Thursday, January 28, 2010

Date of u to i between l and a labial

On pg. 141 in discussing the change of u to i between l and a labial I failed to mention what appears to be the earliest example of the change: LIBES for libens (ILLRP 93 a, Southern Ager Capenas near Scorano) from some time before 211 BCE when the Lucus Feroniae was destroyed by Hannibal.  Of course, the old spelling is retained for a long time afterwards.
(Photo of Lucus Feroniae by jmlwinder

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

From Latin to Romanian

To the bibliography for Romanian historical grammar given on pg. 503 add:

Sala, Marius. 2005. From Latin to Romanian The historical development of Romanian in a comparative Romance context. University, Mississippi: Romance Monographs.

The title of this work, a translation of De la latină la română. Bucharest: Univers enciclopedic. 1998, is a little bit misleading to the English speaekr in that it makes one immediately think of Williams's From Latin to Portuguese or Pope's From Latin to Modern French, but the scope and organization of this book is quite different. Most of the book is devoted to a study of the Romanian lexicon and its various strata. Morphology, syntax, and especially phonology, take a backseat.

Lesser-known Historical Grammars of Latin VIII

The work at left, Istoricheskaja grammatika latinskogo jazyka by Josif Moissejevich Tronskij was first published in 1960.  A second edition by a team led by N. N. Kazanskij was issued in 2001.  It covers the usual things in the usual ways with rich epigraphical citation (always a good thing). The 2001 edition includes an essay by Kazanskij and Solopov discussing some relatively recent developments in IE linguistics.

The most remarkable fact about Tronskij, which I had heard from a number of reliable Russian sources, and which the introductory essay in this book confirms, is that his surname was originally Trotsky.  He changed his name in 1938, because you just couldn't have that name in the U.S.S.R. at that time. The famous Trotsky was originally named Bronshtein. He first used Trotksy in a falsified passport of 1902.  Supposedly, Trotsky was the name of one of his prison guards in Odessa.  Was this Trotsky a relative of Tronskij who was born and raised in Odessa?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dialectal ē for *ei

On pg.  101 in discussing the outcome of *ei, I failed to mention some additional evidence that bears on the question. The mid-stage between *ei and ī is thought to have been a high mid [e:].  This stage is attested in forms from some archaic non-Roman inscriptions like VECUS (ILLRP 267, Castelluccio di Lecce), VECOS (ILLRP 286, Trasacco), VECI (ILLRP 303,  ad Lacum Fucinum), VEQO (ILLRP 1217, Cales). But Varro mentions two instances where the rustic pronunciation still in his day substituted an e for and urban Latin ī.

Varro R.R. 1.2.14: 

A quo rustici etiam nunc quoque viam veham appellant propter vecturas et vellam, non villam, quo vehunt et unde vehunt.

And for this reason even now they rustics call the road veham because of the acts of conveyances  and the farmhouse vellam, because they convey things to and from there.

Varro R.R. 1.48.2: 

Spica autem, quam rustici, ut acceperunt antiquitus, vocant specam, a spe videtur nominata.

Buts spica which the country people continuing an ancient tradition call speca is so-called because of spes 'hope'.

These two forms speca and vella are generally thought to reflect the pronunciation of dialects where the diphthong *ei merged with ē rather than merging ultimately with ī as happened at Rome. In the case of vīlla/vēlla, there is no doubt that the immediate preform was *weilla, but in the case of spēca this is not quite so certain. The root of Lat. spīca is connected with that of spīna 'thorn'.  The latter word is apparently cognate with Umb. spin(i)a 'obelisk' vel. sim.  The consistent spelling with i in Umbrian (II a 33, 36, 37, 38) points to an ī, which cannot be the result of the monophthongization of *ei.  If so, this suggests the root in question is *sp(e)ihx-, which would not have had given a form *speikā

The Romance evidence sometimes seems to continue a non-urban monophthongization as in Sp. Port.  Cat. esteva, OFr. estoive, Ital. stev-ola/steg-ola which continue a non-urban *stēva not stīva 'shaft of a plough-handle'.

