Wiktionary talk:About Vulgar Latin

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question[edit]

I think that the ancientest versions of Romance languages are superior sources of information about Vulgar Latin compared to the modern ascendants.

On another note, are there any comments about the verb conjugations? Should we continue using the standard Latin ones? --Æ&Œ (talk) 14:42, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Probably not. The passive voice fell out of use in Vulgar Latin, and the future did at some point as well, although I don't know when exactly. The future was replaced with a periphrastic formation, but the formation itself wasn't the same in all languages. The Italo-Western languages formed the future by using a form of habēre (> *abérè > *avérè) with the infinitive. Romanian on the other hand forms it with velle (> *volérè), much like the neighbouring Slavic languages do, so it's likely that there was some influence there, and it seems that this wasn't grammaticalised like it was in Italo-Western Romance. The conditional was also formed with habēre, but notably, Italian used the perfect while the Western Romance languages used the imperfect as the auxiliary. I'm not sure about the conditional in Romanian, but it looks like it was formed like the future of the other languages. So maybe some kind of proto-periphrasis was already in place meaning "I have to (verb)" but different languages ended up assigning different meanings to it. —CodeCat 15:47, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

h[edit]

>h is lost.

Seriously? Romanian alone makes this doubtful. --Æ&Œ (talk) 17:38, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Does Romanian have words that have inherited h from Vulgar Latin? It certainly seems to have been lost in all the words I can find. —CodeCat 17:43, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Most likely not. I do know that h is never silent in Romanian.
Perhaps I was confusing the letter for the aspiration. --Æ&Œ (talk) 17:51, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Romanian does have /h/, but that didn't originate from Vulgar Latin. It was borrowed from other sources and may have developed later within Romanian as well. That kind of phenomenon isn't all that unusual, really. French for example had no /h/, but reborrowed it from Frankish, only to lose that as well later on. But the difference is still visible: original Latin /h/ triggers the form l' of the article, while borrowed /h/ gets le or la instead (w:Aspirated h). English had no /sk/ originally, but reborrowed it from Old Norse and other sources. Dutch has recently acquired loanwords with contrastively long /ɛː/, /ɔː/, /iː/ and /uː/, which do not occur in native words. Finnish has gone particularly far, borrowing /b/, /d/, /g/ as well as initial consonant clusters that were not present or permitted in the language only two centuries ago. Japanese /p/ and final -n are also borrowed. —CodeCat 18:08, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
A few dialects, notably Nourmaund, Picard, etc still preserve the aspired h, do they not? Leasnam (talk) 18:58, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Logical, informative and elaborate. Well done. --Æ&Œ (talk) 18:26, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Marking vowel quality[edit]

Continued from my talk page - graves are fine, but acutes are especially confusing. Underdots seem very un-Romance; isn't there a scholarly precedent we can use? If there isn't, I think the breve might serve well, as long as we provide ample IPA. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:35, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

Might as well just start using quasi-IPA. — Ungoliant (Falai) 02:43, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
I assume there is a precedent, though. One ought to remember that many mainspace entries reference VL terms, and they all seem to basically keep to the same general orthography, a pseudo-Classical one. Changing to quasi-IPA must be a conscious, well thought-out choice, if it indeed be our communal will. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:10, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
I suggested on the main page that we continue to use traditional Latin spelling for the entry names, and provide markings only as an extra. That way, the words will still look familiar in the etymologies, while we can also add extra information to the vowels on the Vulgar Latin entries themselves. The article w:Romance languages#Stressed vowels shows that underdots apparently already are traditional, but the table there also uses ogoneks for the low-mid vowel. I'm not sure if I agree with that, so I propose a compromise that uses an underdot for high-mid vowels, and no marking for low-mid vowels. —CodeCat 11:22, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

Declension tables[edit]

Isn't this assuming a bit far? I mean, do we have any good reason to believe that the fifth declension even existed in VL beyond some set phrases with res? Looks to me like just about every 5th-decl word went for the 1st decl or went apocopic, which I suppose suggests 3rd decl with the final unstressed schwa disappearing, although that's pure conjecture. Similarly, I reckon the 4th decl was depopulated pretty quickly. Passing over crazy looking forms like *mánuu, I have to suggest that in the Eastern dialects, in the nominative it was *mána (1st decl) and in all other dialects, *mános/*mánus (2nd decl but still fem.). —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:09, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

