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Thread: Romance nouns

  1. #1
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    Romance nouns

    From which Latin case do nouns in Romance languages come? Some sources say they're descendant from acc. singular, but other claim they're from nom. singular.

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    Re: Romance nouns

    In French, Spanish and Portuguese nouns derive from singular and plural accusative.
    In Italian nouns derive from singular accusative and plural nominative.

    The final m was lost at an early stage. The short u became o. In French all final vowels are lost and final a became e.

    rosa (classical: rosam)/rosas/rose
    muro (classical: murum)/muros/muri

    French: rose/roses mur/murs

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    Re: Romance nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Nino83 View Post
    In French, Spanish and Portuguese nouns derive from singular and plural accusative.
    In Italian nouns derive from singular accusative and plural nominative.
    What about Romanian? Actually, the origin of the Romance plurals is hotly debated. Have we not discussed this topic very recently on here?

    See also this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_plurals

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    Re: Romance nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by fdb View Post
    Actually, the origin of the Romance plurals is hotly debated. Have we not discussed this topic very recently on here?
    Yes.
    Some people say that the final i of Italian plurals (third declesion nouns) is due to a transformation of s in i, but this "rule" does not work with first declesion nouns (rosae --> rose, not rosas --> rosi).

    In all non western Romance languages the final s was lost at an early stage, so that murum and muros or rosam and rosas became muro and rosa for both singular and plural accusative.
    In order to avoid this, I think, the only way was using plural nominative muri and rose.

    P.S.

    When the difference between long and short vowels and both final m and s were lost, in non western Romance languages (Italian included), nominative, accusative and ablative singular, for the first declesion, and nominative, accusative, dative and ablative singular, for the second declesion, had the same form (rosa and muro).
    Genitive and dative case became perifrastic (de + ablative and ad + accusative) so accusative case (which had the same form of ablative and nominative) was the most (the only) used case.

    In western Romance languages the final s was not lost and for a period of time there was a two case system (murs/mur for the singular and mur/murs for the plural). Then only the accusative (oblique) case, i.e the most used case, was retained (mur for the singular and murs for the plural).

    The confusion between accusative and other cases is avoided by using prepositions (a/à for dative and di/de for genitive) and the difference between nominative and accusative by mandatory SVO word order.
    Preposition were used (for other complements) in Latin.
    Last edited by Nino83; 26th September 2013 at 5:10 PM.

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    Re: Romance nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Nino83 View Post
    but this "rule" does not work with first declesion nouns
    The "accusative theory" claims exactly this (-as > -e).

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    Re: Romance nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by fdb View Post
    The "accusative theory" claims exactly this (-as > -e).
    If claims this it doesn't work for second and third declesion nouns.

    muro/muri (muros --> mure)
    volpe/volpi (vulpes --> volpe)

    I knew that it claimed s --> i

    It will be illogical that as became e and os and es became i. Why this difference?
    May you link some page about it?
    Last edited by Nino83; 26th September 2013 at 5:16 PM.

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    Re: Romance nouns

    …and ēs > i, spreading by analogy from the third to the second declension.

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    Re: Romance nouns

    And why in second person present indicative conjugation (tu) cantas became canti (and not cante)?

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    Re: Romance nouns

    All of this can be explained, e.g. by generalisation of the subjunctive suffixes. (Look up the references in the Wikipedia article). All I am saying is that the accusative/nominative theory is no longer universally accepted by Romanists.

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    Re: Romance nouns

    Yes, it's true, but the alternative theory has a lot of problems.
    The loss of final s explain better the first and second plural person verbal conjugation (cantamus --> cantiamo, different from chantons and cantamos and cantatis --> cantate different from chantez and cantais).

    This theory claims that as --> sometimes e and sometimes i, os --> sometimes o and sometimes i, es --> i and is --> e.
    A phonological process would be more "general".
    All this in my opinion.

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    Re: Romance nouns

    If we follow the logic of the s>i theory then I see it as follows:

    rosas > *rosai > rose
    moros > *muroi > muri
    homines > *hominei > omini > uomini
    etc.

    stas > stai
    das > dai
    post > pos > poi (sp. pues)
    habes > *has > hai (alternatively *haes > hai)
    vadis > *vas > vai (alternatively *vais > vai)
    etc.

    In case of the monosyllabic words -ai/-oi has not become -e/-i, which can be explained (for example because the vowel a/o was stressed).

    In case of the verbal conjugation (ami instead of *amai>*ame), I agree with fdb ("uniformization" of the suffixes).