On the other hand AMECIS (CIL 4.3152a, cf. Paul. ex Festo p. 15L: ab antiquis... ameci et amecae per e litteram efferebantur) may reflect a hyper-non-urban pronunciation since the suffix -īko- is usually thought to continue an original long vowel. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Earliest AE for AI

On pg. 103 I say that the earliest example of the spelling AE for what previously had been written AI is found on the SCdB (186 BCE), but a slightly earlier example is found on a pedestal set up by M. Fulvius Nobilior, the consul of 189 BCE, and found at Tusculum (ILLRP 322 = CIL I2.616))


More Exceptional Stress Assignment

On pg. 112 I mention how speakers of Latin sometimes interpreted the Greek accent in Greek loanword as Latin stress, which brought about exceptional stress assignments like Phílippus. I should also have mentioned that Quintilian (Inst. 1.5.22) implies that  Camillus and Cethēgus could be stressed on the antepenult:

Cum acuta et gravis alia pro alia ponuntur, ut in hoc "Camillus", si acuitur prima, aut gravis pro flexa, ut "Cethegus".

When acute and grave are switched as in the case of Camillus, if the first syllable is given an acute, or when a grave is substituted for a circumflex as in the case of Cethegus.

These exceptional stress patterns are probably reproducing the original Etruscan initial-syllable stress pattern since both forms are thought to be borrowed from Etruscan.

Lesser-known Historical Grammars of Latin VII

Mariano Bassols de Climent was a professor of Latin at Barcelona, best known for his two volume Sintaxis latina (1956).  The work pictured at left is not quite as ambitious. It's a mid-sized review of the standard subjects.  It is thorough and accurate as far as Latin goes (forms from Sanskrit are often incorrect or missing diacritics). Fonetica latina was first published in 1962 and included an appendix on "fonematica latina", i.e. a structuralist sketch of the sound system by Sebastian Mariner Bigorra.

The 8th edition (1992) has 4 pages of addenda, mostly devoted to the laryngeal theory—the non-standard model of Rodriguez Adrados gets an endorsement.  It is interesting to compare this work and Faria's work, both published about the same time with the same scope.  Personally, I find Faria a more thought-provoking  book.  But that is not a knock on Bassols de Climent's book, which serves its purpose and audience well.

Bassols de Climent, Mariano, 1992. Fonetica latina, 8th ed. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Prisican on the Stress of calefacit.

On pg. 127 fn. 16 I mention that calēfacit was probably accented as if two words, i.e. cálē fácit, which allowed the ē to undergo Iambic Shortening.  In support of this I note the failure of the a of facit to weaken and the occasional inversion and/or separation of the two parts. In addition I should have mentioned the explicit testimony of Priscian (Keil 2:402):

si uero facio uerbo uel fio integris manentibus aliud uerbum infinitum ante ea componatur, non solum significationes et coniugationes integras eis seruamus, sed etiam accentus, ut calefácio calefácis calefácit, tepefácio tepefácis tepefácit. in secunda enim et tertia persona paenultimas acuimus, quamuis sunt breues. similiter calefio calefís calefít, tepefio tepefís tepefít finales seruant accentus |in secunda et tertia persona, quos habent in simplicibus. 

If another non-finite verb form is compounded with facio or fio, which remain unweakened, these verbs retain not only their meaning and conjugation type, but also their stresses, e.g. calefácio calefácis calefácit, tepefácio tepefácis tapefácit.  In the 2nd and 3rd person we stress the penult although they are short.  Similarly, calefio calefís calefít, tepefio tepefís tepefít  preserve in the 2nd and 3rd person the oxytone accent that they have in the simplex.

New Perspectives on Historical Latin Syntax

To the basic Latin syntax bibliography on pg. 448 fn. 2 add:

Baldi, Philip and Pierluigi Cuzzolin, eds. 2009. New perspectives on historical Latin syntax. Syntax of the sentence.  New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

This volume, the first of four projected volumes, covers a number of topics including Greek and Semitic influence on Latin syntax (Calboli and Rubio respectively), word order (Bauer), coordination (Torrego), coherence (Rosén), and questions (Brown, Joseph, Wallace). The approach is non-generative.

Elementos básicos de filología y lingüística latinas

The book pictured at left published in 1985 by Pere Quetglas i Nicolau, professor at the Universidad de Barcelona (now apparently the Vice-Rector for Information and Communication of the same university) should be added to the bibliography.  This book is made up of two parts. The first part is devoted chiefly to textual criticism.  The second half, more relevant for our purposes, includes two useful and insightful chapters on structuralist and generative approaches to Latin grammar.  Personally, I'd say that most of the structuralist explanations in phonology are pretty unconvincing.  The structuralist discussions of syntax and semantics, on the other hand, are still worth thinking about.  I'm not sure how much of early TG works like Robin Lakoff's Abstract syntax and Latin complementation can be translated into more modern paradigms. Neverthless, for an overview of synchronic work on Latin from the 40s to the 80s, Quetglas is a great place to start.

Update: A second edition, not much changed, was published in 2006.

