Afonso Xavier Canosa Rodriguez

On philology, potatoes and construction.
Well, this is just my first approach to blog-writing. I want it to be the way to keep in touch with colleagues and friends.

info at canosarodriguez dotnet

Mutation and lenition
I have just read my last article on the geminates again. Obviously I have mentioned the main patterns within Romance and Celtic languages.

In a more detailed explanation I should mention (all evidence supporting the Celtic thesis):

* there is mutation in word-medial context in Celtic. The main example is when adding a prefix to a stem.

* mutation can be just syntactic (syntactic phonetics as it is lenition in Romance) whith no grammatical value at all in Celtic. For instance after particles or prepositions, regardless of function or word type coming next.

* Grammatical mutation following Celtic pattern can be found in Western Romance. For instance to mark gender: the name Urraca (/g/ > 0 ) meaning, as in Britton Celtic, the woman or the wife.

Subject: philology - Published 12-01-2009 20:06
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The Journal of the International Phonetic Association (Vol. 37, N.2) published an article by PhD Rachid Ridouane discussing gemination. It has drawn my attention particularly for the good description of the contrast singleton / geminate not only in word-medial context but also in initial and word-final positions. The study is made for Tashlhiyt Berber ( Korean and Swiss German, particularly the dialect of Bern, appear in the bibliography as other languages for understanding the nature of geminates).

My approach to geminates comes from lenition in Western Romance languages. In comparative terms with Latin, the distinction geminate / singleton is lost, thus producing a readjustment of the plosives: voiceless are voiced and former voiced plosives are lost. The fact that the series of phonemes readjusted follow soft mutation in Celtic languages has been used as a statement to explain lenition in terms of substract. Hence sound change would be not accidental, even less random, but due to language contact.

I must point out something else: in Portuguese lenition reaches the series of nasals and approximants, much as does in Celtic languages. This is a point that I have never found when lenition is discussed.

The main argument against the Celtic explanation would be that lenition in Romance happens within intervocalic context (word-medial) while in Celtic languages mutation is word-initial. To make things more difficult mutation is grammatical in Celtic: it marks gender, for instance.

After reading the article mentioned supra on the Journal of the IPA I consider north-western areas of Africa (with geminates not only intervocalic but also word-initial and final) as I had already noticed for Swiss dialects (I have detected lenition in nasal and approximant series in the dialect of Bern although I could not systematize it) as zones where comparative studies with Celtic could be useful for the better understanding of lenition.

Again, although I do admit it looks like a harder and more difficult way to the finding of universals, I do keep language contact as the best way to explain sound-change.
Subject: philology - Published 06-01-2009 17:15
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On the roof
I am building the (concrete) structure of a house. It is quite advanced, at the roof stage now. Later on I'll be back to brick laying.

I keep my training and follow a course I should devote more time to? but I can not say what am I going to do in some months time. I would like to go on in the construction sector, but I am making up my mind whether or not I should look for another position.

Subject: construction - Published 06-01-2009 17:10
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As a means of a balance of the year, the main issue has been mechanization. New tools to carry out the same tasks, parameters to measure efficiency. I must admit, although perhaps I shouldn't make it explicit, that there is some kind of emotional attachment from my side towards farming and forestry activity. Hence, sometimes my views are too much traditional, and rely on a priori statements. Of course I try to avoid them but that doesn?t mean I am able to do so all the time.

When I talk about mechanization I refer mainly to tractor driven tools.

I support innovation, of course. Particularly with the approach of Mr.why-don?t-we robotize-it-all whatever task is to be done, my brother, Adrian. This is the way I regard with more possibilities of bringing new and more efficient solutions in terms of farming as a whole.

Meanwhile, this year, if everything goes as expected, I?ll drive some even bigger and stronger machines to perform the same tasks the small ones were, in my humble opinion, doing quite efficiently.
Subject: potatoes - Published 06-01-2009 16:58
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Rain, to begin with
It rains softly. Nothing unusual, but I feel like I prefer to stay indoors for a while. As a means of making a short break I came to the city. My favourite pub was closed in the afternoon, I'll try again tomorrow.

After a long walk by the seashore I have arrived to the flat where I am ready to cook some very basic dish, type a short story I translated this week for a local zine (metamorphosis settled in Ossianic landscapes, different topics I have been dealing with, suddenly unexpectedly related... apophenia ??? ), devote myself to something as appealing as the evolution of the close front unrounded vowel in stressed syllables and search the web for several different topics.

If I feel inspired enough... I'll try -even!- to update this blog a little bit more. :-)
Subject: about - Published 06-12-2008 21:49
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Stoic apathy
I must accept that I am far from reaching my main goals for this year, I spend all the money I earn, I should practice more sport, et cetera, et cetera.

