Wiktionary talk:About Frankish

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au > ō[edit]

I'm wondering if the /au/ > /ō/ change wasn't universal in Frankish, or at least /au/ > /ou/. Do we have any example of /au/ surviving in Old Dutch or Old French? Old French boue seems to retain /ou/ [ow], from *baukan. --Victar (talk) 22:08, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

/au/ > /ō/ wasn't universal for sure, as /ou/ is retained in Limburgish and all dialects south of there. I think the earliest OHG texts still have au. And since au > ou seems parallel to ai > ei, it is likely that if one didn't happen yet, neither did the other. As for Old French... didn't French turn au into o anyway? Perhaps au was simply borrowed as ou? —CodeCat 01:04, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Old French did have /au/ [aw], so they were capable of such a sound. I just read that /au/ survived in southern dialects of Old Dutch as /ou/ as well. --Victar (talk) 01:25, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes that's what I meant by Limburgish. Old French may have had /au/, but keep in mind that Old French is attested much later than Frankish; there are several centuries between the time of the Franks and the first Old French writing. So you need to ask: did French have /au/ in the 5-7th century, when most Frankish borrowing occurred? Where did Old French /au/ originate from to begin with? Was it a continuation of Latin /au/ or had that changed to /o/ already, and French /au/ arose later from another source? —CodeCat 02:32, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
I just noticed that chose is the common form in Old French, from Latin causa. It shows au > o in Old French, so Old French au must be "new", and may not have been present in the language in Frankish times. Interestingly, it also shows that ca- > cha- (and so, presumably ga- > ja- too) happened before au > o (causa > chausa > chose; because causa > cosa > chose would be impossible). So if we can find a Frankish loanword showing either ka- > -cha or ga- > ja-, then we can be sure that au > o had not yet happened at that time. And from that we can conclude that Frankish au would have been changed to o in Old French, too. —CodeCat 02:44, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
When you say Limburgish do you mean Luxembourgish? I think causa > cousa > chosa > chose is possible, no? --Victar (talk) 03:30, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
No I mean Limburgish. I don't think that's possible because there is no co- > cho- change in words that had co- in Latin. So the fact that this word was affected by this change is evidence that at the time ca- > cha- happened, the first part of the au-diphthong was still an a-like sound, not an o-like sound because that would have prevented the change. —CodeCat 03:56, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
I found an example of Germanic kau- > Old French cho-. choisir was borrowed from Gothic 𐌺𐌰𐌿𐍃𐌾𐌰𐌽 (kausjan), via an unattested intermediate form *causire. That's not Frankish, but it does demonstrate a word that was borrowed early enough to be included in the change. Using sound changes like that, you can establish a relative chronology and get an idea of the dating of various changes and borrowings. A bit like carbon dating. :) —CodeCat 04:04, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
You can't treat /ou/ as two monophthongs, it's a diphthong with it's own series of sound changes, so comparing /cou-/ to /co-/ doesn't make sense. Also, /cou/ may not have even sounded like [kou]; it could have been [ɔʊ] (like in Middle English), or even further devoiced to [əʊ]. --Victar (talk) 05:04, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Why can't I? If you look at Proto-Germanic you see that along with i-mutation that caused e > i, you see eu > iu in exactly the same locations. And of course ei > ii > ī. Similarly, the palatalisation of velar consonants in Old English happened not just before e or i, but also before eo, ea and ie. So the onset of a diphthong clearly behaves the same as a monophthong when it comes to changes to the consonant preceding it. —CodeCat 14:06, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
That's a different subject entirely! We're talking about the effect of vowels of surrounding consonants. And again, you're assuming that the /o/ in /ou/ actually sounded like [o] and not [ɔ] or [ə]. --Victar (talk) 15:48, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm not assuming that. I'm just saying that whatever vowel quality the onset of the diphthong had, it caused the preceding consonant to palatalise, and we know that Latin /a/ and /au/ had this effect while /ɔ/ and /o/ did not. Old French did in fact have /ɔ/ in addition to /o/ so we can confirm this. Phonetically, though, Frankish /au/ was probably [ɑu] or [ɒu]. —CodeCat 16:35, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
@CodeCat, re: chose/causa. Ehmm, that only shows that in the remaining attestations of one word it changed (la:causa changed to fro:chose). I say sdz:[hys] and twd:[hus] (for en:house), but also say sdz:[mus] and twd:[mus] (for en:mouse). sdz:[mus] isn't new, so your 'Old French au must be "new"' (my emphasis) seems somewhat premature. -- 01:06, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Okay, let me start over. We know [k] palatalized into [tʃ] before [a]. We know that [o] became [ɔ] in many words. So, what I'm saying is, couldn't have [k] > [tʃ] happened before [o] > [ɔ], and if so, couldn't palatalization have affected [k] before both [a] and [ɔ]? --Victar (talk) 18:31, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
It is possible in theory, but I believe the distinction between the two o-phonemes can be traced back to Vulgar Latin. See w:Vulgar Latin#Vowel developments. So the change couldn't have happened before [o] > [ɔ] because that change happened within the Roman age, long before the Franks appeared. —CodeCat 19:31, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
The problem is [o] and [ɔ] fluctuated in Old French, but if you can dig up a [kɔ-] word that was consistent from Vulgar Latin to Old French, we can nip this in the bud. --Victar (talk) 00:10, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Eh? Like corde? Or am I completely misunderstanding what you're looking for? By the way, CodeCat, I hope the carbon dating thing was meant to cause pain in the amateur geologists among us. Carbon dating is absolute chronology; relative chronology would be, say, examining index fossils.Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 08:19, 2 December 2012 (UTC)


