Initial f > h in Iberian Romance

Peter94

Member
Abcdefgh
Does the same thing occur in Latin American Spanish? :confused:

I don't think I heard vowel lowering in Venezuelan Spanish, because that's what you need to fully devoice lenited /b/. According to Wikipedia, it's not present in the whole Andalusia either:
Utterance-final /s/, /x/ and /θ/ (where ceceo or distinción occur) are usually aspirated (pronounced ) or deleted. In Eastern Andalusian dialects, including also Murcian Spanish, the previous vowel is also lowered.


What they're talking about is lowering vowels (pronouncing them "laxer", with the mouth more open) from their usual position: close /i/ /u/ to near-close [i̞] [u̞], mid /e/ /o/ ([e̞] [o̞]) to open-mid [ɛ] [ɔ], and open central /a/ ([ä]) to open front [a], so that these dialects have 10 phonetic vowels. Not phonemic, because they're analyzed as instances of /Vs/, where /V/ stands for any of 5 vowels of standard Spanish.

I heard only aspiration from Venezuelans. If I'm correct, then they would voice the aspirated /s/, because lenited /b/ is voiced too: [loɦ ˈβjexo]

And remember I'm talking about the Venezuelan variety. There's certainly more that aspirate /s/ in Latin American and Caribbean Spanish, Rioplatense dialect for example. But according to Wikipedia, it doesn't lower vowels in the /Vs/ context either:

In popular speech, the fricative /s/ has a tendency to become 'aspirated' before another consonant (the resulting sound depending on what the consonant is, although stating it is a voiceless glottal fricative, , would give a clear idea of the mechanism) or simply in all syllable-final positions in less educated speech. This change may be realized only at the word level or it may also cross word boundaries. That is, esto es lo mismo "this is the same" is pronounced something like [ˈe̞ʰto̞ ˈe̞ʰ lo̞ ˈmiʰmo̞] (there's probably an error here, since "mismo" in most dialects has a voiced fricative, so it should be transcribed [ˈmiʱmo] here), but in las águilas azules "the blue eagles", /s/ in las and águilas might remain [ s ] as no consonant follows: [las ˈaɣilas aˈsules], or become ; the pronunciation is largely an individual choice.[/S]

So there's even linking /s/ for some speakers. That's very interesting.

I suggest either writing to a phonetician who deals with Spanish, listening very carefully to YouTube videos or doing more research on Wikipedia. Either 3 will do, but if they're combined I think you'll learn everything you want to know about the subject.
 
  • Yuzer

    Member
    Hebrew
    Apart from Spanish and Gascon, which other Romance languages underwent this sound change, at the same period of history?
    There are manuscripts using favlar and fijo in Judeospanish since 1492. Today it's avlar and ijo. Still fierro and not hierro though.
     

    killerbee256

    Senior Member
    American English
    There are manuscripts using favlar and fijo in Judeospanish since 1492. Today it's avlar and ijo. Still fierro and not hierro though.
    Interesting in some ways judeo espanol resembles modern portuguese more then modern Spanish. Favlar looks half way between modern Spanish hablar and portuguese falar
     

    Yuzer

    Member
    Hebrew
    Interesting in some ways judeo espanol resembles modern portuguese more then modern Spanish. Favlar looks half way between modern Spanish hablar and portuguese falar
    Overall it's still considered some dialect of Spanish by many speakers themselves. It's true that it conserved many Iberian features like x/sh, and there are some words like muncho which resemble Portuguese muito, pronounced "muntu". In some dialects final o tend to be realised as u as well.
     

    killerbee256

    Senior Member
    American English
    Overall it's still considered some dialect of Spanish by many speakers themselves. It's true that it conserved many Iberian features like x/sh, and there are some words like muncho which resemble Portuguese muito, pronounced "muntu". In some dialects final o tend to be realised as u as well.
    Yes it's more the case that 15th century castilian was much closer to portuguese and visa versa, in that era I almost wonder if they weren't in practical terms still the same speech.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    There are manuscripts using favlar and fijo in Judeospanish since 1492. Today it's avlar and ijo. Still fierro and not hierro though.

    I'm a bit surprised and don't know what to make of this. As far as I know the Sephardic Jews left Spain not before 1492. In my studies I remember that the /f/ at the beginning of a word changed to /h/ before the back vowels by the thirteenth century and before frontal vowels not long later. It did not change to /h/ before another consonant, and with common diphthongs such as /ie/, /ue/ there was considerable variation. Actually the /f/ ended up being preserved before many diphthongs. In written Spanish (contrasting with oral) the "f" continued to be preferred in writing up to the sixteenth century when it was phased out to "h" refecting the pronunciation of the time period. Sometime starting in fifteenth century the /h/ gradually grew silent from north to south in Spain but not before colonization of Latin America, where the aspiration was transmitted to several areas.
    If the Sephardic people spoke Castilian Spanish and left after 1492 the /f/ would either have certainly been /h/ or silent in the words like hablar and hijo... depending on where they came from, but hesitation between hierro/fierro is possible. Perhaps they continued writing "f" longer out of tradition/ isolation???:confused:
     

    Yuzer

    Member
    Hebrew
    As far as I know: In the beginning every one spoke his local dialect. Most were Castilian. They used to live in small communities which cooperated, so that might explain why in Yugoslavia it sounds more like Aragones, Asturiano or Portuguese. Of course there was intermarriage so the dialects merged.

