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Sometimes I see Latin written with macrons, like latīna, but it wasn't until I started studying Latin that I noticed it. How important are these diacritics and is it considered wrong to omit them? I quite like them and I happily add them – I'm Swedish, so I know how frustrating it can be when people omit diacritics (it can mean two different words).
- Textkit Neophyte
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The Roman alphabet didn't have any accents, and it doesn't have any today either. Macrons are just an aid for beginners, almost like the vowel dots in Hebrew.
- Textkit Member
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Some ancient Latin texts used an acute accent to indicate vowel length, but normally Latin texts didn't and don't do so. (In antiquity, words weren't divided by spaces, either.) Today, the macron is frequently used in beginner texts to help students learn vowel quantities, which are often important for resolving ambiguities and very important for reading Latin poetry.
- Textkit Zealot
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In the early 1960's macrons were the death of me. I couldn't remember more than a few of them, and really didn't consider them very important since they weren't present in the original texts, However I lost a mark for every missing macron. Nowadays, except for Wheelock which is a very old text, macrons don't seem to be such an issue, and when I came to brush up on my Latin, no marks were deducted for missing macrons. By and large I'd say don't sweat it, but do read the text aloud to yourself to get a feeling for the rhythm indicated by the stress marks. IMO, that will stand you in good stead. I can still hack out Latin after a fashion, and translate monuments.
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