Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Some Expansions on the Pronunciation of Final -m and the Initial Sequence uĭ-


Reading the excellent recent article by Javier Uría "The pronunciation of syllable Coda m in Classical Latin: a reassessment of some evidence from Latin grammarians” in the  American Journal of Philology 140:439–76—and good on them for publishing an interesting technical piece like this!—I realized that some expansions and corrections are in place.  The two issues that can be improved are the discussion of the pronunciation of final -m, which I treated rather sketchily, and the allophone of ĭ after initial u̯.

p. 69 More on final -m

My statement here about the pronunciation of -m is too simple. I wrote:

m was a labial nasal as in English. In final position, however, it was reduced to nasalization of the preceding vowel. Thus in Old Latin it often fails to be written: honc oino ploirvme cosentiont r[omai] dvonoro optvmo fvise viro (ILLRP 310, 3rd century bce)73 for CL hunc ūnum plūrimī cōnsentiunt Rōmae bonōrum optimum fuisse uirum “Most people agree that this one man was the best of the nobles at Rome.” It also does not stand in the way of elision in verse when the next word begins with a vowel or h.74

But this glosses over many details that should be mentioned. Replace with:

m was a labial nasal as in English. In word-final position -m evidently was rendered in various ways depending on its context. All of these renderings suggest that the -m was in some sense reduced. Thus in Old Latin it often fails to be written both before a vowel and before a consonant: honc oino ploirvme cosentiont r[omai] dvonoro optvmo fvise viro (ILLRP 310, 3rd century bce)73 for CL hunc ūnum plūrimī cōnsentiunt Rōmae bonōrum optimum fuisse uirum “Most people agree that this one man was the best of the nobles at Rome.” But its phonetic realization is a matter of some dispute.  Before a word beginning with a vowel or h it was probably reduced to nasalization, as is shown by its failure to block elision in verse74 and by various statements of the grammarians. For example, Quintilian (Inst. 9.4.40) writes eadem illa littera (i.e. m) . . . etiam si scribitur, tamen parum exprimitur, ut “multum ille” et “quantum erat,” adeo ut paene cuiusdam nouae litterae sonum reddat. neque enim eximitur, sed obscuratur. “The same letter m, even if it is written, is hardly pronounced, as in multum ille and quantum erat so that it almost renders the sound of some new letter, nor is m removed, but it is darkened.” According to Annaeus Cornutus (apud Cassiodorum Keil 7. 147–148): igitur si duo uerba coniungantur, quorum prius “m” consonantem nouissimam habeat posteriusque a uocale incipiat, “m” consonans perscribitur quidem:  ceterum in enuntiando durum et barbarum sonat. “So if two words are connected the first of which has m as its last consonant and the later of which begins with a vowel, the consonant m is indeed written out but it sounds harsh and barbaric if it is actually pronounced.” Velius Longus also informs us that Verrius Flaccus suggested (Keil 7.80) that only half a final -m should be written when the next word began with a vowel to show that this should not be pronounced: sicut Verrius Flaccus, ut, ubicumque prima uox “m” littera finiretur, sequens a uocali inciperet, “m” non totam, sed pars illius prior tantum scriberetur, ut appareret exprimi non debere. “[some], like Verrius Flaccus, [thought] that when the first word ended with the letter m and the following word began with a vowel, not the whole but only the first half of that letter should be written, so that it would be clear that it was not to be pronounced.”

But in preconsonantal position some evidence suggests that -m was assimilated to the place of a following stop. The passage from Cornutus quoted above continues At si posterius uerbum quam libet consonantem habuerit uel uocalem loco positam consonantis, seruat “n” litterae sonum. “But if the following word begins with any consonant or a vowel letter in consonantal function, the previous word preserves the sound of the letter n.” (see Uria 2019:447 for the emendation of m to n). Caesellius Vindex (Keil 7.206) paints a similar picture: “M” litteram, ad uocales primo loco in uerbis positas si accesserit, non enuntiabimus; cum autem ad consonantes aut digammon Aeolicum, pro quo nos “u” loco consonantis posita utimur, tunc pro “m” littera “n” litterae sonum decentius efferemus. “We will not pronounce the letter m if it is followed by word beginning with a vowel. But when it is followed by words beginning with a consonant or an Aeolic digamma for which we use u in consonantal function, then we will more correctly pronounce the sound of the letter n instead of m.” Assimilation is also attested epigraphically e.g. tan dvrvm CIL 4.1895), tan cito (CIL 6.6182, presumably with n spelling ŋ) and Cicero famously suggests that inadvertent double entendres could arise from cum nos ‘ when we’ (Fam. 9.22.2) or cum nobis ‘with us’ (Orat. 154) being pronounced as cunno(s) and illam dicam ‘shall I that’ as ill’ landicam (Fam. 9.22.2).75

74 See the discussion at p. 145, n 52.
75 On the pronunciation of final -m see Porzio Gernia 1974a and Uría 2019.

p. 72 u̯ĭ-
I realized today that I don’t have a discussion of the reconstruction of the sound values for Latin vowels parallel to the discussion for consonants in Chapter 7.  Some of this info is incorporated into Chapter 8. One detail of pronunciation which I will add is the pronunciation of short i after .

