Fire, place

Phillip Minden’s comment on my last post prompted me to conduct a very cursory survey of varieties of Italian to see what they have for the words fire and place. You can see the result of this in the table below. A word of warning though — these are of course orthographic forms. I haven’t been able to find any online dictionaries which give pronunciations for non-standard varieties.

Standard Italian is the only variety I have been able to find which has a voicing mismatch for the intervocalic consonant in these two words.

It occurred to me whilst doing this survey that St. Italian has been fairly resistant to lenition, compared to some other Romance languages. Take for example the Latin word-ending -atum In St. Italian this has turned up as -ato, while Castilian Spanish has -ado.

So why there is a mismatch in St. Italian fuoco and luogo remains a mystery.

6 thoughts on “Fire, place

  1. According to Alkire and Rosen’s “Romance Languages: A Historical Introduction”, pp. 46-47:

    “The fate of original /p t k/ in Italian is variable and debated. While our chart suggests that intervocalic /p t k/ always remain intact, they actually appear as /v d g/ in a fair number of words …

    [examples including LACU > lago, LOCU > luogo, LACTUCA > lattuga, PRECARE > pregare]

    Results like these would be regular for Northern Italian dialects, which belong to the Gallo-Romance area. Diffusion of words from these dialects has been posited as the reason for the mixed results in Standard Italian, but the question remains unresolved”

  2. Gentlemen, I consider it my duty to quote Mr Phillip Minden here: “MIX OF DIALECTS IN STANDARD ITALIAN?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *