Old Spanish language

Old Spanish language
Old Spanish
Castellano antiguo
Pronunciation [kasteˈʎano anˈtiɣwo]
Spoken in Spain
Era 10th–15th c.
Language family
Language codes
ISO 639-3 osp

Old Spanish, also known as Old Castilian (Spanish: castellano antiguo) or Mediaeval Spanish (Spanish: español medieval), is an early form of the Spanish language that was spoken on the Iberian Peninsula from the 10th century until roughly the beginning of the 15th century, before a consonantic readjustment gave rise to the evolution of modern Spanish. The epic poem Cantar de Mio Cid, published around 1200, remains the best-known and most extensive work of literature in Old Spanish.

Contents

Phonetics and phonology

The phonological system of Old Spanish was quite similar to that of other mediaeval Romance languages. Amongst the consonants, there were three pairs of sibilants, each pair consisting of one voiceless and one voiced member:

  • Voiceless alveolar affricate /ts/: represented by the letter ⟨ç⟩ before ⟨a⟩, ⟨o⟩, ⟨u⟩, and by ⟨c⟩ before ⟨e⟩ or ⟨i⟩
  • Voiced alveolar affricate /dz/: represented by the letter ⟨z⟩
  • Voiceless apicoalveolar fricative /s/: represented by ⟨s⟩ in word-initial and word-final positions and before a consonant, and by ⟨ss⟩ between vowels
  • Voiced apicoalveolar fricative /z/: represented by the letter ⟨s⟩ between vowels
  • Voiceless postalveolar fricative /ʃ/: represented by the letter ⟨x⟩ (pronounced like the English digraph ⟨sh⟩)
  • Voiced postalveolar fricative /ʒ/: represented by the letter ⟨j⟩, and (often) by ⟨g⟩ before ⟨e⟩ or ⟨i⟩

The Modern Spanish sound [x] (voiceless velar fricative), corresponding to the letter ⟨j⟩ or to ⟨g⟩ before ⟨e⟩ or ⟨i⟩, and the Modern Spanish sound [θ] (voiceless dental fricative), written as ⟨z⟩ or as ⟨c⟩ before ⟨e⟩ or ⟨i⟩, did not exist in Old Spanish. Modern Spanish [x] and [θ] evolved from [ʃ]~[ʒ] and [ts]~[dz] respectively. The Old Spanish spelling of the sibilants was identical to modern Portuguese spelling, which still reflects the mediaeval language; Spanish was respelt in 1815.

Examples:

  • xefe (modern Spanish jefe)
  • Xeres (modern Spanish Jerez)
  • oxalá (modern Spanish ojalá, cf. Portuguese oxalá)
  • dexar (modern Spanish dejar, cf. Portuguese deixar)
  • fazer (modern Spanish hacer, cf. Portuguese fazer)
  • dezir (modern Spanish decir, cf. Portuguese dizer)
  • lança (modern Spanish lanza, cf. Portuguese lança)
  • passar (modern Spanish pasar, cf. Portuguese passar)
  • foces "sickles", fozes "throats/ravines" (modern Spanish hoces in both cases)
  • coxo "lame", cojo "I seize" (modern Spanish cojo in both cases)
  • osso "bear", oso "I dare" (modern Spanish oso in both cases)

The letters ⟨b⟩ and ⟨v⟩ were still distinct; ⟨b⟩ was still a stop consonant [b] in all positions, while ⟨v⟩ was pronounced as a voiced bilabial or labiodental fricative. The use of ⟨b⟩ and ⟨v⟩ in Old Spanish largely corresponded to their use in modern Portuguese, which still distinguishes the two sounds. When Spanish spelling was changed in 1815, words with ⟨b⟩ and ⟨v⟩ were respelt etymologically, in order to match Latin spelling whenever possible.

