LINGUIST List 14.277

Sun Jan 26 2003

Qs: Verbal Dyspraxia, French Historical Ling

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  1. Susanne Reiterer, Verbal Dyspraxia or Apraxia of Speech
  2. Hartmut Haberland, French <ai> vs. <oi>

Message 1: Verbal Dyspraxia or Apraxia of Speech

Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2003 14:28:18 +0100
From: Susanne Reiterer <>
Subject: Verbal Dyspraxia or Apraxia of Speech

For a medical study I am desperately looking for quick information on
the topic of dyspraxia of speech.

I need the names of experts for this articulation und expressive
sydrome. And where clinical populations of such patients can be found
in the geographical area of Austria, especially Vienna and
surroundings. Are there any experts around in Vienna, or elsewhere ,
who have specialized on this syndrome ?

Thanks for reading,

Susanne Reiterer

Susanne Reiterer, Ph.D.
Brain Research Institute
Div.of Integrative Neurophysiology
Cognitive Neuroscience Group
Spitalgasse 4; 1090 Vienna, AUSTRIA
Fax.: 0043/1/4277/628/49
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Message 2: French <ai> vs. <oi>

Date: Sat, 25 Jan 2003 23:30:28 +0100
From: Hartmut Haberland <>
Subject: French <ai> vs. <oi>

I'm not a specialist on French historical phonology, but I guess there
somebody out there on the net who is.

It all started by somebody asking me about French spellings like
fran�ois (rather than fran�ais ) which were common and actually
official until 1835. I could figure out that the sound corresponding
to an old spelling <oi> (which at some stage had corresponded to a
pronunciation [oi]) had gone through different stages before it
arrived at the modern [wa] (or oua following modern French spelling
conventions, i.e. <oi> = <oua>). I also could figure out that at some
stage a split had happened, which accounts for the (modern) difference
in pronunciation between the adjective fran�ais 'French' and the
proper name Fran�ois 'Franz'. Note that the pronunciation at that time

fran�ais = franc�
Fran�ois = fran�ou�

i.e. the difference consisted exclusively in the presence vs. absence
of a glide [w].

Now this is as far as I could get from consulting the literature.

The question is what caused the phonetic split between those words
that have the [wa] pronunciation today (roi, loi, moi, Fran�ois,
Danois ) and those that don't (fran�ais, conna�tre, monnaie, faible) -
but which all were spelled with <oi> until 1835.

I haven't been able to find an explanation. Immediately one should
guess (in a Peirceian abductive move) that stress could have had an
influence: [w�] > [�] in unstressed syllables sounds plausible, and
this would make sense given that this [w�] > [�] reduction doesn't
seem to have occurred in monosyllabic words (as far as I can see -
correct me if I am wrong). But it doesn't look as if French had
distinctive stress in the relevant period.

So is there any explanation? Or do we have to be contented with
stating that 'in some words, [w�] became [�], which prevented the
lower class pronunciation of <oi> as [wa] being applied to them',
leaving the question unanswered why some words were affected and
others not?

Anybody who knows out there?

Hartmut Haberland
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