GOLDEN AGE SPANISH SONNETS.

Frequent commenter Bathrobe sent me a link to Alix Ingber’s sonnet site:

This is an ongoing project. Its primary purpose is to provide good verse translations of Golden Age Spanish sonnets to English-speaking readers. I hope that it may also serve to provide an online forum for the discussion of these works as well as a resource for anyone interested in delving further into the material.

The translations don’t thrill me, but they’re satisfactory, she includes the originals, and the commentary is useful; she says visitors “are invited to submit their own translations and/or commentary.”

Comments

  1. Hmpf. I’ll assume that you haven’t reached my translation yet.

  2. About Lope’s sonnet (“Un soneto me manda a hacer Violante”) that John Cowan translated. I can see that all the three translators have had problems with the 5th line . It doesn’t exist in English the concept of “consonantes” I mean the type of rhyme in which all the vowels and consonants must rhyme?
    And John, why did you choose the English structure for the sonnet? I like your translation, though I’m not convinced by the way you resolved the 5th line “problem”. Of course I admire the difficult task of translating these poems. (Sólo estoy siendo detallista y curiosa)

  3. marie-lucie says:

    consonante: Julia, I think you mean that the same rhymes must occur in all the stanzas (like “ante” and “eto”), not just within each stanza. Rhyming is not so important in English poetry as in Spanish or French or Italian. For one thing, it is more difficult to find rhymes in English than in French or Spanish where many more words end in the same way.
    There is a well-known poem with a similar idea in French, where the poet has been asked by a woman to make up a “rondeau” for her (another poem with a strict form), and as he wonders how he is going to do it, the poem gets done. The French poet (Voiture) was about 30 years younger than Lope de Vega and could have got the idea from the sonnet (Spanish literature was very influential in France at the time).

  4. I believe consonantes, where all the sounds from the stressed vowel through to the end of the last word must match, is somewhat confusingly called “end rhyme” in English. Confusing because the same term can be used to distinguish rhyming at the end of the line from internal rhymes, etc.

  5. And when such a scheme involves more than one syllable (the interesting case), it is called a “feminine rhyme”, as in Sonnet 20 (the only one, I think). When used in English, these are usually only double rhymes. Triple rhymes are associated with light verse, like Gilbert and Sullivan.

  6. @Julia: In everyday English, rima consonante is just called “rhyme”. (Rima asonante, where only the vowels are the same, is not normally considered “rhyme” in English.)

  7. marie-lucie says:

    Medieval French poetry used assonance, the same thing as Spanish rima asonante. The typical example is the Chanson de Roland where each stanza has lines ending with a consonant, preceded by a stressed vowel which is the same in each line (eg “-ante” could be associated with “-ande”, “-ange”, “-ambe”, etc – the final e does not count). The next stanza normally uses a different assonance. Since the Song was probably actually sung or at least chanted, this meant that each line probably emphasized the vowel sound musically (eg lengthened it), and the following consonant (being short) did not interfere with the repetitive effect of the vowel. True rime (both vowel and consonant) was a later development.

  8. Yes, m-l, the same happened in Spanish. The consonant rhyme was mainly brought from Italy when Boscán and Garcilaso introduced in Spain the Italic modes (the use of endecasílabos and sonetos, canciones, etc.).
    I know that English verse is not so based on rhyme as Spanish is, but it called my attention that none of the three translations used the concept of “consonantes” so I guessed it was not only very common but even unknown.
    MMcM gave the perfect definition, though it must be noticed that in Spanish the most common words are stressed in the penultimate syllable, so the rhyme frequently involve two syllables.

  9. Yes, m-l, the same happened in Spanish. The consonant rhyme was mainly brought from Italy when Boscán and Garcilaso introduced in Spain the Italic modes (the use of endecasílabos and sonetos, canciones, etc.).
    I know that English verse is not so based on rhyme as Spanish is, but it called my attention that none of the three translations used the concept of “consonantes” so I guessed it was not only very common but even unknown.
    MMcM gave the perfect definition, though it must be noticed that in Spanish the most common words are stressed in the penultimate syllable, so the rhyme frequently involve two syllables.

