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30

In most modern texts, the whole purpose of using macrons is to clearly indicate pronunciation, so they're usually pretty straightforward. (Macrons were not used classically, although there were some older devices used for indicating vowel length such as the apex and "i longa", a taller I.) However, it's true that they can indicate several aspects of ...


29

A standard work in this area is Vox Latina, by W. Sidney Allen. The author answers your question in his foreword, identifying 6 types of evidence: specific statements of Latin grammarians and other authors regarding the pronunciation of the language; puns, plays on words, ancient etymologies, and imitations of natural sounds; the representation ...


26

That's actually not a rule. ab and ex can lose their consonant, but in fact it's far more common for them not to. Check out Lewis and Short's entries on them: ex/e ex always before vowels, and elsewhere more frequent than e; e. g. in Cic. Rep. e occurs 19 times, but ex 61 times, before consonants—but no rule can be given for the usage; cf., e.g., ex and ...


23

I'll briefly summarize the analysis of W. Sydney Allen in Vox Latina, 111ff., which is itself a summary of A. E. Gordon's The Letter Names of the Latin Alphabet. First, the vowels. These have the phonetic value of the letter in its long form: ā, ē, ī, ō, ū. This is well established both by grammarians (Allen cites Pompeius, "quando solae proferuntur, ...


20

This paper talks about several primary sources (i.e. Roman texts) that describe rolling Rs: Terentianus Maurus writes in De litteris that vibrat tremulis ictibus aridum sonorem the R vibrates with a dry sound from trembling blows Martianus Capella writes R spiritum lingua crispante corraditur [R] is pronounced with difficulty (?), with the tongue ...


19

We don't know for sure how -gn- was pronounced in Classical Latin. There are a few arguments for reconstructing the pronunciation of -⁠gn- as [ŋn], or more specifically [ŋ.n], with a syllable break between the two consonants. (This syllabification would explain why the preceding syllable is always metrically "heavy"—or in the misleading old-fashioned ...


18

Dictionaries often explicitly mark long and short vowels, with a macron and breve accent, respectively. In such a dictionary, you will recognize a consonantic i from not having either accent: māiŭs¹. The same applies to consonantic u (if the dictionary doesn’t use v). This only applies to dictionaries that mark both short and long vowels explicitly; this is ...


17

Here are a few "rules of thumb" I use. I can't guarantee these will work in all cases. If you're an English speaker, look at a related English word from Latin. If it's spelled with "j," it was probably consonantal "j" in Latin as well. For example, we can compare Latin MAIVS to English "major," Latin OBIECTVM to English "object," and so on. Generally, ...


16

It's impossible to pinpoint an exact date, but there is evidence. As usualy, Vox Graeca or Sihler's New Comparative Grammar is where to look. The earliest inscription we have of a Greek phi transliterated as a Latin 'F' comes from Pompeii in the first century CE, where the name Daphne was inscribed on a wall as Dafne. This might not have been monolithic, ...


15

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 enclitic (-que, -ve, -ne). With these, the accent always falls on the penult of the new word, so, using an example from Allen and Greenough, the accent for ...


15

Just like in English, there are many ways to pronounce Latin. Would you say that British pronunciation is correct and American is wrong? Any valid pronunciation will do, but the best choice depends on context. If you are singing a song from 18th century Germany, it is most appropriate to sing with with the corresponding pronunciation. If you are reading ...


15

An important source of information is comparison to other languages. For example, Cicero was spelled as Κικέρων1 in Greek. If we believe that the Greek kappa was pronounced as /k/ rather than /s/ or /ts/ or anything else, we can be confident that c was pronounced as /k/ in Latin as well — at least in this name. Similarly, the name Caesar gave rise to ...


14

This pronunciation change was underway by the fifth century, but perhaps not finalized until the sixth or seventh. Paul M. Lloyd, in From Latin to Spanish, writes: There is no inscriptional evidence of [the palatalization of /k/ and /g/ before the front vowels] until the fifth century, although it may have begun long before, and it continued to be an ...


14

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 transaction by merchant Gaius Nouius Eunus, about which Clackson and Horrocks write: Eunus’s text provides us with one of the earliest examples of the ...


13

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 Laut- und Formenlehre. (para 235-246, Betonung und Akzent). Caveat: It is in German. There is some evidence that even Roman grammarians admitted struggling ...


13

W. Sydney Allen, Vox Latina, 12–13, contends that the voiceless plosives in Latin were, compared to English, "relatively unaspirated," but that some aspiration may have been tolerated. First, evidence for a lack of aspiration can be seen in Greek transcriptions of these letters: π, τ, κ were used for p, t, and c/qu ("e.g., Καπετωλιον, Κοιντος for Capitolium,...


