Saturday, December 22, 2012

Multi Nominis Grammaticus

On December 15th, 2012 we were pleased to present a Festschrift to our teacher, colleague, and friend, Alan Nussbaum, in honor of his 65th birthday. The book is titled Multi Nominis Grammaticus (a quote from Aulus Gellius): Studies in Classical and Indo-European Linguistics in Honor of Alan J. Nussbaum on the Occasion of his Sixty-fifth Birthday and was edited by Adam I. Cooper, Jeremy Rau, and me.  It will be published by Beech Stave Press and will be generally available in about 45 days. You can see Alan holding the volume, and from left to right Draga Zec, Craig Melchert, Jay Jasanoff, and Sheila Jasanoff.  The presentation was a complete surprise to the honorand. Thanks to all the contributors, my co-editors, and the publishers for helping make this volume a success.

Multi Nominis Grammaticus is now generally available from Beech Stave Press.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Two more corrections, pg. 26 and pg. 159

Coulter George points out two more mistakes: 

On pg. 26, fn. 17 I give the Etruscan form transcribed kacriqu as an example of the K/C/Q rule, but the attempt to illustrate the actual Etruscan alphabet is marred by the fact that the 4th letter (reading from right to left) is mistakenly a digamma instead of an iota. You can see a correct rendering of the word in question on pg. 23 of Rex Wallace's Zikh Rasna or online here

On pg. 159 I give the preform of pessimus as *ped-tm̥mos, but on pg. 359 as *ped-ism̥mos.  So which is it? Both reconstructions have been maintained and both can be made to work, but given the comparative peiior < *ped-yos- and given the fact that superlatives are almost always derivatives of the comparative,  *ped-ism̥mos with *-is- the zero-grade of the comparative suffix is preferable. Sihler 1995:368 opts for *ped-tm̥mo- on the grounds that the -tmo- superlatives typically come in antonymic pairs and *ped-tm̥mo- would form the antonym for optimus that is otherwise missing, but it seems to me that the comparative-superlative relationship is a strongly established universal (see J. Bobaljik 2012, Universals in Comparative Morphology) whereas the antonymic pattern is a Latin specific fact, and thus I prefer to go with the reconstruction *ped-ism̥mos.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2nd printing error, pg. 77

I don't know how this happened, but Coulter George of the University of Virginia alerts me to an error occurring in the 2nd printing that wasn't in the first!  On pg. 77 of the 2nd printing I cite Pamphylian Greek ϝεχετω 'let me bring' as a representative of the Greek cognates of Latin vehō.  This is doubly erroneous.  First, if the form existed it would, of course, be a 3rd sg. 'let him bring', but as I already noted in an earlier post ( there is no such form.  There are, in fact, Greek cognates of vehō like Cypr. e-we-kse 'brought' and the nominal form (ϝ)ὄχεα 'carriage' (Hom. +). 

Another strange thing about these lines on pg. 77 is that they seem to suggest that Lat. vehitur is a deponent verb. Latin has a perfectly good active vehō 'I convey' (Plaut. +) that is the exact match for the active forms cited from the other Indo-European languages. Vehitur is only noteworthy in that it is semantically a tiny bit unexpected.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Corrigendum, pg. 128, n. 22 (shortening before -r)

On pg. 128, n. 22 I wrote that the first instance of a shortened vowel before final -r appears in Lucilius, but this is not correct. As Ben Fortson points out, Enn. Ann. 396 Sk has a case of shortened o before final -r in the word sūdor. The line is transmitted as totum sudor habet corpus multumque laborat and the o must scan as the first short of the weak half of the second foot. This shortened vowel is an outlier in Ennius who otherwise preserves original long vowels before final -r, except when other processes (Iambic or Cretic shortening) apply. For this reason Lindsay (Early Latin Verse 1922:125) wanted to transpose sudor and corpus so that the line would read totum corpus habet sudor multumque laborat, but this does not seem justified. So a more accurate statement would be that the first instance of shortening of a long vowel before final -r occurs in Ennius, but that the shortened scansion becomes regular by Lucilius' time. Lucilius has a number of instance of short scansions and no certain instance of the long scansion.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Addendum to pg.13, fn. 23

To the resources for the Sabellic languages add Crawford 2011, which refers to the epoch-making three volume Imagines Italicae, a corpus of almost all the inscriptions in the Italic (i.e. what I call Sabellic) languages—the Tabulae Iguvinae are not included.  Most texts are illustrated with a photo and there are many new readings based on autopsy.  

Crawford, Michael H. 2011. Imagines italicae: a corpus of Italic inscriptions. London: Institute of Classical Studies, University of London.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The earliest notation of geminate consonants, p.29

On pg. 29 I wrote "Geminate notation appears for the first time around 250 BCE (COTTAS, ILLRP 1277).". Although this date is the one that Degrassi gave for this inscription from near Corleone in Sicily, following the suggestion of Di Vita's that the Cotta mentioned in this milestone was C. Aurelius Cotta, the consul of 248 BCE, it seems more probably for a number of reasons that the Cotta involved was the consul of 144, L. Aurelius Cotta.  This means that the earliest graphically indicated gemination of consonants is HINNAD, from 208 BCE (ILLRP 295).

