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Help! Comenius Vestibulum

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Re: Help! Comenius Vestibulum

Postby imd » Wed May 03, 2017 9:19 am

I'm afraid my knowledge is far from advanced enough to make inferences from either meter or etymology. I am inclined to trust a dictionary, but if you think you are as qualified as the dictionary writers to decide the length, I understand. Dictionaries can be wrong.
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Re: Help! Comenius Vestibulum

Postby Timothée » Wed May 03, 2017 10:52 am

Even good dictionary writers will disagree on these things: one will give testis, other tēstis. OLD, for instance, doesn’t want to mark lengths of great many words where the length is hidden from the meter. These include words such Marcus and actus, which we know for certain that they had a long a even though metrics won’t help.

Firmus is a case in point. The best etymology, which presumes it’s a cognate with for example Sanskrit dharma-, requires firmus < *fermus,¹ which again requires *fĕrmus > fĭrmus. French ferme, Italian fermo suppose ĭ, as well. Spanish and Portuguese contradict this, but most importantly Latin sources do so, as firmus is preserved written with long i from the Antiquity.

Compensatory lengthening on -e- (ters- > tes-) may not be necessary here, as the syllable is perforce always heavy. So maybe we go with tĕstis, tĕstimōnium, although in the end it’s obviously Ursinus’ decision and judgment.

¹The reason for this is that PIE *e can give Skr. a, but PIE *i cannot do that. When we return to Latin, development *e > i is possible and well-known, but it must be short ĕ that behaves so, and moreover Sanskrit does have short ă (the word could namely have existed in PIE as *dhermos).
Last edited by Timothée on Wed May 03, 2017 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help! Comenius Vestibulum

Postby imd » Wed May 03, 2017 10:58 am

Interesting! Where would you point a beginner with an interest in these sorts of investigations?
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Re: Help! Comenius Vestibulum

Postby Timothée » Wed May 03, 2017 11:10 am

Probably Leumann’s grammar is the best. It discusses a little both firmus and testis (L. doesn’t mark its e as long, by the way).
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Re: Help! Comenius Vestibulum

Postby imd » Wed May 03, 2017 11:23 am

OK, that's definitely not anything for me to get into anytime soon (I can't read German, for one)! Thank your for the diligent replies.
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