Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

On Syncope, Metathesis, and the Development of /nVr/ from Latin to Old Spanish

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2014), 91, (6), 559–580.

Abstract

In this article I provide an explanation for Malkiel's (1946: 314) observation that /rn/, /nr/, and /rr/ variants of Latin /nVr/ outnumbered /ndr/ in the earliest Old Spanish texts (terre, terne, tenrre ‘I will have’), and an explanation of why metathesis appears to have been as predominant as /nr/ and /rr/. First, I posit intermediate, pre-syncope [nej] variants of Latin /nVr/, whose reduced vowel and tap [j] increased the probability of perceptual metathesis from [nej] to /rn/. Second, the [nej] variants gave metathesis a head start over [rr] and [ndr], since these latter two variants could not surface until syncope produced [nr]. Finally, the occurrence of many /nVr/ sequences in the newly created future/conditional stems of the verbs VENIRE, TENERE, PONERE, meant that the reductive effects of grammaticalization (morphologization) exacerbated the listeners' difficulty in perceiving the correct order between [n] and [j], thereby increasing further the probability of perceptual metathesis.

Access Token
£25.00

Alvar, Manuel, and Bernard Pottier, 1983. Morfología histórica del español (Madrid: Gredos). Morfología histórica del español Google Scholar

Baldi, Philip, 2002. The Foundations of Latin (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter). The Foundations of Latin Google Scholar

Bertinetto, Pier Marco, and Michele Loporcaro, 2005. ‘The Sound Pattern of Standard Italian, as Compared with the Varieties Spoken in Florence, Milan and Rome’, Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 35: 131-51. ‘The Sound Pattern of Standard Italian, as Compared with the Varieties Spoken in Florence, Milan and Rome’ Journal of the International Phonetic Association 35 131 51 Google Scholar

Bhat, D. N. S., 1974. ‘The Phonology of Liquid Consonants’, Working Papers on Language Universals, 16: 73-104. ‘The Phonology of Liquid Consonants’ Working Papers on Language Universals 16 73 104 Google Scholar

Blevins, Juliette, and Andrew Garrett, 2004. ‘The Evolution of Metathesis’, in Phonetically Based Phonology, ed. Bruce Hayes, Robert Kirchner and Donca Steriade (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press), pp. 117-56. Phonetically Based Phonology 117 56 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Bradley, Travis G., and Benjamin S. Schmeiser, 2003. ‘On the Phonetic Reality of Spanish /j/ in Complex Onsets’, in Theory, Practice, and Acquisition, ed. Paula Kempchinsky and Carlos-Eduardo Piñeros (Somerville, MA: Cascadilla), pp. 1-20. Theory, Practice, and Acquisition 1 20 Google Scholar

Bradley, Travis G., and Erik W. Willis, 2012. ‘Rhotic Variation and Contrast in Veracruz Mexican Spanish’, Estudios de Fonética Experimental, 21: 43-74. ‘Rhotic Variation and Contrast in Veracruz Mexican Spanish’ Estudios de Fonética Experimental 21 43 74 Google Scholar

Bybee, Joan, 2001. Phonology and Language Use (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). Phonology and Language Use Google Scholar

Catford, J. C., 2001. ‘On Rs, Rhotacism and Paleophony’, Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 31: 171-85. ‘On Rs, Rhotacism and Paleophony’ Journal of the International Phonetic Association 31 171 85 Google Scholar

Cohn, Abigail, 1993. ‘The Status of Nasalized Continuants’, in Phonetics and Phonology 5: Nasals, Nasalization, and the Velum, ed. Marie K. Huffman and Rena A. Krakow (New York: Academic Press), pp. 329-67. Phonetics and Phonology 5: Nasals, Nasalization, and the Velum 329 67 Google Scholar

Company Company, Concepción, 2006. ‘Tiempos de formación romance II: Los futuros y condicionales’, in Sintaxis histórica de la lengua española, ed. Concepción Company Company (México, D.F.: FCE), pp. 347-418. Google Scholar

Connell, Bruce, 1992. ‘Describing Taps’, Progress Reports from Oxford Phonetics (PROPH), 5: 11-16. ‘Describing Taps’ Progress Reports from Oxford Phonetics (PROPH) 5 11 16 Google Scholar

Croft, William, 2000. Explaining Language Change: An Evolutionary Approach (London: Longman). Explaining Language Change: An Evolutionary Approach Google Scholar