Quetglas i Nicolau, Pere. 2006. Elementos básicos de filología y lingüística latinas, 2nd ed. 
Barcelona: Editorial Teide.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Valérī vs. Válerī

On pg. 221 I mention that according to Nigidius Figulus (apud. Aul. Gell. 13.26.1) the vocative of Valerius was Válerī, but the genitive was Valérī. Should we take this testimony seriously and if so how is it to be interpreted?

First, it is interesting to note that Gellius himself clearly did not accent the vocative of Valerius in this way since he says that anybody who pronounced the vocative as Válerī would be laughed at (Sed si quis nunc Valerium appellans, in casu vocandi, secundum id praeceptum Nigidii, acuerit primam, non aberit quin rideatur). Presumably this means that Gellius said Valérī for both the genitive and the vocative.

From the historical point of view, however, the vocative Válerī could make sense: since the change of *-ije to -ī (the fīlī rule, Weiss 2009:122) was probably Proto-Italic, this word would have been a trisyllable at the time of the emergence of the Classical Latin stress rules.

On the other hand, explaining the position of the stress in the genitive as phonologically regular is difficult: if in the genitive *-ijī contracted to -ī before the emergence of the CL stress rules then we should expect Válerī just like the vocative; on the other hand, if *-ijī contracted to -ī after the emergence of the CL stress rules we would still expect Válerī since *Valerijī would have been stressed on the the first syllable by the facilius rule still operative in Plautus' day. Thus it seems that Valérī can only be the result of a columnar accent.

This still leaves open the possibility that the vocative Válerī simply escaped the analogy until sometime after Nigidius and before Gellius. But there is perhaps another possible explanation. Nigidius says: in casu vocandi summo tonost prima, deinde gradatim descendunt. He seems to be describing a gradual (gradatim) tonal downglide. Could Nigidius be describing the so-called vocative chant? In English and other languages there is a special tonal contour for calling people or animals, e.g. to supper. In English this is typically realized as a H(igh) tone associated with the primary stress of the word followed by a M(id) tone on the following unstressed syllables. See Hammond 1999:156.

See Hammond, Michael. 1999. The phonology of English. A prosodic optimality-theoretic approach. New York: Oxford University Press.

The Grammarians on Latin Stress

On pg. 110 I give a few simple statements about calculating the position of the word stress in Latin and in fn. 21 I quote a Cicero passage (Orat. 58) which is normally taken as explicit testimony for the antepenult limitation—although it should be noted that it is not entirely clear that Cicero is talking specifically about Latin, the context could suggest a reference to Greek. I should also have quoted statements of other native speakers supporting the other parts of the system.

Quintilian (Inst. 12.10.33) notes that there are (with a few exceptions) no oxytones in Latin:

ultima syllaba nec acuta umquam excitatur nec flexa circumducitur.
"The last syllable is never accented either as an acute or a circumflex."

Donatus (Keil 4.371) remarks that in bisyllabic words the penult is stressed no matter whether it is short or long (the description is complicated by the grammarian's theory that long vowels in the penult could be either circumflex or acute as in Greek):

in disyllabis, quae priorem productam habuerint et posteriorem correptam, priorem |syllabam circumflectemus, ut meta, Creta; ubi posterior syllaba producta fuerit, acuemus |priorem, siue illa correpta fuerit siue producta, ut nepos, leges; ubi ambae breues fuerint, |acuemus priorem, ut bonus, malus.
"In bisyllables which have a long first syllable and a short final syllable we give the first syllable a circumflex, as in mêta and Crêta; When the second syllable is long, we give the first syllable an acute, whether it is short or long, as in népōs and l'ēgēs; when both syllables are short we give the first an acute as in bónus and málus."

Donatus also provides explicit testimony about the importance of the weight of the penult (Keil 4.371):

In trisyllabis et tetrasyllabis et deinceps, si paenultima correpta fuerit, acuemus |antepaenultimam, ut Tullius Hostilius; si paenultima positione longa fuerit, ipsa acuetur |et antepaenultima graui accentu pronuntiabitur.
"In three- and four-syllables and so on, if the penult is short we the give the antepenult an acute, as in Túllius and Hostílius; if the penult is long by position, it gets an acute and the antepenult not accented."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lesser-known Historical Grammars of Latin VI

The book pictured at left is the 2nd edition of Ernesto Faria's Fonética Histórica do Latim, published by Livraria Academica in Rio De Janeiro in 1957. According to the preface this was intended to be the first of a three volume work, but the projected tomes on morphology and syntax never appeared as far as I know. Faria was a pioneering professor of Latin linguistics in Brazil, whose centenary was celebrated in April 2006. The work is bem feito as Faria would have said. In addition to the typical subjects there is an interesting and detailed section on the history of the development of the scholarly reconstruction of Latin pronunciation and a long chapter on the Latin accent. The commented bibliography is pretty thorough. IE is not treated except tangentially. This work is, to the best of my knowledge, the only extensive treatment of Latin historical phonology existing in Portuguese. Reader from Portugal, am I wrong?

