[tied] Re: *gwistis

From: Richard Wordingham
Message: 15569
Date: 2002-09-18

--- In cybalist@..., alexmoeller@... wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "m_iacomi" <m_iacomi@...>
> To: <cybalist@...>
> Sent: Wednesday, September 18, 2002 5:01 PM
> Subject: [tied] Re: *gwistis
> [Moeller] well explain me the form of deSti in rom and giSt in
> Albanian with the same "St" of your Latin digitus. Did in
> Albanian gi from Latin went too St?

The points have been made that
(a) Latin 'digitus' did NOT syncopate digitus > *digtus >...
(b) In the less-isolated parts of the empire, the 'g' dropped, so the
path went digitus > diitus >... We have not discussed what happened
to the vowels.
(c) On the periphery, (incipient) palatalisation preserved the

On this basis, we expect Romanian to have had a form such as 'degetu'.
It has been pointed out that there are forms with -ege- replaced by
-eje-, -ej- and -e$-. Assuming that they date from before the final
'u' disappeared, we can see the following slurring pattern:

degetu > dejetu > dejtu > de$tu

with all four forms still around, as deget, dejet, dejt and de$t. The
phonetic change we see is:
-ghit- > (Reorganise vowels) -ghet- > (Palatalise) -get- > (soften
further) -jet- > (syncope or apocope) > -jt- > (simplify) -$t-

I had expected to find PIE gwistis > Albanian gisht. I suppose it was
too simple to be true. (The apparent resistance to palatalisation had
surprised me.) If, as George has just said, it too has nothing to do
with PIE *gwistis, e.g. Old Norse kvistr, this should definitely go on
the list of pseudo-cognates.

> > Appendix Probi, 12: calcostegis non calcosteis.
> Palatalized -g-
> > was more resistant in peripheral Romance languages (as
> Romanian)
> > or in loanwords from Latin. Normally this would explain the
> fact
> > we have conserved (palatalized) -g- in Romanian <deget> (see
> also
> > Sardinian <dighitale> < digitale;
> [Moeller]ah, again Sardinian? well, if not Spain nor Portugal,
> nor French nor Italian, nor retoromanish, then at least
> Sardinian.....

I must confess I don't understand the point about 'loanwords from
Latin' in Vulgar Latin. Perhaps the claim here is that more learned
words were more resistant, even from an early stage?

> [Moeller]
> but Angelo in Italian, Giovani in Italian to, originale in
> Italian, original in French, with a good preservation of "g"..
> well.. that is life..

I am not sure what the <g> in Italian angelo has to do with this
discussion. What was being discussed was the disappearance (not
replacement) of /g/ between vowels. As I said in my first post, the
'g' in French <doigt> has *never* been pronounced. It was inserted in
the _spelling_ later, as were many superfluous and indeed incorrect
letters. Piotr has already mentioned the 's' in English 'island'. I
could add the 'c' in 'scissors'. As to superfluous and once dropped
letters, English has the 'b' in 'debt' and the 'p' in 'receipt'.

Incidentally, what's original about the 'g' in Giovanni?