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Questions tagged [phonology]

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8
votes
1answer
134 views

What would a 5th-6th century learned Latin pronunciation have sounded like?

Is there any information on the status of learned pronunciations from the late imperial period up to 1000 CE? I am wondering because the Classical Latin reconstruction seems to make clear that by the ...
10
votes
2answers
473 views

What was the sibilant in θάλασσα?

The word θάλασσα thálassa "sea" is spelled in various different ways, with different letters replacing the sigmas: some dialects had a tau, for example, while others had a theta. Do we know (through ...
5
votes
1answer
66 views

Why choose σ versus σσ in Hebrew loans?

The LXX provides a wide variety of Hebrew, Aramaic, and other Semitic words transcribed into Greek. Most of the transcriptions are straightforward: the letter lamedh ל, for example, is always ...
5
votes
1answer
95 views

Plural in 4th declension

I know that virtually all masculine and feminine nouns in Latin have an e or i in the nominative plural and that the genitive singular is often similar. This is quite widespread in Indo-European ...
2
votes
1answer
60 views

Did Classical Latin stress impact any sound changes?

It's fairly well-known that Old Latin had initial stress, which is why vowels generally only get reduced in non-initial syllables: see aptus versus in-eptus, which is continued by English "apt" and "...
8
votes
1answer
182 views

Did any Ancient Greek words have intervocalic /h/?

Ancient Greek (some dialects at least) had a phoneme /h/, written with a rough breathing mark on vowels. Did this phoneme ever occur between two vowels, or only word-initially and after consonants? ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

How was iī pronounced?

Most of the time, Latin doesn't allow two instances of the same vowel next to each other: forms like *mee (from meus) are replaced with alternatives like mī. However, in I-stem second nouns, the ...
4
votes
0answers
69 views

How did σσ differ from σ?

Varro mentioned in this answer: I think it's highly likely that originally Greek σσ had a distinct sound from σ which made it a closer match to a foreign [ʃ] than σ would have been, which is why it ...
3
votes
0answers
24 views

Which vowel combinations contract?

In Attic Greek in particular, there are well-understood patterns of "vowel contraction" that replace two vowels in hiatus with a single vowel or diphthong. But in Latin, contraction seems much more ...
7
votes
3answers
169 views

Why σελήνη instead of ἑλήνη?

The Greek word for the moon is σελήνη selēnē, σελᾱνᾱ selānā, or σελάννᾱ selánnā, depending on dialect. All seem to come transparently from the same root as σέλας sélas, "shine". But since these both ...
9
votes
1answer
192 views

Understanding vowel quantity in fieri

The verb fieri has an unusual conjugation, and one of the weird aspects is the long I before many vowels: fīō, fīās, fīet… Why is the I long? Does the origin of ...
7
votes
1answer
215 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
265 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
263 views

Why is there an “o” in “controversus”?

Apparently, contrōversus comes from the preposition contrā- + versus. So why does it have "ō" instead of "ā"? I checked Lewis and Short, but it doesn't explain the development of this vowel. I also ...
16
votes
1answer
124 views

Quare dicitur “poeta” et non “pœeta”?

"Why is it "poeta" and not "poeeta" in Latin?" This question occurs in the Harvard University Catalogue of 1872-73, but I haven't been able to find the answer. The reason I would expect "pœeta" is ...