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congee

From Old French congié (modern congé), from commeatus ("passage, permission to leave"), from commeo ("I go and come"), from con- + meo ("I go, I pass")

Occasionally I find this word, but I can't help being curious about the change from "-mm-" to "-ng-".

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1 Answer

The sound change isn't really mm > ng, but rather [mj] > [nʒ].

The combination /j/+front vowel underwent fortition in other Romance languages, including Italian (L. iactare > Italian gettare).

In the case of congee, I would propose commeatus -> [komjet] -> [komʒet] (fortition) -> [konʒet] (assimilation). The OED etymology has Provençal comjat, conjat, which confirms the last sound change.

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L. commeatus > LL. comiatus etc. –  Alex B. Feb 25 '13 at 17:00
    
Some attested forms, from the Dictionnaire historique de la langue francaise (Rey 1998, t.1): cumgiet (v.980), congiet (v.1050), conged (v.1130). They also propose the following intermediate stages: *comyadu, *condjiado. –  Alex B. Feb 26 '13 at 0:20
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