Chronology of the breakup of Common Romance [long]

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at
Tue Aug 24 07:08:45 UTC 1999

X99Lynx at wrote:

>First of all, Wallachia as latinized South Slavic:
>Consider that we have many instances of Latinized 'vlach' that does not go
>the way of 'Wallachia' and all are earlier.  There is everything from the
>Pope's "rex blachorum" (1206) to a "villa vlacha' (1295) to "Vlachii" and the
>"Blasii" and "Blachi" mentioned in the Hungarian Gesta (1100's).  (And of
>course  in one of the Egil sagas we see "Blocmannland" - looking like it came
>down the same path.)  My best information is that /valachia/ as Vlachs first
>appears a bit later (@1300's?).  duNay says the first mention of the place we
>call "Walachia" happens with the Polish chronicler Jan Dlugosz (1415-1480).

>So what happened here?  The palatalized /vl/

Palatalized vl-?

>gets dropped suddenly in Latin
>after all those years and Latin and German return to /val/?  Does that make

Why not?  Vl- as an initial cluster doesn't come naturally to
many languages (e.g. Romanian) and may be changed to bl- or val-
in borrowing.

>Here's another explanation.  There were multiple forms of the word going
>round in the many years before 'Wallachia" shows up about .  duNay says that
>Vlach is "walach" in German.  And the OED shows that 'vlachs' first entered
>English as "wolocks" and "wallacks" as well as the expected "vlachs" and
>"walachs" from the latin.  If the Slavic "volocks" did not survive
>palatalization, the German version of it should have.  It would then make
>more sense to see "Walachia" or "Wallachia" as:

>1) a latinization of either the earlier pre-pal. Slavic "volocks" or
>"volochs." (But not East Slavic "volox").  Or a form that survived
>palatalization with the initial vowel because it was a proper name.

I really don't understand your use of the word palatalization.

>2) a latinization of "wal/a/ch" (adj) as it sometimes appears in Germanic or
>as it might have been borrowed back early from the Slavic.

>Both of these seem to fit better, given that "vlach-" was already established
>in Latin well before "Wallachia" appears.  They also acknowledge the original
>western form of the word with the initial vowel intact.

>At this point, I won't go into the fact that there is another form of Vlach
>that appears early in Southern Slavic, "vlah-", that does not even include
>-x(U)- that might be reflected from say "Volcae" but not from the OHG

/x/ is the voiceless velar fricative sometimes written <ch> or

>I wrote:
><<It also seems 'Walh' is unattested in Gothic in the 4th century.>>

>You wrote:
><<There's not much call for the word in a Bible translation.>>

>Well, the new testament is pretty heavy with "Romans" isn't it?
>I suspect there was opportunity enough if that's what the word meant at that
>point in time.

The word at that point in time meant "Romance speaker", while
Ulfila uses <Rumoneis> "Roman" (i.e. at the time and place, a
person speaking Greek).

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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