Academic journal article Medium Aevum

A Comparative Study of Romance

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

A Comparative Study of Romance

Article excerpt

Frede Jensen, A Comparative Study of Romance, Studies in the Humanities 46 (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 1999). xxvi + 446 pp. ISBN 0-8204-4253-4. L43.00. This is a strange book. The 'Romance' in the title refers to the historical development of the Romance languages, but the only aspects of this huge and fashionable topic dealt with at any length are the phonetic. Part I ('Problems, methods and early history', pp. I-57) deals superficially with a few other aspects, while Part II, 'Phonology' (pp. 59-314), details sound changes in 228 separate sections, none of which in the event actually seems to consider phonology at all. Most of these 228 sections are headed by a Latin sound or cluster, exemplified by a Latin word presented in an unexplained amalgam of normal spelling, phonetic script, and phonological transcription. This is followed by a chart of cognate words in Romanian, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan, Old French, and French. There is only a little interest shown in non-standard forms (even in Italy). …

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