Crouch, Marjorie, and Patricia Herbert, 2003. Collected Field Reports on the Phonology of Deg (Legon, Ghana: Institute of African Studies). Collected Field Reports on the Phonology of Deg Google Scholar

Gili (Gaya), Samuel, 1921. ‘La "R" simple en la pronunciación española’, Revista de Filología Española, 8: 271-80. ‘La "R" simple en la pronunciación española’ Revista de Filología Española 8 271 80 Google Scholar

Grammont, Maurice, 1933. Traité de phonétique (Paris: Delagrave). Traité de phonétique Google Scholar

Grandgent, Charles H., 1905. An Outline of the Phonology and Morphology of Old Provençal (Boston, MA: D. C. Heath). An Outline of the Phonology and Morphology of Old Provençal Google Scholar

Gsell, Otto, 1996. ‘Chronologie frühromanischer Sprachwandel’, in Lexicon der Romanistischen Linguistik, ed. Günter Holtus, Michael Metzeltin, and Christian Schmitt (Tübingen, Germany: Niemeyer), II.1, pp. 557-83. Lexicon der Romanistischen Linguistik II 557 83 Google Scholar

Hall, Robert A., Jr, 1964. ‘Initial Consonants and Syntactic Doubling in West Romance’, Language, 40: 551-56. ‘Initial Consonants and Syntactic Doubling in West Romance’ Language 40 551 56 Google Scholar

Harris-Northall, Ray, 1990. ‘The Spread of Sound Change: Another Look at Syncope in Spanish’, Romance Philology, 44: 137-61. ‘The Spread of Sound Change: Another Look at Syncope in Spanish’ Romance Philology 44 137 61 Google Scholar

Henriksen, Nicholas C., and Erik W. Willis, 2010. ‘Acoustic Characterization of Phonemic Trill Production in Jerezano Andalusian Spanish’, in Selected Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Spanish Phonology, ed. Marta Ortega Llebaria (Somerville, MA: Cascadilla), pp. 115-27. Selected Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Spanish Phonology 115 27 Google Scholar

Hopper, Paul J., and Elizabeth C. Traugott, 1993. Grammaticalization (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). Grammaticalization Google Scholar

Hualde, José Ignacio, 2005. The Sounds of Spanish (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). The Sounds of Spanish Google Scholar

Huffman, Marie K., 1993. ‘Phonetic Patterns of Nasalization and Implications for Feature Specification’, in Phonetics and Phonology 5: Nasals, Nasalization, and the Velum, ed. Marie K. Huffman and Rena A. Krakow (New York: Academic Press), pp. 303-327. Phonetics and Phonology 5: Nasals, Nasalization, and the Velum 303 327 Google Scholar

Hume, Elizabeth, 2000. Metathesis website, CC metathesis, Spanish, Old. [Online - Ohio State Linguistics.] Available at: www.ling.ohio-state.edu/~ehume/metathesis/Spanish,%20Old.html Google Scholar

Hume, Elizabeth, 2004. ‘The Indeterminacy/Attestation Model of Metathesis’, Language, 80: 203-237. ‘The Indeterminacy/Attestation Model of Metathesis’ Language 80 203 237 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Klausenburger, Jurgen, 2000. Grammaticalization: Studies in Latin and Romance Morphosyntax (Amsterdam: Benjamins). Grammaticalization: Studies in Latin and Romance Morphosyntax Google Scholar

Ladefoged, Peter, and Ian Maddieson, 1996. The Sounds of the World's Languages (London: Blackwell). The Sounds of the World's Languages Google Scholar

Lanchetas, Rufino, 1900. Gramática y vocabulario de las obras de Gonzalo de Berceo (Madrid: Real Academia Española). Gramática y vocabulario de las obras de Gonzalo de Berceo Google Scholar

Laver, John, 1994. Principles of Phonetics (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). Principles of Phonetics Google Scholar

Lavoie, Lisa, 2001. Consonant Strength: Phonological Patterns and Phonetic Manifestations (New York: Garland). Consonant Strength: Phonological Patterns and Phonetic Manifestations Google Scholar

Lindau, Mona, 1985. ‘The Story of /r/’, in Phonetic Linguistics: Essays in Honor of Peter Ladefoged, ed. Victoria Fromkin (New York: Academic Press), pp. 157-68. Phonetic Linguistics: Essays in Honor of Peter Ladefoged 157 68 Google Scholar

