Henri Estienne and vowel prosthesis: a problem in the phonetic adaptation of sixteenth century Italianisms in French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Amongst the numerous Italianisms entering French in the sixteenth century, the items whose corresponding form in standard Italian contained the initial consonant sequence s + consonant are of special interest. In French, such words typically emerged with the addition of a 'prosthetic' vowel, as in estramaçon but standard Italian stramazzone. However, somewhat unexpectedly, in the two Dialogues of Henri Estienne (1578) where Italianizing manners and speech are satirized, the great majority of the Italianisms of this type that are used by the author do not contain a prosthetic vowel. It is proposed that the general non-use of prosthetic forms by Estienne is due to the nature of the particular type of Italian that he uses as a source for the Italianisms figuring in this work. This was the standard literary Italian language that had become established by the second half of the sixteenth century. In this variety of Italian, vowel prosthesis was of very limited occurrence. The few cases where Estienne does cite Italianisms containing a prosthetic vowel are demonstrated to be technical rather than literary words that had entered French usage by more popular channels of transmission.
Translated title of the contributionHenri Estienne and vowel prosthesis: a problem in the phonetic adaptation of sixteenth century Italianisms in French
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327 - 341
Number of pages15
JournalFrench Studies
Volume58 (3)
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Henri Estienne and vowel prosthesis: a problem in the phonetic adaptation of sixteenth century Italianisms in French'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this