Proto-Northern-Romance (MGR)

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Proto-Northern-Romance
*Jermānttjē / *Rōmānttjē / Lingua Rūstica Germāniārum
Spoken in: northwestern Europe
Conworld: Mundus Germaniae Romanae
Total speakers: unknown
Genealogical classification: Indo-European
Romance
Italo-Northwestern-Romance
Proto-Northern-Romance
Basic word order: SVO
Morphological type: inflecting
Morphosyntactic alignment: nominative-accusative
Created by:
P Collier, BP Jonsson 2006+

Introduction

Proto-Northern Romance is a reconstructed language. It is the posited common ancestor of today's Northern Romance languages (see below), sometimes known as the Germanican languages, that developed in central and northwestern Europe from the local variant of Vulgar Latin.

Modern Descendants

The distibution of Romance languages in Europe. The modern descendants of Proto-Northern Romance are shown in green.












Phonology

Consonants


Consonants
Bilabial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p   b ¹ t   d ¹ k   g ¹
Fricative     β ¹ f     θ   ð ¹ s x   ɣ ¹ h
Approximant w j
Trill r
Lateral l

¹The stop allophones occured in initial position or when geminated. In other positions b d and g are realised as fricatives. </div>

Vowels


Vowels
Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
High
Near-high ɪ ʊ
High-mid e
Low-mid ɛ   ɛː ɔ   ɔː
Low a   aː

Phonological History


Earliest Developments, Gallo-Romance/Germano-Romance Split

The earliest linguistic developments in Germania paralleled those in neighbouring Gaul. A more detailed description of Vulgar Latin and its development in Gaul can be found elsewhere.

The differing substratum in Germania however ultimately led to a divergence of Gallo- and Germano-Romance dialects from around the 2nd century CE.

One of the earliest Northern Romance developments that marks the split with Western Romance is the further development of the Vulgar Latin vowel system, as outlined below. N-Rom also did not take part in the intervocalic lenition undergone by all the W-Rom dialects.

Also distinctive is that the palatisation of stops before front vowels, a common feature of W-Rom, is not present in N-Rom where such consonants were instead geminated. Since such palatisation is singularly lacking in N-Rom despite the fact that very early evidence exists for palatisation in Latin, it is thought that not only did this feature not develop further in N-Rom but that existing palatised consonants must have reverted to pure stops. The generally accepted hypothesis for this phenomenon is that palatised consonants did not exist in the languages of Pre-Roman Germania, and this exerted a strong substratic influence causing their elimination in N-Rom.

The final major defining feature of early Proto-Northern Romance is the change in stress from the penult or antepenult to the word stem. </div>

Stress

Pimary stress in Proto-Northern Romance moved to the word stem in all instances. Formerly stressed vowels retained a slight, secondary stress. For example: haˈbēmus > *ˈhāˌbīms. The change in stress coupled with the syncope of unstressed vowels had a considerable effect on morphology. </div>

Vowels

The 10-vowel system of classical Latin had already, through a replacement of length distinctions with qualitative distinctions and subsequent merger of some qualities, evolved into a 7 or 8 vowel system in the Italo-Northwestern dialects of Vulgar Latin.

In Proto-Northern Romance the vowel system developed further, and a phonemic length distinction began to re-emerge.

Evolution of vowels in PNR
VL PNR
ɪ >
e > ɪ
> ɪ
ɛ > ɛ
æː¹ >
a > a
ʊ >
o > ʊ
ɔ > ɔː

¹ From Latin diphthong /a͡i/. In other VL dialects this vowel merged with /ɛ/. </div>

Vowel Lengthening in Open Syllables

Vowels in open syllables became lengthened, and three new sounds /ɛː/, /eː/ and /oː/ emerged:

Open Syllable Lengthening
ɪ >
ɛ > ɛː
a >
ʊ >

</div>

A-Mutation

A short high vowel (/ɪ/ or /ʊ/) was lowered when the following syllable contained a non-high vowel (/aː/, /eː/, /ɛː/, or /ɔː/). The high vowel was not lowered, however, if /j/ intervened between it and the following non-high vowel. An intervening nasal consonant followed by a consonant of any kind also blocked the process.

