ll>ld in Spanish and Danish


Is it coincidental that ll sometimes becomes ld from Latin to Spanish and also from Old Norse to Danish?
e.g., rebellis>rebelde, cella>celda; fjall>fjeld, fall>fald
Is there any connection (between like Celtiberi and Cimbri)?
  • Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I know the Vikings got about a bit, but given the distance between Denmark and Spain I would be inclined to put it down to coincidence. The changes are more likely the result of dissimilation, which is explained here: Dissimilation - Wikipedia. The more recent either change took place, the more likely it is to be coincidental.


    Senior Member
    French (France)
    Spanish rebelde and celda are loanwords ("cultismos") from mediaeval Latin. The regular Spanish reflex of Latin double l is the palatalized ll.


    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Here is what Corominas says about those two words in his Breve diccionario:
    CELDA, h[acia] 1400, antes cella (pronunciado cel·la), fin S[iglo] XIII.
    Tom[ado] del lat[ín] cělla
    REBELDE, fin S[iglo] XIII (rebele, 1241), tomado del lat[ín] rebellis [...]
    con desarollo semiculto del grupo ll en ld.
    I surmise that both words, thanks to learnèd (bookish) influence, maintained the Latin geminate /l/
    rather than the palatal /ʎ/ of popular development
    (spelled either l or ll in that era when spelling conventions were still in flux).
    The geminate in both words seems to have dissimilated in the same way.
    I don't know of any other Latin geminate that was preserved long enough in Spanish to undergo dissimilation.
    I don't know what to make of your Danish examples, with /ll/ in word-final position.


    Senior Member
    Inglés canadiense
    I agree with Cenzontle.

    The similar, though unrelated, type of dissimilation happened with words like: hominis > homne > hombre; faminis > famne > hambre; femina > femna > hembra.

    I mention this just to illustrate that Spanish historically has been very amenable to dissimilation. As much as they tried to maintain celda and rebelde as cultismos, the phonological process won.


    Senior Member
    German (Austria)
    In Danish the phenomenon is purely orthographic, the d is not spoken. Historically, original /nd/ and /ld/ were assimilated to /nn/ and /ll/ after which the spelling with (now silent) d was transferred also to words with original geminates.
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