French outcomes from Latin eu: neutrum > neutre, rheuma > rhume, et al.

Catagrapha

Member
Malagasy
Wiktionary says neutre and rhume are both borrowed. Why is one outcome eu, another u?
If inherited, what would be the outcome for the eu of a word like neutrum or rheuma (i.e., a disyllabic or multisyllabic word where eu is not the nucleus of the last syllable, like neutrum, rheuma, unlike nucleus)?
 
  • pollohispanizado

    Senior Member
    Inglés canadiense
    They are both attested around the same time --within a century and a bit--, but rhume (or reume, as it was spelled back then) was commonly used much sooner than neutre (13th century vs. 17th century), which means that between that and the illiteracy of the middle ages, it had more time and room to change.
     

    Swatters

    Senior Member
    French - Belgium, some Wallo-Picard
    If inherited, what would be the outcome for the eu of a word like neutrum or rheuma (i.e., a disyllabic or multisyllabic word where eu is not the nucleus of the last syllable, like neutrum, rheuma, unlike nucleus)?
    I can't think of an example where the diphthong /eu̯/ representing Greek εῦ was inherited. Words like neutrum, where a tonic short /e/ was followed by /u/ are more frequent: déus > dieu, tenoléum > *tonoléum > tonlieu, meum > mien, Matthaeus > *Mattéus > Matthieu, all indicating that VL /ɛ/ diphthonged to /jɛ/ as in a open syllable in that context. Ignoring meum which seems to have been simplified to /mjɛn/ at some point, this led to a /jɛw/ triphthong that eventually gave /jø/, so I'd expect /njøːtʀ/ and either /ʀjœm(ə)/ or /rjɛ̃/ as modern French outcomes, depending on how rheuma was treated when the neuter was eliminated (*reuma or *reumo)

    Frankish *speot > épieu shares this outcome too.
     

    Catagrapha

    Member
    Malagasy
    Wiktionary says Proto-Germanic *fehu > Vulgar Latin *feus > Old French fieu; feud is borrowed from feudum.
    Teuton is borrowed. If inherited, would it be Tieuton? Or Tieun?
     

    Swatters

    Senior Member
    French - Belgium, some Wallo-Picard
    That's actually really hard to answer because there isn't many words of that shape that were truly inherited. The stress was initial here, so teutonem > */'tɛwtne/, which creates a really strange cluster that would have had to be resolved and I'm not sure how. Similar clusters like hominem > */'ɔmne/ > OF homme /ɔmə/, ōrdinem > */ordne/ > OF orne, ourne /ornə/ > /urnə/ give us a hint, but I can't think of any etymon with */tn/. (Cases of CVnVm > Crə like diaconum > diacre or ordinem > ordre are very early loans from Latin)

    Assuming a similar /tne/ > /nə/ outcome as in ordinem gives *tieune, but that's highly speculative.

    EDIT: There's a city that went Santones > Saintes, which gives support to an outcome like teutonem > *tieute.

    That particular root did give us an inherited word however, but as a VL loan from Frankish rather than from Greek. Germanic theodisk/thiudisk > It. tedesco, Fr. thiois /tiwa/. The word appear in Carolingian texts as theodiscum and in the song of Roland as Teideis, but the modern outcomes in Gallo-Romance look to be from VL */tiw'dekso/ > */ti'ðejso/ (The eo > iu shift looks to have taken place in Frankish in umlauting contexts), rather than an early medieval Latin borrowing as wiktionary claims.
     
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    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    According to Rohlfs 1969, South Italian dialects show two treatments of this:
    • eu > evi, as in λεύκη > lievica "white poplar", Leviche (placename) shows disyllabic treatment;
    • eu > iò, as in πεύκη > piòca "maritime pine", Jòppolo < (ἄγιος) Εύπλος (placename) shows consonantisation + accent shift, parallel to fīlíolus > figliuòlo; the outcome of -egn- is the same, e.g. liòna < ligna "wood". Rohlfs writes all the examples with an open ò, but before that it says "è passato a ". By the way, this vacillation of eu~eg when followed by a consonant is attested already in Late Latin.
     

    Catagrapha

    Member
    Malagasy
    According to Rohlfs 1969, South Italian dialects show two treatments of this:
    • eu > evi, as in λεύκη > lievica "white poplar", Leviche (placename) shows disyllabic treatment;.
    I saw a divergent development Leucum > Lecco, somewhat similar to Achilleus > Achilles, Achille.

    I saw two divergent developments: se(c)urum > seur, se(c)utorem > suytour. What led to the divergence?
    (I suppose the c was dropped first like doyen <decanum> , foyer <focarium>).
     
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    Swatters

    Senior Member
    French - Belgium, some Wallo-Picard
    I saw two divergent developments: se(c)urum > seur, se(c)utorem > suytour. What led to the divergence?
    (I suppose the c was dropped first like doyen <decanum> , foyer <focarium>
    Stress. Words like deum were stressed on the e, which became a diphthong ie. Securum was stressed on the first u while secutorem was stressed on the o.

    You absolutely need to take stress into account when thinking about Romance étymologies, vowel evolved completely differently when stressed
     
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