Questions tagged [vowel-quantity]

For questions about vowel length.

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16
votes
2answers
771 views

Why is the “u” in “nuntius” and “nuntiare” long by exception?

First of all, a warm hello to all the users here! I was recently thinking about the pronunciation of nūntius and nūntiāre along with its derivatives (such as prōnūntiāre). According to "Latin for ...
12
votes
2answers
359 views

Did the Romans confuse a long vowel with two short ones?

Consider the words sūs and sŭŭs. The former has one long u, the latter has two short ones in two syllables. For another similar pair with a different vowel, consider īmus and ...
12
votes
1answer
250 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
305 views

What is the quantity of the “a” in “maxime”?

When I come across the word maxime in macronized texts, it usually lacks a macron over the first vowel. In Ørberg's Lingua Latīna series, however, in which the macrons are (from what I understand) ...
10
votes
1answer
275 views

Interpretation of circumflex in a poem from 1621

A poem from 1621 contains one ô and one â. The ô is the interjection ô and the â is in the relative pronoun quâ. No circumflexes are used elsewhere in the poem. Does the circumflex (or caret or ...
10
votes
0answers
256 views

Etymology and pronunciation of words ending in “-iasis”

Unfortunately, I don’t own any Latin or Greek dictionaries or etymological texts, but I tried to research this topic on the internet. Here is what I found: Perseus: words ending in “iasis” in L&S ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
380 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 '...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I know where to place macrons?

How do I use macrons? I understand what they do and how they do it, I just don't understand how you know when and where to place them.
9
votes
2answers
309 views

Vowel length in future perfect indicative and perfect conjunctive

I want to compare future perfect active indicative and perfect active conjunctive. They look identical, apart from first person singular (cogitavero ≠ cogitaverim). But is there a difference in the ...
9
votes
1answer
225 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
231 views

In contemporary spoken Latin, do people mark the 1st-declension ablative case?

In contemporary spoken Latin, such as (I think) occurs among canon lawyers in the Vatican and at Latin-only conventicula, do people clearly lengthen the -ā at the end of first-declension nouns in the ...
8
votes
1answer
739 views

How do we know the quantity of vowels followed by several consonants?

Judging by dictionaries and grammars, we seem to know the length of almost every vowel in classical Latin. For word-final vowels and those followed by a single consonant, the length can be figured out ...
8
votes
3answers
535 views

Vowel shortening before another vowel: Exceptions

I am rather ashamed to admit that I used to pronounce Alexandrea (or Alexandria, cf. Ἀλεξάνδρεια) incorrectly in Latin, that is I mistakenly applied the famous rule "vocalis ante vocalem ...
8
votes
1answer
96 views

Is the U long or short in the forms ussi and ustus of the verb ūro?

I'm uncertain about the length of the u in the perfect and perfect passive participle stems of the verb uro /uːroː/. My research Lewis (1890) gives "ūrō ūssī, ūstus" but doesn't explain why....
8
votes
1answer
230 views

The length of the final vowel in first declension nouns (Greek)

How can you tell whether a first declension noun ends in a short or long vowel? Background When the word is written and accented, I may be able to tell. (Not always. E.g. θύρᾱ if without the macron)...
7
votes
2answers
384 views

Why a long ē in rēx, rēgis but not in regere or regiō?

I'm assuming it's not a phonological thing—like, if the ē in rēx was compensatorily lengthened because of g—>x, then it would be regis, not rēgis, right?
7
votes
2answers
156 views

Are there other verbs in -uō?

Someone asked me recently about the conjugation of the obscene verb futuō, futuere, futuī, futūtus—and in particular about the quantity of the ū in the participle. I intended to look at some other -...
7
votes
2answers
372 views

What evidence points to a long ō in the first syllable of nōscō's present-tense form?

I've read in various sources that the verb nosco 'know' had a long vowel in the first syllable in Classical Latin pronunciation: nōscō [noːskoː]. I'm wondering what the linguistic evidence is for the ...
7
votes
2answers
252 views

Was the old ablative pronoun “med” or “mēd”?

In Classical times, the first singular ablative pronoun ("from me") was mē, with a long ē. However, the older form seems to have been med, with a final -d. Do we know whether this earlier form was ...
7
votes
1answer
146 views

Short vowels in lucubrando

I came across a poem from 1621 written in Sapphic stanza. It contains this line: pervigil Christi, lucubrando sudans To scan that, the third word must be lŭcŭbrandŏ. L&S ...
6
votes
2answers
207 views

Is there any rule to the length of “e” in “-ensis<”?

Is there any rule to the length of e in -ensis? I looked up the following words in Perseus (which give entries from 'Lewis & Short' and 'Elem. Lewis') and Wiktionary, without being able to ...
6
votes
1answer
117 views

Why is there a short ŭ in rŭtus?

In Cerberus's list of u-stem verbs, rŭō, rŭere, rŭī, rŭtus is the only one with a short ŭ in the participle stem. Why is this? Does it go back to different types of verbs in PIE, as with stătus ...
6
votes
0answers
85 views

What is the etymology of Ἁμαδρυάς (Hamadryas)? Is the second alpha actually long?

I am trying to find more information about the formation and pronunciation of the Greek noun Ἁμαδρυάς, taken into Latin as Hamadryas. L&S transcribes the second a of the Latin form with a macron: ...
5
votes
2answers
282 views

Does any Greek word have a geminate consonant after a long vowel?