See Keiler, Bernd. 2011. "Zwei Meilensteine des Konsuls Aurelius Cotta." Epigraphica 73:109–16.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


To the Basic Latin resources quoted on pg. 15 fn. 34 add Liesner, Malte. 2012. Arbeitsbuch zur lateinischen historischen Phonologie. Wiesbaden: Reichert.  This book will be a great complement to my book if you are teaching a class in the historical grammar of Latin and your students know German.  It's got great problem sets and exercises and I'm sure that anybody who worked her/his way through this book would have a very solid knowledge of Latin phonology. Since U.S. students almost never know German, you might find it useful to translate some of the exercises for them. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

More on perfect 3rd sg.

On pg. 393 I discuss the evidence for an Old Latin 3rd sg. perf. ending -īt, but I didn't say anything about an interesting phenomenon in Classical Latin poetry which has recently been studied by Marina del Castillo Herrera. In Ovid there are 42 examples of 3rd sg. perfects ending in -iit before a vowel which scan as -iīt and no examples of the prevocalic scansion -iĭt.  This contrasts with the treatment in Vergil where 20 examples of -iĭt and one (maybe two) of the scansion -iīt (Alcides subiit, haec illum regia cepit Aen. 8.363).  The probable explanation is that the one example in Vergil is  a metrical lengthening on the Ennian and Homeric model whereas Ovid's usage suggest a real (i.e. not metrically lengthened) long vowel.  The probable explanation for Ovid's -iīt is that -iit contracted to -īt, a form attested already in Plautus, and that -iīt is a conflation of the contracted and uncontracted forms.

See del Castillo Herrera, Marina. 2009. "Las formas de perfecto de indicativo en -iit." Cuad. Fil. Clás. Estud. Lat. 29.2:5-20.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Earliest Italic gen. sg. in -i

On. pg. 234 fn. 10 I mention that the form MORAI from a 4th century inscription from Signia or the Ager Signinus (the place is called Signia not Signum as I write there and is modern Segni about 60 km southeast of Rome) is the earliest example of gen. sg. -ī in any stem class. However, this is no longer true. In Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 168, 2009, pp. 273–7 Maria Cristina Biella ("Una nuova iscrizione falisca di VII a.C.: Un sostantivo con tema in -o e genitivo in -i") has published a 7th century Calix from Falerii with the inscription TITI. This form is most probably a genitive of the common praenomen Titos and  might be taken as more evidence that the original locus of the -ī genitive was in names.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Corrigenda varia

pg. 201, ln. 6 Correct the Serbo-Croatian vocative of 'woman' from žȅna to žȅno.

pg. 211 The content of note (l) about the origin of the Lith. instr. sg. - should be moved to note (j)

pg. 249  In the chart of PIE endings for the u-stems beside the lengthened grade endingless locative in
*-ēu (or *-ēu̯ as I probably should have written it) add the ending-ful locative *-eu̯-i.

In the index on pg. 633 under the heading pius ~ purus rule add 142 and change 198 to 191.

Thanks to Thomas Olander and Ben Forston for pointing out these mistakes.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Ben Fortson points out that on p. 446 n. 81 I say that Gerhard Meiser in Veni Vidi Vici 2003:57 compares the Latin passive infinitive in -ier with the Vedic gerundive in -ya, but this is not an accurate presentation of Professor Meiser's views.  In fact, he prefers the idea that a form like *amā-đyēr, with the  cognate of Umbrian passive infinitive suffix -fi, Osc. -fír, was transformed into *amā-zyēr (> amārier) after the active *amā-zi (> amāre). This idea is certainly worthy of serious consideration. Meiser did uphold the comparison with the Vedic gerundive in 1998:225.


On pg. 283 fn. 98 I mention the adverb lūdicrē which occurs in Ennius, but the Ennius passage preserved by Nonius p. 195.1 L reads: pars ludicre saxa iactant, inter se licitantur which must be divided as Skutsch 69-70 and others do after saxa:

 pars ludicre saxa 
 iactant, inter se licitantur

This means, as Brent Vine pointed out to me, that the final e of ludicre is short and probably is to be taken as the neuter of an adjective ludicris* which Priscian Keil 2.350 (ab hoc ludicri) attests. The OLD gets this right s.v. ludicre.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


To the very brief discussion of aphaerisized forms of esse on pg. 426 n. 4 add the reference Pezzini 2011, which gives a very nice collection of evidence from the manuscripts and inscriptions. 

Pezzini, Giuseppe. 2011. "Contraction of est in Latin." Transactions of the Philological Society 109:327–43.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Second Printing!

The second corrected printing is now available.  If your library doesn't have it yet, get them to order it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Another ghost word

On pg. 241 I cite the Hittite form itar, itnaš as a cognate of Lat. iter, itineris, but this word does not exist. Its one alleged occurrence (KUB 41.8 i 20) is now read as DUMU-tar 'offspring'.  See Jared Miller 2008. "Ein Ritual zur Reinigung eines Hauswesens durch eine Beschwörung an die Unterirdischen (CTH 446)" in B. Janowski and G. Wilhelm (eds.) Texte aus der Umwelt des Alten Testaments, N.F. vol. 4, p. 209, fn. 97. The Tocharian cognates remain safe...for now.