In the time frame that we're considering, the late Roman Empire, I'd be very surprised if these declensions didn't still exist in some form. More importantly though, there are a few 5th declension nouns that have different inflection in different Romance languages: 3rd declension Spanish haz, Catalan faç < faciem, but Italian faccia is 1st declension. This shows that each developed in its own distinctive way and there was no shared innovation, but the original situation was retained until after they split (this also happens in reconstructing Proto-Germanic). It also makes sense because even if these declensions were not very large, they still contained a few important relic nouns that probably lingered on for longer even if their number was dwindling constantly. Just look at what happened to domus, it was irregular in classical Latin but that didn't stop it from surviving into texts. English ox has kept its irregular inflection as well, even though it's now the only remaining member of its class. It may be irrelevant anyway, though, because I don't think we will be creating 4th and 5th declension entries anyway. —CodeCat 02:31, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
If different branches have consistent solutions to the 5th-decl problem, as indeed appears to be the case, how can we safely judge that the declension survived? Is it not just as easy to say that there were two forms, (in the acc sing) *fácia and *fáce? I mean, I'm imagining a world where one generally gets through most of a conversation only using nom and acc anyway. Is that the world of the late Empire, the world of Appendix Probi and all that? I don't know. Your last point is well taken, though. The question remains on what to do with *facia - how can we mark by time and place?—Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:43, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't think the 5th declension really ceased to exist... rather it would have merged with the 3rd through sound change and the loss of cases. After all, if you consider that -is and -ēs merged in all dialects but Sardinian, then once all cases except the nominative and accusative have been eliminated, you're left with a 3rd declension noun.
I imagine the time of the Appendix Probi to be a time when the ablative was well on its way out and survived only in fixed phrases, much like the locative did in classical Latin. Interestingly, one of those fixed phrases survives today in adverbs with -mente. The dative and genitive were probably still in use, but we only know for sure that they survived in Romanian. They certainly still survived in the pronouns, so it's possible that, like in Romanian today, the nouns themselves only had nominative, oblique and what remained of the genitive/dative, but the pronouns (which at that point where also becoming articles) were increasingly used to disambiguate case. In a way, this resembles the situation of modern German. I have a book that shows some evidence to corroborate this, like the formation of new dative pronoun forms in Vulgar, which makes little sense if the dative wasn't still a productive case at the time.
The question of having two forms is why speakers created the 1st declension one in the first place, only to then "forget" about it again. It's clear that the 1st declension was preferred to the 3rd for making feminine nouns, so if both of those forms existed side by side in all dialects (which we assume by calling it Vulgar Latin), why did some dialects end up dropping the much more strongly preferred 1st declension form in favour of a form that resembled the 3rd (by chance)? It seems more economical to suggest that at first only the 5th declension form existed at first, which either became 3rd declension or was remodelled as the 1st, but differently in each dialect. The 1st declension form may have also existed in Iberia, but it's also likely that it was still considered too "Vulgar" by the end of the Empire, so that it never really caught enough of a hold in that area to survive. Imagine an English equivalent of this to see what I mean: the normal form is broken and yet some people start to say breaked. It all depends on how accepting people are of the new form, whether it catches on and spreads, no matter if it's more regular or not. Would you accept it? —CodeCat 12:44, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Diacritic marks in entry names[edit]

If this is a reconstructed language, shouldn't diacritic marks be included in entry names? --Victar (talk) 08:32, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Not necessarily. We don't include them in reconstructed Old Dutch entries either because normal Old Dutch spelling didn't use them. We should probably do the same here. —CodeCat 12:12, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
That's rather different. By definition, Vulgar Latin is unattended, so we don't know if it used diacritic marks or not. ---24.44.44.79 16:08, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
I think the point though is that VL. a completely reconstructed language, it should be represented phonetically. --Victar (talk) 18:37, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
I think it should follow other forms/varieties of Latin. I wonder too, *were* VL attested, might they have used diacritics? Leasnam (talk) 19:03, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Also, are we making a distinction between Vulgar Latin (oro-Latin) and Proto-Romance? I would consider PR a separate language, but not VL. Am I behind the curve? Leasnam (talk) 19:11, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps the Apex. Some Vulgar Latin words are attested in the Appendix Probi. — Ungoliant (Falai) 19:17, 30 May 2013 (UTC)