A-Mutation
ɪ > ɛ
ʊ > ɔ

</div>

Vowel Breaking

Some long vowels broke and became diphthongs.

Vowel Breaking
> e͡ı
ɛː > ɛ͡ə
> o͡u
ɔː > ɔ͡ə

</div>

Vowel Syncope in Non-Stressed Syllables

The process of vowel elision began prior to the separate development of Proto-Northern Romance, such as with the loss of unstressed vowels between an obstruent and a liquid (e.g. Populus > *Poplus).

This syncope continued in Proto-Northern Romance, with the loss of non-initial pretonic vowels, and unstressed post-tonic e and u. </div>

Consonants

Consonants underwent many changes in their evolution from Vulgar Latin. The main changes are summarised below. </div>

Assimilation in Consonant Clusters

In common with Gallo-Romance, the Germano-Romance dialects assimilated some consonant clusters.

Assimilation
VL PNR
tl > kl
bs > ps
bt > pt
skl > sl
nkt > nt

</div>

Simplification of Consonant Clusters

Certain consonant clusters were simplified.

Simplification
VL PNR
ns > s
ks > s
ls > s
mpt > nt
kw > k ¹

¹ Except before /a/ or /aː/ </div>

Loss of Final Consonants

Final m had been lost since classical times. In Proto-Northern Romance final n was also lost (except in monosyllables) from a very early stage and, later, final d. The loss of final d is attributed to the Gallo-Romance super- / adstratum. </div>

Interchange of w, b and u

The pronunciation of b and w had begun to merge in Vulgar Latin, as the two sounds approached [β]. In the Germanian dialects it appears w remained perhaps more distinct while b developed two allophones, [b] and [β], depending on position.

Ultimately there was some interchange of b and w, depending on position, or vocalisation of either to u, ū or au.

  • b or w between i or e and a short vowel vocalised to u
  • b or w between u or ō and a short vowel vocalised to ū
  • b or w between o, a or ā and a short vowel vocalised to au
  • w before t vocalised to ū
  • w after m shifted to b
  • b was generally realised as [β], except in initial position or after m, when it was realised as [b].
  • b after any obstruent shifted to w
  • b before w shifted to w

</div>

Consonant Shifts

The following sound shifts are also attested in Proto-Northern Romance:

Consonant Shifts
VL PNR
Any labial > f before t
Any dental + t > ss
ss > st before r
f > θ except before l
z > s
(s)sj > x
x > h between vowels
gj > dj
dj > j in initial position
g > j before front vowels
Gemination

Any consonant (except r) was geminated when it fell between a short vowel and j.

  • *cladju > *cladd
  • *ratjōnis > *rattjōnes

Morphology

Note with regard to spelling:

The written language of the literate Roman inhabitants of Germania was Classical Latin. Proto-Northern Romance was never transcribed, but rather was the local spoken dialect of Vulgar Latin.

Since any spelling of Proto-Northern Romance is moot, it allows a certain freedom when transcribing the language. For this reason, and ease of reading, modern spelling conventions are used in transcribing the semivowels /j/ and /w/ and those sounds not present in Classical Latin.

/j/       j
/w/       w
/θ/       th
/ð/       dh
/x/       ch

The Proto-Northern Romance phoneme /b/ was pronounced either as frictaive [β] or stop [b], depending on position (see phonology). Both allophones here are transcribed as b. Similarly /g/, which could be [ɣ] or [g], is transcribed as g. </div>

Nouns

Latin's seven case system had reduced to four in Proto-Northern Romance – nominative, accusative, genitive and dative.

The neuter gender was lost, neuter nouns on the whole being reanalysed as masculine. </div>

1st Declension

Group I

Mainly feminine, with some masculine exceptions. Derived from Latin 1st and 5th declensions.