  10. Julia:
    The fifth line of the second translation refers to the difficulty of finding words, which is precisely the problem with trying to write rhyming poetry in English. Rhyme has never been entirely natural in English, even though it has been successfully practiced since about 1200 and for many centuries was almost the only form of recognized professional poetry. English, with its 14-15 vowels and hundreds of final consonant combinations, often provides only a few possible rhymes to any given word (many useless, others grossly overused) or indeed none at all. As a result, English has been forced to develop a separate poetic vocabulary with many obscure words and grammatical constructions not natural in a plain style.
    By using the Shakespearean sonnet, I only needed to find a single rhyming correspondent to any final word rather than up to three in the octave. In addition, planet and sonnet are an imperfect rhyme, which is also considered normal within the English tradition. I think I can say that my translation best preserves the tone of the original, whatever its other faults. What is more, I could tip my hat to the greatest of anglophone poets by stealing a line of prose from Romeo and Juliet as my version of the “impossible” fifth line!
    That said, there are many sonnets in English both original and translated that observe the full Italian-style strictures. I must also admit that my translation of the fourth line is a mistranslation; I should have said “I wrote the last three lines” rather than “I’ll write the next three parts”.

  11. marie-lucie says:

    Before English poetry was influenced by Franch and other Romance poetry which relied on assonances or rhymes to focus attention to the ends of lines (using couplets and other schemes emphasizing the repetition of word endings through different lines), Old English relied on alliteration, using words with the same initial consonant(s), thus unifying each line by emphasizing the beginning of its most important words.
    English poetry on a larger scale does not necessarily rhyme, for the reasons explained by JC. Most pentametric poetry relies on the repeated rhythm of each line to identify it, and alliteration is also often used, though not with the same consistency as in Old English.

  12. The thing is that “consonant” is an important part of the definition of the sonnet that Lope is doing, while he complains he does not know how to fulfill Violante’s. Just as the sonnet is built with two quartets and two triplets, the consonant rhyme also defines it and differentiates it from other poetic compositions of the time. The mockery of consonant rhyme reach extremes manifestations, as in the “décimas” of Quevedo
    Dije que una señora era absoluta
    y siendo más honesta que Lucrecia
    por dar fin al cuarteto la hice puta.
    Forzome el consonante a llamar necia
    a la de más talento y mayo brío;
    oh, ley de consonantes dura y recia.
    […]
    Y por el consonante tengo a cargo
    otros delitos torpes, feos, rudos,
    y llega mi delito a ser tan largo
    que, por que en una estrofa dije escudos,
    hice sin más ni más siete maridos
    con honradas mujeres ser cornudos.
    Aqui nos tienes como ves metidos
    y por el consonante condenados
    oh, míseros poetas desdichados
    a puros versos como ves perdidos.

  13. marie-lucie says:

    Julia, English sonnets also have a definite rhyme scheme, even though it is not quite the same as Spanish or French ones. I am not a specialist in English poetry but was making comments in general.

  14. Specifically an English or Shakespearean sonnet is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, three quatrains and a final couplet, whereas the classic Petrarchan sonnet (of which, as I say, there are many in English) is ABBA ABBA CDE CDE, an octave plus a sestet, with some variation in the sestet possible.

  15. I found the Golden Age Sonnets site after I belatedly got round to filling a major lacuna in my “sentimental education” and read Don Quixote recently. I was rather interested in the fact that, apart from Cervantes, Spain actually had a “Golden Age of Poetry” and decided to find out more. From the Golden Age Sonnets site I managed to get a glimpse of the poetry of the age. To be honest, I wasn’t totally impressed. The poetry seemed clever and contrived, but apart from formal excellence didn’t seem to have much to say to my “soul”.
    In my explorations I found a paper written by Alix Ingber called Multiculturalism gone wrong which concludes thus:
    “The use of the sonnet form, of mythological allusion, apostrophe, and plays on words, are all typical of Renaissance poetry. The use to which these structures and devises are put, however, points to a social context that permeates the literature of the period, and gives us a glimpse, however hazy, of the problematic life that lay behind the art.”
    This paper raised some interesting points for me.
    1. The background that Ingber refers to is, in particular, the expulsion of the Moors from Spain and the fact that some well-off high-class Moors managed to stay behind by becoming Christians (“new Christians” — Sancho Panza’s frequent use of the expression “I’m an old Christian” suddenly became clear to me). The fact that some Moors remained in their midst by changing their religion appears to have been one factor behind the infamous Spanish Inquisition.
    2. The fact that this Golden-Age poetry was a new-fangled import from Renaissance Italy was especially interesting. The new forms were obviously new and exciting, which possibly accounts for the surge in creativity, but it was also artificial and contrived. Indeed, Alix Ingber herself seems to be somewhat ambivalent about the poetry and its value, as can be seen from the paper. Perhaps my feeling that this poetry is less than overwhelming wasn’t so far off the mark after all. Does the introduction of new forms unleash a period of creative vigour? What was the problem with the old forms that stopped people from expressing themselves with similar vigour? And to what extent is this copying (or borrowing) of other people’s forms authentic? Isn’t it just a bit of a game?
    At any rate, these are just a few of the rather trite thoughts that went through my head at the time.

