Just wondering—how often would we expect to find an innovation/areal feature crossing the English Channel? At first it would seem logical to think of British Romance as an “extension” of the Western Romance dialect continuum (a “hyper-Norman” of sorts). But if there was very little contact across the Channel from the fall of Rome until (say) the Norman invasions (is this in fact true?), then one wouldn’t necessarily expect any of the innovations of post-Imperial, Continental Vulgar Latin to have diffused to Britain. In such a situation, British Romance could end up being as different from Western Romance as is Romanian.  

I realise that this doesn’t answer your question (and probably makes it harder).  


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On 15 Mar 2014 20:11:11, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote: Yesterday I wrote:
> Salvete omnes!
> I have taken a peek to see what's going on but some
> ghastly stuff on "OFF TOPIC: Latin translation request"
> really made me shudder!!

OK - I've got over that and am now back as "full time lurker."

I will do my utmost to avoid being tempted to comment on
side issues, off-topic stuff and trivia. I will endeavor
lurk on every thing else except what is relevant to:

> But what I am working on is:
> I did suggest to someone that I discuss this on the
> list; but, as he pointed out, it could well give rise to
> YAEPT ;)

If it does, I shall ignore it :)

> Also, as I am trying to avoid bogoism, I may say
> something that upsets a bogolanger, as I did a month or
> so back.

I will endeavor to be polite to bogolangers :)

> One person's private reply has prevented me from being
> "too modern-linguist, phoneme-aware, phonetics-aware
> conlanger-wanting-to-make-soundchange-visible"! Quite
> right he was!

Alex asked me off list what I meant; it seemed to me that
this did need some explanation. So read below:

At a very early date VL /u/ shifted forward to /y/ in Gaul,
north Italy and Raetia. In the Old French period there
developed diphthongs ending in [w], namely _au, ou, _eu_
/øw/, and two triphthongs _eau_ and _ieu_.

Now imagine that in the Old French period scholars had said
to themselves "Hey, we're using _u_ to represent /y/ but in
diphthongs it represents /w/. what's more, in our sister
languages _u_ is pronounced [u]. Not very consistent, is
it?" "I know," says another, "why don't we keep _u_ for the
diphthongs & triphthongs, and to represent /u/, and use the
Greek _y_ for /y/." "Great idea," they all cheered together.

The conversation would, of course, have taken place in Old
French (or even medieval Latin) and not modern English. But
all the same, even in Old french I think most of us would
find such a conversation among scholars of the period
implausible. It's not how languages develop.

The trouble is I spent so long on the briefscript project
which sort of has infinities with auxlanging & engelanging -
both disciplines that like neat and tidy order. Even Outidic
was an imaginary 17th cent. auxlang! I've got to used to
neat and tidy order and that, quite simply, is not the way
natlangs work ;)

I want to avoid "Bretainois" (or whatever it finally gets
called) being too obviously a conlang ;)

> It's no trivial task steering between the Scylla of
> "phone*ics aware conlanger wanting to make sound-change
> visible" and the Charybdis of "bogoism", while keeping
> the thing (more or less) plausible. I now see why
> bogolangers like their Grand Master Plans ;)
> But I would welcome any serious comments from any who
> are *genuinely* interested -

I've had one, and I pointed out to Alex that having /ɨ/ was
a pretty original feature - the only other Romancelang with
this as a phoneme is Romanian. But I added that I was
having second thoughts about the plausibility of this.

Do I like this only because it's novel and makes my conlang

I wrote this to another conlanger off-list a couple of days ago:
On the Preliminary Considerations page I wrote: "I shall be
aware of areal features such as the development of
progressive tenses and the retention of [θ] and [ð], since
the peoples of Britain will not differ very much in BART
from those in our own timeline." Then on the next page I
give Breta(i)n*is the phoneme /ɨ/, which is confined in our
time-line to North wales only.

Obviously a British romance would have shared in the
fronting of VL /u/ - but it seems to me more plausible that
we would have had /y/ (as in Old English) which would have
become unrounded to /i/ (as Old English /y/ did), just as in
South wales _un_ "one" is pronounced [i:n].

Um - what to do?
"Ein Kopf, der auf seine eigene Kosten denkt,
wird immer Eingriffe in die Sprache thun."
[J.G. Hamann, 1760]
"A mind that thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language".