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David McCann wrote:
> On Sun, 2010-02-07 at 09:26 +0000, R A Brown wrote:
>> It's true that Spanish carried the diphthongization further 
>> and that stressed VL [E] became |ie| and stress VL [O] 
>> (stressed 'short-o' of CL) became |we|.  But Portuguese 
>> resisted diphthongization (tho I have read that 
>> diphthongization was an Iberian Romance feature and that 
>> there was a later monophthongization of these diphthongs - 
>> but I've never seen any evidence given for this, which makes 
>> me rather skeptical of that theory).
> Diphthongisation of Romance /ɛ/ and /ɔ/ is complex. 

Which is why I hadn't intended to deal with this in my 
original mail, but to stick with standard French & Italian   :)

> In Spanish and
> Rhaeto-Romance, it's universal; in French and central Italian, it's
> confined to open syllables; in south Italian, it's conditioned by the
> following vowel. So we get dentem > Sp diente, Fr dent and It dente,
> S.It. dente but diente < *denti.

Thanks for the summary.

>> Romanian also shows diphthongization of stressed [E] to |ea| 
>> and stressed [O] to |oa|; but under what conditions, I'm not 
>> sure without checking.
> That's an assimilation to -a- in the next syllable: sēra > seară.


>> has several VL antecedents. But I guess there was Gallic VL 
>> form *[sEdjo] *sediu(m) --> _siège_.
> The usual explanation is *sedicum.

OK - that makes sense. A Gallic _sedicum_, with all short 
vowels, derived from the verb _sedere_ (or is it conflation 
of VL and Celtic?)

>> One has to be aware that in the Romance languages there were 
>> always learned borrowings directly from Classical or 
>> Medieval Latin, as we'll as the inherited stuff from Vulgar 
>> Latin.
> To add to the fun, you also have semi-learned forms. Latin 'saeculum'
> gives 'siècle': the -ie- is popular, but the -cl- is learned.

Yes, indeed. IIRC French has quite a few of these   ;)


Philip Newton wrote:
 > What would be the expected outcome -- *sieil?

I guess so.
Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
There's none too old to learn.