Questions tagged [phonetics]

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What is the modern day pronunciation of v in Latin as in van or as a w? And is the c soft as in cellar or hard as in cat?

What is the modern day pronunciation of v in Latin (as in van) or as a w sound? And is the c soft as in cellar or hard as in cat?
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2 votes
1 answer
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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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5 votes
1 answer
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Does the pronunciation of 'gn' depend on the environment?

I have heard different pronunciations of 'gn': [ŋn], [gn], [ɲ:]. Given a fixed era and dialect, is 'gn' always pronounced the same way or does the pronunciation depend on the environment? My ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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When did "ae" become [e]?

I know about the differences between Reconstructed and Church pronunciation. I have wondered when they arose. I have already researched it on StackExchange where "V" had already become [v] ...
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4 votes
1 answer
658 views

Why is the prefix con- sometimes short, sometimes long?

A friend sent me this image: Her question was simple: Is the Latin any good? The Latin indeed is good, and if one accepts the English to be in LOLcat, the English checks out as well. However … I also ...
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4 votes
3 answers
126 views

Scientific name for living toys

In a world were living toys exist and are known (like Toy Story but with their sentience been common knowledge), what would be the Latin scientific name for a toy? In a similar way of how homo sapiens ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Is ἐν changing to ἐμ or ἐγ only a thing in Attic?

I've seen in various places (example) the statement that prepositions like ἐν, συν, and ἐκ change forms before certain consonants, so we would have ἐμ before βμπφψ, and ἐγ before γκξχ. But looking ...
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6 votes
0 answers
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When is Latin "qu" transcribed as "κο", "κοι" or "κυ" in Greek?

The most common transcription of Latin qu into the Greek alphabet seems to have been κου in general, but there are some others: κο as in κοις for quis, κοι as in κοιιδ for quid, and κυ as in κινκυε ...
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4 votes
1 answer
263 views

Why do I find it hard not to palatalize the /g/ in digitus?

In latin words such as digitus, I found it hard to pronounce correctly the consonants /k/ or /g/ followed by /i/. I think that this happens especially if these sounds are in the same syllabe. Is it ...
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5 votes
1 answer
177 views

βυκάνη < būcina: vowel reduction undone in borrowings from Latin?

So I've come across this word βῡκάνη, ostensibly borrowed from Latin būcina ('an ox-horn trumpet'), from bou- ('ox') + canere ('to sing'). The lack of vowel reduction is immediately striking; ...
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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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5 votes
1 answer
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Does G ever visibly assimilate in voice?

According to Allen's Vox Latina, /b/ regularly becomes voiceless before a voiceless consonant. This shows up sometimes in writing: for example, we see forms of ob-sideō written occasionally as opsideō....
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2 votes
0 answers
224 views

Latin diphthongs, vowel qualities

There is one existing question on the SE (search for 'ae pronunciation'), but there are nothing equal to my interests. My googling returned to me nothing too. So, maybe somebody here know: nowadays ...
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6 votes
1 answer
460 views

Is x considered one consonant or two?

We know that letter x is pronounced "cs" ("ks") i.e. as two consonants. But it is still one letter. When it stands between two vowels, is the first syllable considered open or close?
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4 votes
1 answer
274 views

Does /l̥/ in reconstructed Latin represent a voiceless (alveolar) lateral approximate or something else?

Latin facultās presumably developed from an original *faklitāts (via *fakl̥tāts > *fakiltāts > facultās) . . . —Merriam-Webster Does the /l̥/ in *fakl̥tāts represent a voiceless (alveolar) ...
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5 votes
1 answer
257 views

Does an ig- prefix mean there's an underlying g in the root?

There seem to be certain words in Latin which start with an underlying /gn/, such as noscō /gnosko:/ [nɔsko:]—this "hidden" /g/ appears when prefixes are added, as in cognoscō /congnosko:/ [cɔŋnɔsko:] ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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How was "gnosco" pronounced?

I've heard it said before that Classical Latin /gn/ between vowels (as in magnus) was probably realized as [ŋn] (as in "hangnail"). This is supported by Romance descendants and the spelling of certain ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Quality of final ĕ ĭ ŏ

Evidence from the Romance languages provides fairly good evidence for distinct qualities, [ɛ] vs. [eː], for ĕ and ē in stressed syllables when followed by a consonant. Likewise for ŏ and ō as [ɔ] vs. [...
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10 votes
1 answer
461 views

Is the palatalization of "d" between "a", "i" or "o" and "ie" or "iu" only a Medieval Latin phenomenon?

In Italian and the other Romance languages, the palatalization especially concerns "c" and "g" before "e" or "i". But some words in Italian (or early Italian in the case of meriggio) show the same for ...
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4 votes
1 answer
114 views

Inars > iners: how is this change called?

What linguistic process is illustrated by changing /a/ into /e/ in inars/iners? Assimilation? Why has it taken place?
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9 votes
1 answer
273 views

Did the Romans ever transcribe [ʃ]?

(Note: [ʃ] is the first sound in English "ship".) I've seen the sound [ʃ] represented in a few different ways in Greek writing: σ in Hebrew names in the LXX, σχ in modern Tsakonian, ψ in Sappho's ...
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5 votes
2 answers
159 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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5 votes
1 answer
192 views

Vowel compensation for intervocalic -ss- > -s-

I was recently reminded (by this question) that intervocalic single -s- turned into -r- by rhotacism, and later new instances of intervocalic -s- were produced from -ss-. If the vowel preceding -ss- ...
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12 votes
2 answers
336 views

When did consonantal "v" start being transcribed as "β"?

Since I learned Latin using ecclesiastical pronunciation, I have a general interest in the shift from the classical pronunciation of "v" as /w/ to /v/. This question is more focused though: I am ...
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4 votes
0 answers
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Rules of syllabification [duplicate]

In Latin Grammar, Robert J. Henle wrote (p. 2), Accent. a. In words of two syllables the accent is on the first. vía; béllum b. In words of more than two syllables, if the second last ...
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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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6 votes
1 answer
633 views

What's the difference in sound between the letter η and the diphthong ει?

This question has been in the back of my mind for a while now. I'm curious to know, what's the difference in sound between the letter η and the diphthong ει? I would appreciate an answer in writing, ...
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4 votes
2 answers
391 views

Gemination after stressed vowel

Sometimes I hear people geminate consonants after stressed vowels in speech. For example, amāta might be pronounced as amātta. I have not heard enough to tell if this gemination is ...
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30 votes
3 answers
3k views

Are there exceptions to the Latin stress rules?

Do the Latin stress rules (antepenultimate if penultimate is light, penultimate if heavy) have any known exceptions? If so, what are the exceptions, and what evidence is there in the grammatical ...
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11 votes
1 answer
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Why do some 2nd decl. "-er" adjectives and nouns drop the "e" in the stem?

Is there any rule explaining why certain second-declension nouns and adjectives with a nominative -er ending drop the e when declined (e.g. ager, liber, pulcher), and why others keep it (e.g. puer, ...
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20 votes
4 answers
5k views

When did the consonant U (i.e., V) begin to be pronounced as the fricative [v] instead of [w]?

It's well established that the consonantal u (or v) was pronounced as [w] in Classical Latin (i.e., w as in wine). Of course, Romance languages developed voiced fricatives out of this u-consonant, ...
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21 votes
3 answers
6k views

Non-typographical evidence of V being pronounced as [w]

According to a consensus of Latin scholars, the letter V in ancient Latin was pronounced as [w]. This seems to make sense, because there was no distinguishing between V and U, so the letter V could ...
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