I recently noticed a pattern in loans from Hebrew into Greek: the letter šin (or sin, or łin if you're really archaic) is transcribed σσ after a short vowel, σ elsewhere. My knowledge of Classical ...
5
votes
1answer
293 views

Under what conditions can “length by position” occur, and what does it actually mean?

I am studying Latin and one of the definitions in my textbook is kind of confusing. A syllable can be long in one of two ways: Length by nature. If the syllable contains a long vowel or ...
5
votes
1answer
100 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 "...
5
votes
1answer
139 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- ...
5
votes
1answer
105 views

Found eius but pēius in the same text: is it some kind of mistake?

While I was reading Lingua Latina per se Illustrata - Familia Romana, I noted something: the vocabulary list has ĕius but pēius, is that by accident? Also I noted meī as mēī in line 92 of chapter 25, ...
4
votes
2answers
644 views

How can you tell whether prefixed ‘in-’ is the preposition ‘in’ or Indo-European ‘in-’?

Background The verb īnsum has the prefix in-. Prefixing in/in- to words, changes their meaning to ‘in’, ‘on’ et sim., or ‘un-’, ‘non’ et sim. (ɔ:¹ negation).² However, according to Wiktionary, the ...
4
votes
2answers
249 views

Understanding Lewis and Short: Why sūbĭcĭo and not subjĭcĭo?

I just searched for Christmas questions on our site, and ended up reading this question and its answer. There was a mention of the Lewis and Short entry on the verb subicere, and I was puzzled by the ...
4
votes
1answer
390 views

Are there any words in Latin that are “light”?

In Latin, every syllable is either "light" or "heavy". A "heavy" syllable is one that has a long vowel and/or a coda consonant, and a "light" syllable is anything else. This distinction is important ...
4
votes
1answer
99 views

vowel length in “pro” before “f”

When I'm reading macronized texts, the prefix "pro" always seems to be marked long, with the exception of a few words in which it's followed by the letter "f": profugus, for example, and proficīscī, ...
4
votes
2answers
217 views

How long is a banana?

The word banana and variants thereof appear in a number of languages. The origin appears to be the word banaana in Wolof, if Wikipedia is to be trusted. This word is straightforward to adopt into ...
4
votes
1answer
146 views

What is the evidence for a long vowel in χριστός “anointed” and Latin Christus?

The Greek word χριστός, used as a translation of Hebrew משיח "messiah", and meaning something like "anointed" (Liddell and Scott), apparently has a long vowel in the first syllable....
4
votes
1answer
135 views

In ancient Attic Greek, how (un)stable were “ΝΣ”/“ΝΖ” and preceding vowels?

In Latin, it is thought (as far as I know) that within a single word, /ns/ and /nf/ were always preceded by a long vowel. This is a somewhat complicated result of a hypothesized sound change in words ...
4
votes
1answer
346 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
votes
1answer
192 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
86 views

An unambiguous example of 'īt'

The regular perfect them form for "he went" is iit. In an answer to this question about two short versus one long vowel, TKR mentions that this form can be contracted to īt. In a text without macrons ...
4
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0answers
95 views

How many vowel qualities did Oscan have?

Oscan was an Italic language related to Latin, which died out somewhere in the early centuries CE. It's notable for being used in the Fabulae Atellanae and for being the source of various loans into ...
3
votes
2answers
117 views

Pronouncing “Superfluus”

From fluere, su(short)perfluere means to overflow. However, I'm not sure how the adjective superflu(first u short)us is pronounced. My guess would be that both final Us are short, but why are they not ...
3
votes
1answer
94 views

How do I know if there's an “invisible yod”?

I've been told that the first syllable of abiciō is long by position, because it's actually an underlying *abjiciō, which causes it to be syllabified as *ab-ji-ci-ō before the *ji simplifies to i. So ...
3
votes
1answer
60 views

Are the two types of lustra distinguishable?

One meaning of the word lustrum is a sacrifice for purification done every five years; another is a house of ill repute. I'd always figured that the two were complete homophones. However, someone ...
3
votes
1answer
253 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
53 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
votes
0answers
134 views

“Alēctō” or “Allēctō”?

"Alēctō" is the name of one of the Furies, made surprisingly famous in the Harry Potter books. It seems to come straightforwardly from Greek ă- "not" + lēg- "stop" + -tos "[adjective]", so "...
3
votes
0answers
26 views

Does any text corpus allow quantity-sensitive searches?

Is there a text corpus, preferably of classical Latin, in which one can or even must search with specific vowel quantities? This came up when I wanted to search for patĕre but not patēre and had ...
2
votes
2answers
219 views

How do we know that the alpha in μυῖα is short and the alpha in γενεά is long?

I was reading the answers to this interesting question, about the analogy of forming compound nouns from muia ("fly") and genea ("birth"). And cnread brought up the interesting ...
2
votes
2answers
105 views

Do contracted perfects have long or short vowels?

Many verbs have a suffix -v- in the perfect tense, which tends to disappear (or "contract" or "syncopate") before the ending: amā- > amāvisti > amāsti "you loved", audī- > audīvisti > audīsti "you ...
2
votes
2answers
119 views

Where can I get a reliable list of words with macrons on?

When people are adding macrons to text, how do they know where the macrons should be? Is there a list somewhere? e.g. insula -> īnsula or īnsulā maxima -> maxima or māxima etc. I'd like to ...