  16. Isn’t it just a bit of a game?
    All art is “a bit of a game.” It’s just a question of what rules the artists want to play by this week, and that’s something that changes unpredictably but inevitably. Whether it’s polyphony, sonnet form, or abstract expressionism, for whatever reason a bunch of creative people suddenly say “Wow, I want to try that!” Whether it turns out to be a flash in the pan or an enduring high point of culture is not something they can foresee or do anything about. I have to agree that “golden age” sonnets don’t really ring my bell, though they must have been fun to compose.

  17. Also, there’s no such thing as authenticity. Artists are always borrowing other artists’ forms, styles, ideas, and whatever else appeals to them. Of course, non-artists who have grown accustomed to one style (usually one they latched onto when they were in their teens) feel attached to it, consider it “authentic,” and resent incursions and alterations.
    It’s particularly amusing when people cling to forms that aren’t even their own, as when Americans discover African music and decide the acoustic “folk” variant is “authentic” and “real” and sneer at the “pop” variants, with their electric guitars and other horrors, as somehow unworthy of a great tradition. (Of course, they did that at home as well, insisting blues musicians record “traditional” tunes with acoustic instruments, refusing to see that the blues tradition was vigorously alive and changing all around them.)

  18. Julia:
    There are similar things to Quevedo’s lines by poets in English, complaining about the tyranny of rhyme; I can’t think of where at the moment – somewhere in Shakespeare, I’m pretty sure.
    Quevedo is my favorite Golden Age poet. He wrote some terrific sonnets.

  19. Malone proposed dating plays on the principal of declining rhyme, supposing that he “grew weary of the bondage of rhyme.” (Which is not to say that there weren’t such conceits as well.)

  20. Hat, you are of course right. All literary forms, like all hobbies and other leisure pursuits, are in a sense games — elaborate, wonderful games, but still forms where consummate mastery plus a dash of originality is prized. Perhaps it is too much to expect them to speak to the soul, and when people think they are speaking to the soul, they are likely “non-artists who have grown accustomed to one style (usually one they latched onto when they were in their teens) [and] feel attached to it”.

  21. Perhaps it is too much to expect them to speak to the soul, and when people think they are speaking to the soul, they are likely “non-artists who have grown accustomed to one style (usually one they latched onto when they were in their teens) [and] feel attached to it”.
    Oh, no, I don’t agree with that at all. I do think art speaks, or can speak, to the soul, but I think the way it does so is very mysterious and can be neither explained nor predicted.

  22. Then I guess that is why people find David Cope‘s work so disturbing. Where is the “soul” when You pushed the button and out came hundreds and thousands of sonatas?

  23. I said art could speak to the soul, I didn’t say it had to express a soul.

  24. Lots of subtleties here. I don’t think I’m capable of fathoming this mystery any further. 🙂

  25. I wasn’t at home this week, so although I read this comment thread I couldn’t answer as I wanted.
    When I read Bathrobe’s comment, the first thing I thought was that Golden Age poetry is not Romantic poetry, so maybe the way it speaks to ones soul is different. I’m not saying this is the case, but is not unusual that we as modern readers tend to consume poetry in ways taught by the Romantic period.
    I don’t want to convince or evangelize anyone, but I love Golden Age poetry and I think is the kind of poetry that you need to study at least a bit to appreciate it. I’m also not so sure if it can be appreciated in translation, but you know this happens to any poetry.
    I can assure you, Bathrobe, that the literature of the Spanish Golden Age was not un-original at all. The mixture of italian forms and themes and Spanish tradition and language took time to construct what it became a perfect “product”, a poetry with its own voice very innovative. The process began in the first decades of the 16th Century and continued through out the 17th Century. I dare say that the Italian poetry of the same time was almost less innovative than Spanish poetry of the Golden Age. I say this (in my awful and limited English) in order to contradict the ideas you extracted from that work by A.I. (I must admit I didn’t know her, but perhaps she has a name in American universities). On that subject I recommend you this book from Ignacio Navarrete, Orphans of Petrarch: poetry and theory in the Spanish Renaissance
    (you can find it in google books, but I don’t know how to link it here, sorry!)
    In English, I also recommend Elias Rivers works and translations. http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/El%C3%ADas_L._Rivers
    He is the first name that came to my mind when I think of studies of Spanish poetry in English, though poetry isn’t my speciality.