13

W. Sydney Allen, not unexpectedly, has the answer in Vox Latina, 26–27: The digraphs ph, th, ch represented aspirated voiceless plosives—not unlike the initial sounds of pot, top, cot respectively. They were indeed aspirated, and this is due to Greek influence. They were not found in the oldest inscriptions (p, t, and c sufficed), and initially, ...


13

The length of vowels with “hidden quantity” can often be discovered from one of the following sources of information: Explicit descriptions of vowel length in ancient texts “Lachmann’s law” is a well-known rule about the length of vowels in closed syllables in past participles; we have a description of this from the works of Aulus Gellius according to ...


13

The letter gamma was pronounced like the g in get in Ancient Greek, a voiced velar stop. But before another gamma, before kappa, chi, or xi, the gamma was pronounced like ng, as in boring. It's also pronounced like ng before at least some cases of nu or mu (possibly all). More information, including the pronunciation in New Greek, can be found on ...


12

Sturtevant, The Pronunciation of Greek and Latin, says of the change in pronunciation of C before front vowels (p. 167): "The epigraphical evidence of this change is not abundant enough to inspire confidence before the sixth century". He doesn't discuss the evidence any further, unfortunately. Note that the change is a little more complicated than just "C ...


12

Yes, the forms of vōs did originally resemble those of nōs. But there was a sound change in Latin whereby the sequence vo became ve; this is an example of dissimilation. Apparently this only occurred when the o was short, which is why it did not happen in the word vōs itself. Other examples are adversum, veto, which were originally advorsum, voto. Weiss (...


12

I wasn't able to find out why this word, or name, has a smooth breathing. As you may have seen already, LSJ actually has separate entries for "Raros", a name, and "raros", the "embryo" word that TKR's answer deals with. It's unclear to me if these have the same origin. LSJ seems to have a bit more information and examples of words related to the name in ...


12

There isn't just a single pronunciation of Latin in use, there are many. You can say /ˈgrae̯kae̯/, but whether you "should" is a matter of opinion. The transcription [ae̯] is one way of representing a reconstructed pronunciation of Latin "ae". (A very similar transcription would be [aɪ̯]. English students of Latin are commonly told to use the diphthong ...


12

If a word begins with a diphthong, the breathing sign is written over the second vowel letter. "Haimylioi" is correct.


12

I wrote a longer answer to this on the English language stack exchange, but in the migration process it got deleted. Shorter answer: the quote is "ne sis frustra" from Plautus's play Miles Glorius and is a pun on "ne si frusta". Wikipedia synopsis: [Pyrgopolynices] is ambushed by Periplectomenus, and his cook Cario. The two men begin to beat him for ...


11

For my answer, I will use Bennett's New Latin Grammar as a reference. There are two important rules which come together to make a long ū in nūntius. As you noted, a vowel followed by nt or nd is usually short, e.g. laudănt, landăndi. The usual exception to this rule occurs in compounds whose first word includes a long vowel, such as nōndum (nōn dum). This ...


11

Allen & Greenough address the pronunciation of this verb, §206: The vowels a and i are pronounced separately (a-is, a-it) except sometimes in old or colloquial Latin. Thus, the correct classical pronunciation would be two syllables, with a short a (as in ago) and short i (as in hit). As for evidence: In Vox Latina, page 39, W. Sydney Allen cites ...


11

Metric analysis of classical poetry is enough to show that both vowels are short and belong to two different syllables. Consider Vergilius's Aeneis I.595: improvisus ait: 'Coram, quem quaeritis, adsum To be able to read this as a hexameter verse, ait must be pronounced as two syllables, the first of which is short. This is not an isolated example, but I ...


11

Henry Preston Vaughan Nunn, in his Introduction to Ecclesiastical Latin, is helpful in this regard. He sets the stage for the distinctions between Classical and Ecclesiastical Latin by briefly covering the origin of the latter: The most potent influences in the formation of early Ecclesiastical Latin were (1) the Vernacular Latin of the period, by which ...


11

Monophthongization (of diphthongs in Latin) most likely happened after Osthoff's shortening (in Proto-Italic). Osthoff's law: A long vowel before a liquid, nasal, or glide plus a stop was shortened (Weiss 2009, p. 125). Monophthongization in this case was *eu > *ū (completed by the end of the 3rd century BCE), /eu/ > /ou/ > /o̝ː/ > /uː/ (Clackson and ...


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