Lindsay, Wallace M., 1894. The Latin Language (Oxford: Clarendon Press). The Latin Language Google Scholar

Lloyd, Paul M., 1987. From Latin to Spanish (Philadelphia, PA: American Philosophical Society). From Latin to Spanish Google Scholar

Loporcaro, Michele, 2011. ‘Syllable, Segment and Prosody’, in The Cambridge History of the Romance Languages. I: Structures, ed. Martin Maiden, John Charles Smith, and Adam Ledgeway (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press), pp. 50-108. The Cambridge History of the Romance Languages. I: Structures 50 108 Google Scholar

Lüdtke, Helmut, 1953. ‘Notas de paleontologia linguística’, Boletim de Filologia, 14: 160-67, 314-21. ‘Notas de paleontologia linguística’ Boletim de Filologia 14 160 67 Google Scholar

Lyons, Christopher, 1978. ‘A Look into the Spanish Future’, Lingua, 46: 225-44. ‘A Look into the Spanish Future’ Lingua 46 225 44 Google Scholar

Maiden, Martin, 1995. A Linguistic History of Italian (London: Longman). A Linguistic History of Italian Google Scholar

Malkiel, Yakov, 1946. ‘The Etymology of Hispanic vel(l)ido and melindre’, Language, 22: 284-316. ‘The Etymology of Hispanic vel(l)ido and melindre’ Language 22 284 316 Google Scholar

Malkiel, Yakov, 1969. ‘Sound Changes Rooted in Morphological Conditions’, Romance Philology, 23: 188-200. ‘Sound Changes Rooted in Morphological Conditions’ Romance Philology 23 188 200 Google Scholar

Malkiel, Yakov, 1972. ‘Paradigmatic Resistance to Sound Change’, in Readings in Romance Linguistics, ed. James M. Anderson and Jo Ann Creore (The Hague: Mouton), pp. 335-413. Readings in Romance Linguistics 335 413 Google Scholar

Malmberg, Bertil, 1965. Estudios de fonética hispánica (Madrid: CSIC). Estudios de fonética hispánica Google Scholar

Martínez Gil, Fernando, 2003. ‘Consonant Intrusion in Heterosyllabic Consonant-Liquid Clusters in Old Spanish and Old French’, in A Romance Perspective on Language Knowledge and Use: Selected Papers from the 31st Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages, ed. Rafael Núñez-Cedeño, Luis López, and Richard Cameron (Amsterdam: Benjamins), pp. 39-58. ‘Consonant Intrusion in Heterosyllabic Consonant-Liquid Clusters in Old Spanish and Old French’ 39 58 Google Scholar

Mateus, Maria Helena, and Ernesto d'Andrade, 2000. The Phonology of Portuguese (Oxford: O.U.P.). The Phonology of Portuguese Google Scholar

Menéndez Pidal, Ramón, 1940. Manual de gramática histórica española, 6th ed. (Madrid: Espasa Calpe). Manual de gramática histórica española Google Scholar

Menéndez Pidal, Ramón, 1968. Orígenes del español, 6th ed. (Madrid: Espasa Calpe). Orígenes del español Google Scholar

Miller, Gary D., 2010. Language Change and Linguistic Theory II: Morphological, Syntactic, and Typological Change (Oxford: O.U.P.). Language Change and Linguistic Theory II: Morphological, Syntactic, and Typological Change Google Scholar

Moll, Francesc de B., 1952. Gramática histórica catalana (Madrid: Gredos). Gramática histórica catalana Google Scholar

Müller, Bodo, 1964. ‘Das lateinische Futurum und die romanischen Ausdrucksweisen für das futurische Geschehen’, Romanische Forschungen, 76: 44-97. ‘Das lateinische Futurum und die romanischen Ausdrucksweisen für das futurische Geschehen’ Romanische Forschungen 76 44 97 Google Scholar

Nandris, Octave, 1963. Phonétique historique du roumain (Paris: Klincksieck). Phonétique historique du roumain Google Scholar

Navarro, Tomás, 1957. Manual de pronunciación española (New York: Hafner). Manual de pronunciación española Google Scholar

Oelschläger, Victor R. B., 1940. A Medieval Spanish Word-List (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press). A Medieval Spanish Word-List Google Scholar