  26. And if I may, I would like to show four examples of my favorite sonnets from the Golden Age
    All are well known. I am not very original myself…
    Garcilaso de la Vega
    (1501-1536)
    A Dafne ya los brazos le crecían
    y en luengos ramos vueltos se mostraban;
    en verdes hojas vi que se tornaban
    los cabellos qu’el oro escurecían;
    de áspera corteza se cubrían
    los tiernos miembros que aun bullendo ‘staban;
    los blancos pies en tierra se hincaban
    y en torcidas raíces se volvían.
    Aquel que fue la causa de tal daño,
    a fuerza de llorar, crecer hacía
    este árbol, que con lágrimas regaba.
    ¡Oh miserable estado, oh mal tamaño,
    que con llorarla crezca cada día
    la causa y la razón por que lloraba!
    Luis de Góngora
    (1561-1627)
    Mientras por competir con tu cabello,
    oro bruñido al sol relumbra en vano;
    mientras con menosprecio en medio el llano
    mira tu blanca frente el lilio bello;
    mientras a cada labio, por cogello.
    siguen más ojos que al clavel temprano;
    y mientras triunfa con desdén lozano
    del luciente cristal tu gentil cuello:
    goza cuello, cabello, labio y frente,
    antes que lo que fue en tu edad dorada
    oro, lilio, clavel, cristal luciente,
    no sólo en plata o vïola troncada
    se vuelva, mas tú y ello juntamente
    en tierra, en humo, en polvo, en sombra, en nada.
    Lope de Vega
    (1562-1635)
    Desmayarse, atreverse, estar furioso,
    áspero, tierno, liberal, esquivo,
    alentado, mortal, difunto, vivo,
    leal, traidor, cobarde y animoso:
    no hallar fuera del bien centro y reposo, mostrarse alegre, triste, humilde, altivo,
    enojado, valiente, fugitivo,
    satisfecho, ofendido, receloso:
    huir el rostro al claro desengaño,
    beber veneno por licor süave,
    olvidar el provecho, amar el daño:
    creer que el cielo en un infierno cabe;
    dar la vida y el alma a un desengaño.
    Esto es amor, quien lo probó lo sabe.
    Francisco de Quevedo
    (1580-1645)
    “Amor constante más allá de la muerte”
    Cerrar podrá mis ojos la postrera
    sombra que me llevare el blanco día,
    y podrá desatar esta alma mía
    hora a su afán ansioso lisonjera;
    mas no, de esotra parte, en la ribera,
    dejará la memoria, en donde ardía:
    nadar sabe mi llama la agua fría,
    y perder el respeto a ley severa.
    Alma a quien todo un dios prisión ha sido,
    venas que humor a tanto fuego han dado,
    medulas que han gloriosamente ardido:
    su cuerpo dejará no su cuidado;
    serán ceniza, mas tendrá sentido;
    polvo serán, mas polvo enamorado.

  27. Thanks for Julia’s comment. I did describe my thoughts as trite because I was hoping someone would contradict them. There is nothing like passion to bring something alive! I’m not sure I will be able to delve into Spanish literature in the near future — it’s a bit far from my core interests, for which I don’t have enough time as it is. But I will try to add it to the list of things to become better acquainted with when I have a chance. After all, I only just read Don Quixote!

  28. Also, the ideas I extracted from Ingber’s paper were more my own than hers. I don’t know if she would agree with my views at all.

  29. marie-lucie says:

    !Gracias, Julia! Poemas muy diferentes si.

  30. Dude i didnt find this blog my mom wouldve killed me. I owe you my life lol Awesome Blog Bro.

  31. ¡Me alegro de que te hayan interesado, marie-lucie!
    You’re welcome, Bathrobe. I understand you and I think is not an easy thing to read the Quixote. Whenever you want to talk about Cervantes, I’ll be happy to join you: his works are my passion.
    But if you ever have some time to spare, try to take a look to the Introduction of Navarrete’s book. I think it goes directly to your previous thoughts.

