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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

248

The Loom of Language

medial consonant has disappeaied lege-LOi (law), fide-poi (faith),
videt-voix (sees}> credit CROIT (believes)* or patre-PERE (father), matre-
MERE (mother), fratre-FRERE (brother), sorore-soEUR (sister) In other
French words, as in the last four, an unaccented final E exists only on
paper The last remark would be equally true about the majority of final
consonants, e g, the silent T in voit or croit One result of this is a great
gap (see p. 35) between the flexional system of the written and of the
spoken language No other Romance language furnishes comparable
examples of drastic shortening, e g EAU (pronounced o) from aqua
(water), HAUT (pronounced 0) from alto (high), MI from media (half),
(pronounced a-oc or oo) from augusto (August), ROND (pronounced

LATIN
	ITALIAN
	SPANISH
	PORTUGUEbL
	FRENCH
	ENGLISH

(a) cantare
	cantare
	cantar
		CHANTER
	sing

claro
	chiaro
	claro
		CLAIR
	clear

ala
	ala
		
	AILE
	wing (aisle)

prato
	prato                   prado
			PR
	meadow

sale
	sale
	sal
	
	SEL
	salt

patre
	padre
		1    pa*
	PERE
	father

() seta
	seta
	seda
		SOIE
	silk

me
	me
		
	MOI
	me

velo
	velo
		veu
	VOILE
	veil

tela
	tela
		
	TOILE
	cloth

r$) from rotunda (round); SR (pronounced syr) from securo (safe), H6TE
(pronounced oat) from hospite (host) Thus the Latin ancestry of most
French words, other than those which have been introduced by scholars
in comparatively recent times, is far less apparent than that of their
Italian or Spanish equivalents
As a spoken language Spanish has moved furthei away from Latin
than Italian has., but not so far as French Partly for this reason, but
also because the spelling of Spanish words is highly regular, there is
less to say about the sound-changes in relation to the appearance of
the printed word For recognizing the similarity of English words of
Latin origin to their Spanish equivalents, the important ones are few.
Some have turned up in the preceding paragraphs The most mislead-
ing one is still to come This is the disappearance of the initial /, re-
placed in script by what is now silent H, cf hacienda, which comes from
the Latin word facienda Some linguists attribute this to the influence
of the Moorish occupation, and others to that of the pre-Aryan popula-
tion now represented by the Basques, who have no/ sound The first of
these suggestions is unlikely, because H at the beginning of a word
crops up at a comparatively late stage in old documents The Spanish
Jews who emigrated to Salonika about AD 1500 sail preserve the