I know I have not posted for quite some time, as I have neglected this blog in favor of other modes of communication. However, as very few people want to hear me talk about linguistics, much less certain phenomena in linguistics, I thought posting my thoughts here would be most prudent.
My Pannonian Romance conlang is unfortunately in stasis, as I cannot quite find the motivation to work on it. I feel as though it will be overshadowed by Deiniol Jone’s Dravian, an excellent conlang that also is based on Pannonian Romance. So good is that conlang that it feels as if trying anything different will make me unhappy, as it would not quite satisfy me. While the evidence I’ve gathered points to a stronger Rhaeto-Romance connection, that does not particularly appeal to me as much as my initial vision, which as an Eastern Romance language akin to Romanian, but different.
Anyway, there are a couple of other projects I am working on instead. One is a Slavic conlang spoken in the same Transdanubian region. I have been assisted by a very talented and knowledgeable student in Slavic linguistics who helped me out with deriving many of the sound shifts and accentual system. However, as he had been busy with schoolwork, I’ve began another conlang, a modern descendant of the Gothic language spoken in Crimea — yes, I mean the poorly attested Crimean Gothic language.
With this language I’ve consulted a few resources, one of which is Stearns 1978 book “Crimean Gothic: Analysis and Etymology of the Corpus.” It is quite the book, admittedly it is a bit dry in parts, but no less informative. For example, Stearns supposes that the informant he interviewed had not a native’s command of the language, but was affected by his native language, which had certain qualities such as diphthongizing /e/ to [ej] in monosyllables. Stearns then adjusts certain words in the corpus to get a better picture of the underlying “native” Crimean Gothic language.
Nonetheless, I have found issue with a few of Stearn’s suggestions here and there. One is the idea that while it is likely the <tz> may either be a missprint for <th> or Busbecq’s attempt at rendering the phone [θ], I don’t really believe the <th> in the articles or pronouns (like the clitic -thata) represent the underlying phones [t] or [d]. Had Busbecq heard [t] or [d], I reckon he would have wrote <t> or <d>, as he did in “fyder,” or “handa”. Should Busbecq be as familiar with Greek as speculated, I would have thought he would have used <th> to represent [θ], as it often does in Greek loanwords. As Proto-Germanic had [θ] in most of the places where he writes <th>, I would think this phoneme would be /θ/ and not /d/.
Another of my nitpicks is while Stearns first posits a NCG (Native Crimean Gothic) reconstruction of /w/ for <vv>, I do not understand the logic of later assigning this phoneme to /v/ in all positions, even when he states that the informant could only produce [v]. Surely it’s possible that /w/ may have existed as a phoneme in Crimean Gothic, unless I am ignorant of some Proto-Germanic phonotactics that would’ve caused it to merge? I admit I am not a Germanicist (or even a trained linguist!) like Stearns is, but I am skeptical here.
Regardless, this book has been very helpful in my quest to reconstruct Crimean Gothic. While I didn’t intend this blog post to become a book review, I cannot recommend it enough for anyone interested in the language