1st Declension – Group I
Singular Plural
Nominative – a – as
Accusative – a – as
Genitive – ā – ārō
Dative – ā – īs

The following Latin paradigms decline per the above (starred forms are presumed/attested in Vulgar Latin):

  • terra, terrae
  • *dia, *diae (< *diēs, diēī)
  • *Aenēa, Aenēae (< *Aenēas, Aenēae)
  • *Anchīsa, Anchīsae (< *Anchīses, Anchīsae)

</div>

Group II

Feminine. Derived from Latin 1st declension.

1st Declension – Group II
Singular Plural
Nominative – ē – as
Accusative – ē – as
Genitive – es – ārō
Dative – ā – īs

The following Latin paradigm declines per the above:

  • crambē, crambes

</div>

2nd Declension

Group I

Masculine, including originally neuter Latin nouns. Derived from Latin 3rd declension.

2nd Declension – Group I
Singular Plural
Nominative – ē – ī
Accusative – ē – s
Genitive – es – ōrō
Dative – ī – īs

The following Latin paradigms decline per the above:

  • rēte, rētis
  • pater, patris
  • *nōme, nōminis (< nōmen, nōminis)
  • opus, operis

</div>

Group II

Masculine, including originally feminine Latin nouns. Derived from Latin 3rd declension.

2nd Declension – Group II
Singular Plural
Nominative – es – ī
Accusative – ē – s
Genitive – es – ōrō
Dative – ī – īs

The following Latin paradigms decline per the above:'

  • amnis, amnis
  • *animālis, *animālis (< animāl, animālīs)
  • *amantis, amantis (< amans, amantis)
  • *ossus, ossis (< os, ossis)
  • *āeris, āeris (< āēr, āeris)
  • *hērōis, hērōis (< hērōs, hērōis)
  • *Periclis, Periclis (<Periclēs, Periclis)
  • *poēmatis, poēmatis (< poēma, poēmatis)

</div>

Group III

Masculine, including originally feminine or neuter Latin nouns. Derived from Latin 2nd and 4th declensions.

2nd Declension – Group III
Singular Plural
Nominative – s – ī
Accusative – ō – s
Genitive – ī – ōrō
Dative – ō – īs

The following Latin paradigms decline per the above:

  • modus, modī
  • Lūcius, Lūcī
  • *Dēlus, Dēlī (< Dēlos, Dēlī)
  • *dōnus, dōnī (< dōnum, dōnī)
  • portus, *portī (< portus, portūs)
  • *genūus, *genuī (< genū, genūs)

</div>

Group IV

Masculine, including originally feminine Latin nouns. Derived from Latin 2nd declension.

2nd Declension – Group IV
Singular Plural
Nominative – ī
Accusative – ō – s
Genitive – ī – ōrō
Dative – ō – īs

The following Latin paradigms decline per the above:

  • liber, librī
  • puer, puerī

</div>

3rd Declension

Feminine, including originally masculine Latin nouns. Derived from Latin 3rd and 5th declensions.

3rd Declension
Singular Plural
Nominative – es – es
Accusative – ē – es
Genitive – es – jō
Dative – ī – ius

The following Latin paradigms decline per the above

  • *clādis, clādis (< clādēs, clādis)
  • *urbis, urbis (< urbs, urbis)
  • *laudis, laudis (< laus, laudis)
  • *aetātis, aetātis (< aetās, aetātis)
  • rēs, *reis (< rēs, reī)
  • *Naiadis, Naiadis (< Naias, Naiadis)
  • *mōris, mōris (< mōs, mōris)
  • *ratiōnis, ratiōnis (< ratiō, ratiōnis)

</div>

Pronouns

Pronouns
Singular Plural
masculine feminine reflexive impersonal masculine feminine reflexive
1st person Nominative nus
Accusative nus
Genitive mej nosttrē
Dative nūs
2nd person Nominative wus
Accusative wus
Genitive twī westtrē
Dative waus
3rd person Nominative ellē ella hōmō illī ellas
Accusative hōmmē
Genitive swī hōmmes swī
Dative hōmmī sīs
Interrogative
& relative
Nominative
Accusative cus quas
Genitive cus quājs cōrō quarō
Dative quāī cius

</div>

Verbs

In the transition from Latin to Proto-Northern Romance, verbs went through several syntactic and semantic changes. Most of the distinctions present in classical Latin continued to be made, but synthetic forms were often replaced with analytic ones. Other verb forms changed meaning, and new forms also appeared.