The page says "The following shared West Germanic changes are known" (emphasis mine). That's a strong statement to make about a language that's almost entirely unattested. Wouldn't it be better to say "are assumed" or "can be deduced" or even, if you prefer, "can safely be assumed"? - -sche (discuss) 05:54, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Deduced knowledge is still knowledge, though, isn't it? —CodeCat 13:17, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Which dialects are Frankish?[edit]

Les Francs en Belgique romaine.svg

Wikipedia has some information about this: w:Franconian languages, w:Ripuarian Franks. Note that not everything that is called Franconian today was historically part of Frankish territory. In particular, Mainz and Frankfurt were not originally Frankish but Alemannic. I would go so far as to say that the conquest of Alemannic territory by the Franks is responsible for bringing the High German consonant shift "into the fold" and helped it spread further north. —CodeCat 15:44, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

ō > uo[edit]

I noticed you've been adding entries with this change, but is there any evidence that it had already happened in Frankish? I think it would be better to stick with ō until there is a reason to think otherwise. —CodeCat 19:15, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Sounds good. Want to rename them for me? --Victar (talk) 19:33, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
I've also seen people use /ô/ for Frankish, to distinguish it from the normal Frankish /ō/. --Victar (talk) 19:39, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
Is there a difference between those two sounds, though? I've been trying to find some evidence from early Old High German texts and found this in an 8th (!) century text called "Isidor von Sevilla":
* oh in dhem dhrim heidim scal man ziuuaare eina gotnissa beodan
Later OHG hiar, hier is still spelled with "ea" here, from Proto-Germanic *he₂r; biotan still has "eo" from PG *beudanan (and also no High German d > t!). So we can be sure that PG eu > eo > io, and that it wasn't io yet in Frankish so it was either eu or eo. We can also be sure that ē₂ > ea > ia > ie, and that Frankish had either still ē or ea. The text also has "uo" though, so I'm not sure what the history of that was... I'd expect to find "oa" in parallel with "ea" but this text doesn't have it yet. Still, it does give us some clues about Frankish, for example that *kiusan can't have been right, nor could *kiosan, because OHG still had "eo" in its earlier stages. So we know that it has to have been either *keusan or *keosan in Frankish. —CodeCat 20:24, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm not following. I agree that we can safely conclude that PG /eu/ survived in PWG as /e*/. We're still at the question though of whether /e*/ > /i*/ occurred in Frankish. Just because this change didn't occur in Early OHG, doesn't mean it didn't in Frankish. No? --Victar (talk) 22:13, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
Well, OHG actually is Frankish in part... Frankish was spoken in much of west central Germany, and included the ancestor of modern dialects like Kölsch and Luxembourgish. So some of what we consider Old High German, in particular in the texts from that area, is a descendant of Frankish. So, as the change eo > io and ea > ia is attested in early OHG texts, we can safely say that Frankish can't have undergone that change yet as it was spoken a few hundred years before those texts were written. So, regarding vowels, we have the following possibilities: Germanic ē2 was either still ē or had become ea already; ō was still retained or had already become oa or uo; eu was retained or became eo. I remember reading somewhere that eu > eo happened in parallel with the general change of u > o because of a-mutation. However, that doesn't account for the fact that it failed to occur in many Old Norse words, nor that we still see eu in a few Old English texts (and I think Old Saxon too). —CodeCat 02:35, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm always very cautious with connecting OHG to Frankish. Even if a text is written in Central Germany, no telling what influence Upper German had on the writer. --Victar (talk) 17:00, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
I just came across the w:Abrogans, which uses "oa" instead of "uo". The w:Wessobrunn Prayer even seems to use "o". So I think it's fairly safe to say that in Frankish, the vowels were still ō and ē, not diphthongs yet. The Abrogans also uses "eo", no sign of "eu" anywhere. So we still don't know whether Frankish had "eu" or "eo"; the change must have happened before the earliest writing. —CodeCat 14:30, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
I found a text [1] that explains that "eo" developed from "eu" under the condition of a-mutation. In particular, it says that the change that caused eu to become iu in several Upper German dialects is the same as why Old Norse has jú sometimes and jó in others: basically, eu was normally lowered to eo by a-mutation, but this change was blocked by certain consonants in Upper German. Following this, when eo > io happened, eu > iu also happened at the same time, and this new sound probably merged with the "older" iu (from eu by i-mutation in Proto-Germanic). So I believe that Frankish, not being an Upper German dialect, had "eo" everywhere, except where i-mutation took place where it was "iu" instead. What do you think? —CodeCat 14:50, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Nice research. I agree, let's switch 'em out. It's best if you do it, otherwise I'll leave redirects. --Victar (talk) 16:55, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Sievers' law in Frankish[edit]

