27 votes
Accepted

Non-typographical evidence of V being pronounced as [w]

The best way we know that consonantal V was pronounced as /w/ is from transcriptions of Latin words in other languages. For example, the Roman name Valerius is transcribed as Ουαλεριος (Oualerios) in ...
cmw's user avatar
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17 votes
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Are there exceptions to the Latin stress rules?

Yes, there are exceptions, but fortunately not very many. Allen & Greenough has a short summary at §12.a, which I'll discuss here. The first common exception you'll come across is a word with an ...
cmw's user avatar
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17 votes

Are there exceptions to the Latin stress rules?

Imho the most comprehensive treatment of Latin accent (beautifully defined as "anima vocis" by some Roman grammarians) is Leumann, Hofmann, and Szantyr 1977, Lateinische Grammatik. Band I. Lateinische ...
Alex B.'s user avatar
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17 votes
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When did the consonant U (i.e., V) begin to be pronounced as the fricative [v] instead of [w]?

There is indeed evidence for the u-consonant being pronounced as a voiced fricative during the Classical period, even as early as the middle of the 1st century. A wax tablet dated to AD 39 records a ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
11 votes

Non-typographical evidence of V being pronounced as [w]

W. Sydney Allen, in Vox Latina, page 41, gives several examples that support the [w] pronunciation of the consonantal u in Classical Latin. The first example appears in the writings of Nigidius ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
10 votes
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Did an internal m nasalize the preceding vowel?

Sampson 1999 summarizes research on nasalization of vowels in Latin: "there is every reason for believing that in the history of Latin significant vowel nasality, allophonic and perhaps even ...
Alex B.'s user avatar
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10 votes

Are there exceptions to the Latin stress rules?

I'll just add one class to what cmw says in his excellent answer, which is shortened fourth-conjugation first-person singular perfects. Dormiī, audiī, veniī, and the like are all stressed on a short ...
Joel Derfner's user avatar
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10 votes
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Why is the prefix con- sometimes short, sometimes long?

We can consider the underlying length of the vowel in con- to be short: this is the default. In cōnsēdī, and in the majority of cases where the vowel in the prefix cō̆(n)- is long, it is a result of ...
Asteroides's user avatar
10 votes
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Does "laviniaque" from Vergil's Aeneid point to Romance palatalization?

This is a phenomenon called synizesis (συνίζησις), and it happens in both Greek and Latin poetry. For example, at the beginning of the Iliad: μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος To fit in a hexameter, ...
Draconis's user avatar
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9 votes
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Why do some 2nd decl. "-er" adjectives and nouns drop the "e" in the stem?

This is well-known and virtually all good grammars discuss this (as vowel syncope). Genetivus singularis helps us reconstruct the original nom.sg. form (synchronically), that's why we learn nouns in ...
Alex B.'s user avatar
  • 11.7k
9 votes

When did the consonant U (i.e., V) begin to be pronounced as the fricative [v] instead of [w]?

§ 1. Latin, Greek, and Hebrew I would argue that the consonant V by itself was never pronounced as a W, and that something near to the W sound only occurred depending on the position of the letter ...
Bʀɪᴀɴ's user avatar
9 votes
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Is ἐν changing to ἐμ or ἐγ only a thing in Attic?

It does not actually state that. It says that when they're used as prefixes: When the prepositions ἐν and σύν are used as prefixes, they retain these forms when the verb begins with a vowel. When the ...
cmw's user avatar
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8 votes

How to pronounce the sequence "ti" when reading Latin

The common pronunciation depends somewhat on when you're learning, as well as where. In recent decades there's been a push toward "reconstructed" pronunciation in education; if you learned that "c" is ...
Draconis's user avatar
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8 votes
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Is the palatalization of "d" between "a", "i" or "o" and "ie" or "iu" only a Medieval Latin phenomenon?

It is generally assumed, based on graphic data (including misspellings), that palatalization in Latin was operational as early as the second century AD (e.g. Maiden 1995, Repetti 2016, Weiss 2009/2011,...
Alex B.'s user avatar
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8 votes

βυκάνη < būcina: vowel reduction undone in borrowings from Latin?

