Origin of final vowels in Italian

Ellis91

Member
Welsh & English
Almost all words in Italian end in a vowel. This is true even in cases where you wouldn't expect this based on a crude phonological development from Latin. E.g. amant --> *aman --> amano.

What process was at play here?
 
  • danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    So doing they are adding one more syllable to some words (thus more effort in pronounciation)
    while other Romance languages were "desperately" trying to reduce the syllables, in a natural behavior of humans to say more words per time frame. See the French language.
    Languages evolutions go in mysterious ways...
     

    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    For ex. after
    Prediction 1: when some morphs show a systematic syntagmatic relationship in a paradigm and consequently the learner builds just one general paradigm for all the affixes, these affixes will (eventually) show a fusional pattern in subsequent instances of the language.
    you 'reuse' the /o/ in sunt → son1, cantarunt → cantaro2 (a kid knows /o/ 'also belongs' to loro), at the time you 'merge' amano with amamo. Compared to ES, instead of /os/ nouns, you get a system constantly changing sing./o/→ pl./i/ (los perros sono is a bit much :p).
     

    Swatters

    Senior Member
    French - Belgium, some Wallo-Picard
    Is there any variation in the vowel of the 3P suffix in Italo-Romance languages? In the North-East of the Gallo-Romance area where such epithesis happened, it's fairly obvious in the outcomes: the source must have been */-ntə/, with various dialects then changing the vowel: core Picard lost it entirely but the vowel still protected the suffix from total phonological erosion (amant > /ilɛ̃mt/) while Wallo-Picard and Central Walloon have moved the stress to the vowel and preserved it as an outcome of schwa, a short/lax front vowel variable by region (Binche: amant > /ilɛ̃m/, Charleroi amant > /ilɛ̃m/, Namur amant > /ilɛ̃mny/, Brabant amant > /ilɛ̃m/). Liège Walloon has /ilɛ̃mɛ/ with a /ɛ/ 3P suffix I'm not sure shares an origin with the rest.

    If the languages of Italy systematically show /o/ (or a vowel that can be an outcome of /o/) then rather than epithesis, analogy with another verb form is much more likely (in the same way most of Gallo-Romance has a low/back nasal vowel borrowed from sunt as its 3P suffix (French is unusual))
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    I've frequently seen this explained as the following analogy: io amo : io son, essi son => io sono, essi sono. So the vowel is taken from the 1SG of regular verbs and transplanted to two identical forms of the copula. A similar analogical replacement took place also in Sardinian: (d)ego faco, tu(e) faches(e) => (d)ego so, tu(e) ses(e). If I had to speculate about the original outcome of sum, it would be sun(u), which is instead the Nuorese dialect 3P form, sunt(u) elswhere. The presence or absence of the bracked paragogic vowels depends on whether a vowel already follows and on phrasal intonation.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    And so from "sono" it passed on to every third person plural form...

    I can believe it. Analogy seems advanced in Italian. All the first person imperfect forms now end in -o too instead of the expected -a.
    Likewise -iamo was transmitted to all first person plural forms. In this respect Italian is very innovative, at least compared to Spanish.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    There are many analogies in the verbal paradigms of, I'd say, all Romance languages. It'd be nice to know which is the one that has retained more 'strong' forms, so to speak.

    So doing they are adding one more syllable to some words (thus more effort in pronounciation)
    The cadence of Italian seems to require it. It is very noticeable, for example, when Italians speak English and constantly add a very short vowel sound at the end of words ending in consonants.
     

    Linnets

    Senior Member
    The cadence of Italian seems to require it. It is very noticeable, for example, when Italians speak English and constantly add a very short vowel sound at the end of words ending in consonants.
    Except words ending in -n which are pronounced with a final [-ŋ]. By contrast, words ending in -ng are prononunced with final [-ŋɡə].
     

    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    When a beautiful voice says Quanti infelici soffron, 'require' also seems misplaced. :p 'What is' & a reason, without denying 'what was'.
     
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