Ohala, John J., 1989. ‘Sound Change is Drawn from a Pool of Synchronic Variation’, in Language Change: Contributions to the Study of its Causes, ed. Leiv Egil Breivik and Ernst Hakon Jahr (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter), pp. 173-98. Language Change: Contributions to the Study of its Causes 173 98 Google Scholar

Ohala, John J., 1993. ‘The Phonetics of Sound Change’, in Historical Linguistics: Problems and Perspectives, ed. Charles Jones (London: Longman), pp. 237-78. Historical Linguistics: Problems and Perspectives 237 78 Google Scholar

Ohala, John J., 1995. ‘The Perceptual Basis of Some Sound Patterns’, in Phonology and Phonetic Evidence: Papers in Laboratory Phonology IV, ed. Bruce Connell and Amalia Arvaniti (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press), pp. 87-92. Phonology and Phonetic Evidence: Papers in Laboratory Phonology IV 87 92 Google Scholar

Ohala, John J., 1997. ‘Emergent Stops’, in Proceedings of the 4th Seoul International Conference on Linguistics (SICOL), 11-15 August, pp. 92-97. ‘Emergent Stops’ 92 97 Google Scholar

Penny, Ralph, 2002. A History of the Spanish Language, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). A History of the Spanish Language Google Scholar

Pope, Mildred K., 1934. From Latin to Modern French with Especial Consideration of Anglo-Norman: Phonology and Morphology (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press). From Latin to Modern French with Especial Consideration of Anglo-Norman: Phonology and Morphology Google Scholar

Posner, Rebecca, 1996. The Romance Languages (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). The Romance Languages Google Scholar

Quilis, Antonio, 1999. Tratado de fonología y fonética españolas, 2nd ed. (Madrid: Gredos). Tratado de fonología y fonética españolas Google Scholar

Recasens, Daniel, 2004. ‘The Effect of Syllable Position on Consonant Reduction (Evidence from Catalan Consonant Clusters)’, Journal of Phonetics, 32: 435-53. ‘The Effect of Syllable Position on Consonant Reduction (Evidence from Catalan Consonant Clusters)’ Journal of Phonetics 32 435 53 Google Scholar

Recasens, Daniel, 2011. ‘Articulatory Constraints on Stop Insertion in Consonant Clusters’, Linguistics, 49: 1137-1162. ‘Articulatory Constraints on Stop Insertion in Consonant Clusters’ Linguistics 49 1137 1162 Google Scholar

Recasens, Daniel, and Aina Espinosa, 2007. ‘Phonetic Typology and Positional Allophones for Alveolar Rhotics in Catalan’, Phonetica, 64: 1-28. ‘Phonetic Typology and Positional Allophones for Alveolar Rhotics in Catalan’ Phonetica 64 1 28 Google Scholar

Recasens, Daniel, and Maria Dollors Pallarès, 1999. ‘A Study of /r/ and /j/ in the Light of the "DAC" Model’. Journal of Phonetics, 27: 143-69. ‘A Study of /r/ and /j/ in the Light of the "DAC" Model’ Journal of Phonetics 27 143 69 Google Scholar

Recasens, Daniel, and Maria Dollors Pallarès, 2001. ‘Cooarticulation, Assimilation and Blending in Catalan Consonant Clusters’, Journal of Phonetics, 29: 273-301. ‘Cooarticulation, Assimilation and Blending in Catalan Consonant Clusters’ Journal of Phonetics 29 273 301 Google Scholar

Reighard, John, 1974. ‘Variable Rules in Historical Linguistics’, in Historical Linguistics I: Syntax, Morphology, Internal and Comparative Reconstruction, ed. John Anderson and Charles Jones (Amsterdam: North Holland), pp. 251-62. Historical Linguistics I: Syntax, Morphology, Internal and Comparative Reconstruction 251 62 Google Scholar

Rogers, Derek, and Luciana d'Archangeli, 2004. ‘Italian’, Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34: 117-21. ‘Italian’ Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 117 21 Google Scholar

Rohlfs, Gerhard, 1966. Grammatica storica della lingua italiana e dei suoi dialetti. I: Fonetica (Torino, Italy: Einaudi). Grammatica storica della lingua italiana e dei suoi dialetti. I: Fonetica Google Scholar