I looked up the Greek word in the etymological dictionaries of Chantraine and Beekes. They both say that your hypothesis #1 (an Oscan loan) was indeed proposed by Cuny in 1908, but that this was ...
TKR's user avatar
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7 votes
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When did consonantal "v" start being transcribed as "β"?

Sturtevant, The Pronunciation of Greek and Latin, p. 88, has a relevant passage, though he doesn't go into details: Since Attic and Hellenistic Greek had no such sound as Classical Lat. v, namely [...
TKR's user avatar
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7 votes

Did the Romans ever transcribe [ʃ]?

There are plenty of examples of a foreign [ʃ] being transcribed by Latin "s" (or medially "ss") but the vast majority come via Greek. Apart from the numerous Hebrew names found in the Greek Bible, ...
varro's user avatar
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7 votes
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What's the difference in sound between the letter η and the diphthong ει?

The answer is complicated for two reasons: first, the digraph ει actually stood for two different sounds; and second, both these sounds and the sound of η later fell together into a single vowel sound....
TKR's user avatar
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7 votes

How to pronounce the sequence "ti" when reading Latin

There is no single standard for Latin pronunciation. The main division is between reconstructed pronunciation (based on our idea of what Classical Latin sounded like) vs. everything else. As Draconis ...
Asteroides's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Is x considered one consonant or two?

Closed. As X stands for CS, an X between two vowels means that there are two consonants between them and therefore the preceding syllable is always heavy/long. Sydney Allen in Vox Latina mentions ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Does G ever visibly assimilate in voice?

In a third-conjugation verb, a [g] sound at the end of a present stem generally alternates with a [k] sound, written as ⟨c⟩, before the [t] of the past participle/supine suffix. I believe the phonemic ...
Asteroides's user avatar
6 votes

Did an internal m nasalize the preceding vowel?

A pronunciation like [sũːmʊs] for summus in Classical Latin seems rather unlikely considering that the Italian reflex is sommo [somːo] and not [suːmo]. The letter M in Latin corresponded to the nasal ...
Asteroides's user avatar
6 votes

Non-typographical evidence of V being pronounced as [w]

I think the best evidence is outlined by cmw's answer about transcriptions into Greek. However, even just looking at Latin itself, the distribution of Latin consonantal V makes it fairly obvious that ...
Asteroides's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Inars > iners: how is this change called?

This is called vowel reduction. Basically, a vowel that loses emphasis becomes weaker. This is very typical with one-syllable prefixes: ars > iners, facere > efficere. It can also happen due to ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
6 votes

Loss of s before voiced consonants at word boundaries

In early classical poetry, a final /s/ did not necessarily make position in Vs CV. This is common enough in Plautus, especially when combined with Brevis Brevians, and seems to diminish in frequency ...
blagae's user avatar
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5 votes
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Does an ig- prefix mean there's an underlying g in the root?

The short answer would be no. Nōmen is a well-known example of a word that did not historically start with a velar consonant but that has a velar in some related prefixed words: agnōmen, cognōmen, ...
Asteroides's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Vowel compensation for intervocalic -ss- > -s-

The general tendency was to dissolve a geminate ss in writing, and also presumably in speech, only after a long vowel or diphthong. If this weren't the case, then there would be virtually no instances ...
blagae's user avatar
  • 1,470
5 votes

When did consonantal "v" start being transcribed as "β"?

β is found as early as 2nd century BC per Grundy Grundy1, who I've just started reading, says that the use of β to transcribe Latin V is attested in inscriptions as early as the 2nd century BC. ...
Asteroides's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Does /l̥/ in reconstructed Latin represent a voiceless (alveolar) lateral approximate or something else?

This is a symbol borrowed from Proto-Indo-European—linguists working with PIE regularly use *l̥ for something like IPA /l̩/, a syllabic lateral, not a voiceless one. However, I'm not quite sure why ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 67k
5 votes

Scientific name for living toys

crepundia refers to a child's rattle ludibrium means mockery or wantonness pupa can mean a little girl, but also a doll or a puppet - the male equivalent is pupus there are also the diminutive ...
outisnemo's user avatar
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