala
instead of _neŭtral_ would have been a good idea!

Ray
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Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight,
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