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Questions tagged [vowel]

The tag has no usage guidance.

3
votes
2answers
60 views

Is long vowel feature completely lost in deviated languages?

In Latin, some vowels are marked by a macron, they are long vowels. However, I found that in French and Spanish there's no macron in their writing. Is the long vowel feature completely lost in the ...
4
votes
0answers
65 views

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. [...
2
votes
3answers
76 views

Do vowels before /j/ make diphthongs?

In my experience, Latin has a short list of diphthongs that are found in native words. This list includes ei /ej/, as in dēinde. However, there are other vowels that can appear before /j/: see major /...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

When is “ei” a diphthong?

Many introductory Latin books will explain that Classical Latin has four diphthongs: ae and au are common, while oe and ei are rarer. (Eu and ui also show up, but if I understand right that's a Greek ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

Can “ee” appear in Latin?

There are a few instances in Latin where words are spelled with two vowels next to each other, in hiatus: filii "sons", metuunt "they fear". Now, the last words of the Emperor Julian II are normally ...
5
votes
1answer
70 views

How long was the privative alpha?

In Ancient Greek, the "privative alpha" is a negating prefix, cognate to Latin in- (as in "in-conceivable", not "in-flammable") and English "un-". It survives in English in words like "a-typical" and "...
8
votes
3answers
959 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
160 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

Are there iota or hypsilon contract verbs?

In Greek, verbs are classified as "consonant-stem" or "vowel-stem". Vowel-stem verbs, aptly, have a vowel at the end of their stem. And in the Attic dialect, if this vowel is a short alpha, epsilon, ...
6
votes
3answers
210 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
145 views

Where did the passive infinitive come from?

The etymology of the present active infinitive seems well-documented. Proto-Italic had an infinitive-like suffix *-si, so *dōnā- + *-si = *dōnāsi > dōnāre by regular sound changes (s → z → r between ...
4
votes
1answer
95 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
83 views

Are there verbs in -o-?

Verbs conjugated in -a- (amō, amāre, amāvī, amātus), in -e- (habeō, habēre, habuī, habitus), and in -i- (audio, audīre, audīvī, auditus) are common and well-known. Verbs in -u- (acuō, acuere, acuī, ...
5
votes
1answer
76 views

Why vesperascit instead of vesperescit?

I was recently working on a little translation project and my intuition and memory suggested that "evening comes" is vesperescit. Checking dictionaries corrected me: it is vesperascit instead. Why is ...
11
votes
1answer
241 views

Did the Romans ever distinguish long vowels in writing?

In most modern writing of Latin, long vowels are distinguished from short vowels by using macrons (e.g, āēīōū). As far as I know, however, ancient authors rarely, if ever, distinguished long vowels ...
9
votes
2answers
242 views

When is there a U instead of an E in gerund(ive)?

Tuomo Pekkanen's Latin grammar mentions (§52.3) that the -e- added to the present stem before -nd- in the gerund and gerundive (in the third and fourth conjugations) can be replaced with a -u-. For ...
11
votes
1answer
175 views

How can one predict the length of theme vowels in verbs?

The theme vowels a, e, and i in infinitives are long. But, in other forms of those verbs, they can be short. But when, exactly? What are the rules for this? And how about the suppletive vowels used ...
6
votes
1answer
104 views

Forming a compound with the second word starting with a vowel

For both Latin and Greek, what rules govern the formation of a compound of two words, with the second word starting with a vowel? I'm specifically most interested in the rules for Latin, since this ...
8
votes
1answer
175 views

Homo from hemo?

I stumbled upon a Latin grammar from 1916 today, and it mentions that nemo comes from ne and an old version of homo, namely hemo. Is this theory considered valid these days? What support is there for ...
5
votes
1answer
115 views

Could the u in e.g. aufero be related to the u in Mycenaean a-pu-do-ke?

I came across this Mycenaen word when I was trapped in a Wikipaedia chain: the verbal augment is almost entirely absent from Mycenaean Greek with only one known exception, (𐀀𐀟𐀈𐀐), a-pe-do-ke (...