Posted: Apr 16, 2012 4:33 pm
by Zwaarddijk
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).

Regarding that particular sound change, some varieties of Italian were on the verge of it as well, which apparently has left some fossilized traces (as well as traces in some dialects) - the only example I find is per iscritto. It's quite possible the similar change in some Celtic languages even appeared later, or that it appeared in Spanish and French after the Celtic languages had by and large gone extinct in the relevant areas. Substrates do have such effects at times, of course, and I am not saying this can't be such an effect - however, we should not ascribe all changes of this nature to substrates either. At some point, the Celtic languages had a change that was quite similar, should we assume this too was due to a substrate? If so, should we assume the presence in the previous language also was due to substrate? Where do we end it? Do we assume there's always been a language somewhere that forbids initial sC-type clusters?