Vowel Prosthesis in Romance: A Diachronic Study

ISBN : 9780199541157

Rodney Sampson
304 Pages
163 x 241 mm
Pub date
Oct 2009
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This book presents for the first time an in-depth historical account of vowel prosthesis in the Romance languages. Vowel prosthesis is a change which involves the appearance of a non-etymological vowel at the beginning of a word: a familiar example is the initial e which appears in the development of Latin sperare to Spanish esperar and French esperer to hope. Despite its widespread incidence in the Romance languages, it has remained poorly studied. In his wide-ranging comparative coverage, Professor Sampson identifies three main categories of vowel prosthesis that have occurred and explores in detail their historical trajectory and the relationship between them. The presentation draws freely throughout on the rich philological materials available from Romance and brings to light various unexpected changes in the productive use of prosthesis through time. For example in French and Italian (which is Tuscan-based), one category of prosthesis became well established in the early Middle A


1. Introduction
2. Categories of Prosthesis in Romance
3. The Latin Background
4. I-prosthesis
5. A-prosthesis
6. U-prosthesis
7. Conclusions

About the author: 

Rodney Sampson has taught at Bristol University throughout his academic career. He was made Reader in 1999 before being appointed to a personal chair in Romance Philology in 2001. His interests centre on the phonological history of the Romance languages. His books include Nasal Vowel Evolution in Romance (OUP1999)

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