Questions tagged [consonants]

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From what date do we find spellings with V for B?

In late Latin, there was frequent confusion between B and V between vowels (a position where the distinction was eventually lost throughout the Romance languages), and even at the start of words (...
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8 votes
1 answer
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On what basis is bilabial [ɸ] rather than labiodental [f] reconstructed for any Latin varieties?

I've seen references in some of my reading to a reconstructed value of a bilabial fricative [ɸ] for Latin "f" in some times and places. Examples: This answer on the Spanish Stack Exchange ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Variation between syllabic and non-syllabic V: in what contexts is it possible?

Allen's Vox Latina, 2nd edition (1988) metions that there is occasional "poetic interchange" in Latin of syllabic [u] and non-syllabic [w], mentioning trisyllabic silua and disyllabic genva ...
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9 votes
5 answers
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Does D/L variation go back to a dl cluster?

As outlined here in “Indo-European *d, *l and *dl” by Tim Pulju, there’s a hypothesis going back to Hamp 1972 that the l in Latin lacrima and d in the archaic variant dacruma both represent a dl ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Is there a difference between ΚΘ and ΧΘ?

According to what I'd previously learned, aspirated stop clusters in Ancient Greek only had a single aspiration, at the end of the whole cluster. The reason for writing χθών "earth", φθόγγος "sound" ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Ecclesiastical Pronunciation of the word Monachus, Monachi etc

Salvete, Does anyone know of a good dictionary that shows the ecclesiastical pronunciation of Latin words? I am confused by this example: a monk = monachus, pl. monachi, which I have seen written ...
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5 votes
1 answer
89 views

Could applying assimilation affect meaning?

The two grammatical terms "adposition" and "apposition" are related to adpositiō, which has an alternative form appositiō. In appositiō assimilation applied, while in adpositiō assimilation does not ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Why is it thought that T resisted assibilation after another T?

It's well known that past a certain point, Latin "t" developed an assibilated pronunciation when followed by "i" and then a vowel, as in the word grātia. Sources agree that there are some exceptions, ...
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11 votes
3 answers
5k views

What makes a syllable "heavy" or "light"?

The rules for positioning of syllable stress in Latin are relatively simple; they are as follows: In two-syllable words, the stress always falls on the first syllable. In three or more syllable ...
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4 votes
3 answers
336 views

Does any Latin noun originally end in -r?

Many Latin nouns end -r, like honor. However, this word seems to have been originally honos, which became honor- in oblique cases due to rhotacism and the -r made its way to nominative by analogy. ...
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6 votes
3 answers
458 views

How many syllables are there in 'mortuus'?

I asked yesterday why the participle mortuus has two us. When Rafael asked whether one of the us were consonantal, I had no other evidence than being taught that they are both vocalic. Arguing by ...
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6 votes
0 answers
270 views

Reviewing the evidence of the spirantization of β (betacism) in Greek

I originally submitted this question to the Linguistics beta site, and those users recommended that I ask anything related to Greek here. Although I understand that it is impossible to assign a ...
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8 votes
1 answer
418 views

Why does “inferus” have /f/ rather than /d/?

I found various sources indicating that the Latin word inferus (or infer) comes from a Proto-Indo-European form like *n̥dʰer, the source of English “under” and Sanskrit adhara, adhas. (The Sanskrit ...
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10 votes
2 answers
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Is pronouncing 'th' as 's' in 'Boethius' typical in any common Latin pronunciation scheme?

I'm listening to lectures by theologian Douglas Kelly (Medieval Theology, lectures 7 and 8), in which he repeatedly pronounces the name Boethius as: boh-EE-see-us (how it sounds to me) /boʊˈiːsiəs/ (...
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5 votes
2 answers
161 views

Loss of s before voiced consonants at word boundaries

I learned from the comment to the answer to this old question that Latin has lost the consonant S before voiced consonants. In the linked post this was used to explain the observed pattern that the ...
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11 votes
2 answers
295 views

-NL- and -LL- in Classical Latin

I just stumbled upon an old meta question about the name of our chat room, and a comment gave me the impression that the classical spelling would be conloquium rather than colloquium. (Let me ignore ...
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10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Did an internal m nasalize the preceding vowel?

We know that the final m was not a full consonant in classical Latin, but denoted nasalization and elongation of the preceding vowel. See this or this old question for more details. Was this effect ...
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7 votes
3 answers
3k views

How to pronounce the sequence "ti" when reading Latin

As Latin is a dead language, I imagine, people note pronounce it differently depending on in which county they are learning it. That said, I would like to know what IPA phoneme is commonly used to ...
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10 votes
2 answers
2k views

How is Latium pronounced?

The Merriam Webster definition gives the following pronunciation: \ˈlā-sh(ē-)əm\. But this doesn't sound right to me. I have never heard the consonant 't' pronounced this way in Latin. Which leads me ...
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9 votes
2 answers
518 views

Are vowels long before "gn"?

Allen and Greenough, §10d, provide a general rule: A vowel before ns, nf, gn, is long: as in cōnstāns, īnferō, māgnus [emphasis modified] This seems to agree with Priscian: 'gnus' quoque vel '...
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19 votes
2 answers
3k views

When did 'ph' start to be pronounced like 'f'?

I learned from Nathaniel's answer to my previous question that 'ch', 'th' and 'ph' were aspirated voiceless stops in classical Latin. In my experience many contemporary speakers of Latin pronounce 'ph'...
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13 votes
1 answer
3k views

Were 'th' and 'ch' aspirated in classical Latin?

I have been taught that 'th' and 'ch' were pronounced just like 't' and 'c' in classical Latin, with no aspiration. The answer to this earlier question confirms that 't' and 'c' had indeed little or ...
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13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Were voiceless stops (p, t, c, qu) aspirated in Classical Latin?

In English, the voiceless stops/plosives (p, t, k, "hard" c) are aspirated, particularly when beginning a word. That is, speakers release a burst of air when saying pop, tea, kaluha, or coffee (put ...
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25 votes
1 answer
4k views

How do we know how gn was pronounced in Classical Latin?

As far as I am aware, the classical pronunciation of -gn- (as in magnus) is not [gn] but [ŋn]. How do we know that this is in fact how -gn- was pronounced?
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24 votes
2 answers
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Was the final "-m" a "full-featured" consonant?

Is there any solid evidence supporting or denying the hypothesis that in Classical Latin the syllable-final vowel -m (especially at the end of the word) was only an orthographic convention, but in ...
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