Examples:

  • aver (modern Spanish haber, cf. Latin habēre, Portuguese haver)
  • caber (modern Spanish caber, cf. Latin capere, Portuguese caber)
  • bever (modern Spanish beber, cf. Latin bibere; Portuguese beber < older bever)
  • bivir/vivir (modern Spanish vivir, cf. Latin vīvere, Portuguese viver)
  • amava (modern Spanish amaba, cf. Latin amābam/amābat, Portuguese amava)

The letter ⟨f⟩ represented variously a labiodental, bilabial, or glottal fricative (like the English ⟨h⟩) that later disappeared from pronunciation except before a glide, where now an orthographic ⟨h⟩ represents it.

Examples:

  • fazer (Modern Spanish: "hacer")
  • follín (Modern Spanish: "hollín")
  • ferir (Modern Spanish: "herir")
  • fiel (Modern Spanish: "fiel")
  • fuerte (Modern Spanish: "fuerte")
  • flor (Modern Spanish: "flor")

Morphology and syntax

In Old Spanish perfect constructions of movement verbs, such as ir (to go) and venir (to come), were formed using the auxiliary verb ser (to be), like in modern Italian and modern French. For example, Las mugieres son llegadas a Castiella (Las mujeres han llegado a Castilla).

Possession was expressed by the auxiliary verb aver (haber). Example: Pedro ha dos fijas (Pedro tiene dos hijas).

In the perfect tenses, the past participle often agreed with the gender and number of the direct object. Example: María ha cantadas dos canciones (María ha cantado dos canciones), yet this was inconsistent even in the earliest texts.

Personal pronouns and substantives were placed after the verb in any tense or mood unless a word with stress were present before the verb.

The future and conditional sentences were not fully grammaticalised as inflections, i.e., the verb aver was still analysed as an auxiliary rather than as a synthetic suffix, and still received stress until the 17th century.[1] Pronouns, therefore, following general placement rules, could be inserted between the main verb and the auxiliary in the future or conditional tense. Compare this phenomenon with modern Portuguese (mesoclisis):

E dixo: "Tornar-m-é a Jherusalem." (simple sentences combined into one word.[clarification needed] In a compound sentence, the pronoun was found in the beginning of the clause. Example: la manol va besar = la mano le va a besar.[citation needed]

In comparison with the modern language, the future subjunctive was very living (nowadays it may be found only in legal or solemn discourse, and in the spoken language in some dialects particularly in areas of Venezuela replacing the imperfect subjunctive[2]). It was used similarly to its modern Portuguese counterpart, in place of the modern present subjunctive in a subordinate clause after si, cuando, etc., when an event in the future is referenced.

Si vos asi lo fizieredes y la ventura me fuere cumplida,
Mando al vuestro altar buenas donas y ricas (Cantar de mio Cid, 223-224)
Si vosotros así lo hacéis y la suerte me favorece,
Mando a vuestro altar ofrendas buenas y ricas (modern equivalent)
If you do so and fortune is favourable toward me,
I will send to your altar fine and rich offerings (English translation)
Latin Old Spanish Modern Spanish
acceptare, captare, effectum, respectum acetar, catar, efeto, respeto aceptar, captar, efecto, respecto y respeto
et, non, nos, hic e, et; non, no; nós; í y, e; no; nosotros; ahí
stabat; habui, habebat; facere, fecisti estava; ove, avié; far/fer/fazer, feziste estaba; hube, había; hacer, hiciste
hominem, mulier, infantem omne; mugier, muger; ifante hombre, mujer, infante
cras, mane (maneana); numquam cras, man, mañana; nunqua mañana, nunca
quando, quid, qui (quem), quo modo quando, que, qui, commo/cuemo cuando, que, quien, como

Sample text

The following is a sample from Cantar de Mio Cid (verses 330–365). A recording with reconstructed mediaeval pronunciation can be accessed to here, reconstructed according to period phonetics (by Jabier Elorrieta). Below, the original Old Spanish text in the first column is presented along the same sample in modern Spanish in the second column.

