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Hallo conlangers!

On Wednesday 26 March 2014 17:57:55 R A Brown wrote:

> I'd like to canvass views, if any, on another point that has
> been queried in a private email.  That is the development of
> Vulgar Latin /e/ and /o/ (i.e. Classical Latin /ē/ and /ō/)
> in open topic syllables.  In many Romance languages they
> just remained /e/ and /o/, but in the northern and
> south-eastern Gaul, in northern Italy and in western and
> central Raetia we find /e/ -> /ei/ and /o/ -> /ou/.

Yep.  The occurrence of this change in northern Gaul makes it
plausible to assume it for British Romance, too.  (I *should*
have used it in Roman Germanech, too; but I shall resist the
temptation to open that can of worms again and rework it.
I have laid that darn thing to rest and don't wish to go back
there.  BTW, given your comments on the -icus suffix, the
language would have to be named something like _Germaneis_
instead.  I leave the creation of a Romance-dialectologically
plausible Germano-Romance language as an exercise to the
reader.)
 
> That is how we find them in Norman French, hence all the
> Latin words ending -ōre(m) come to us with the Norman
> spelling which, for the most part, is still retained by
> Brits, i.e. hour, colour, honour, splendour, etc. (Our
> American cousins have reverted to a Latinate spelling,
> except for _hour_).  Also we have _ei_ in words like
> _conceive, conceit, receive, recei(p)t- etc.
> 
> In other areas /ei/ changed to /ai/  or /oi/ (the latter
> also underwent further change in some places, e.g. France;
> but I'm leaving that for the moment).  AFAIK /ai/ in some
> Romansh dialects but not in those that are in contact with
> Britain.  However we do find /ei/ => /oi/ in some early
> French dialects.  AIUI /ei/ persisted in north west and
> south east France.  It changed to /ai/ in some Gallo-Italian
> dialects.  It changed to /oi/ in north east and central
> France (still preserved so in modern French spelling!).
> 
> I have no doubt that Bretainois would have shared in the
> initial development of free tonic /e/ -> /ei/.

Of course!

>       The question
> is whether it would have remained at this stage, as Norman
> French did, or whether it would have shared in the further
> change /ei/ -> /oi/ of the dialects of central and north
> eastern France (including Picardy).  I have assumed the
> latter, because:
> - the proximity of south east Britain to north east France;

This is a valid reason; the contact between Britain and Gaul
certainly would have been strongest where the Channel is
narrowest.  Maybe the southeastern dialects of Bretainois,
including the prestigious dialect of Londinium on which the
written standard would probably be based, would have /oi/,
but the more rustic western and northern dialects preserve
the more archaic /ei/.  One can see a shibboleth arise here!

> - we find a similar development in Welsh of /eː/ -> /uɨ/ (a
> _falling_ diphthong, written _wy_).

AFAIK, Brithenig has /e:/ > /ui/, too.  Perhaps some western
dialects of Bretainois also have /ui/.  But we are getting
into bogoland here.
 
> Similarly I have assume the change /o/ -> /ou/ -> /eu/ (Old
> French /øu/).

Yep.
 
> So is it Bretainois or Bretaineis? - (assuming Latin
> _Brittania_ -> Bretain)     :)

Both options make sense IMHO.  As I suggested above, _Bretainois_
is most likely in the dialects of the southeast including London,
and thus also in the literary standard.

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