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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

242

The Loom of Language

larger stratum of Classical Latin words introduced by scholars^ clergy,
lawyers or technicians Words of the second class arc easy to recognize
The roots have die same shape as those of our own loan-words which
belong to the same class. The others, that is to say the older ones, are
less easy to recogni^ and therefore more difficult to memorize. The
home student can get some fun out of the otherwise dreary task of
memorizing a basic word-list by noting the sound-shifts which dis-
guise or even distort beyond recognition the original Latin form.
Illustrative examples of this trick will be the basis of the next few pages
which deal with phonetic changes during the period when Latin was
breaking up mto what we now call French^ Spanish^ Portuguese, and
Italian.

When Latin began to bieak up into these dialects the II had become
silent Initially the symbol has disappeared m all but four Italian words*
It is soundless in French and in Spanish words^ though it survives
in the spelling. Apparently the people of the Roman Bmpire also became
slack about the use of compound consonants such as it, pt> rt The first
of these has disappcaied in all the daughter dialects,, except in Latin
words remtrodvccd by scholais In Italian wosds other than those of the
last-named type CT-~ TT9 m Spanish C2"~~ C// (a^ m muUf)^ in
Portuguese and Old Fiench CT IT In Modem French the symbol
remains -IT, but the T is usually silent. The combination pt becomes t
(or tf) m old words of all the Romance dialects, though scholars have
sometimes put back an unpronounced p or b in script., as m the modern
French sept for the Old French set (seven) or as in our debt derived
from the French dette*

LATIN
	ITALIAN
	SPANISH
	PORJTU-

DICTO
	detto
	dicho
	ditu

FACTO
	fatto
	hccho
	fcito

LACTE
	latte
	Icchc
	kite

LECTO
	letto
	Iccho
	leito

NOCTE
	notte
	nodbc
	noire

OCTO
	otto
	echo
	oito

SEPTEM
	sette
	siete
	sctc

TECTO
	tetto
	tccho
	tcto

i'RTOCH
	ENGLISH

dii
	said

fait
	done

lau
	milk

ht
	bed

umt hujt
	mght eight

sepi toit
	seven roof

Except; in French there was decay of the initial combinations pl9 dy
fl. In Italian / fades out in the y~ sound represented by L In Spanish