Ronjat, Jules, 1932. Grammaire istorique des parlers provençaux modernes. II: Consonnes et fénomènes généraux (Montpellier, France: Société des Langues Romanes). Grammaire istorique des parlers provençaux modernes. II: Consonnes et fénomènes généraux Google Scholar

Ronjat, Jules, 1937. Grammaire istorique des parlers provençaux modernes. III: Morphologie et formation des mots (Montpellier, France: Société des Langues Romanes). Grammaire istorique des parlers provençaux modernes. III: Morphologie et formation des mots Google Scholar

Seelmann, Emil, 1885. Die Aussprache des Latein nach Physiologisch-Historischen Grundsätzen (Heilbronn, Germany: Henninger). Die Aussprache des Latein nach Physiologisch-Historischen Grundsätzen Google Scholar

Solé, Maria Josep, 2002. ‘Aerodynamic Characteristics of Trills and Phonological Patterning’, Journal of Phonetics, 30: 655-88. ‘Aerodynamic Characteristics of Trills and Phonological Patterning’ Journal of Phonetics 30 655 88 Google Scholar

Sturtevant, Edgar H., 1940. The Pronunciation of Greek and Latin (Philadelphia, PA: Linguistic Society of America). The Pronunciation of Greek and Latin Google Scholar

Tekavčić, Pavao, 1972. Grammatica storica dell' italiano. II: Morfosintassi (Bologna, Italy: Il Mulino). Grammatica storica dell' italiano. II: Morfosintassi Google Scholar

Tuttle, Edward F., 1974. ‘Sedano, senero, prezzemolo and the Intertonic Vowels in Tuscan’, Romance Philology, 27: 451-65. ‘Sedano, senero, prezzemolo and the Intertonic Vowels in Tuscan’ Romance Philology 27 451 65 Google Scholar

Ultan, Russell, 1978. ‘A Typological View of Metathesis’, in Universals of Human Language. II: Phonology, ed. Joseph H. Greenberg (Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press), pp. 367-402. Universals of Human Language. II: Phonology 367 402 Google Scholar

Väänänen, Veikko, 1981. Introduction au latin vulgaire (Paris: Klincksieck). Introduction au latin vulgaire Google Scholar

Valesio, Paolo, 1968. ‘The Romance Synthetic Future Pattern and its First Attestations’, Lingua, 20: 113-61. ‘The Romance Synthetic Future Pattern and its First Attestations’ Lingua 20 113 61 Google Scholar

Vidos, Benedek E., 1959. Manuale di linguistica romanza (Firenze, Italy: Olschki). Manuale di linguistica romanza Google Scholar

Wanner, Dieter, 1989. ‘On Metathesis in Diachrony’, in Papers from the 25th Annual Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society: The General Session, ed. Caroline Wiltshire, Randolph Grazyk, and Bradley Music (Chicago, IL: CLS), pp. 434-50. ‘On Metathesis in Diachrony’ 434 50 Google Scholar

Widdison, Kirk A., 1997. ‘Variability in Lingual Vibrants: Changes in the Story of /r/’, Language and Communication, 17.3: 187-93. ‘Variability in Lingual Vibrants: Changes in the Story of /r/’ Language and Communication 17 187 93 Google Scholar

Wiese, Richard, 2001. ‘The Phonology of /r/’, in Distinctive Feature Theory, ed. T. Alan Hall (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter), pp. 335-68. Distinctive Feature Theory 335 68 Google Scholar

Williams, Edwin B., 1962. From Latin to Portuguese, 2nd ed. (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press). From Latin to Portuguese Google Scholar

Willis, Erik W., and Travis G. Bradley, 2008. ‘Contrast Maintenance of Taps and Trills in Dominican Spanish: Data and Analysis’, in Selected Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Spanish Phonology, ed. Laura Colantoni and Jeffrey Steele (Somerville, MA: Cascadilla), pp. 87-100. ‘Contrast Maintenance of Taps and Trills in Dominican Spanish: Data and Analysis’ 87 100 Google Scholar

Wireback, Kenneth J., 2005. ‘On the Regularization of Consonant + Consonant Metathesis in the History of Spanish’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 82: 137-58. ‘On the Regularization of Consonant + Consonant Metathesis in the History of Spanish’ Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 82 137 58 Google Scholar

Zamora Vicente, Alonso, 1967. Dialectología española (Madrid: Gredos). Dialectología española Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Wireback, Kenneth