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Herrig Thaillí wrote in response to me:

> >  I'm ATM in woes WRT the Rhodrese
> > indefinite article.  I feel that the changes I've
> > made to the feminine indefinite and plural
> > definite forms call for a change in the plural
> > indefinite as well. Consider the following
> > patterns:
> > 
> >         masc. sing.     fem. sing.      plur.
> >         _#C     _#V     _#C     _#V     _#C     _#V
> > ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------
> > def.    el      el      la      l'      li      gl'
> > indef.  un      un      na      n'      eun     eun
> > 
> > OR
> > 
> >         masc. sing.     fem. sing.      plur.
> >         _#C     _#V     _#C     _#V     _#C     _#V
> > ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------
> > def.    el      el      la      l'      li      gl'
> > indef.  un      un      na      n'      ni      gn'
> > 
> > Is the latter preferable or am I over-regularizing?
> > 
> > NB _eun_ would still mean 'some, a few',
> > while _aocú_ means 'some, any' and _naocú_
> > means 'not any, none'.
> 
> 
> My gut feeling for Rhodese is that the first alternative is more like
> it.  It has that nice vowel change.  And the system should not be made
> too regular I think.

That's exacly what one part of me is saying, but I'm not
qute sure that the language doesn't want otherwise...

> Note that my answer disregards any aspect but aesthetics, because I
> basically have no idea how the modern words are derived exactly and
> why you would think you're overgeneralising in the second alternative.

The basic idea is that since the forms of ILLE which ended in
a long vowel developed forms stressed on the ending, why 
could not
the forms of UNUS do the same?  There are essentially two
objections:

1. UNUS probably became an indefinite article
    much later than ILLE became a definite
    article, and so should not develop in parallel
    with it.
2. ŪNUS had a long vowel in the first
    syllable, which would be a stress attractor.

Contra objection 1. can be said that the field
should be rife for  analogies with the definite
article.

Contra objection 2. can be said that ILLE also
began with a heavy syllable, due to the double
LL.

In fact I suspect that one factor which made the
ending-stressed forms of ILLE arise in the
first place may have been the way assignment of
secondary stress affected them once they became
proclitic.  Recall that secondary stress in Latin
apparently tended to fall on every second syllable
before the main stress:

     ,in-cre-'di-bi-lis

apparently a first syllable immediately before the
stressed syllable received a secondary stress even
though no unstressed syllable intervened:

     ,cre-'di-bi-lis

but I think that a first syllable of a word with
three syllables before the stressed syllable
(which was uncommon in Latin) did not, or at least
did not always receive secondary stress, or
attract it from the following syllable:

     pe-,rin-cre-'di-bi-lis

At least that seems to be the pattern which seems
to apply in modern Italian.

Now consider what would happen when the disyllabic
forms of ILLE were procliticized to words
stressed on the first and second syllable
respectively:

     ,il-la-'ta-bu-la

but

     il-,la-ta-'ber-na

The nominative singular masculine apparently got
special treatment.  The short unstressed final
)E must have been prone to disappear for
its own reasons as part of the cliticization
process; probably it was already [@] already
and could not receive contextual stress.  Whatever
the particular reason we get

     ,il-ca-'bal-lus

as well as

     ,il-'pa-tre

(NB French _le cheval, le père_ are from the
accusative with ILLUM -- it was still _lo_
in Old French.)

Now what I think happened nect was that the
unstressed initial vowel in _il-,la-ta-'ber-na_
fell off, giving _,la-ta-'ber-na_, and the thus
arisen allomorph LA was later generalized to
all cases.  Actually I think the burden of proof
rests on those who would claim that forms of
ILLE received stress on the endings in some
other way!

Finally even if the 'articulization' of UNUS
was later it shared two important features with
ILLE: it was disyllabic and it began with a
vowel, which in Vulgar Latin was just as short as
I in ILLE in proclitic position.  To be
sure UNUS CABALLUS would not regularly become
UN CABALLUS but rather *NUS CABALLUS
according to my theory above, but UNUS PATER
*would* become UN(U)S PATER and in the
accusative UNU PATRE with stress on _un_ and
_pa_, and analogy with the definite article could
take care of the rest.

> Note that I really miss the _u_ in some of the indefinite articles.
> For me, _u_ is the essence of that article, not _n_, but of course,
> that's pure aesthetics again. :-) Maybe that's why I like _eun_ more
> than _ni_.  (Terkunan has _nus_ with an _u_...)

To me the essence of the Romance definite article
is _l_, yet look at Portuguese and the Italian
masculine plural! :-)

There would be some factors in Rhodrese which
could tip the scales towards the _n_-based forms:
the regular Old Rhodrese reflex of *UNI before
a pause or a fricative would be _*eu_, but that
would be homophonous with HABES 'thou hast',
which probably would favor forms with preserved
_n_ -- though that may just as well be _eun_,
so that's another matter.  However there is one
possibility which I imagine could have happened
in some Romance natlang somewhere, though I never
heard of it, namely that ŪNUS got reanalysed
as ŬNNUS on analogy with ILLE -- that
would both explain Rhodrese stressed forms with
_-n_ and encourage total analogy with ĬLLE
as per above.  I guess compound forms like
QUISQUE-CATA-UNUS and ALIQUI-UNUS could
might be exempt from this and keep single _*-n_
which would then be lost before a pause or a
fricative as usual in Rhodrese[^1].

[^1]: I operate with the hopefully plausible
       assumption that before a stop there was free
       variation between

           nasalized vowel + nasal + stop

       and

           nasalized vowel + stop

       where the vowel nasalization would later get lost,
       which gives quite some room for variation in
       resulting forms in standard modern Rhodrese
       where word boundaries are involved.

I need to sort out the possible rôle of pronominal _eun_.
Your overview of Spanish indefinite pronouns will be most
helpful!  Now if I could only find that French grammar...

BTW the name of the language is _Rhod*r*ese_ with
a _dr_ in the middle -- it derives from
RHÓDANUS _Rhuodre_ 'Rhône' and has nothing to
do with Rhodes RHODUS _Rhuod_, although the
names end up similar.  I used to have a list
of other words with D'N > _dr_ somewhere.
Primary DR of course becomes _rr_, as does
_nr_.

/BP 8^)>
-- 
Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient
  à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil
  ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*,
  c'est qu'elles meurent."           (Victor Hugo)