In common with the other Romance dialects, Latin's synthetic passive voice was completely lost, to be replaced by a periphrastic form utilising the appropriately conjugated form of the verb 'to be' plus the past participle.

Similar new periphrastic forms also developed for the future tense, utilising the verb 'to come' plus the infinitive, and the perfect tense, using 'to have' and the past participle.

Latin's perfect tense had also functioned as a preterite (simple past). Following the development of a new periphrastic perfect tense (see above), use of the original perfect form continued but became limited solely to its preterite meaning.

Latin's imperfect tense was completely lost in Proto-Northern Romance.

Indicative Mood

1st Conjugation
Present
Singular Plural
1st person – ō – āms
2nd person – as – āttjes
3rd Person – at – ant
Preterite (Simple Past)
Singular Plural
1st person – aj – aums
2nd person – ahī – āhes
3rd Person – aut – ārnt


A small group of 1st conjugation verbs, primarily those with stems ending in – d, formed their preterite indicative differently:

Preterite (Simple Past)
Singular Plural
1st person ...d – ej ...d – ams
2nd person ...d – hī ...d – hes
3rd Person ...d – et ...d – arnt

</div>

2nd Conjugation
Present
Singular Plural
1st person – ō – aems
2nd person – es – aettjes
3rd Person – et – int
Preterite (Simple Past)
Singular Plural
1st person – bī – baems
2nd person – bihī – bihes
3rd Person – bet – baernt


3rd Conjugation
Present
Singular Plural
1st person –ō – ms
2nd person – es – ttjes
3rd Person – et – nt
Preterite (Simple Past)
Singular Plural
1st person – si – sams
2nd person – hī – hes
3rd Person – set – saernt


4th Conjugation
Present
Singular Plural
1st person – ō – īms
2nd person – īs – īttjīs
3rd Person – et – ant
Preterite (Simple Past)
Singular Plural
1st person – i – jōms
2nd person – hī – īhes
3rd Person – iut – īrnt


Subjunctive Mood

1st Conjugation
Present
Singular Plural
1st person – ē – eims
2nd person – es – aettjes
3rd Person – et – int
Preterite (Simple Past)
Singular Plural
1st person – sē – saems
2nd person – ses – saettjes
3rd Person – set – sint


2nd Conjugation
Present
Singular Plural
1st person –a – āms
2nd person – as – āttjes
3rd Person – at – ant
Preterite (Simple Past)
Singular Plural
1st person – bessē – saems
2nd person – bisses – saettjes
3rd Person – bisset – bissint


3rd Conjugation
Present
Singular Plural
1st person –a – āms
2nd person – as – āttjes
3rd Person – at – ant
Preterite (Simple Past)
Singular Plural
1st person – ssē – ssaems
2nd person – sses – ssaettjes
3rd Person – sset – ssint


4th Conjugation
Present
Singular Plural
1st person –a – āms
2nd person – as – āttjes
3rd Person – at – ant
Preterite (Simple Past)
Singular Plural
1st person – iusē – iusaems
2nd person – iuses – iusaetjets
3rd Person – iuset – iusint


Imperative Mood

Singular
1st Conjugation – a
2nd Conjugation – ē
3rd Conjugation – ē
4th Conjugation – ī
Plural
1st Conjugation – āttjē
2nd Conjugation – aettjē
3rd Conjugation – ttjē
4th Conjugation – īttjē


Infinitive and Past Participles

Infinitive
1st Conjugation – ārē
2nd Conjugation – aerē
3rd Conjugation – rē
4th Conjugation – īrē


Perfect Past Participle (Supine)
1st Conjugation cun – ātō
2nd Conjugation cun – ūtō
3rd Conjugation cun – tō
4th Conjugation cun – ītō

</div>

Passive Past Participle
Masculine Feminine
1st Conjugation cun – āts cun – āta
2nd Conjugation cun – ūts cun – ūta
3rd Conjugation cun – ts cun – ta
4th Conjugation cun – īts cun – īta

During the Proto-Northern Romance period the past particples increasingly came to be prefixed with *cun- (from the Latin verbal prefix con-). The precise semantic purpose of the prefix is unclear, although it clearly served to differentiate the past participles from other verb forms. It is possible the use of such a prefix had its origins in the pre-Roman languages of the Germanian tribes.

