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Why "ex nihilo" instead of "e nihilo"?

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 ...
cmw's user avatar
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16 votes
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How do we know the quantity of vowels followed by several consonants?

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-...
Asteroides's user avatar
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16 votes
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Evidence about pronunciation of ευ and αυ in Homeric Greek?

I would go further than Draconis's answer and say that we can be pretty certain that these diphthongs were indeed diphthongs in Homer's time. Here are some additional arguments: The Homeric poems ...
TKR's user avatar
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15 votes
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Was the final "-m" a "full-featured" consonant?

The pronunciation of the letter m at the end of words isn't completely uniform in Classical Latin. W. Sydney Allen, in Vox Latina 30–31, lays out the evidence for several different ways the letter ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
15 votes

How to read mathematics out loud?

For basic mathematics, I’ve found some answers in the Institutiones Physicæ by Floriani Dalham, published in 1752: 1+2 = 3 would be read unus plus duo sunt tres Additio est duorum, vel plurium ...
Luc's user avatar
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15 votes
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The pronunciation of Greek "γ"

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 ...
Cerberus's user avatar
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15 votes
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"Ae" pronunciation

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 ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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14 votes
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Why does "ῤάρος" have a smooth breathing?

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'...
Asteroides's user avatar
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14 votes
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Was avē truly pronounced with an "unspelled /h/"?

That's what Quintilian implicitly said in his Institutio Oratoria (in the 1st century CE), and there's no real reason to doubt him in this case: the fact that the earliest attested plural form (in ...
Cairnarvon's user avatar
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14 votes
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Precise pronunciation of b, d and g

In Ecclesiastical Latin, B, D, and G are pronounced as stops, like in English (or like in Spanish at the start of a word). Ecclesiastical pronunciation is based on Italian, and Italian doesn't have ...
Draconis's user avatar
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13 votes
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What do we know about Vulgar Latin pronunciation?

It turns out, we know quite a bit about this! There are three main sources for Vulgar Latin pronunciations: Classical texts imitating (or mocking or correcting) Vulgar speech, graffiti from actual ...
Draconis's user avatar
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13 votes
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Why is Antirrhinum written with two 'r'?

In Greek compounds, if a stem that begins with rho is preceded by an element that ends in a simple vowel (not a diphthong), the rho is doubled. Likewise, in inflected forms where a simple vowel is ...
cnread's user avatar
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13 votes

How did Caesar pronounce Latin overlined vowels?

Q1: my first question is whether overlining is the same as "stress"? Not really. The overline indicates vowel length—how long you sustain the vowel sound—which is a component of stress in ...
Draconis's user avatar
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13 votes
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Minimal pair for hidden quantity

The example I feel most certain about is various forms of sum “be” and edo “eat”, in particular the infinitives esse and ēsse and the third-person singular forms est and ēst.
Asteroides's user avatar
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13 votes

Minimal pair for hidden quantity

lustrum 'a mud pit, den' ≠ lūstrum 'a purification ceremony' (prob. from luere 'to expiate') are not to be mixed. To quote Festus from Paulus: lŭstra significant lacūnās lutōsās, quae sunt in silvīs ...
Unbrutal_Russian's user avatar
12 votes
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How is Latium pronounced?

Forgive me if I use IPA notation. As a non-native speaker of English, I still have some difficulty with English vowels and don't really feel comfortable using English-based systems as Webster's In ...
Rafael's user avatar
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12 votes

Why does "ῤάρος" have a smooth breathing?

To unpack the LSJ entry a little: the word is only found in grammatical works, and these differ as to its meaning: EM is the Etymologicum magnum, a 12th-century Byzantine lexicon/encyclopedia. This ...
TKR's user avatar
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12 votes
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When is "ei" a diphthong?

Very few Latin words contain "ei" as a diphthong. Some possible examples are deinde, dein, deinceps, rei, spei, and in fact, the pronoun ei (but not always). The exact list of examples ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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12 votes

How to read αἱμύλιος or when to aspirate

If a word begins with a diphthong, the breathing sign is written over the second vowel letter. "Haimylioi" is correct.
fdb's user avatar
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12 votes
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What is Plautus’s pun about frustum and frustrum?

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 ...
S Conroy's user avatar
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12 votes
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Pronunciation of Ancient Greek sigma as voiced [z] before voiced consonants

Yes, there is evidence of this in the form of spelling confusion between Σ and Ζ before voiced consonants, which in certain contexts made its mark on Latin forms (take a look at the 98 examples of ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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11 votes
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Interpretation of circumflex in a poem from 1621

*Please see addendum at the bottom I have found two possible explanations for the circumflex: (1) to indicate a long vowel and (2) to indicate an ablative. Both of these functions would seem to ...
Penelope's user avatar
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11 votes

When is an I not an I?

Anlaut (word initial position): i+V = >j+V, e.g. iubeo (in most cases) but also i+V => i+V only in some forms of the pronoun is (ii, iis) and the verb ire (iens, ii, ieram); also in Greek ...
Alex B.'s user avatar
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11 votes

How did the Romans pronounce Niobe?

It's fairly certain that the Roman pronunciation of Niobe was not the same as the pronunciation used by modern English speakers (aside from the consonants, which I won't discuss further in this answer)...
Asteroides's user avatar
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11 votes

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

Well, there is some fairly simple evidence that a sequence of two identical short vowels could in some cases be treated as equivalent to a single long vowel, namely that the former can contract into ...
TKR's user avatar
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11 votes

Resources for pronouncing Latin

Vox Latina by W. Sidney Allen (2nd edition, 1978) is the standard book for pronouncing not just Classical Latin, but noted variants, as well. The book is a companion to Vox Graeca, and is a ...
11 votes
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What makes a syllable "heavy" or "light"?

Any syllable containing a long vowel is heavy, but not all heavy syllables contain long vowels. Syllabification is a fairly abstract concept, so unfortunately, there are multiple conflicting ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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11 votes

What was the sibilant in θάλασσα?

There have been various theories about the phonetic value of ττ and σσ, but it`s often held that they were pronounced as might be expected, i.e. as [tt] and [ss]. The philologist Sidney Allen argues ...
Expedito Bipes's user avatar
11 votes
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Are there minimal pairs between the acute and circumflex accent?

Two examples come to mind: λῦσαι (aorist masculine imperative 2nd person singular, or aorist active infinitive, of λύω) contrasts with λύσαι (aorist active optative 3rd person singular of the same ...
b a's user avatar
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11 votes
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Verbum Hispānicum "mientras" significat "-m" fīnāle prōnūntiātum esse?

I don't think the /m/ of mientras implies a great deal about the pronunciation of Latin -m beyond what is already known from other sources. Mientras is clearly not just the regular outcome of applying ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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