French: Voix

  • Swatters

    Senior Member
    French - Belgium, some Wallo-Picard
    It's from vōcem /'woːkem/, which gives proto-Romance /'ßokʲɛ/. /o/ before a palatalised consonant evolves into /oj/ (It's often described as the palatal ejecting a yod to the preceding syllable, in the process closing it and stopping an /ew/ diphthong from forming, compare the unpalatalised vœu, from votum). This gives Old French /voɪ̯t͡s/ "voiz", which was borrowed in English as voice after the deaffrication of t͡s.

    The same phenomenon produced paix from pacem (/paɪ̯t͡s/ in OF), (il) nuit from nocet (/nyɪ̯t/ in OF), (il) gît from jacet (/d͡ʒit/ from an earlier */d͡ʒjɛjt/), loi from legem (/leɪ̯/ in early OF) and so on.

    EDIT: for similar -ōce-/-uce- outcomes: crucem -> croix, nucem -> noix, mūcēre > moisir (after shortening of the pretonic long u)
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    Senior Member
    French - Belgium, some Wallo-Picard
    During the late eighteenth to the early nineteenth century, shifting from /wɛ/.

    The /oɪ̯/ > /we/ shift was much earlier, during the late Old French period, so around 1300.


    Senior Member
    Français (Québec)
    The /we/ pronunciation is still heard frecuently in Quebec and French Canada. A common interjection is "Envoye", but it is pronounced /æ̃wej/.
    You're right, but it is not systematic.

    Toi may be /twa/ or /twe/, but loi is always /lwa/.