Author Topic: Couple of questions about Latin  (Read 1346 times)

Offline Daniel

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Couple of questions about Latin
« on: January 09, 2018, 06:07:16 PM »
1.) If a word contains a vowel followed by two i's in a row, how is this to be pronounced? For example, the place name Veii... it ends in -eii. Would this be three separate syllables (Ve-i-i) or two (Vei-i)?
I'm guessing the latter? But if that's the case, would it be ok to write the first i as a j, since it's a consonant rather than a vowel? Veji instead of Veii, since that's the way it's pronounced? Or is there any particular reason that it be written i?

2.) I notice that in Latin the verb is often implicit and subsequently omitted.
For example, consider the phrases Dominus vobiscum and Dominus tecum. Both of these sentences omit the verb and look pretty much the same (apart from one being plural and the other being singular). Yet we know that Dominus vobiscum is to be read in the subjunctive (our Lord be with you, not our Lord is with you) while Dominus tecum is to be read in the indicative (our Lord is with thee, not our Lord be with thee).
Since the verb is unwritten in both of those sentences, I am wondering how exactly we know to read former in the subjunctive but the latter in the indicative? Is this just a matter identifying the proper sense based on context?
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 06:26:00 PM by Daniel »
 
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Offline Jayne

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Re: Couple of questions about Latin
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2018, 06:33:25 PM »
1.) If a word contains a vowel followed by two i's in a row, how is this to be pronounced? For example, the place name Veii... it ends in -eii. Would this be three separate syllables (Ve-i-i) or two (Vei-i)?
I'm guessing the latter? But if that's the case, would it be ok to write the first i as a j, since it's a consonant rather than a vowel? Veji instead of Veii, since that's the way it's pronounced?

It looks like a diphthong -ei- followed by -i (the plural ending).  An alternate form of the name is Veius, also two syllables. (It seems to be a Latinized form of the origninal Etruscan name Vei.) Since it's a diphthong one would not replace the i with a j.

2.) I notice that in Latin the verb is often implicit and subsequently omitted.
For example, consider the phrases Dominus vobiscum and Dominus tecum. Both of these sentences omit the verb and look pretty much the same. Yet we know that Dominus vobiscum is to be read in the subjunctive (Dominus [sit] vobiscum) while Dominus tecum is to be read in the indicative (Dominus [est] tecum).
Since the verb is not written in either sentence, I am wondering how exactly we know to read former in the subjunctive but the latter in the indicative? Is this just a matter identifying the proper sense based on context?

Forms of the verb esse are often omitted and implied by context.  The distinction between Dominus vobiscum and Dominus tecum is plural and singular. Whether they are indicative or subjunctive is determined by context.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 06:46:33 PM by Jayne »
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Offline Geremia

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Re: Couple of questions about Latin
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2018, 02:49:15 PM »
Good guide (has ecclesiastical pronunciation, too): https://la.raycui.com

Offline Daniel

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Re: Couple of questions about Latin
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2018, 01:47:45 PM »
Thanks. I think the confusion was that I didn't realize Latin had diphthongs. I was under the impression that all the vowel pairs (apart from ae and oe) were each two syllables.
 

Offline aquinas138

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Re: Couple of questions about Latin
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2018, 10:27:26 PM »
In some later publications, you'll see typographical distinctions between diphthongs and separate vowels; this is very common in Hebrew words in Latin.

For example the name Israel. You'll see this written three ways in later Christian publications:

(1) Isral (this "umlaut" is actually a diaeresis; it indicates that we do not have the diphthong ae, but two vowels a-e).
(2) Israhel. The h is really just there to break up the vowels; I doubt it was ever pronounced strongly, if at all. The Stuttgart edition of the Vulgate uses this convention (Israhel, Danihel, Michahel, etc.).
(3) Israel. In liturgical books, you would know this is not a diphthong because the diphthong would always be printed with the ligature ; separate vowels are just separate vowels.
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Couple of questions about Latin
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2018, 09:25:52 AM »
I am wondering, is there any real difference between the ei dipthong and the sequence ej (i.e. the vowel e followed by consonantal i)? As far as I know, both of those letter pairs are pronounced as a single syllable and in pretty much the same way. Take eius, for example. I know it's not three syllables (e-i-us); rather, the ei in eius is the ei dipthong, so it's two syllables: ei-us. Still, the word eius is often written ejus, as if it's not a dipthong at all but is simply the vowel e followed by j (the consonantal i): ej-us. (Another example: Pompejus.)

edit - Something I didn't notice before: according to this page, Pompeius can be pronounced in two ways--either three or four syllables (though I'm not sure if the ecclesiastical pronunciation would ever be four syllables...)
« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 06:48:41 PM by Daniel »
 
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Offline aquinas138

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Re: Couple of questions about Latin
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2018, 02:05:31 PM »
I don't think the ei in eius is a diphthong; I think it's just consonantal. If it were a diphthong, then it wouldn't be a consonant and could not be written with a j.
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Offline Vetus Ordo

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Re: Couple of questions about Latin
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2018, 10:17:50 AM »
(3) Israel. In liturgical books, you would know this is not a diphthong because the diphthong would always be printed with the ligature ; separate vowels are just separate vowels.

