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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Modern Descendants of Latin

359

Our table shows a bewildering variety of alternatives So far as
Spanish* is concerned., the only choice which calls for explanation is
the occasional use of el before singular feminine nouns. La precedes all
feminine singular nouns except those which begin with a stressed A
(or HA)3 e g el aguaŚlas aguas (the water-s) This also applies to the
indefinite article For the sake of euphony the masculine form un re-
places the feminine unay e g un ana (a tune), un hacha (an axe) If a
Spanish feminine noun begins with an unstressed a (la ambicioii)> we
have to use the ordinary feminine form If a French singular noun of
either gender or if an Italian singular masculine noun begins with a vowel
(or h in French) we have to use the truncated /% as in the table below
Exceptions to the rule that /' precedes woids beginning with H are
words (p 258) of Teutonic and of Greek origin (e g heros) Choice
of the Italian article is complicated by (a) the existence of a special
singular form (lo for masculine nouns which begin with Z or with S
followed by another consonant (SB, SP, ST) cf il padre (the father),
lo zio (the uncle) 5 (&) the masculine gli which replaces i before plural,
nouns beginning with (a) vowels^ (b) with Z or with źS followed by a
consonant The next table illustrates these rules

ENGLISH
	FRENCH
	PORTUGUESE
	SPANISH
	ITALIAN

(a) afield the field the fields
	un champ le champ les champs
	um campo o campo os campos
	un campo el campo los campos
	un campo il campo i campi

(V) a door the door the doors
	une porte la porte les portes
	uma porta a porta as portas
	una puerta la puerta las puertas
	una porta la porta le porte

(c) afnend the friend thefnends
	un arm Farm les amis
	um ami gn o amigo os amigos
	un amigo el amigo los arnigos
	un amico Fanuco gli amici

Unfortunately, our troubles with the vagaries of the Romance article
do not end here Both the definite articles and the demonstratives of
Romance languages are addicted to romantic attachments to preposi-
* The table omits one form of the Spanish article Spanish preserves a
separate neuter article, lo It has the sole function of raising a singular adjec-
tive, participle3 etc, to the status of a noun3 e g lo Americano, what is American >
lo util, what is useful3 lo dicho, what has been said