I argued that Frankish maintained Sievers' law, the difference between -j- after light syllables and -ij- after heavy ones. Do you think our entries should reflect that? It would mean moving *willjan to *willijan. Since Old High German seems to have lost the j-offglide, we could project that back to Frankish and go for *willian too, but that seems less certain. —CodeCat 14:05, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

I'm inclined to agree. --Victar (talk) 17:08, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm fine with whatever you both decide, but aren't we just guessing? I mean, who knows??? Besides, don't early OHG forms show -jan (e.g. wājan beside wāen; fēhjan; blājan vs. blāen)? Leasnam (talk) 03:08, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm kind of rethinking this myself. Though it may be the case, I don't see any published reconstructions that follow this. If it's just a guess either way, maybe it's best to go with the common guess. -- 19:53, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
There are a lot of published reconstructions for Proto-Germanic that don't follow it either, but it is pretty firmly established nonetheless. And given the evidence and parallel developments elsewhere in Germanic (Old Norse particularly), it seems like the most sensible explanation. I can't really think of any other. —CodeCat 19:57, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
CodeCat, no one is arguing whether or not Sievers' law existed in PGmc. The questions is did it still exist in Frankish. What evidence do we have either way? --Victar (talk) 06:15, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, I would imagine there wouldn't (or couldn't) be any evidence, as it's largely unattested. But I think it's highly probable, even likely, given the early date for Old Frankish. Also, the Old French and Latin borrowed terms have -ir(e), which answers more easily (in my mind at least) to -ijan than to -jan. I'm good with showing Siever's Law preserved. Leasnam (talk) 20:19, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
Okay, if you guys are in agreement, we'll just leave it at that for now. --Victar (talk) 20:27, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
There is no direct evidence, but there is some indirect evidence. Old Norse, Old English and Old High German (but not Old Saxon) generally lose -(i)j- after a heavy syllable, but not after a light syllable. However, because of sound changes that affect syllable weight, it's not always straightforward. Here is what happens:
  • In Old Norse, medial syllables generally disappear. Since -ij- is also a medial syllable, it disappears as well. -j- never disappears. Old Norse also had a limited version of the West Germanic gemination, which affected only -kj- and -gj-. These were lengthened to -kkj- and -ggj-, but the -j- is not lost in this case, despite the syllable being heavy. Old Norse therefore seems to have had no Sievers' law anymore.
  • In Old English and Old High German meanwhile, original -ij- also disappears in all cases, as in Old Norse. However, -j- also disappears when it triggers gemination, which affects all consonants except -zj- and -rj-. Curiously, this -j- remains only after -r- in those languages.
It seems to me that the most logical explanation is that the gemination was followed by a reapplication of Sievers' law to the newly-heavy syllables, changing -j- to -ij- wherever it caused gemination. Following that, -ij- was lost. If we assume that Sievers' law was not reapplied, then the loss can only be explained as affecting both -j- and -ij- after a heavy syllable, but it seems doubtful that there was even a phonetic distinction between them. We also have a bit more evidence from early Old High German texts. Those texts still preserve the original -(i)j-, but seem to write it as -e- when it comes after a heavy syllable (reflecting both original Proto-Germanic -ij- and as well as -j- + gemination), and as -i- after a light syllable. So, there is the verb nerien (light syllable) but the noun form willeo (heavy syllable from gemination). The easiest explanation for that, to me, is that -e- represents syllabic /i(j)/ which was weakened and lowered to /e/, while -i- represents consonantal /j/. It seems highly unlikely that -e- reflects a consonant, whereas -i- was the normal way of writing the consonant /j/ in Latin. Therefore, I conclude that Sievers' law was reapplied after the gemination. —CodeCat 20:36, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I see. I stand corrected then. I'm good with showing Siever's Law re-applied in the case of Old Frankish. Leasnam (talk) 20:52, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Using {{desctree}} on PG entry descendent trees[edit]

I've updated the descendent tree on some PG entries to use {{desctree}} for Frankish, merging any discrepancies. Shoot me a reply if you notice any problems with this. --Victar (talk) 23:55, 24 February 2017 (UTC)