Update:  No, there does not seem to be any comparable book in Portuguese.


On pg. 171 fn. 15 I note that hiemps is a spelling attested in the 5th century Mediceus manuscript of Vergil. I could also have noted that the spelling with p is attested epigraphically, e.g. in the so-called Menologium Rusticum Colotianum (CIL I2.1 p. 281 col. 4 line. 9, Rome) and on the Index Nundinarius olim Fulvii Ursini (CIL 6.32505). The grammarians opposed this spelling because p did not show up in the rest of the stem. Terentius Scaurus wrote (Keil 7.21):
similiter (to sumtus, demptus, and comtus) hiems carere p littera debet, quia in ceteris casibus nusquam p nec b propinqua eius respondet, sine quarum altera nusquam in Latinis ea nomina declinatur, quae in ψ Graeca voce efferuntur, ut “princeps” et “caelebs” quia principis et caelibis scribitur.
Marius Victorinus (Keil 6.21) and Papirian. apud Cassiod. (Keil 7.161) make similar comments. In fact spellings without p in line with the grammarians recommendations are attested for SVMSIT (CIL 4.1940. ARACVSA PRVDENTE[R]/ SVMSIT SIBI CASTA MVTHVNIVM, 4.2067 line 10), SVMTVS (CIL 3.14607) and DIREMSIT (CIL 9.5036).

For a discussion of the phonetics of epenthetic or "emergent" stops see Ohala 1995:162–3.

Ohala, John. 1995. A probable case of clicks influencing the sound patterns of some European languages. Phonetica 52:160–170.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Missing macron

The cognomen Drusus quoted on pg. 163, n. 19 and pg. 190 as an example of initial dr-, a cluster which is always of foreign origin in Latin, should be Drūsus.

Cf. Verg. Aen. 6. 824: quin Decios Drusosque procul saeuumque securi

Initial gn-

On pg. 190 I write "Old Latin also permitted gn- as in gnārus [ŋnārus]. (Incidentally, I should have use a point IPA colon to indicate length in a phonetic transcription). This is stated somewhat unclearly. It's true that OL had initial gn- clusters, whatever their exact realization, but all instances of initial gn- did not end up with the same standard orthography in Classical Latin. There are seven native stems that exhibit initial gn- in Old Latin. These are:

Gnaeus (a praenomen), cf. naevus 'birthmark' < gnaevus according to Inc. de praenom. 5)
gnārus 'knowing' (with the derivatives gnārigō 'I make known', gnāritās 'knowledge' (not actually OL, but attested in Sal. Hist. 3.84), gnāruris 'having knowledge', and ultimately probably also narrō)
gnātus 'born' or 'son'
gnāvus 'busy'
gnītor 'I lean' (Paul. Fest. p. 96 M)
gnōscere 'to know'
gnōbilis (Andr. Com. 3, Acc. Trag. 283)

There is no doubt that Latin had a sound change ultimately eliminating whatever preceded n-, but not all forms converge on that spelling in Classical Latin. nītor, nōscere, nōbilis are the standard CL spellings, but in the case of Gnaeus and gnārus the spellings with gn are almost exclusively used. A form Naeu(u)us is said to exist by Varro (gram. 330) and Varro also quotes a form narus in an etymological discussion of narrāre (L. 6.51). In the case of gnātus as discussed on pg. 169 fn. 9 there is a tendency to specialize the old spelling for 'son' and the new spelling for the participle 'born'. In the case of gnāvus the g-less spelling predominates: gnāvus is found in homo gnavus et industrius (Cic. Verr. 2, 3, 53) and virum... gnavum (Vell. 2, 105, 2). It is probable that in the case of gnārus and gnāvus the gn- spelling was supported by the negative compounds ignārus 'ignorant' and ignāvus 'lazy' which both appear to be a lot more common than their antonyms. Gnaeus may have been supported by the official abbreviation Cn.

For an interesting attempt to explain the somewhat messy behavior of originally gn- initial words when compounded see the pdf posted by András Cser. Cser argues that at the mid-stage n was preceded by a floating feature [+back] which was realized on the surface in a number of different ways.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Phonology of Latin Inscriptions of Sardinia

To the bibliography for Sardinian historical grammar given on pg. 503 add:

Lupinu, Giovanni. 2000. Latino epigrafico della Sardegna: Aspetti fonetici. Nuoro: Ilisso edizioni.

