Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Von Bradke 1890

I see from Szemerényi's Einführung that P. von Bradke introduced the centum ~ satəm terminology in 1890 (Methode und Ergebnisse der arischen (indogermanischen) Altertumswissenschaft, p. 63, and 107) not 1888 as I said on pg. 35, fn. 24.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A corrected second printing of OHCGL will soon be available (probably in January). I've been able to correct the minor typos and errors. This isn't a full second edition—I couldn't correct anything that required extensive rewriting.  Get your library to buy it if they don't have it yet.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Dear Readers,

If any reader knows of  reviews of OHCGL forthcoming or in print I'd be very grateful if he/she would let me know about them.  So far I have read James Clackson's review in BMCR and I know of forthcoming reviews in Graeco-Latina Pragensia, which Professor Pultrová has kindly sent to me, and in Das Altertum, which is still in preparation by Harald Bichlmeier. If you are writing a review or know of someone who has, please send it along to me so that I can correct any small mistakes before the second printing.



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sold out!

The first printing of OHCGL will soon be sold out.  This means I will get to do a corrected reprint.  So if you notice any small errors I haven't corrected yet, now is the time to let me know.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bibliographical Addenda

To the basic bibliography for Germanic given on pg. 11,  fn. 5 add:

For Old Saxon: Tieffenbach 2010

For Old Frisian: Hofmann and Popkema 2008

For Old Netherlandic:

Hofmann, Dietrich, Anne Tjerk Popkema, and Gisela Hofmann. 2008. Altfriesisches 
Handwörterbuch. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter.

Tiefenbach, Heinrich. 2010. Altsachsisches Handworterbuch: a Concise Old Saxon Dictionary. Berlin: De Gruyter.

New Companion to the Latin Language

I see that Google Books now has significant sections of the soon to be released A Companion to the Latin Language edited by James Clackson.  It's a little difficult to tell the complete contents from what is available there, but I can see the following: Rex Wallace has a chapter on "The Latin alphabet and Orthography"; James Clackson has written on "Latin Inscriptions and Documents" and "Inflectional Morphology". Matthew McCullaugh wrote the chapter "The Sound of Latin: Phonology". Ben Fortson contributed "Latin Prosody and Metrics".  I look forward to reading the whole thing, which undoubtedly will be a valuable addition to the literature. Clackson 2011 should be added to the resources listed on pg. 15 fn. 34

Friday, July 8, 2011

Correction pg. 365

On pg. 365 change the gloss of simul from 'once', which in the meaning 'as soon as' is rarely attested for simul, to 'in company with, at the same time'.

Typo pg. 364, fn. 4

On pg. 364, fn. 4 the last name of the great Celticist should be not Green, but (David) Greene.

Correction pg. 138

On pg. 138  I write that an e becomes i "in an open syllable before an i in a following syllable".  This formulation works for the first two examples (cinis < *kenis and sine < *seni) but it doesn't work for the second two examples (similis < *semlis and vigilis < *weglis) because these do not contain e in an open syllable. It might be better to assume *semilis > similis, but one would then have explain the survival of e in other forms in -ilis.  This doesn't seem to be too hard to do: senilis, which has a long medial i, can be analogical to senex. Some, like Leumann, think this assimilation mainly operated over sonorants other than r. Additional examples of this sort would be milium 'millet' (cf. Gk. μελίνη) and tilia 'lime-tree' (cf. Gk. πτελέα 'elm-tree').

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Correction pg. 417

Missing M from concrete installed bronze letters

On pg. 417 the 1st sg. optative active of Ved. bhar- should be bhareyam not bhareya, which is the 1st sg. middle.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Clarification on Lat. ā in Early Loanwords into Celtic

On pg. 508, fn. 36 I mention the view of Kenneth Jackson that early Latin loanwords into Celtic accurately reflect the distinction between Latin long and short a and in this regard would preserve evidence for a distinction that the direct Romance tradition never maintains. But reading Loporcaro's masterful essay in the Cambridge History of the Romance Languages has made me realize that I did not cite the crucial evidence and that even that is not very clear. Loporcaro argues convincingly that short vowels were lengthened in stressed open syllables quite early in the proto-Romance period (which means that the rest of fn. 36 also needs some revision).  Hence the cited pair MW caws, OIr. cáisse 'cheese' from Latin cāseus vs. OIr. clann 'family' from Lat. planta is not conclusive evidence for the preservation—a fact which Jackson was well aware of.  What is needed to make the case would be instances of old loans with accented short a in an open syllable represented with a Celtic short a and conversely loans with a long a in a closed syllable represented with a Celtic long a.  Off the top of my head I don't know of any examples of the latter sort, but Russell 1984 cited W ffa < faba and gradd < gradus as examples of the former type.  These, however, are far from sealing the deal.  Note that Irish has grád (o, n. Wb. etc.) with Open Syllable Lengthening and the fairly inexplicable seib for faba (s for f is normal in early loans but the e, which Thurneysen derived from a British pl. *feib < *fabī, is problematic since the word is feminine in British). More research required.

Update: Anders points out the case of Welsh mawrth 'March; Tuesday' <— Lat. ma:rt-. So it is pretty clear that long a in a closed syllables was still distinctive at the time of the Celtic borrowings.  Irish has márta 'March' which the DIL suggest might be a reinterpreted genitive of an i-stem Máirt < Ma:rtius, apparently not actually attested in the meaning March. NYC guy has inspired me to replace the bean picture with a true old world variety, fava beans.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Romance Addenda

Two new Romance resources to add to pg. 503:

I haven't used it yet but it looks valuable.

(2) The Cambridge History of the Romance Languages. Vol. 1: Structures, edited by Martin Maiden, John Charles Smith and Adam Ledgeway, Cambridge University Press.