The passive participle agrees with the gender of the patient.

Auxilliary Verbs

*Esttrē (to be)
Present
Singular Plural
1st person *sou *soums
2nd person *es *ehes
3rd Person *ess *sunt
Preterite (Simple Past)
Singular Plural
1st person *thwī *thoums
2nd person *thuhī *thuhes
3rd Person *thut *thournt

*Esttrē was used in conjunction with a passive participle to create the passive voice.

The passive participle agrees in gender with the patient. For example, *ella ess cunāmāta (she is loved), *ellē thut cundāts (it was given).

*Hābaerē (to have)
Present
Singular Plural
1st person *hāō *hābaems
2nd person *has *hābaettjes
3rd Person *hat *haunt
Preterite (Simple Past)
Singular Plural
1st person *houwī *houwaems
2nd person *houwihī *houwihes
3rd Person *houwet *houwaernt

The present tense of *hābaerē was used in conjunction with a past participle to create the perfect: *jō hāō cunthūtō (I have been).

The preterite of *hābaerē was used in conjunction with a past participle to create the pluperfect: *nus houwaems cunwintō (we had come).

*Wēnīrē (to come)
Present
Singular Plural
1st person *weanō *wēnīms
2nd person *weanīs *wēnīttjīs
3rd Person *weanet *weant
Preterite (Simple Past)
Singular Plural
1st person *winbi *winbaems
2nd person *winbihī *winbihes
3rd Person *winbet *winbaernt

The present tense of *wēnīrē was used in conjunction with an infinitive to create the future: *tū weanīs indūttjarē (you will lead).

The preterite of *wēnīrē was used in conjunction with an infinitive to create the conditional (i.e. 'future-in-the-past): *jō winbī perdōnārē (I would forgive).

Articles

Definite Article

The definite article, present in some form in all of the Romance languages, must have arisen during the Vulgar Latin period since most surviving texts in early Romance show the articles fully developed.

Definite articles formerly were demonstrative pronouns or adjectives; compare the fate of the Latin demonstrative adjective ille, illa, (illud), in the Romance languages, becoming French le and la, Catalan and Spanish el and la, and Italian il and la. The Portuguese articles o and a are ultimately from the same source. Sardinian went its own way here also, forming its article from ipse, ipsa (su, sa); some Catalan and Occitan dialects have articles from the same source.

The original Latin demonstrative adjectives were felt no longer to be specific enough.Reconstructed forms suggest that the inherited Latin demonstratives were made more forceful by being compounded with ecce.

On the other hand, even in the Oaths of Strasbourg, no demonstrative appears even in places where one would clearly be called for in all the later languages (for example: For Teuuî amari). Using the demonstratives as articles may have still been considered overly informal for a royal oath in the ninth century.

Definite Article
Masculine Feminine
Nom. sing. *lē *la
Acc. sing. *lō *la
Gen. sing. *lūjs *lājs
Dat. sing. *luī *laī
Nom. plur. *lī *las
Acc. plur. *lus *las
Gen. plur. *lărō *lărō
Dat. plur. *līs *līs

Indefinite Article

The numeral vnvs, vna supplies the indefinite article. This is anticipated in Classical Latin; Cicero writes cvm vno gladiatore neqvissimo. This suggests that vnvs was beginning to supplant qvidam in the meaning of "a certain" or "some" by the 1st century BCE.

Indefinite Article
Masculine Feminine
Nom. sing. *ūns *ūna
Acc. sing. *ūnō *ūna
Gen. sing. *ūnūjs *ūnājs
Dat. sing. *ūnbi *ūnāī