On 5 Feb 2018 16:25, "Raymond Brown" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

On 05/02/2018 15:38, And Rosta wrote:

> On 5 Feb 2018 15:21, "Raymond Brown" wrote:
> [snip]

> 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.


But what's unexpected and, I think, unexplained, is that it uses the letter
W rather than, say, OU. E.g. _wesp_ rather than _ouesp_. Does Picard have
an established orthographic tradition with <w>? If so, that would suffice
for explanation.


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.