Academic journal article Journal of Slavic Linguistics

On the Relationship between Gemination and Palatalization in Early Romance Loanwords in Common Slavic

Academic journal article Journal of Slavic Linguistics

On the Relationship between Gemination and Palatalization in Early Romance Loanwords in Common Slavic

Article excerpt

Abstract: This paper discusses how geminates in Early Romance loanwords were treated in Common Slavic. The proposal is that there was a tendency for Romance geminates to be replaced by palatalized consonants in Slavic, possibly via an early palatalized geminate stage in Slavic itself. This proposal receives support from the close relation between gemination and palatalization found in other Indo-European languages and presents a more systematic account of the phenomenon than other available explanations.

1. Introduction

In examining Early Romance loanwords in Slavic languages, Bocek (2010a) mainly deals with the problem of sound substitutions, i.e., the question of which sounds of a donor language--specifically, the various Romance dialects splitting in the second half of the first millennium into individual Romance languages--were substituted by which sounds in a recipient language--here, Common Slavic. It seems that one and the same Romance sound was substituted in two different ways in Common Slavic. The resulting Slavic sound was either exactly the same as its source Romance sound, or it was palatalized. The fragmentary available data seem to suggest that the difference in substitution is due to whether the source Romance sound was geminated or not. Bocek therefore proposes a preliminary hypothesis that Romance geminates were substituted by palatalized consonants in Common Slavic, as shown below, with possible further development from Common Slavic to the early stages of individual Slavic languages (cf. Bocek 2010a: 150-51, 2010b).

Romance C > Common Slavic C

Romance CC > Common Slavic C

Here I pursue the question in greater detail, insofar as the data permit, and suggest that Romance geminates were indeed replaced by palatalized consonants in Slavic. The argument is supported by parallel developments in other languages.

2. Data

2.1. Sources

First and foremost, it is necessary to collect the largest possible amount of data concerned with our claim, i.e., to collect a list of Early Romance loanwords in Common Slavic in which one may presume that the immediate Romance source had a geminated consonant. Such data are obtained primarily from the works of four authors. Skok, in his early paper (1926), dealt primarily with the chronology of palatalizations in Romance ("Balkan Latin" in his terminology), but he undertook the task specifically by examining loanwords in Slavic (see also individual entries in his etymological dictionary of Croatian and Serbian; Skok 1971-74). Rocchi (1990) presented a monograph on the topic of Romance loanwords in South Slavic languages, from which it is also possible to get information about the earliest group of loanwords. Sega (2006) continued with Rocchi's work in her unpublished doctoral thesis and focused closely on Early Romanisms in Slovene. Finally, Holzer (2007), in his historical grammar of Croatian, worked with Early Romanisms in order to establish a relative chronology of late Common Slavic sound changes.

2.2. List of Loanwords

The data obtained from the works mentioned (and from Bocek 2010a, 2010b), sorted according to the type of geminate consonant, are as follows: (1)


(1) Latin Cissa 'name of the island of Pag' > Romance Kessa > Common Slavic *Kisa + Suffix *-iska > *Kbsbska > Serbo-Croatian Caska 'a locality on the island of Pag' (Skok 1926: 387; Holzer 2007: 94)

(2) Latin missorium 'dish, pan' > Romance *messorju > Common Slavic *misor'u > *mbsur'b > Croatian masur 'dish, pan' (attested only in Norn. Pl. masuri; Skok 1971-74: 2, 385; Holzer 2007:114)

(3) Latin Massarum 'a mountain range in Dalmatia' > Romance *Massaru > Common Slavic *Masaru > *Mosorb > Croatian Mosor 'a mountain range in Croatia' (Skok 1971-74: 2, 459; Holzer 2007: 116-17)

(4) Latin missorium 'dish, pan' > Romance *messorju > Common Slavic *misor'u > *mbsur'b > Croatian masur 'tub, bowl' (Skok 1971-74: 2, 385; Holzer 2007:114)

(5) Latin missorium 'dish, pan' > Romance *messorju > Common Slavic *misor'u > *msur > *smur > Cakavian smur 'round dish made from one piece of wood' (Skok 1971-74: 2, 385; Holzer 2007:135)

(6) Latin missa 'mass' > Romance *messa > Common Slavic *mis'a > Old Church Slavic mbsa, Croatian masa, Slovene masa, etc. …

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