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Present Active Participles - Long or Short vowel?

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Present Active Participles - Long or Short vowel?

Postby cn.caelius » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:50 pm

Salvete, omnes.

I'm a bit confused. Present active participles end in -ns in the nominative singular (e.g. from amare, amans). Wheelocks (6th. ed. revised) shows the stem vowel as long (amāns, habēns, capiēns, etc.), as does the Collin's Gem Latin dictionary. Yet, my "501 Latin Verbs" book shows the stem vowel as short. A couple of old grammars (e.g. Adler) show it as short, and others (e.g. Allen & Greenough) show it long.

So, is it "amāns, habēns, and capiēns" or "amans, habens, and capiens"? Are there rules, or is this really just something that doesn't matter?

Grātiās agō!
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Re: Present Active Participles - Long or Short vowel?

Postby Rhodopeius » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:32 pm

I can tell you that in poetry, where it really does matter, the final syllables of amans, habens, etc., are definitely long. The rules for determining the quantity of syllables say that a vowel followed by two consonants (even if one or more of those consonants are part of the following word) is scanned as long. But since it isn't inherently long, it's still pronounced short. That is, you would pronounce the 'a' in the final syllable of amans like the 'a' in the nominative singular ending of 'porta', not the ablative singular ending. But in verse, it always scans as long.
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Re: Present Active Participles - Long or Short vowel?

Postby adrianus » Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:03 am

Salvete cn.caeli et rhodopei

Many authorities say that the ultimate syllable of the present participle nominative singular is long by position and long by nature (that is, inherently). If a vowel is long by nature, it really is pronounced long. The rule is that the vowel is long before 'ns', I believe. Regarding the sound, it matters.

Ultima syllaba participii praesentis nominativo casu singularis numeri, ut ab multis auctoribus dicitur, longa est et naturâ et positione. Si vocalis naturâ longa est, longa verè sonatur. Regula est vocalem ante "ns" longam esse, ut credo. Sonitûs ratione refert.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Present Active Participles - Long or Short vowel?

Postby adrianus » Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:01 pm

Also, I remember reading somewhere in a grammar book (forgive me, I can't remember whose) the author writing that he would not be marking the last vowel long in the first pers. sing. present participles because he assumed the reader would know that already. That to me seems odd,—even suspicious,—but it might have been just an excuse for omissions in the proofs. It might even correspond historically to a shift in modern understanding and/or convention.

Iterùm, me in quodam grammaticae loco legisse memini (me ignoscas, apud quem ignoro) auctorem scripsisse se vocales longas terminantes participiorum praesentum nominativo singulariter sic ut longas non denotare quià se lectores id jam scire praesumere. Mirum id mihi videtur,—omninò suspicax,—nisi dumtaxat defensio ob praetermissiones in plagulis seu typorum exemplis. Fortassè quidem, id mutationem scientiae modernae vel moris historicam nunciat.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Present Active Participles - Long or Short vowel?

Postby NuclearWarhead » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:36 pm

As I see it, I think the explanation could be either the general rule that a vowel is lengthened when it is followed by -ns and -nf: cōnsul, cōnficiō (vs, for instance, concipiō). However, it could also be that we're dealing with compensatory lengthening. As -ts in final position becomes -s, it stands to reason that *amants > amāns.

I do not have the qualifications to choose between the two of them, they seem equally plausible to me.
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Re: Present Active Participles - Long or Short vowel?

Postby adrianus » Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:03 am

In the end, I suppose it's not really suspicious at all. It's just a strategy for teaching, where, if you mark the vowel long (in amans, say), students may assume it stays long in the other cases, when it's only long in nominative singular.

Verè, minimè suspiciosum est, ut tandem opinor,—modò dolus docendi, nequis vocalem cum terminationibus aliis longam manere perperàm credet, quae vocalis longam est solùm nominativo singulariter.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Present Active Participles - Long or Short vowel?

Postby Estoniacus Inoriginale » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:51 am

But *amants I wouldn't agree to, because from what I've heard, amans used to be amanis, or amams, and nasalization, I use in the long vowels preceding ns. When the Etruscan influence of heavy stress on first syllable had its do, then such endings were cleared such as in rex, from reecis.
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