On 05/02/2018 15:38, And Rosta wrote:
> On 5 Feb 2018 15:21, "Raymond Brown" wrote:
> Yes, I must think on this.   As vowel /u/ had shifted to /y/ and then
> /i/, the spellings _agu_ and _lengu_ won't do.  I suppose analogy
> with _padre_ -> _padr_ and _homne_ -> _homn_ should mean _agw_ and
> _lengw_ respectively - um, looks a bit Welsh.  ;)
> Britainese has <w>? That's unexpected.

Another isogloss more or less follows the Joret line throughout Normandy
and continues through north eastern France and includes all of Picardy,
Wallonia, Champagne, Lorraine and a part of Burgundy. Above this
isogloss /w/ in germanic borrowings was retained, e.g. Frankish _*werra_
→ Old Norman and Picard _werre_ (hence Late Old English _werre_ → modern
English _war_); below the line it became /ɡw/ before becoming simply
/ɡ/, e.g. Frankish _*werra_ → old and modern French _guerre_.

Sometimes the_ w- ~ gu-_ alternation appears in Latin derived words
under the influence of a related word in Frankish, e.g. Latin _vespa_
"wasp" → Picard _wespe_ ~ French _guêpe_ (← _guespe_) under the
influence of Frankish _*waspa_. One can expect similar behavior in
Britainese, where the Germanic language will be Saxon, not Frankish. So
Britainese _wesp_ is from Latin _vespa_, influenced by Saxon _wæsp_.

It might be argued that since initial British /w/ became /ɡw/ in Welsh,
and that Germanic /w/ became /ɡw/ in early French, this is an areal
feature. There are, however, two factors that tell against this:
- The apparent shift in Welsh is bound up with the development of
grammatically triggered mutation of initial consonants which we find in
Welsh and other Insular Celtic language; thus _Venus_, or more strictly
Latin _Venere(m)_, appears with initial _gw-_ in _Dydd Gwener_ "Friday",
but with only initial _w-_ in _Nos Wener_ "Friday Night." Thus Welsh is
no more adverse to initial /w/ than is English or Picard.
- The fact that we have a 'wedge' of /w/ dialects right across north
France and into Belgium makes a nonsense in my opinion of any idea of a
Gallo-Brittonic areal feature /w/ → /ɡw/.

> Otherwise, if the gw@ > gu change antedates the invention of
> printing (as it surely does), then how about _ago, lengo_ or _agou,
> lengou_ as spellings?

Possible.  I'm rethinking the history of these two words.