    P.S. At the moment I don't say the accusative/nominative theory is a priori unacceptable ... (there are arguments both pro and contra).
    Last edited by francisgranada; 26th September 2013 at 6:02 PM. Reason: Precisation

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    Re: Romance nouns

    What about cantamus --> cantamos --> cantiamo (and not cantiami, as in muros --> muri)?

    EDIT:

    Quote Originally Posted by francisgranada View Post
    If we follow the logic of the s>i theory then I see it as follows:

    rosas > *rosai > rose
    moros > *muroi > muri
    homines > *hominei > omini > uomini
    The "accusative" theory essentially suggests:


    1. Italian plurals are indeed derived from the nominative plural.
    2. However, Proto-Romance had nominative plural -ĀS, not *-AE.
    3. The following sound changes took place:
      1. /as/ > /ai/, /es/ > /ei/.
      2. In unstressed syllables, /ai/ > /e/, /ei/ > /i/.

    Per il suo consolidarsi, la maggior parte dei nomi del lessico italiano derivano dalla forma dell’accusativo e non da quella del nominativo latino.
    Le eccezioni a questa norma non sono numerose. Talvolta i resti delle desinenze casuali latine diverse dall’accusativo si riconoscono in maniera sistematica nella morfologia: è il caso della desinenza -i del plurale dei nomi maschili in -o, che deriva con certezza dal nominativo latino (it. lupi < lat. lupi).
    http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/...27Italiano%29/

    It's uncontested that the plural form of the second declesion drives from the plural nominative.
    Last edited by Nino83; 26th September 2013 at 6:43 PM.

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    Re: Romance nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Nino83 View Post
    What about cantamus --> cantamos --> cantiamo (and not cantiami, as in muros --> muri)?
    Not all the Latin -s has become -i (I think this is clear). But -amos is a bisyllabic desinence, thus the loss of the final -s did not cause any ambiguity or "necessity" to maintain the final -s (even if "transformed" to -i). But this is only my "speculation", I don't know the exact answer ...

    But ... in the so called "Séquence de saint Eulalie", written in old "langue d'oïl" (or "Proto-Piccard") we find: "Voldrent la veintre li ... inimi", but "Elle nont escoltet les mals consilliers".

    This may suggest that the distinction between the nominative and accusative plural still existed in the 9th century (in some regions, of course). However, I don't know if there are other relevant sources that could confirm this ...

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    Re: Romance nouns

    ".... con certezza ...." is something that no professional linguist would ever say.

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    Re: Romance nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by fdb View Post
    ".... con certezza ...." is something that no professional linguist would ever say.
    But it seems that the accusative theory doesn't bring it into discussion.
    The alternative is between as and ae.

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    Re: Romance nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Nino83 View Post
    ... It's uncontested that the plural form of the second declesion drives from the plural nominative.
    I agree, but if our argumentation will consist only in citing "indoubtable" declarations of various authoriries/sources, then what is the sense of this thread? ...

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    Re: Romance nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by francisgranada View Post
    I agree, even more I know that -oi>-i (as in post > poi) is rare in the Italian language (but not in other languages). But if our argumentation will consist only in citing "indoubtable" declarations of various authoriries/sources, then what is the sense of this thread? ...
    We could say what is discussed and what is not.

    For French, Spanish and Portuguese there's no doubt among linguists. Nouns derive from accusative singular and plural.
    For Italian, we may say that there is a discussion about the plural nominative of the first declesion. One theory says that it was ae, the other that it was as.
    It seems that both theories say that Italian nouns derive from accusative singular and nominative (in ae or in as, for the first declesion) plural.

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    Re: Romance nouns

    See also:
    Accusative declension from Latin -> Italian
    Italian and Romanian plural
    Quote Originally Posted by francisgranada View Post
    This may suggest that the distinction between the nominative and accusative plural still existed in the 9th century (in some regions, of course). However, I don't know if there are other relevant sources that could confirm this ...
    It is well known — and mentioned in the previous threads — that Old French (and Gallo-Romance more generally) maintained the distinction between subject and object/oblique case, and this lasted quite a bit beyond the 9th century.

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    Re: Romance nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Nino83 View Post
    We could say what is discussed and what is not ...
    Ok, now I understand you .

    Quote Originally Posted by CapnPrep View Post
    ...It is well known — and mentioned in the previous threads ...
    You are right (sorry).
    Last edited by francisgranada; 27th September 2013 at 7:26 AM.

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    Re: Romance nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by CapnPrep View Post
    It is well known — and mentioned in the previous threads — that Old French (and Gallo-Romance more generally) maintained the distinction between subject and object/oblique case, and this lasted quite a bit beyond the 9th century.
    Was the object/oblique case an inflected noun, equivalent to the modern constructions with prepositions? Why did French maintain this distinction for longer than other Romance languages?

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