    My family says only fierro, but avlar and ijo, perhaps because I'm Castilian by origin.

    It should be noted that there was some dialect levelling with modern Castilian in the recent decade. Also, there is not even a letter for h in Sephardic, only used for Hebrew words. In times it was indeed written f but not pronounced. Also the word ella is written as elya but pronounced eya in Hebrew letters by the way.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Overall it's still considered some dialect of Spanish by many speakers themselves. It's true that it conserved many Iberian features like x/sh, and there are some words like muncho which resemble Portuguese muito, pronounced "muntu". In some dialects final o tend to be realised as u as well.

    The final solution for the sibilants had not occurred by 1492, a full century more was needed.
    "x" of "exemplo, caxa" was starting to move backward in some Castilian speakers but had not reached /x/, it was largely still pronounced /ʃ/ "sh". Likewise the "z/ç" (cabeça/hazer) was moving forward but had not reached /θ/ "th". Also, intervocalic "s" had not been universally devoiced so a word like "casa" would have still been /kaza/. Is that the current pronunciation in Sephardic?

    Final "o" pronounced /u/ was a trait (still is) of most western dialects... Asturian, Leonese, Extremaduran... also Galician.

    I wish many years of life to your wonderful language.
     

    Yuzer

    Member
    Hebrew
    Thanks. :) Interesting. Sephardic is like a live history book. So apparently none of the sibilants had been devoiced by 1492. I thought that had happened a bit earlier judging from literature.
    It goes vice versa - we also developed a bit different pronunciation. I like to compare the two and see how they developed. We say muevo and not nuevo for example, and have sh in some environments which is not historical: sesh and not seis, sosh and not sois, bushkar and nor buskar.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    It goes vice versa - we also developed a bit different pronunciation. I like to compare the two and see how they developed. We say muevo and not nuevo for example, and have sh in some environments which is not historical: sesh and not seis, sosh and not sois, bushkar and nor buskar.

    That does remind me quite a bit of Portuguese where "s" is pronounced "sh" at the end of a word and before a consonant, as in the case of all the cognate words you mention.
     

    G Sanchez

    Senior Member
    USA, English, Mexican descent
    A little tidbit to add. I had two colleagues directly linked to Italy, one by birth and another one generation removed. One colleague's mom came to visit and the other colleague said, "Oh, her accent is so cute. Whereas in my mom's region of Italy the letter "h" is pronounced [either silently or with a "h-," I can't recall], in her mom's part of Italy [I believe she said "north,"], they pronounce them like "f." I was blown away by that.
     

    Sardokan1.0

    Senior Member
    Sardu / Italianu
    This phenomenon of initial F > H happens also in a specific area of central Sardinia, on the mountains of Barbagia, a very isolated area; In Spanish this is due to a Basque substratum, in Sardinian (Barbaricino) it's due to a pre-Roman substratum, a non-Indoeuropean language; according to many academics the pre-Roman language of Sardinia could be related with Basque, hints of this ancient link are found in the toponyms of central Sardinia, 30-40% of them have no meaning in Latin or actual Sardinian, but they make sense in Basque language; moreover Sardinians carry a rare type of DNA : haplogroup I2a1 - I-M26 (over 40% of Sardinian population), that in Europe can be found in such high percentages only in Sardinia, southern Corsica, Basque country, Canaries islands and Azores islands.

    https://i2a1tree.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/20131213-131545.jpg?w=960

    https://i2a1tree.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/20131213-115026.jpg?w=960

    Examples of the phenomenon F > H (the phenomenon only happens if the F is followed by a vowel)

    Sardinian (Logudorese) - Sardinian (Barbaricino) - English

    funtana - huntana
    - fountain
    fàghere - hàchere - to do
    fogu - hocu - fire
    fusìle - husìle - shotgun
    ferru - herru - iron
    fàula - hàula - lie
    fàmene - hàmene - hunger
    famìlia - hamìlia - family
    fèmina - hèmina - woman
    fènu - hènu - hay
    fora - hora - out
    fòrsis - hòrsis - perhaps
    fumu - humu - smoke
    fundu - hundu - bottom
    furare - hurare - to steal
    fuste - huste - stick

    etc.etc.etc.
     
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    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    It is certainly a complicated phenomenon, and attributing it to mere Basque substratum, while tempting (even more considering Gascon), is controversial. Specially when the original territory of the Navarro-Aragonese Romance had much more Basque substratum than the Castilian birthplace in the Cantabrian duchy, and yet Navarro-Aragonese has always strongly maintained their initial f's.

    CASTILIAN (SPANISH) - NAVARRESE/ARAGONESE - GASCON

    haz - faixo/feixo - hèish
    hecho
    - feito - hèit
    hender - fender - héner
    hinojo - fenullo - h(en)olh
    horado - forato - horat
    hoja - fuella - huèlha
    hoz - falz - hauç
    huso - fuso - hus
    etc

     
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