A couple of questions about sound changes

Panceltic

Senior Member
Slovenščina
Hi all,

could anyone give me a quick rundown about the etymological sound processes resulting in the following two cases please:

- chrzest > chrztu (would expect *chrzstu, complex consonant clusters are not alien to Polish after all, cf. czyściec > czyśćca; or Trzcianka)

- książę > księcia (would expect *książęcia, indeed the plural seems regular: książęta etc.)

Thanks! :)
 
  • anthox

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Certainly complex consonant clusters are common, but that doesn't mean any and all combinations are permitted. Take for example the early Polish word for “path,” *stĭdza, which by the Middle Ages had lost the short i to make stdza, as found in the Puławy Psalter: “Świece nogam moim słowo twoje, i światłość stdzam moim” (“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my paths”). This cluster ultimately proved too uncomfortable to survive, simplifying first into śdza and then, owing to a preference for the diminutive, modern-day ścieżka.

    Concerning chrzest, this brief article from the Rada Języka Polskiego site likewise explains the s-deletion as facilitating pronunciation: "Także w innych wyrazach tej rodziny występują uproszczenia trudnych do wymówienia grup spółgłoskowych – samo słowo chrzest gubi „s” w kilku przypadkach (chrztu, chrztowi, chrztem, chrzty, chrztów itd., a nie: chrzstu, chrzstowi, chrzstem, chrzsty, chrzstów itd., gdzie widać całą formę mianownikową)."

    As for książę, Brueckner notes that it is a diminutive of ksiądz, and gives the form księcia as a contracted (ściągnięte) form of książęcia, which is an alternate possible gen. sg. form. This article from the SJP discusses the history of książe in some detail, including how it originally was of neuter gender. Apparently księżęcia is also possible, per Wiktionary, but unlike książęcia it returns no results in the NKJP.
     

    Panceltic

    Senior Member
    Slovenščina
    Certainly complex consonant clusters are common, but that doesn't mean any and all combinations are permitted. Take for example the early Polish word for “path,” *stĭdza, which by the Middle Ages had lost the short i to make stdza, as found in the Puławy Psalter: “Świece nogam moim słowo twoje, i światłość stdzam moim” (“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my paths”). This cluster ultimately proved too uncomfortable to survive, simplifying first into śdza and then, owing to a preference for the diminutive, modern-day ścieżka.

    Concerning chrzest, this brief article from the Rada Języka Polskiego site likewise explains the s-deletion as facilitating pronunciation: "Także w innych wyrazach tej rodziny występują uproszczenia trudnych do wymówienia grup spółgłoskowych – samo słowo chrzest gubi „s” w kilku przypadkach (chrztu, chrztowi, chrztem, chrzty, chrztów itd., a nie: chrzstu, chrzstowi, chrzstem, chrzsty, chrzstów itd., gdzie widać całą formę mianownikową)."

    As for książę, Brueckner notes that it is a diminutive of ksiądz, and gives the form księcia as a contracted (ściągnięte) form of książęcia, which is an alternate possible gen. sg. form. This article from the SJP discusses the history of książe in some detail, including how it originally was of neuter gender. Apparently księżęcia is also possible, per Wiktionary, but unlike książęcia it returns no results in the NKJP.

    That’s great, thanks very much! Just what I was looking for.
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    - chrzest > chrztu (would expect *chrzstu, complex consonant clusters are not alien to Polish after all, cf. czyściec > czyśćca; or Trzcianka)
    The consonant clusters you referred to are often simplified, even though it's not visible in spelling. For example many speakers pronounce [czyśca], [czszcianka], or even [czcianka] - especially in contexts which do not require very careful and solemn pronunciation. In some cases silent consonants are considered standard pronunciation, such as in case of "jabłko" ([japko], mind the missing [ł]).
     
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