Angnother one (was: Heard in passin')

Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Sat Apr 30 00:03:20 UTC 2005

On Apr 29, 2005, at 2:10 AM, Mark A. Mandel wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Mark A. Mandel" <mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Angnother one (was: Heard in passin')
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> "Peter A. McGraw" <pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU> wrote:
> Just recently I've increasingly heard the same result (well, the same
> congsonant) with a different derivation.  At least on NPR, and maybe
> also
> on ABC (TV) News, I keep hearing "prengnant," and today on NPR I heard
> ng <
> g in another word, which as usual I was sure I was going to remember
> and
> which I just as surely forgot.
>  <<<<<
> Well, it has been known to happen before. I can't give you a citation,
> but I
> believe that Latin /g/ was pronounced /ng/ (that is, the velar nasal)
> before
> /n/, as in "ignoro" ' to not know, to be ignorant of', "ignobilis"
> 'ignoble,
> low-born'.
> -- Mark
> [This text prepared with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.]

You don't need a cite. That this is the way it was in Classical Latin
is pretty much common knowledge. The combination of /in/ - from the
same proto-Indo-European source as English /un-/ - followed by /gn-/
was written as "i-gnobilis" instead of as "in-gnobilis," though the
pronunciation was [IN-]nobilis. This pronunciation of /i/ + /gn-/ was
generalized to /V/ + /gn-/ and spread to similar strings, such as
"agnus" [aNnus], which had a different historical origin, as an

-Wilson Gray

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