As I gave up looking for a girlfriend; as I have a regular meeting only once a week (thank you Servando, I do appreciate your common sense); as Tula is quite busy taking care of the newborns Folerpinha, Belidinha, Caretinha, Chamizinho, Tizãozinho and Rifantinho; I definitely have no excuses not to begin that course on Construction Techniques I have applied for, try to recover the article on Desnos' J'ai tant rêvé de toi I wrote a month and a half ago before my laptop crushed, take some pictures and notes on potatoes and so on.

Thus, thank you very much Mhor for your news on the Celtic dictionary; thanks Miro for your article on the explanation of an anthroponym in terms of its toponymic equivalent (I would publish it), thank you Marcial for your permanent work and keeping me updated in the field of Celtic studies. I have read your messages some minutes ago. You have encouraged me. You have brought me to the right way.

Time to turn from Epicurean towards (semi-)Spartan routine, with a touch of Stoic attitude, Ksab. :-)

I'll get up every morning again with that CD I was given as a present on my trip to the Highlands... Für Anna its strange first tune. :-)

Yes, I am still on time: to keep research, write some of my notes on Iria, the Mabinogi, or those comments on occasional, trivial topics which arrive, for instance when talking about Edinburgh -oops, at the coffee-bar, yesterday, at 13:30 ! - : the relationship between Ovid 's Pygmalion, Bernard Shaw's Eliza Doolitle and AI applications on interactive fiction. Perhaps it could be useful in the future.

On the positive side: I am happy with my job. I notice an improvement in my skills both in casting and brick-laying techniques.

May be I am still on time to take the good, right way :-)

I am going to begin just now. Well, I have to finish that Gibson's novel first. :D

Subject: about - Published 25-08-2008 22:52
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Time for enjoying
I celebrated the summer solstice with the same rite I have learnt from my ancestors: jumping over a fire while shouting an old spell. It is time for resting... on weekends and blank days.

I am building a house from scratch... back at casting !!!

I have fallen in love or something like that with Iria although I must admit that I haven't dealt with the subject for quite long.

I do take a look from time to time to the potato plants although I haven't taken much part in this work until now this year.

Thus I just enjoy the spare time doing nothing, reading the press, going to bars and festivals, talking on literature, the environment, life or anything with some of my best friends -always there, thank you- and my brother -hello, my best reader -.

I must declare that this month I arrive in quite a comfortable way to the end.

Oops I have just found this picture, taken 2 days ago... so a recent one at last.

Quite a good summer, it looks like... except for the rain just the days I could go... I haven't been to the beach yet :-(

Subject: about - Published 28-07-2008 21:10
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The publicist
Finally I could find motivation to keep my work on linguistics, (Iria my main subject yet: may be I should try, even if not as elaborated as I would like it to be, a compromise solution in order to be able to go on)... just a review on classical approaches to phonetics... not much.

I have been relaxing reading the first book I bought in my life... a young boy... a collection of poetry dealing with old myths, landscapes of wild nature, dolmens and fairies, written at the XIXth century. If there is something I come back once and once again in my life it is this work. The author is a publicist, just known for this only book.

There are surprises, sometimes, in this life. Two years ago I was reviewing a magazine with quite good stories, the kind of Walter Scott novels, written in Galizaland in the XIXth century. I got almost astonished with so good prose and essays, and a piece of sci-fi, a description, too much scientific I am afraid to be good literature, but amazing in its content, of an interplanetary travel, the same path the Cassini-Huygens did these years...

Oh my God! who were these people? I asked to myself. It is amazing what they were doing, I thought. And, to my surprise I found, yeah, the publicist again. My best companion, so many nights, teaching me on courage, passion, motivation, and... love, sure. :D

Subject: philology - Published 09-06-2008 21:22
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Just a brief note on weather
Quite rainy these months... fortunately the sun came from time to time, enough to allow the plants to grow: a good combination of rain and light. May be a little bit too much for flat lands, where water could stay and damage the seeds. The sun has come again, on time.

Subject: potatoes - Published 09-06-2008 20:59
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This is my third month working with a bricklayer team... a good one indeed, as usual :-)

I still miss those days of casting and concrete ! I am all right, by the way :-)
Subject: construction - Published 09-06-2008 20:49
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I came back. Easter has been time for walking with Tula, thinking of Iria, reading and watching films at TV. I have quit my job. I went to the employment office and began to talk with some people from the construction field. I have offered translation and test-reading services in the media field in order to get some plus I find particulary useful at the end of the month. It is time for me to look for something more "permanent".

It rains here these days. It looks like winter (that late, soft, soon-to-be-it's-just-now spring-winter) comes outdated this year. The land is wet. Probably I'll spend some days in the wood, doing some forest work.
Subject: about - Published 25-03-2008 12:48
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I leave on Wednesday. I'll miss Tula.
Subject: about - Published 09-03-2008 10:01
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