Monday, January 11, 2010

Lesser-known Historical Grammars of Latin I

In addition to the well known works frequently cited or just mentioned in OHCGL (Baldi, Buck, Ernout, Kieckers, Lindsay, Meillet and Vendryes, Pisani, Niedermann, Meiser, Sihler) there are a number of other works that I have come across which I didn't mention in the book, either because they were hard to find, in unusual languages, or just not very good. Here I begin a series of post about these curiosities.

Emidio Panichi's Grammatica Storica della Lingua Latina. Il Vocalismo (XV, 286 p.) was published in Rome in 1977 by the Società editrice Dante Alighieri. Panichi seems to have been a productive Italian classicist who published an edition of Aratus' Phaenomena, and a number of school texts. In addition he wrote La formazione nominale in latino, Naples: Liguori, 1972 (non vidi) which I think is the only book-length treatment of the subject produced in the 20th century and is not found in any New World library at all.

The book in question is a solid, fairly accurate, and detailed account of the historical phonology of the Latin vowels with lots of textual citations. Panichi also includes introductory parts on external history, and on using epigraphical and grammatical sources. There are no particular innovations and the PIE reconstructions are shaky, but overall Panichi's Grammatica is a good book for its audience. To my knowledge there are only two copies in the New World (one at the University of Chicago, which I have by ILL, and one at the University of Alberta).

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