Questions tagged [vowel]

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12
votes
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 ...
6
votes
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 ...
11
votes
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 ...
4
votes
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 /...
11
votes
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 ...
6
votes
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, ...
11
votes
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 ...
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 ...
4
votes
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 ...
8
votes
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 ...
6
votes
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 ...
5
votes
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 "...
2
votes
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 ...