G and J

The place for chat about anything not related to language.

G and J

Postby dtp883 » Thu 25 Jun 2009 1:10 am

This is just a quick question, does anyone know why in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese (and any languages I missed) the "soft" g sound and the j sound correspond?
Native: English (NW American)
Advanced: Spanish
Intermediate: French
Beginning: Arabic (MSA/Egyptian)
Some day: German
User avatar
dtp883
 
Posts: 414
Joined: Sat 18 Apr 2009 10:51 pm
Location: San Francisco Area

Re: G and J

Postby linguoboy » Thu 25 Jun 2009 2:15 am

dtp883 wrote:This is just a quick question, does anyone know why in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese (and any languages I missed) the "soft" g sound and the j sound correspond?

Besides the normal process of language change? /g/ palatalised before front vowels in the Vulgar Latin underlying all of the Romance varieties you mention and fell together with /j/ (spelled <I> in Latin orthography, but later <j> to distinguish it from /i/).

<J> wasn't part of Old English orthography; Modern English words containing <j> were originally borrowed from French along with the French pronunciation. (/g/ also palatalised in English, but the outcome was spelled <y> instead of <j>, e.g. ȝear > year.)
english*deutsch*nederlands*català*castellano*gaelainn*cymraeg*français*svenska*韓國말*漢語
linguoboy
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun 19 Apr 2009 9:02 am

Re: G and J

Postby pittmirg » Mon 31 Aug 2009 9:51 am

It's also interesting that, for example, an old Czech orthography used <g> for /j/. Perhaps it's true for other medieval Central European orthographies as well, but I don't know for sure.
Till the XIX century, Polish used to borrow some Latin words with <j> in place of <g>: jenerał from generalis, trajedia from tragœdia, rejestracja from registratio, regestratio, rejent from regens, jeniusz from genius. I have no idea why, nowadays many of them are spelled with <g> and pronounced with /g/ (generał, tragedia, geniusz), in a few cases there are variants (agencja~ajencja, rejon~region*) with slightly different meaning or <j> (/j/) has won (rejestracja 'registration'). There hasn't been any sound change of the kind that would affect similar native words.
EDIT: I did some googling and there were several mentions of some medieval Latin pronuciation with g > j before front vowels. How could that arise, though? And the forms with g were said to be "restored by renaissance humanists".


*however, according to my dictionary of foreign words, rejon may be from French rayon, rather than from Latin regio.
pittmirg
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon 29 Jun 2009 6:13 am
Location: Oświęcim, PL


Return to General chat

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron