Luglio

merquiades

Senior Member
English (USA Northeast)
Hello. I was wondering if anyone had an explanation as to why July is Luglio in Italian rather than an expected Giuglio. Besides July, other Romance also has (Julio, Julho, Juillet... )
 
  • Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    I guess it must just be a case of dissimilation. Similar to that of Catalan jull or Spanish joyo.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    Another reason is (in my opinion) the need to avoid confusion with the very common personal masculine name Giulio. The latter is a more faithful continuation of Latin Julius. The man and the month have phonetically taken somewhat divergent ways.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    I guess it must just be a case of dissimilation. Similar to that of Catalan jull or Spanish joyo.
    Dissimilation because it is impossible to pronounce Gliuglio?
    So lolium becomes liolum > liolo. Then ʎolio > ʒoʎo > ʃoʎo > xoʝo . That's a long process for lolium to become joyo. But did Catalan ʎ become ʒ too at a certain stage? At any rate lolium already had an L, Iulius had I.
    Another reason is (in my opinion) the need to avoid confusion with the very common personal masculine name Giulio. The latter is a more faithful continuation of Latin Julius. The man and the month have phonetically taken somewhat divergent ways.
    Maybe, but Spanish doesn't seem to have a problem with Julio being both the name and the month. French has Jules and Juillet though, the -et being another mystery.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    But did Catalan ʎ become ʒ too at a certain stage?

    No, words from lo- become llo- and stay like that (lloc, llom, llong). Loliu should have given lloll, so in jull there is a clear case of dissimilation (probably causing the closing of o into u).

    By the way, Catalan also distinguishes the name Juli and the month juliol (iuliolu, diminutive)
     

    symposium

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    Sooooo... what if somebody mistook the I of Iulius for an L? Sorry, I was just being silly. I suppose that Iuglius became Gliuglius for assimilation, the two syllables being so similar, but the sound "gl" being too hard to pronounce at the beginning of a word, it naturally morphed into a L.
     

    Paixien

    New Member
    English - Pacific West USA
    Sooooo... what if somebody mistook the I of Iulius for an L? Sorry, I was just being silly. I suppose that Iuglius became Gliuglius for assimilation, the two syllables being so similar, but the sound "gl" being too hard to pronounce at the beginning of a word, it naturally morphed into a L.
    I don’t think it’s silly at all. I have noticed a number of other words that have come from Latin that are spelled or pronounced in an unexpected manner (when compared with the usual conversions from Latin to a particular language). Changing a Latin I (which were identical to J) to an L in Italian happens in several words besides this, and given the fact that they were both just straight lines early on (the point over an i and the serifs on a capital I were late additions in writing), this particular error in hand-copying manuscripts is especially likely. I can easily imagine some functionaries in farflung places thought the documents establishing the calendar said Luglio and pronounced it that way and his underlings were too afraid to question it, same way that Castilian Spanish has a lisping s because a King had a speech impediment.

    I used to work as a proofreader so I think along these lines. Historians act as if the documents they study contain no errors because usually there’s no way to *prove* they do, but *of course* they do, they were written by humans. And in the age of laborious hand-copying of texts, any errors not caught/admitted to then would be slavishly perpetuated by later copyists (who might add one of their own).
     

    jimquk

    Member
    British English
    There's something odd going on with this month.

    Luglio has an unexplained L, juillet has an unexplained -et, and July has an unexplained stress pattern. And yet the expected outcomes giuglio, juille, /juli/ don't seem to present any special problems in pronunciation.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    same way that Castilian Spanish has a lisping s because a King had a speech impediment.

    You don't seriously believe that, do you?

    And what English king had the same lisp for the TH of think in English? :p
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Another reason is (in my opinion) the need to avoid confusion with the very common personal masculine name Giulio. The latter is a more faithful continuation of Latin Julius. The man and the month have phonetically taken somewhat divergent ways.
    A continuation of Latin /lj/ is illustrated by the title word; Giulio, like the vast majority of Latin-resembling names, is a borrowing.

    In this relation is often mentioned giglio < līlium. Maiden 2014 explains luglio as a hypercorrection for the phenomenon in giglio. Catalan jull, Spanish joyo and Portuguese joio would then be part of the same vacillation whose outcomes were different in different regions. It probably affected all the words in l_lj, of which there was only a handful.
    I don’t think it’s silly at all. [...] And in the age of laborious hand-copying of texts, any errors not caught/admitted to then would be slavishly perpetuated by later copyists (who might add one of their own).
    In order to believe that explanation one would have to find a systematic confusion between the two letters, that would furthermore somehow find its way into people's speech. This is inconceivable for many reasons. Firstly, in an age of 5% literacy, scribal copy errors remain on dusty manuscripts. Secondly, they remain inside a single line of the manuscript tradition. Thirdly, they remain in the exact place where the scribe made a mistake. Fourthly, they were actively corrected during copying. There's no process by which a single mistake could propagate itself into all occurrences of the same word inside a single manuscript (that's difficult even for a word that only occurs two or three times), so that line of reasoning cannot proceed even thus far.

    To elaborate on the first reason, it would be stretching credibility to postulate a manuscript misspelling finding its way into popular speech, let alone totally displacing the "correct" form, even under the Roman principate - I know of no such precedents. Besides, there exist further reflexes of the same initial-L form in Engadine Romansch lüʎ (spelled lugl?) and Friulian lui, and in what looks like a cross with Jūnius in Piedmontese lüɲ (spelled lugn).
     
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    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    In this relation is often mentioned giglio < līlium. Maiden 2014 explains luglio as a hypercorrection for the phenomenon in giglio. Catalan jull, Spanish joyo and Portuguese joio would then be part of the same vacillation whose outcomes were different in different regions. It probably affected all the words in l_lj, of which there was only a handful.

    Maiden's explanation seems both far-fetched and plausible at the same time. :)

    I wonder then if the Catalan surname Llull might be a hypercorrection too from a Jull from Iulius instead of what is commonly assumed as a Germanic origin from the common medieval name Lullus.

    From lilium, though, it's always lliri or llir, with dissimilation of the second l.
     
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