Posted: Apr 16, 2012 10:07 am
by katja z
Corneel wrote:
The sound changes given above are only a small set - sometimes, even the opposite change occurs, and these are far, far from all known sound changes - and there's probably way more possible changes around. (Sometimes, sounds come from nowhere as well - Spanish for instance, has inserted vowels ex nihilo into words that begin with certain clusters, c.f. Italian scuola, Spanish escuela.)

Concerning this specific sound change (which we also find in French, but in general they also drop the "s", hence ├ęcole), could this be caused by a people originally speaking another language (Gaulish for French, Celtiberian for Spanish - both Celtic languages) adopting another language (vulgar Latin in both cases) and imposing some of the speech patterns of their original language on it?
(I once read (old) French being described as Latin mangled by Gaulish throats).

I don't remember the history of this specific development in the Romance languages, but what you're describing goes by the name of substrate (or substratum) interference, in this case because speakers would have retained certain articulation habits (habitudes articulatoires) associated with the old language. Language replacement (non-Latin-speaking communities adopting Latin) certainly played a large role in the history of the Romance languages.