–Ya Señor glorioso, Padre que en çielo estás,
Fezist çielo e tierra, el terçero el mar,
Fezist estrellas e luna, e el sol pora escalentar,
Prisist encarnaçión en Santa María madre,
En Beleem apareçist, commo fue tu veluntad,
Pastores te glorificaron, oviéronte a laudare,
Tres reyes de Arabia te vinieron adorar,
Melchior e Gaspar e Baltasar, oro e tus e mirra
Te ofreçieron, commo fue tu veluntad.
Salvest a Jonás quando cayó en la mar,
Salvest a Daniel con los leones en la mala cárçel,
Salvest dentro en Roma al señor San Sabastián,
Salvest a Santa Susaña del falso criminal,
Por tierra andidiste treinta e dos años, Señor spirital,
Mostrando los miráclos, por én avemos qué fablar,
Del agua fezist vino e de la piedra pan,
Resuçitest a Lázaro, ca fue tu voluntad,
A los judíos te dexeste prender, do dizen monte Calvarie
Pusiéronte en cruz, por nombre en Golgotá,
Dos ladrones contigo, éstos de señas partes,
El uno es en paraíso, ca el otro non entró allá,
Estando en la cruz vertud fezist muy grant,
Longinos era çiego, que nunquas vio alguandre,
Diot con la lança en el costado, dont ixió la sangre,
Corrió la sangre por el astil ayuso, las manos se ovo de untar,
Alçólas arriba, llególas a la faz,
Abrió sos ojos, cató a todas partes,
En ti crovo al ora, por end es salvo de mal.
En el monumento resuçitest e fust a los infiernos,
Commo fue tu voluntad,
Quebranteste las puertas e saqueste los padres santos.
Tú eres rey de los reyes e de tod el mundo padre,
A ti adoro e creo de toda voluntad,
E ruego a San Peidro que me ajude a rogar
Por mio Çid el Campeador, que Dios le curie de mal,
Quando oy nos partimos, en vida nos faz juntar.–
–O Señor glorioso, Padre que en el cielo estás,
Hiciste el cielo y la tierra, al tercer día el mar,
Hiciste las estrellas y la luna, y el sol para calentar,
Te encarnaste en Santa María madre,
En Belén apareciste, como fue tu voluntad,
Pastores te glorificaron, te tuvieron que alabar,
Tres reyes de Arabia te vinieron a adorar,
Melchor y Gaspar y Baltasar, oro e incienso y mirra
Te ofrecieron, como fue tu voluntad.
Salvaste a Jonás cuando cayó en el mar,
Salvaste a Daniel con los leones en la mala cárcel,
Salvaste dentro de Roma al señor San Sebastián,
Salvaste a Santa Susana del falso criminal,
Por tierra anduviste treinta y dos años, Señor espiritual,
Mostrando los milagros, por ende tenemos qué hablar,
Del agua hiciste vino y de la piedra pan,
Resucitaste a Lázaro, porque fue tu voluntad,
Por los judíos te dejaste prender, donde dicen monte Calvario
Te pusieron en la cruz, por nombre en Golgotá,
Dos ladrones contigo, éstos de sendas partes,
Uno está en paraíso, porque el otro no entró allá,
Estando en la cruz virtud hiciste muy grande,
Longinos era ciego, que nunca se vio jamás,
Te dio con la lanza en el costado, donde salió la sangre,
Corrió la sangre por el astil abajo, las manos se las tuvo que untar,
Las alzó arriba, se las elevó a la faz,
Abrió sus ojos, miró a todas partes,
En ti creyó entonces, por ende fue salvado del mal.
En el monumento resucitaste y fuiste a los infiernos,
Como fue tu voluntad,
Quebrantaste las puertas y sacaste a los padres santos.
Tú eres el rey de los reyes y de todo el mundo padre,
A ti te adoro y creo de toda voluntad,
Y ruego a San Pedro que me ayude a rogar
Por mi Cid el Campeador, que Dios le cuide del mal,
Cuando hoy partamos, en vida haznos juntar.–

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ A History of the Spanish Language. Ralph Penny. Cambridge University Press. Pag. 210.
  2. ^ Diccionario de dudas y dificultades de la lengua española. Seco, Manuel. Espasa-Calpe. 2002. Pp. 222-3.

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