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At 5:42 pm +1300 16/1/99, Andrew Smith wrote:
>And Hello back at you. Happy New Year to anyone I haven't caught up with.
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi hyd!
>Must be time to start looking at the indefinite plural problem again.
I had thought about this on and off over the Christmas holiday - when
grandchildren allowed :)
There seem to me three possible scenarios:
(a) With the loss of final /s/ a new plural suffix developed. I once
described such a scenario based upon the Vulgar Latin development of -O,
-NE(M); -US, -ONE(M); -A, -ANE(M) which arose with the Latinization of
Germanic names, e.g. Hue, Huon (Hugo, Hugonem); Otes, Oton; Naimes, Naimon;
Eve, Evain. One finds also commons nouns, e.g. none, nonain, (pl) nonains.
Influenced also by "weak" declension of nouns in English, through various
borrowings, a plural endings such as -on, -an might have developed. I must
confess, I'm not over-enthusiastic about this and, since it wasn't pursued
when I first suggested it, I guess few others liked it either.
(b) The regular use of some word meaning "some" (plural) before indefinite
plurals. But what word? The Iberian langs use 'unos', 'unas'/ 'uns',
'unas' but this does seem to be a peculiarly Iberian development (tho
'uns', 'unes' were found in Old French before words which naturally
occurred in pairs, e.g. unes grandes narines; unes botes; and before plural
nouns which had no singular or had a different meaning in the plural or
were used collectively, e.g. uns grans dens "a great set of teeth"). In
any case, the Brithenig equivalent is not very distictive as a plural
Romanian optionally uses 'niSte' [S is s-cedilla = /S/] as a plural
indefinite aricle. I don't know the etymology of 'niSte'. Possibly it is
ultimately from Latin 'nescio-qui' since s+"soft c" does give 'St' in
Romanian, cf. Stiu <-- scio.
The classical Latin equivalent is the post-posited quidam, quaedam etc.
which left no survivals in Romance.
(c) Or one could follow Italian & French and develop partitive articles
from 'de' + 'ille'. In French their use has gradually increases as final
-s became silent in Middle French until it become compulsory since the 17th
century. Remembering that Latin 'de:' becomes 'di' in Brithenig, pronounced
'ddi' /Di/, one can imagine feminine singlar and common plural forms: ddla
<-- ddi-la <-- ddi lla; ddlo <-- ddi-lo <-- ddi llo. (As modern Welsh
happily has initial combinations tl-, dl-, thl-, ddl- I imagine the Chomro
would have no problem with such combinations). The maculine singular I
guess would be 'ddill'. Thus we'd have:
fem. ddla [Fr. de la] ) ddlo [Fr. des]
masc. ddill [Fr. du] )
Then the question is: Would these also denote possession? ;-)
I think I favor (c) most and (b) less so. I rank (a) as least likely.
>if anyone has any suggestions for spelling Feli[j] New An or resolving the
>final affricate problem - let me know!
In Catalan final -ig is pronounced [itS], e.g. mig [mitS], desig [d@'zitS],
or simply [tS] after a vowel, e.g.maig [matS], roig [rrOtS] etc. But
Catalan, like German or Russian (and Breton) regularly devoices final
plosives, fricatives & affricates; these, therefore, earlier ended [dZ].
Now if final [ik] and [ig] never occur in Brithenig, then final -ic would
be [(i)tS] and final -ig would be [(i)dZ].
If Brithening does have final [ik] and [ig] as well as [itS] and [idZ],
then we could start with final -ig = [(i)dZ] while final -igh = [ig] (since
/g/ before /e/ and /i/ is spelt 'gh'). Thus we can see that final -g by
itself denotes an affricate sound; we can then extend this so that -ic =
[ik] and -icg = [(i)tS] (this might be encouraged in that Old English also
used the combination 'cg' for an affricate sound, even tho there it was
[dZ]). Thus we'd have:
-ic = [ik]
-icg = [(i)tS]
-ig = [(i)dZ]
-igh = [ig]
Just suggestions :)