  32. I add my thanks—and, Julia, there’s no need to apologize for your English, which is excellent.

  33. Thanks, Julia, wonderful selection! Here’s another; French readers (m-l) may recognize a certain resemblance to a near-contemporary sonnet by du Bellay. In fact the original that both were imitating was a neo-Latin poem by, I think, Comenius. There are numerous other versions in different languages, down to modern times. Walcott did one, and Brodsky may have too (not sure). I’ve done one myself.
    Quevedo: A Roma sepultada en sus ruinas
    Buscas en Roma a Roma, ¡oh, peregrino!,
    y en Roma misma a Roma no la hallas;
    cadáver son las que ostentó murallas,
    y tumba de sí proprio el Aventino.
    Yace donde reinaba el Palatino;
    y limadas del tiempo, las medallas
    más se muestran destrozo a las batallas
    de las edades que blasón latino.
    Sólo el Tibre quedó, cuya corriente,
    si ciudad la regó, ya, sepoltura,
    la llora con funesto son doliente.
    ¡Oh, Roma!, en tu grandeza, en tu hermosura,
    huyó lo que era firme, y solamente
    lo fugitivo permanece y dura.

  34. Thank you, Alan. “lo fugitivo permanece y dura” a perfect example of Quevedo’s (and all baroque men) constant preoccupation so beautifully said!

  35. There are numerous other versions in different languages, down to modern times.
    John Emerson is way ahead of you. Unfortunately, the link at that post is dead; if I get a live one, I’ll replace it.

  36. Yes, I saw that right after I posted, when I googled to try to find the author of the neolatin poem. I could hear the old timers at LH sighing “Oh, the Rome poem. We exhausted that topic long ago!”

  37. marie-lucie says:

    Alan, a topic is never exhausted, since new people have new things to add (and sometimes old-timers do too).

  38. marie-lucie says:

    Рим
    I find it interesting that Rome (Latin Roma) is [rim] in Russian. This is not totally susprising, since the “rom” root with its rounded back vowel occurs as “rem” (with an unrounded front vowel) in Remus, the twin or avatar of Romulus, both mythical names obviously deriving from the name of the city. The [e/o] root alternation is typically Indo-European.
    Are there (in other languages) versions of the name where the vowel is not [o] or possibly [u], but instead [e] or [i]? And what about the derivatives (eg the equivalents of Roman, Romance, Romania? possibly the “rim” in Rimsky-Korsakov?)

  39. The Slavic form almost certainly has nothing to do with PIE alternations. Vasmer discusses various theories, considering the most plausible the one by which Slavic substituted a soft r for the Germanic r of Gothic and OHG Rūma (citing Miklošič, Mikkola, Stender-Petersen, and Preobrazhensky in support); others are a derivation from the OHG adjective römisk (with fronting before /i/; so Meillet and Korsch) and various phonetic phenomena from Slavic dialects. I won’t bother you with the theories he considers impossible.

  40. I think is not an easy thing to read the Quixote
    I think I should make it clear that I read it in an English translation! Not so difficult, although it requires some spare time and a bit of concentration.

  41. marie-lucie says:

    LH, so then [rim] might be from earlier [rüm] or [röm], a plausible adaptation if Russian (or Proto-Slavic) borrowed from a Germanic source. And is Rimsky a derivative from this [rim]?

  42. And is Rimsky a derivative from this [rim]?
    I believe so.

  43. In Christopher Stasheff’s fantasy series A Wizard in Rhyme, Rome is actually called Reme, because it was Remus, not Romulus, who founded the city. As in our version of the legend, Remus jumped over his brother’s walls to prove how pointless they were; in that world, Romulus did not kill him, and the wall-jumping symbolically represented the triumph of diplomacy and trade over militarism. Here’s an old writeup (edited by me) from Wikipedia, now fallen prey to deletionism:

    […] Romulus and Remus were suckled by a wildcat […]
    Horatius Cocles persuaded Lars Porsena and other Etruscan leaders to create a confederation of Etruscan and Latin states known as Latruria, building a (metaphorical) bridge over the Tiber and promoting peaceful trade. In lieu of battle, Latrurian free men fought with blunted weapons at the Circus. The empire of Latruria was established, convincing Gauls, Germans, Greeks, Egyptians and even Carthaginians to join. Hannibal Barca was instrumental in the latter’s decision by sending rich gifts to the Reman Senate (including elephants).
    Judea was initially resistant, but menaced by Medes (Persia had been conquered by Alexander), accepted Reme’s offer of help. The Huns invaded, but were roundly defeated by the Reman legions, and settled down instead as ranchers in the steppes instead of nomads.
    Julius Caesar founded a line of emperors when the expanded territories required faster decisions than the Senate of Etruscans, Latini and Carthaginians could cope with. Brutus supported Augustus as heir, and the line of Caesars continued without needing to adopt the Claudians. One of the Caesars, Caesar Decembris, converted to Christianity and through example, led most of the empire to convert too.
    Eventually, the Bretanglians, even though they had accepted the Reman way of life, decided to secede from the confederation, thinking to “fare better by themselves”. Other members gradually followed suit, creating the separate nations of Ibile in the southwest, Merovence in the northwest, and Allustria in the east. Latruria stood alone as friends slowly turned into rivals. In the end, Reme was sacked by Vandals; embittered, the Remans turned inwards to isolationism.

