Questions tagged [vowel]

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2
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0answers
55 views

Arnold and Conway, earlier change of pronunciation of aspirates?

Describing the pronunciation of Greek in schools in the UK, Allen says that a pamphlet by Arnold and Conway, "The Restored Pronunciation of Greek and Latin," pretty much set the standard ...
5
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1answer
162 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; ...
7
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1answer
371 views

Are there minimal pairs between vowels and semivowels?

In Classical times, no distinction was made in writing between /u/ and /w/, or between /i/ and /j/. This distinction seems to have been phonemic, because we see names like Jūlius vs Iūlus. But are ...
6
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1answer
166 views

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 ...
1
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2answers
121 views

Does trisyllabic laxing occur in Latin words like 'decision' before entering English?

There's a phenomenon called Trisyllabic laxing where the vowel in a stressed syllable is shortened if two (or more) syllables follow. If the stressed vowel is in at least* the penultimate syllable (...
2
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0answers
141 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 ...
3
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1answer
149 views

Vowel hiatus and non-diphthong vowel pairs (compared to Romance languages)

Classical Latin's 6 major diphthongs are clear-cut, phonologically speaking. We know ae is pronounced as one phoneme, such as in [ˈsae̯.pɛ], "saepe." However, we often come across words that have 2 ...
5
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1answer
93 views

Which words never elide?

I know the vocative ō doesn't elide with a following word in Latin, though it can elide with a preceding one. For example, Catullus LXI.39: dicite "o Hymenaee Hymen…" For metrical reasons, this ...
2
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1answer
167 views

On vowel lengths in Latin

This question originates from this thread upon suggestion of Joonas Ilmavirta. Q. How do we know all the vowel lengths in Latin? It would be of interest to me if we manage to collect a list with ...
3
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0answers
63 views

What is the nature of variation between αι and α in (Pre-)Greek words?

When trying to answer a previous question about the patronymic derived from Asclepius, I came across the following quotation from Beekes in the Wikipedia entry on Asclepius: The name is typical for ...
3
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2answers
101 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 ...
5
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1answer
474 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. [...
4
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3answers
236 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 /...
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3answers
3k 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
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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
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1answer
119 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 "...
11
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3answers
4k 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 ...
3
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1answer
494 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 ...
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1answer
100 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
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3answers
441 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 ...
11
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1answer
490 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
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1answer
285 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 ...
6
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1answer
122 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
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1answer
82 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
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1answer
525 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
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3answers
388 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 ...
12
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1answer
371 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 ...
5
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1answer
122 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 ...
7
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1answer
241 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 ...
4
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1answer
137 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 (...