Add to C on page 72

A distinct issue from the sonus medius is the allophone of i after which a number of grammarians commented on. The 2nd century CE grammarian Velius Longus (Keil 7.54.13-5) noted Nam quibusdam litteris deficimus, quas tamen sonus enuntiationis arcessit, ut cum dicimus “uirtutem” et “uirum fortem consulem Scipionem” per “i” isse fere ad aures peregrinam litteram inuenies. [per i isse is an emendation of Di Napoli]
“For we lack certain letters, which the sound of pronunciation nevertheless seeks, for example, when we say uirtutem and uirum fortem consulem Scipionem, you will find that through an i an almost foreign letter comes to the ear.” In another passage Velius clarifies (Keil 7.75) the topic he has in mind: Unde fit ut saepe aliud scribamus, aliud enuntiemus, sicut supra locutus sum de “uiro” et “uirtute,” ubi “i” scribitur et paene “u” enuntiatur. “So it happens that we often write one thing and pronounce another, as I mentioned above about uir and uirtus where an i is written an almost a u is pronounced.” Priscian (Keil 2.7) writes et “i” quidem quando post “u” consonantem loco digamma functam Aeolici ponitur breuis, sequente “d”, uel “n”, uel “r”, uel “t”, uel “x”, sonum “y” Graecae uidetur habere, ut uideo, uim, uirtus, uitium, uix. “And at least a short i when it is placed after a consonantal u serving in place of an Aeolic digamma, when a d, n, r, t, or x follows, appears to have the sound of a Greek y, as in uideo, uim, uirtus, uitium, and uix.” Spellings with y in this environment are found in inscription beginning in the 2nd century CE (CIL 6.12405 unibyria for uniuiria ‘with one husband’) and the spellings uyr, uyrgo, and uyrga are stigmatized in the Appendix Probi 120–2.fn Romance has no trace of anything but a short i in the reflexes of these words.

fnGrammarians after Velius Longus including Priscian (Keil 2.7) and Diomedes (Keil 1.422) do lump the sonus medius and the uir, uirtutem issues together. See Uría 2019:444.

p. 145, n. 52

Eliminate the sentence "Velius Longus (Keil 7.54) considers the sound of final -m almost a foreign letter (fere…peregrinam litteram)." Uria 2019: 443–6 has shown that the passage does not refer to the pronunciation of final -m but instead to the allophonic rounding of i after a illustrated by uirum and uirtutem.





Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Further Details on the Raising of *e and *o

Reading the recent interesting article by Kanehiro Nishimura "The humī rule in Italic" in FS Vine (Vina Diem Celebrent, 2018, 276–87) has made me realize that my treatment of some issues relating to the raising of e and o in initial syllables can be improved. On p. 148 I A where I discuss the raising of e to i before a velar nasal add at the end:


We have no direct evidence of pre-raising forms in the Latin record. The earliest epigraphic evidence for this change is the gentilic qvinctio(s) < *kweŋktios on one of the Egadi anchors (AE 2014:540, 264-1 bce). This change is presumably the same as that raising o to u in the same environment. See p. 151. So the actual sound change is: short mid vowels are raised to high vowels before a velar nasal.

To the discussion of the raising of e to i before mb (I A 2) add a footnote to the example limbus:

The form lembum in the meaning ‘zodiacal circle’ is transmitted at Var. R. 2.3.7 in the two chief witnesses to Varro’s work, the Codex Parisinus Latin 6842A [see image above] and in the now lost Codex Marcianus, as reported by Poliziano. It is possible that Varro was using a dialectal or archaic form.

Add to end of example list:

*nembhos ‘rain-cloud’ > Lat. nimbus, cf. MP namb ‘dew’
simbella ‘a coin worth half a lībella’ (Var.) may perhaps be added but the names for Latin coin and measure series are notorious for irregular reductions (cf. dōdrāns ‘ three quarters’ from *dēquandrāns) and the exact pathway from a putative *sēmilibella to simbella is probably irrecoverable.