This book offers a pan-Romance perspective on various phonological, morphological, syntactic, pragmatic and lexical processes and patterns.  There are essays by Michele Loporcaro (Syllable, Segment and Prosody, and Phonological Processes), Arnulf Stefenelli (Lexical Stability), and Steven Dworkin (Lexical Change) among others.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

More Verification of Fibula Praenestina

Through the kindness of Professor de Simone:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Missing Reference

Professor Angelo Mercado of Grinnell College alerts me to a missing bibliographical item. On pg. 479 n. 6 I quote Leumann 1968 which is not to be found in the references.  The corresponding datum is:

Leumann, Manu. 1968. "Die Eingliederung entlehnter griechischer Verben ins Latein." Studii Clasice 10:7-12.

Thanks, Angelo!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Goth. aleina

On pg. 169 fn. 11 I claim that Go. aleina 'ell' which would normally be phonologized as /ali:na/ is a mistake for *alina with a short medial syllable.  This may indeed be correct but there is some evidence that might support the reality of long i, viz. MW elin 'ellbow' which points to a proto-form *oli:na:. I see there is an article that I will have to read by Dirk Boutkan in Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik Vol. 41, 1995 that seek to justify *ali:na for all Germanic.

Update: Boutkan makes a good case that the Germanic forms can be derived from a Proto-Germanic *ali:no:. He further argues that the word is a loan from Proto-Celtic *oli:na: which come from *ole:na: a derivative of the hysterokinetic n-stem continued in Gk. ὠλήν (usually ὠλένη). I'm not sure if that is the best way to handle these complicated data.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Addenda to Bibliography:

To pg. 12 fn. 7 add to the general bibliography for Celtic Ball and Muller 2009 which refers to the second edition of Ball, Martin and Nicole Muller (eds.), The Celtic Languages. Routledge: New York. This edition is a significant improvement over the first in that it has essays covering the Medieval stages of the Celtic languages by David Stifter (Early Irish) and David Willis (Old and Middle Welsh). Joe Eska discusses "The Emergence of the Celtic Languages" and (together with D. Ellis Evans) "Continental Celtic."

Another second edition which should be added is Horrocks 2010 (Geoffrey C. Horrocks, Greek: A History of the Language and Its Speakers. Chichester/Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell) replacing Horrocks 1997 on pg. 18, fn. 53. See the review at BMCR.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Cliched Cover Image!

All I can say is "oy!" Strangely, I happen to know to varying degrees the authors of these other books with Poussin on the cover.  Peter Bing was my first Greek teacher and Mario Erasmo was a grad student at Yale when I taught there, though I never taught him. I had no idea that these covers were out there.  I guess the image is just too good to pass up. Sorry, guys! I should have gone with David's Oath of the Horatii.
Brill's Companion to Hellenistic Epigram (Brill's Companions in Classical Studies)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


An email from Malte Liesner alerts me to an imprecise formulation.  On pg. 58 in discussion the pronunciation of Latin /t/  I write "t was probably a true dental stop and not an alveolar as in English, to judge from the evidence of the Romance languages." In fact, the way I use dental vs. alveolar, although traditional, is not quite correct. In Spanish, French, Italian and Romanian  /t /and /d/ are generally produced as denti-alveolar laminals.  The primary place of articulation is the alveolar ridge, but the active articulator is the blade (lamina) of the tongue not the tip.  Because the blade is used to make the closure the tip of the tongue may be visible at the teeth.  In English, in contrast, for most speakers the tongue tip is used for 
/t /and /d/ and hence these are alveolar apicals. Since the Romance languages agree on this laminal articulation I assume that it was simply inherited from Latin.

Also on pg. 55 I give the date of Sturtevant's The Pronunciation of Greek and Latin as 1920, but that is the first edition.  In the bibliography I give the 1940 date of the second edition.
Image from

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Addenda to Bibliography: Update

On pg. 10 replace Meier-Brügger 2003 with Meier-Brügger 2010, which is the 9th revised and expanded edition of Indogermanische Sprachwisenschaft. The bibliography is outstanding and from it I learn that Gerhard Meiser's Historische Laut- und Formenlehre der lateinischen Sprache had a 2nd edition in 2006 (apparently unchanged) and is now available in a 3rd edition (2010).

Meier-Brügger, Michael. 2010. Indogermanische Sprachwissenschaft. 9th ed. Berlin: De Gruyter.

Update:  Professor Meiser informs me that the 3rd edition is in fact a reprint.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Will Sullivan alerts me to the following mistakes:

On pg. 24 fn. 8 change "Herman 1997:114" to "Herman 2000:114".

On pg. 228 the quantities are wrong: the words pilus 'a hair' and pila 'ball' have short vowels as correctly given for pila on pg. 64 (oh the shame!!).

On pg. 110 change the gloss of nostrās from 'our countrymen' to 'born in our country'.

Thank you, Will.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Date of final -os to -us

On pg. 140 I write "An o in a final syllable before final -d, -s, -m, or -nt became u already by the middle of the third century BCE" following the traditional dating of this change, but Kanehiro Nishimura in his 2008 UCLA Ph.D. dissertation, Vowel Reduction and Deletion in Italic: The Effects of Stress, calls attention to the form L[ECIO]NIBVS (ILLRP 7) in the Caso Cantovius inscription from near the Fucine Lake which dates to the end of the 4th century.  This suggest that the date of the change of o to u at least before -s has to be pushed back at least 50 years or so. Similarly on pg. 192 in the list of the absolute chronology of sound changes change 
"10. -oC > -uC (3rd century BCE)" to "10. -oC > -uC (ca. 300 BCE)."