Palatalization is a general feature of the Latin > Romance progression. In early Spanish, innovated palatals, especially the most strident /ʃ/ and /ʧ/ along with non-palatal /ts/, played key roles in a complex historical narrative. Highly strident obstruents compensated for lost acoustic robustness that was reduced by lenition (t > d, etc.). The new strident consonants, with their phonosymbolic potential, also supported expressive-affective synergies in the Latin > Early Spanish lexicon. For example, VITIU- ("physical or moral flaw") with expressive /ts/ in its Spanish reflex viçio, has a specialized affective semantic reflex ("moral flaw") while affective bicho ("pesky insect") < Latin BESTIA- ("beast") shows phonologically unexpected but expressive ʧ. In the medieval period expressive affectivity involving strident consonants was pervasive, namely, acuçioso [akutsiózo] ("zealous; solicitous"), chufa [ʧúfa] ("trick; mockery"), and quexoso [keʃózo] ("complaining; bothersome"). Juan Ruiz appropriated this dimension of the lexicon in Libro de buen amor with notable aesthetic effect. One example among the copious is his vivid description of the ideal woman as ancheta de caderas ("having just wide-enough hips"). In the transition from late medieval to early modern Spanish, expressive obstruents and affective semantics continued to interact, with effect on the evolving lexicon. This extended exploration of the interaction between the evolution of the phonological system, lexical innovation, and poetic expression demonstrates the explanatory power of investigation that integrates linguistics and philology.


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pp. 99-125
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