This is presumably the same rule that raises o to u in the same environment. See p. 151.

Exceptions: Septembris, Nouembris and Decembris are modeled on the corresponding cardinals. The expected form novimbr(es) is recorded on the Feriale Cumanum for October 18th (CIL 10.3682). The loanword lembus ‘small fast sailboat’ from Gk. λέμβος, though attested in Plautus, arrived too late to undergo the change. The word stlembus attributed to Lucilius in Paul. Fest. p. 413L (stlembus grauis tardus sicut Lucilius (1109) pedibus stlembum dixit equum pigrum et tardum stlembus means heavy, slow as for example, Lucilius called a slow and lazy horse stlembus of foot.”) is dialectal or iconic. An unexplained exception is membrum. Given the relative recentness of the sound change—to judge from lembus it was either not common to all dialects or recent enough that pre-sound change forms were recorded in writing— it is unlikely that the etymological source of the b from *s played any role. Perhaps at the relevant time the ancestor of membrum was still *mẽbrom.

Some scholars believe this raising  also happened before mp, but the only positive evidence for this extension is simplex ‘simple’ and simplus ‘the simple sum’, which may owe their initial vowel to singulus ‘single’ or to the generalization of the variant sim- also seen in simul ‘together’, similis ‘similar’. The form simpuvium ‘sacrificial ladle’ ~ simpulum is probably a loanword of unknown origin.  And there are counterexamples: semper ‘always’, templum ‘temple’, the gentilic Sempronius, and especially tempus ‘time’ and ‘temple (of the head)’.

On p. 151 replace C 1 with 

C. *o > u
1. *o > u/__ŋ. This is part of the same raising rule that changed e to i in the same environment. See p. 148

*oŋgwen ‘ointment’ > unguen, cf. Ved. añjí- ‘salve’, OHG ancho ‘butter’.
*oŋkos ‘hook’ > uncus, cf. Gk. ὄγκος ‘barb’.
*hom-ke, acc. sg. masc. of demonstrative > hoŋke (honc, ILLRP 310 3rd cent. bce, Rome; honce ILLRP 505, Spoletium, 2nd century bce18) > hunc.19
Gk. ὀγκία ‘ounce’ ⟶ Lat. uncia 20

18. On the date of this inscription, see Vine 1993:289.
19. The earliest evidence for u from o in this environment is the form hunc (ILLRP 711, 108-105 bce, Capua), though I’d be surprised if the change was quite that late since the change of e to i in the same environment is attested by 261 bce at the latest. See p. 148.
20. See Weiss ftcm. "Latin uncia à la Heron.' Exceptions: tongeō ‘I think’ (Ennius) may be dialectal or archaic. Aelius Stilo (Fest. p. 488 L) attributes the word tongitiō ‘thought’ to the Praenestines. longus ‘long’ has no really good explanation. Sommer (1914a:64) suggested that the initial l prevented the raising. The rule does not apply across a prefix boundary, e.g. con-gerō ‘I bring together’.

And split C 3 into C 3 and 4 as below:

3. *o > u/__mb
*h3n̥bh-Vl- > *omb-Vl-īkos > umbilīcus ‘navel’, cf. Gk. μφαλός.
*h3n̥bh-on- > *ombō > umbō ‘boss (of a shield)’
*ombroi̯ (the name of the Umbrians) > Umbrī, cf. SP ombriíenUmbrian’ loc. sg. plus postposition -en (CH 2), Gk. Ὀμβρικοί (Hdt. +). Cf. also the gentilic Ombrius (CIL 6.6553), etc. 

This is presumably the same rule that raises e to i in the same environment. See p. 148. The earliest epigraphical evidence for this change is the gentilic vmbonivs (Lilybaeum, present-day Marsala, ca. 250-200 bce, AE 1997:737), assuming that it is a derivative of umbō. The rule does not apply across a prefix boundary, e.g. comburō ‘I burn’.

4. *o > u/__.m or perhaps *o > u/__ma according to Höfler 2018
*omVso- ‘shoulder’ > umerus, cf. Umb. onse (VIb 50), Hesych. μέσω· ὠμοπλάται ‘shoulder blades᾽ perhaps for *emasōVed. áṃsa-.
*homo- ‘earth’ > humus, cf. Umb. hondra (VIa 15, etc.) ‘below’.
Gk. νομάδα ‘nomad’ acc. sg. >> Numidae (a nomadic people of North Africa).
Perhaps *komVsa ‘vessel, bin’ > cumera, if to be compared to Ved. camasá- ‘sacrificial vessel’

But not in domus ‘house’, homō ‘human’

[Eliminate the discussion omnis and somnus because they would not be expected to fall under the newly specified rules 3 and 4 so nothing needs to be said about their relative chronology]

A number of apparent exceptions—depending on the correct formulation—arose too late to be affected by this change, e.g. uomō ‘I vomit’< *u̯emō, glomus < *glemos.21

The condition environment is unclear. Höfler 2018 suggests that the raising took place when the pre-weakening vowel of the second syllable was a. He explains humus as backformed from the loc. humī which in turn continues an allative *homai, umerus from *emasos. See Nishimura 2018 for a different explanation.

