The pronoun idem/eadem/idem appears to be the combination of is/ea/id and -dem. I can understand why isdem > īdem in the masculine, but why do we have iddem > ĭdem? Shouldn't the vowel be longer to compensate for the lost consonant? The first syllable in ĭdem is short (or light). Is the shortness there just to disambiguate it from the masculine? Such ambiguity would be easy to live with, so I expect the reason to be different. Or is idem perhaps pronounced as if it was iddem but still spelled with a single D? Otherwise the pronoun behaves as expected, but the neuter singular nominative and accusative strikes me as odd. I don't know much about length compensation, so I am certainly missing something here.

  • Loss of a coda consonant doesn't always result in compensatory lengthening; in fact I believe (though don't have a reference) that this is less common with plosives like d than with continuants. – TKR Aug 25 '17 at 19:39
  • Because iddem > ĭdem is incorrect. According to one hypothesis, n. ĭdem, with the enclitic -em, was reanalyzed as *iddem and that gave rise to a new enclitic -dem; hence, e.g. m. isdem > īdem. – Alex B. Aug 30 '17 at 0:28
  • Either of the comments would make a fine answer. – Joonas Ilmavirta Aug 30 '17 at 5:02

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