The beautiful designs on the cover reproduce the patterns of traditional Sardinian bread stamps.

Lesser-known Historical Grammars of Latin V

The work pictured at left is of little linguistics interest. It is a small comparative grammar for beginners. Most of the information is derivative of Meillet and Vendryes and other sources. The most notable thing about this work is the aggressively condescending tone the author takes to his fellow classicists in the introduction:

"The subject [i.e. Comparative Philology] has a great intrinsic interest for a certain type of mind—the enquiring, scientific type. Many students of classics of course have not that type of mind: perhaps that is the reason why they choose the classics rather than science as their main subject; for them the only interest of Latin and Greek lies in the literature, and grammar is anathema to them. It is not for such that this book is written."

No wonder he couldn't get a job in England! But there are some interesting facts about the author. David S. Crawford was born in Yorkshire in 1904. He attended St. Catherine's College at Cambridge and emigrated to Egypt in 1934. He became a lecture in Classics at Fouad I University in Cairo (where this book was published) and edited the Fouad I Papyri, which had been collected by O. Gradenwitz. On January 25, 1952 British troops killed 50 Egyptian police officers in Ismailia. The next day, January 26, riots erupted in Egypt which targeted British citizens and interests. Two of the twenty or so Britons killed were David S. Crawford and his wife.

See E. G. Turner 1952. Obituary of David S. Crawford. Chronique d'Egypte 27.54, 414.

Future Middle Imperatives in -ntor

On pg. 424 I hesitatingly try to explain the creation of distinctive future medio-passive imperative forms in -tor and -ntor as the result of the following analogy:

agit : sequitur :: agitō : X, X = *sequitōur > sequitōr

But Ben Fortson (per litteras electronicas) notes:

The passive future imperatives in -(n)tor < -(n)tōr in Latin you give with a question mark as coming from *-tōur with -ur from the non-imperative. But the Romans wouldn't have been in a position to abstract -ur as an ending until pretty late, after the change of -or > -ur in the 3rd cent. So wouldn't it be easier to say that -(n)tōr is simply -ntō + -or? Or, alternatively, what if what they really did was to abstract -r and not -or, as must have been the case to explain 1sg. passives where -r replaced -m, and which also presumably suggested itself for the 1st persons in -o(:)r where it looks synchronically like a simple -r has been tacked on to the active -ō. Then -(n)tōr would just be -(n)tō + -r. That would be preferable if you want to insist that the forms in
-(n)tōr weren't created until after the change of -or to -ur because of the survival of "active" utito etc. into the time of Cato and Plautus. (But that doesn't mean the -tor forms were only created that late; the two could have coexisted for a time, of course.)

I think that Ben is correct that working with -ur is too late. So maybe:

agit : sequit-or : agit-ō, : X, X = sequit-ō-or > sequitōr

But a possible problem here might be that if we push back the innovation to before the change of -or to -ur we might also be pushing it back before the loss of final -d after a long vowel, which also happened in the 3rd century BCE (Weiss 2009:155).

So probably the second solution outlined by Ben is preferable, viz. the simple addition of passive -r to the active form. As Ben notes, -r was extractable from 1st sg. act. -ō vs. 1st sg mid. -ō-r, and in fact -r was interpreted as the distinctive medio-passive marker as 1st pl. mid. -mur vs. 1st pl act. -mus and the alternate passive infinitive -ier (Weiss 2009:446) show.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lesser-known Historical Grammars of Latin IV

Prof. Dr. H(enricus) H(ubertus) Janssen (1910–1982) was a Professor of Latin at De Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen from 1938–1967. He was also involved in Dutch politics serving as Staatssecretaris van Onderwijs (1962–3) in the cabinet of Jan de Quay (Katholieke Volkspartij). He wrote mainly about Latin literature, especially Christian authors, but also produced a small edition of Oscan and Umbrian inscriptions with Latin translations. The work pictured on the left is the first of a two volume work (part II on morphology appeared in 1957). It is not nearly as rare as the other books I mentioned—it's available at 7 libraries in the U.S—but because it's written in Dutch it is probably not as well known as it should be. There are two notable features of this book: (1) The phonology-section is introduced by a discussion of classical structuralist terminology and a structuralist approach is evident throughout volume 1. Although this is a historical grammar, it is definitely not a comparative grammar. The IE background is not discussed at all. (2) There is a lengthy and well organized section on word formation. This book is still used in Nijmegen.