Höfler, Stefan. 2018 "A look over Lat. umerus 'shoulder'." In Proceedings of the 29th AnnualUCIA Indo-Eutropean Conference, ed. David Goldstein, Stephanie W. Jamison, and Brent Vine. Bremen: Hempen, 129–46.


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Initial *gw before o

ouroboros

I didn't give an example of the outcome of initial *gw before an o even though there is an excellent example that shows that there was no delabialization of the labiovelar in this environment. The reflex was *, as is the default. This example should be added to p. 87 B after *gweru.

*gworo/ā- (← *gwerh3- ‘swallow’) > uorā- in uorāx ‘ravenous’ and uorat ‘swallows ravenously’, cf. Gk. βορός ‘gluttonous’, βορά ‘food’, Ved. giráti ‘devours’

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The taurus problem

p. 113
Remove taurus example from main text. and add fn.

taurus ‘bull’ would be a good example of *au̯ since its cognates definitely reflect that diphthong (Gk. ταῦρος, Alb. ter, OCS turŭ ‘aurochs’ SCr. tȗr ‘bull’, Lith. taũras ‘aurochs’, OPr. tauris ‘bison’, Lusit. taurom (Cabeço das Fráguas)), and in fact the Balto-Slavic intonations make it probable that the word has an au̯ of non laryngeal origin. But taurus contravenes another Latin sound change namely that *-Vu̯RV- metathesizes to -VRu̯V- (see p. xxx). It is probable therefore that taurus, like bōs, is a Sabellic loanword. The word is attested in both Osc. ταυρομ  (Lu 25 = ImIt Vibo 2) and Umb. toru acc. pl. (VIb 43) and well represented in Sabellic place names like Taurasia (mentioned as a place in Samnium in the epitaph of Scipio Barbatus), and Taurania (present-day Pagani, Salerno).

See Poccetti 2014:347.

Pocetti, Paolo. 2014. “L’ ‘identità variabile’ dell’Italia preromana: tradizioni, ideologie e loro riflessi moderni.” In Da Italìa a Italia. Le radici di un’identità. Atti del cinquantunesimo convegno di studi sulla Magna Grecia, 321­–59. Taranto: Istituto per la Storia e l’Archeologia della Magna Grecia.

p. 170  Replace B with:

Lat. taurus ‘bull’ does not undergo this sound change and give the expected †taruus. Therefore taurus probably is a loanword, perhaps from Sabellic *tauros. See p. xxx. Interestingly the Celtic cognates do reflect a *taru̯os (Gaul. taruos a divine name, OIr. tarb ‘bull’, MW tarw ‘bull’, Celtiberian tarvoduresca (HEp 2001:628), an adjective derived from a town *tarvodurom vel sim.). Since there is no parallel sound change in Celtic, the form of this word is usually explained as the result of the influence of the Celtic word for ‘deer’ *karu̯os (MW carw etc.)

Second Edition Now Available!


You can purchase the expanded and corrected 2nd edition (2020) at Beech Stave Press for 85$. It's bigger, it's better. The cover image is J. M. Turner's painting of the Lago di Nemi.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Addenda to pp. 15, 503


To the basic references for Latin on pg. 15, n. 34 add Willms 2013. This book covers the historical phonology and morphology of Greek and Latin, but also has a good sketch of ancient grammatical theory, an overview of some modern approaches to Linguistics, external histories of Greek and Latin, chapters on the later histories of Greek and the Romance languages and on the influence of Latin and Romance on German and English.

To the resources for Vulgar Latin on pg. 503 add Adams 2013, although that categorization hardly does justice to Adams's  latest magnum opus.

Adams, J. N. 2013. Social variation and the Latin language. Cambridge: cambridge University Press.
Willms, Lothar. 2013. Klassische Philologie und Sprachwissenschaft. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Review of Language and Ritual in Sabellic Italy

A very long review of my other book, Language and Ritual in Sabellic Italy, by Gerhard Meiser has just appeared in Kratylos 58 2013:33–46.