  44. David Marjanović says:

    Vasmer discusses various theories, considering the most plausible the one by which Slavic substituted a soft r for the Germanic r of Gothic and OHG Rūma

    That’s an interesting idea. It makes some sense. And maybe it provides a teachable moment about how sometimes it might pay off to be insufferably pedantic about pronunciation and wallow in IPA diacritics.
    The /r/ of Icelandic, as well as of those non-Alemannic German dialects that keep it as [r] (alveolar as opposed to uvular) is laminal, like in Italian or Finnish, not apical like in Alemannic, Spanish, Arabic, and Slavic. So, I suppose we can reconstruct laminal /r/ for Proto-Germanic.
    To my ears, laminal [r] definitely has a front-vowel tinge; Finnish Turku almost sounds as if it had the Russian рь [rʲ] in the middle, in spite of its back vowels.
    Some occurrences of this /rʲ/ go all the way back to Proto-Slavic. (They’re derived from earlier /rj/ clusters.) Proto-Slavic is reconstructed as distinguishing /r/ and /rʲ/.
    So, maybe, just maybe, modern Russian Рим [rʲim] – and Czech Řím and Polish Rzym* – shouldn’t be interpreted as /r/ + /i/ + /m/ with /r/ becoming [rʲ] in front of a front vowel, but as /rʲ/ + /i/ + /m/.
    And to pile another speculation on top of this speculation, maybe this /i/ wasn’t always /i/. Palatalized consonants never occur in front of /ɨ/ (there is no ьы in Russian, for instance); in all other environments, the distinction between /i/ and /ɨ/ (Russian ы, Polish y**) is reconstructed for Proto-Slavic.
    And where does this /ɨ/ come from according to good old textbook wisdom?
    From /uː/. (As part of the process that eliminated the length distinction of Proto-Balto-Slavic; in the Baltic languages, it is preserved.)
    So, suppose Gothic [ˈr̻uːma] (square underneath for “laminal”) gets borrowed by speakers of Pre-Proto-Slavic (for whom it is no doubt at least as mythical as Timbuktu for Americans of the 1930s). They hear [ˈr̺ʲuːma] (inverted bridge underneath for “apical alveolar”). Then they get rid of vowel length, which results in [ˈr̺ʲɨma], and then the impossible [r̺ʲɨ] gets quickly changed to [r̺ʲi].
    All that remains to be explained is where the final -/a/ and with it the feminine gender went. I suppose some kind of confusion is to blame; for instance, -/a/ is also the masculine genitive ending.
    German Umlaut isn’t old enough. If it were to blame, I’d expect the Orthodox Slavs to have taken over the /o/ from Greek.
    * Spelled with y because /i/ i always turns into /ɨ/ y behind shibilants.
    ** Never mind that it’s actually what must be [ɘ] in the kinds of Polish that I’ve heard; same as the HAPPEH vowel of a few Englishes. – While I am at it, the Russian /ɨ/ ы is often a diphthong, [ɨɪ̯]; I wonder if that’s actually a retention that explains its spelling as, historically, ъ + iota, where ъ was some kind of schwa and/or very short [u].

  45. David Marjanović says:

    All roads lead to Timbuktu.
    Provided you don’t die of thirst first.

  46. David Marjanović says:

    Concerning the previous thread… in the comics by the great Francisco Ibáñez the Greatest, who writes in Spanish but lives in Barcelona, honking is always
    MOC MOOOOC
    MEEEEC
    except for some of the biggest trucks, which make
    PABÚ PABÚÚÚÚÚÚ
    PABÚÚÚÚÚÚÚ
    .

  47. Trond Engen says:

    some well-off high-class Moors managed to stay behind by becoming Christians
    Should I repeat my recent suggestion over at the goathouse that the popularity of the name Jésus in Spanish-speaking countries — tabooed elsewhere in Christianity — is a result of the conversion of Moors named after the prophet — and of New Chistians using the name of a son to show their faith. But, thinking of it, it could also have started earlier among Iberian Christians, as a “cultural translation”.

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