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Making a Romance Language

Posted: 24 Sep 2017 07:54
by qwed117
Making a Romance Language
A In-Depth Guide to the Romance Family

In the 8th Century, Vulgar Latin was created. This has made a lot of people angry, and is widely regarded as a bad decision

Table of Contents
1. Introduction
2. Romance Languages and Their Neighbors
3. Classical Latin
4. Vulgar Latin and Proto-Romance
5. Innovations and Retentions
6. Select Phonemic Typology
7. Consonantal Diachronics
8. Vocalic Diachronics
9. Select Diachronics
10. Orthographies
11. Vulgar Latin and Proto-Romance Lexicon
12. Vulgar Latin and Proto-Romance Derivations
13. Vulgar Latin and Proto-Romance Grammar
14. Select Grammatical Typology
15. Developing Grammar
16. Isoglosses and Development
17. Uniqueness
18. Developing a Nation
19. Colonial Eras
20. Language Death and Creolization

Disclaimer: The information contained in the postings in this thread by this author shall not be construed to be a definite unchanging guide of Romance languages as historical data changes.

Re: Making a Romance Language

Posted: 24 Sep 2017 07:58
by qwed117

The Romance languages are a rather large group of languages, and are one of the best researched and best understood language families on Earth. In addition to their familiarity, those traits have made them one of the most important starting points for constructed languages. A result of being popular with beginners, constructed Romance languages (often shortened to "Romlangs") are often derided as basic creations.

This 20-part guide is meant to dispell myths about Romance languages, contribute to education about the Romance languages and to reveal the complexity underlying the Romance languages. It is not intended to be used as a formal study in the Romance languages. It is meant to summarize recent research and study in the Romance languages in a detailed format. That being said, it is not assured to be completely accurate as more information is found and presented. It will be less focused on constructed languages, and will be undoubtedly more focused on developments in real world Romance languages.

The guide will undoubtedly contain a large amount of discussion on diachronic changes, or changes that occur over a time period. We will be using an adaptation of the SCA2 standard used for the SCA2 on the when referring to diachronic changes that affect phones, or spoken sounds. We will be using traditional terminologies when referring to TAM systems.

Being a guide, it will be less focused on a lesson-based approach than anything. If anything view it as a spiritual successor to the earlier guide on the aveneca.

Having looked at the Terms and Conditions of the board I would like to state a few legal statements:
1) Copying the guide or images present in the guide in any context on any website other than the Ascevarium and the CBB not supported in the law is expressly prohibited, without express permission from myself by private message.
1a) This excludes the use of the private message, reply, or quote functions to display a message on this thread
1b) This excludes the archiving of this thread for the purpose of retaining information on an external website
1c) All enshrined copying should include a direct link to this thread, the CBB mainpage, or my profile on this site, or some clear and direct attribution
1d) Before linking to this thread on other sites, preferably notify me of the site being linked. I don't want to end up like Quijada.
1e) In the situation that this website is no longer available, credit can be given to "Qwed117" and a link can be provided to a archived thread
1f) This shall not be taken to hinder any rights held by Aszev or the Ascevarium

2) The views expressed in my posts in this thread are solely of my beliefs, and should not be construed to be the beliefs of another poster, Aszev, or the Ascevarium

Re: Making a Romance Language

Posted: 25 Apr 2018 03:51
by qwed117
Romance Languages and Their Neighbors

By some measures, the Romance family consists of 6 major languages, and various dialects. By others the Romance languages can be categorized into more than 20 languages, most of which are unintelligible except for cognates. At the largest level, Romance languages can be categorized into three major parts, the Southern Branch, the Eastern Branch and the Western Branch, named after their relative locations. Each branch is differentiated by a series of vocalic shifts that affected mid vowels of Latin. In addition to different vowel mergers, the different branches have unique quirks associated with them. The western branch, for example, generally palatizes [kt] to [jt] from latin, for example Latin octō, which becomes huit in French and Valencian, ueit in Aragonese, and ocho in Spanish (from palatizing the t further), and uèch in Occitan. Southern Romance palatizes and debuccalizes final [-s#] to [j] in most positions, so Latin stās becomes stai in Italian and Romanian. Sardinian retroflexes and "delateralizes" geminate [lː] to [ɖ] in most positions, so Latin vīllā becomes bidha in Sardinian (Logudorese). At finer levels it becomes harder to distinguish what constitutes a language or even a "family", and the distinctions are fraught with political consequences rather than linguistic consequences.

