When I scan a verse, I simply leave out elided vowels: I don't pronounce them at all. But I've heard theories that the Romans did pronounce them, but just as very short vowels of half a syllable's length. What do we know about this? Is there consensus about the pronunciation?

  • I think they pronounced elided vowels as "vocales elisus"
    – anon
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 14:24
  • @QPaysTaxes: Hmm I can't Google that, do you have more information? And hello!
    – Cerberus
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 14:35
  • It was a joke; as far as I can tell, that's the Latin phrase meaning "elided bowels". Also, hi!
    – anon
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 14:50

1 Answer 1


This is discussed in great detail in Allen’s classic Vox Latina ch. 4. His conclusion is (briefly) that a final short vowel followed by another vowel in the next word was elided (elisio), but a long vowel in the same position was reduced to a semivowel (synizesis).

  • Good answer! I have heard of Vox Latina, although I've never used it. Would you consider it authoritative? And did Allen seem certain about this, or was it more like an hypothesis?
    – Cerberus
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 1:23
  • 1
    Let us say that it has still not been replaced.
    – fdb
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 8:02
  • I'd agree with that. I've met experts who believe it's not right about everything, but as none of them has yet written a correction, he's the best to go with. Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 17:34

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