This is the best and most proper orthography, as far as I'm concerned.

The diaeresis and the fictional "h" are frankensteinian inventions. The ligature can be tolerated, as a matter of longstanding convention.
ΠΙΣΤΟΣ Ο ΛΟΓΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΠΑΣΗΣ ΑΠΟΔΟΧΗΣ ΑΞΙΟΣ, ΟΤΙ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ΗΛΘΕΝ ΕΙΣ ΤΟΝ ΚΟΣΜΟΝ ΑΜΑΡΤΩΛΟΥΣ ΣΩΣΑΙ: ΩΝ ΠΡΩΤΟΣ ΕΙΜΙ ΕΓΩ
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Couple of questions about Latin
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2018, 12:24:37 AM »
(3) Israel. In liturgical books, you would know this is not a diphthong because the diphthong would always be printed with the ligature ; separate vowels are just separate vowels.

This is the best and most proper orthography, as far as I'm concerned.

The diaeresis and the fictional "h" are frankensteinian inventions. The ligature can be tolerated, as a matter of longstanding convention.

Aren't they all 'longstanding conventions'? I don't know about the diresis, but I do know that the 'h' thing goes back to the middle ages. (e.g. I just now came across the phrase 'O daughters of Israel' rendered as 'o filie iſrahel' in a medieval manuscript...) Come to think of it, I wonder why the medievals even needed to disambiguate between '' and 'a', seeing as their '' de-evolved into 'e' anyway (as in that word 'filie', which should be spelled 'fili'. And the word 'celi', which should be 'cli' but is these days often written 'cli', which I find to be kind of annoying...).


But speaking of typography, does anyone know the history behind the printing of macrons in classical Latin textbooks? As far as I'm aware, the macron is a new invention, not something that the Romans themselves ever used. So, is it purely for modern-day educational purposes? (As opposed to accent marks in liturgical texts, which I believe do have some historical basis.)
« Last Edit: August 01, 2018, 12:27:50 AM by Daniel »
 
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Offline aquinas138

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Re: Couple of questions about Latin
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2018, 05:59:35 AM »
(3) Israel. In liturgical books, you would know this is not a diphthong because the diphthong would always be printed with the ligature ; separate vowels are just separate vowels.

This is the best and most proper orthography, as far as I'm concerned.

The diaeresis and the fictional "h" are frankensteinian inventions. The ligature can be tolerated, as a matter of longstanding convention.

Aren't they all 'longstanding conventions'? I don't know about the diresis, but I do know that the 'h' thing goes back to the middle ages. (e.g. I just now came across the phrase 'O daughters of Israel' rendered as 'o filie iſrahel' in a medieval manuscript...) Come to think of it, I wonder why the medievals even needed to disambiguate between '' and 'a', seeing as their '' de-evolved into 'e' anyway (as in that word 'filie', which should be spelled 'fili'. And the word 'celi', which should be 'cli' but is these days often written 'cli', which I find to be kind of annoying...).


But speaking of typography, does anyone know the history behind the printing of macrons in classical Latin textbooks? As far as I'm aware, the macron is a new invention, not something that the Romans themselves ever used. So, is it purely for modern-day educational purposes? (As opposed to accent marks in liturgical texts, which I believe do have some historical basis.)

I'm not sure when macrons came to be used for the first time, but the distinction between long and short vowels had been largely lost in spoken Latin for many, many centuries. It's essential to know the natural length of vowels to study Latin poetry, so vowel length is indicated in textbooks and teaching aids.

I'm pretty sure accent marks developed as a way to make sure priests pronounced words correctly; not all priests have historically been all that skilled in Latin. There are analogues in Semitic languages. In Hebrew, Arabic, and Syriac, for example, the languages are generally written without vowels; however, in the Bible, liturgical books, and the Qur'an, they tend to be more fully vocalized to avoid any confusion with sacred texts. In the case of the Qur'an, words are vocalize absolutely as fully as possible.
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