We can see five or so major "language zones" in the Mediterranean: Vlach, Italic, Gallic, Iberian , and Sardinian zones. Some languages can be seen as "intermediates" between the various zones, generally seen as evidence that innovations from the centers of the zones propogated outwards, coexisting at their interface. Various subregions of development can thus be seen. A list of languages should state the affinities of these languages, the zones from which they develop their innovations, and not necessarily a strict "family" to which the languages belong. The following list is only intended to demonstrate several languages and their affinities, with the most "primary" listed first. It should not be taken to be an authoritative list of all Romance languages, nor their precise subgroupings.
  • Portuguese (Iberian)
  • Catalan (Iberian, Gallic)
  • Occitan (Gallic, Iberian)
  • French (Gallic)
  • Ligurian (Gallic, Italic)
  • Italian (Italic)
  • Neapolitan (Italic)
  • Sassarese (Italic, Sardinian)
  • Nugorese (Sardinian)
  • Dalmatian (Italic, Vlach)
  • Daco-Romanian (Vlach)
In addition to the large amount of Romance "languages", a significant amount of nearby languages have changed significantly from Roman influence, often gaining new words. Most notable are Albanian and the Germanic languages, especially English. These languages have uniquely borrowed and passed down Latin words, with Albanian itself having 85 words inherited by no other language. Notably in Albanian, [kt] becomes [ft], as Latin luctor becomes luftoj. In addition, Albanian uses only a "hard" unlenited pronunciation of Latin g and c before i and e, similar to Sardinian and (albeit less so) to Dalmatian, which keeps an unlenited pronunciation behind e. Similarly, English and other Germanic languages have contorted Latin into nearly unrecognizable shapes, in some cases borrowing words that don't occur in other languages. Latin catillus ultimately became English kettle. No Romance languages inherited any formed derived from catillus, although some borrowed from the augmentative form catinus. Latin caupō became Proto-Germanic *kaupijaną, which eventually became cheap in English. Retaining unusual words like these make a constructed Romance language more unique, developing a vocabulary of their own. This however is only reasonable if you can justify your language's retention. A Romance language situated in Morocco would likely not retain the same words as Sardinian or English, but rather words that Berber or Spanish retain.

Re: Making a Romance Language

Posted: 27 Apr 2018 21:49
by Salmoneus
May I make a suggestion?

Particularly in the context of making a new language, it may be helpful to move beyond the east/south/west 'branch' model of Romance and think about how the different groups ended up as they did.

The key change is simply a pair of vowel mergers. After the development of the nine-vowel system, a change spread throughout the empire in which lax /i/ merged with tense /e/. This spread seemingly everywhere except perhaps a few remote backwaters - i.e. Sardinian. This is the putative "southern romance".

[there are two possibilities. One, the merger didn't spread to these isolated areas. Or, two, it couldn't spread because vowel length had already been lost before the development of the nine-vowel system. Personally, I suspect the former for Sardinia, but I wonder whether the latter is the case for proconsular Africa. Remember, 'southern romance' really just means "doesn't have the e/i merger", which doesn't ensure any sort of 'branch' beyond that.]

Then, a parallel change spread throughout the empire in which lax /u/ merged with tense /o/. This spread everywhere, except that it didn't make it to the Danubian provinces, the most remote area. This is what is meant by 'Eastern Romance' - doesn't have the o/u merger (instead, Romanian merges lax u with tense u).

Other properties of "Western Romance" seem mostly to be Frankish things. Western Romance (Eastern Romance having become isolated from the West by the Slavs) is essentially a forked continuum with Paris at the apex. First, in all the Frank-influenced places (Gaul, the Alps, Northern Italy, and the far north of Spain), there was intervocalic lenition, the fronting of the palatalised reflex of /k/, and vocalisation of pre-consonant /k/; but in the places the Franks didn't get to (central and southern italy, dalmatia, and most of spain) these things didn't reach. [mozarabic MAY have had the lenition, it's controversial; it had arguably 'partial' vocalisation ('ct' > 'ht'); it didn't have the fronting]. A second wave of changes - nasalisation, rounding, further palatalisation - failed to reach the north coast of spain, and a few other changes (further lenition, loss of final vowels) only partially made it. Basically, the other 'branches' are just defined by how much Frankish influence there was (with, of course, a few local oddities, like German influence in Romansch).

Re: Making a Romance Language

Posted: 23 Oct 2018 02:24
by CarsonDaConlanger
Will there be any more of this coming up soon?