I learned from TKR's answer to this question about neuter endings that the neuter pronoun hoc is pronounced like hocc, causing it to be scanned long despite having a short vowel. I had never heard of this before, but I want to understand better. This leads me to some questions:

  • Can you provide a couple of examples of nominative or accusative hoc followed by a vowel and scanned long?
  • Are there examples in classical poetry that treat hoc normally, scanning it short before a vowel?
  • Are there other words that unexpectedly scan long always or often? I suspect the suffix -ce might lead to this effect. This question includes other forms of the same pronoun, especially the masculine hic.
  • 3
    I found a relevant passage in Bennett (1907) that I summarize in my answer to What effect should a macron have on the sound of a letter and its word?. He thinks it is likely that a long final consonant occured in some nominative forms where original -s was assimilated to a preceding s, l, or r, as in far, farris. I'm unsure about the extent to which this is supported by metrical evidence.
    – Asteroides
    Feb 2, 2017 at 10:08
  • @sumelic Interesting! It could be that dictionaries mark some vowels length due to metric evidence but the authors have misinterpreted a long consonant for a long vowel. A short study of words of this kind would constitute a nice answer.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Feb 2, 2017 at 10:12
  • Is far long from Synizesis?
    – Hugh
    Feb 3, 2017 at 14:53
  • @Hugh I don't know about far. That's a potential answer word. By hic I mean the one with short vowel, hence the word "masculine".
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Feb 3, 2017 at 15:08
  • Not an easy one to diagnose, because by default a heavy syllable preceding a single consonant is grounds to just classify the vowel as long.
    – blagae
    May 3, 2017 at 12:51

1 Answer 1


Hoc is always scanned long in classical poetry, because it is the same as *hocc (from *hocce < *hodce). I give only a couple of examples, but you can check by yourself using http://www.pedecerto.eu/ricerca/forma. It is the same for the other words formed with the intensifying particle -ce, like istuc (from *istucce < *istudce) or illuc (from *illucce < *illudce)

Lucil. sat. 1032: hoc etiam accipe quod dico: nam pertinet ad rem

Verg. ecl. 1,539: Quod genus hoc hominum? quaeue hunc tam barbara morem

Concerning other words which present the same gemination phenomenon, there are:

  • words from -rr, like cor (from *cord), which is scanned long by archaic authors only (e.g. Plaut. Pers. 802 [quaternary cataleptic anapest] cor uritur, caput ne ardescat, but already in Lucil. sat. 516 is scanned short: vera putant, credunt signis cor inesse in aenis), or ter (from *terr, cfr. the compound terruncius);

  • words from -ss (from the assimilation of the dental conosonant of the stem and the -s of the first person nominative singular desinence), like miles, compos, dives, eques, hospes, impos et similia, or in es (second person singular of sum, from *ess), cfr. e.g. Plaut. Aul. 528 (iambic senarius): miles impransus astat, aes censet dari; Plaut. Cas. 817 (iambic senarius): sospes iter incipe hoc, uti viro tuo; but already in Ennius these syllables are scanned short (e.g. ann. 269: spernitur orator bonus, horridus miles amatur).

Vd. M. Leumann, Lateinische Laut- und Formenlehre, München 1977, pp. 220-221; S. Boldrini, La prosodia e la metrica dei Romani, Roma 1992, pp. 50-51.

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