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Basic Sound Changes
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This public article was written by [Deactivated User], and last updated on 15 Nov 2023, 20:08.

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This article covers the most crucial sound changes from Latin (Vulgar and Classical because it doesn't really matter) towards CBR. Because of the isolation of the Latin-speaking peoples of Wales, CBR and the later Brittano-Romance languages are highly conservative. It has been characterized as a "hyper-correct" pronunciation of Latin, which sets it apart from its neighbours (Gallo-Romance). An especially notable aspect of CBR is its vowel system, which sets it amongst the ranks of Sardinian and African Romance.


Classical Latin's vowels shifted into CBR by, very simply, losing their length distinction. Therefore, CBR had a 5 vowel system, consisting of the vowels /a ɛ j ɔ u/. These would be allophonicaly lengthened in open, stressed syllables.

Latin's diphthongs were entirely flattened. Even /au/, which survived in most Romance languages, was monophthongized to /ɔ/.

Vowels /i/, /ɛ/, /ɔ/ and /u/, when before another vowel, became the semivowels /j/ and /w/. Before final /m/, /i/ and /u/ lowered to /ɛ/ and /ɔ/ respectively.

Before final /s/, /r/, /l/, and /t/, vowels /ɛ/ and /ɔ/ raise to /i/ and /u/ respectively. /a/ sometimes raises to /ɛ/.

A word that begins with the cluster /sC/ would receive an epenthetic vowel /ɛ/. Monosyllabic words also received an epenthetic vowel, which followed their ending consonant (provided they had one).

Word-final sequences /Vr/ switch places, resulting in /rV/.

Intertonic vowels were lost. Most final vowels were not; Final /a/ following /t/ and /d/ is lost.


Latin /h/ was lost in all positions. Intervocalically, /g/ shifted to /h/ and was thence revoked.

Final /m/ was lost in all polysyllabic words. In monosyllables, it shifted to /n/ (supported by epenthetic /ɛ/).

The clusters /ns/ and /rs/ both simplified to /s/.

Palatalization effected many consonants. Before /j/, Latin /t d k g/ shifted to /t͡s d͡z t͡ʃ d͡ʒ/ respectively. Later, /k/ and /g/ shifted the same way in front of /i/ and /ɛ/. Latin /n l s/ shifted to /ɲ ʎ ʃ/, and /r/ geminated before /j/. When a labial consonant (/p b f v/) came before /j/, the two consonants switched places.

Velar and coronals also often resulted in a palatal consonant. The cluster /gn/ shifted to /ɲ/, /kl gl/ to /ʎ/, /kt/ to affricate /t͡ʃ/ and /ks/ to /ʃ/.

Labial consonants underwent some interesting changes when followed by an coronal consonant. /dm/ and /tm/ shift to /jm/, /sp/ shifts to /pp/.

Crucially, word-final /s/ was preserved. This lended itself to the preservation of the noun case system. Word-final /t/ was lenited to /s/ as well.

Rather early on, Latin's labialised consonants /kʷ/ and /gʷ/ were shifted to /p/ and /b/ in front of all non-round vowels. In front of a round vowel (e.g. /o/ and /u/), the labialisation was lost.
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