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Newbie pronunciation question, "i consonant"

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Newbie pronunciation question, "i consonant"

Postby hanelse » Sat Feb 26, 2005 5:27 pm

Hi all,

I am just starting Latin For Beginners, and I already have a question about pronunciation. The book states that "i" before another vowel in the same syllable is considered a consonant, i consonant, and has the sound of "y" as in yes. So am I correct in thinking that in the word "iam" the "i" is not considered a consonant and has the sound of short i, because the "i" is a syllable apart from the "am"? I think I understand most of the other rules of pronunciation, but I want to confirm this one.

Thanks in advance for any help offered,

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Postby Turpissimus » Sat Feb 26, 2005 7:09 pm

So am I correct in thinking that in the word "iam" the "i" is not considered a consonant and has the sound of short i, because the "i" is a syllable apart from the "am"?

Initial and intervocalic (between two vowels) i is a consonant. So iam has one syllable.

Otherwise, i is a vowel except when it's the first letter of the second part of a compound. Clarior has three syllables. coniuro has three also.
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Postby Kerastes » Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:46 am

Turpissimus is correct. Iam has one syllable. This is why I advocate using "j" to represent consonantal "i", as was commonly done earlier in the last century, in the Collar and Daniels beginner book, and in the Bennett grammar. Think about it, why should "v" be used for consonantal "u" but not "j" for consonantal "i"? The inconsistency is annoying.

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Postby benissimus » Thu Mar 03, 2005 4:26 am

I find that inconsistency somewhat annoying as well, but I would rather throw out the forms for both consonantal I and consonantal U than re-adopt J. I suppose the rationale for our modern inconsistency is that the rules for when to pronounce I as a consonant are fairly regular (consonantal when between vowels or at the beginning of a word and followed by a vowel), but sometimes it is hard to tell when U is consonantal (in a series of U's and other vowels it can be difficult to tell which are consonantal and which vocalic, or if the U makes a diphthong or is pronounced as a consonant).
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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