how do u pronounce "roma est"

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zexrct
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how do u pronounce "roma est"

Post by zexrct » Sat Oct 16, 2004 2:49 pm

is it pronounced "romast"? I read that if a word before "est" ends with a vowel, the "e" in "est" is cut out.

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Timothy
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Re: how do u pronounce "roma est"

Post by Timothy » Sat Oct 16, 2004 3:25 pm

zexrct wrote:is it pronounced "romast"? I read that if a word before "est" ends with a vowel, the "e" in "est" is cut out.
In poetry but not prose. It's called ellision (A+G § 612). When a word ends in a vowel or dipththong and the next word begins with a vowel or h, the preceeding vowel is partially suppressed. In prose it is pronounced.
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Post by zexrct » Sat Oct 16, 2004 3:42 pm

thanks, "read it right" didn't mention that

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Timothy
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Post by Timothy » Sat Oct 16, 2004 3:53 pm

Just to be complete here...

...the elided vowel, in this case, would be the 'a' of roma est, resulting in rom(a) est not roma (e)st.

It's the preceeding vowel that is suppressed.

AFAIK, Read it Right is prose. But I haven't looked at that site in a while.
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Post by adz000 » Sat Oct 16, 2004 4:14 pm

A complicated answer to an apparently easy question.

If the question is:
When I read Latin out loud and come across 'Roma est', do I pronounce it 'Romast'?
I would say emphatically NOT. Clarity at this point is more important in pronunciation than any imagined historical fidelity. There may, however, be certain exceptions (poetry, but more than anything else comedic verse). more on these below.

If the question is:
Would a Roman at the end of the first century BC have pronounced 'Roma est' as 'Romast'?
The answer is impossible to give. But one can reach certain safe conclusions. First of all, pronunciation would vary (just as today) based on context. Are you sitting in a thermopolium with your drinking buddies and complaining about how expensive it is to live in Rome? Are you Cicero delivering a speech on the rostrum? Are you declaming an extemporaneous epigram on the filthiness of the city? And so forth.

I presume you're asking the question because you're drawing a distinction between regular elision of a vowel, such as commonly happens in verse and the LAST syllable of the FIRST word is dropped (e.g. 'Romest'); and what is sometimes called 'prodelision', in which the FIRST syllable of the SECOND word is dropped (as in 'Romast') and is frequently found with forms of esse.

First of all, our knowledge for this phenomenon in classical Latin is almost entirely confined to poetry, which is by no means a normal speech act. Evidence of prodelision is very common in Plautus and Terence, who are our most colloquially poets, so much that it extended to orthography ('captendum'st' = captendum est). I am not sure in the classical poets whether we can even know if they used elision or prodelision when forms of the verb 'esse' were involved. I would imagine that they used prodelision, but someone more knowledgable than I needs to give his opinion. But it is perhaps safe to conclude from Plautus and Terence that colloquial Latin probably did drop out the first syllable of 'est' occasionally; but there is no evidence to show if this was habitual in common speech or not, as far as I know. I would note that even in English, hurried speech will produce natural elisions.

As far as prose goes--and by prose I mean rhetorical prose--there is some evidence for usage, but not much. First of all, the use of metrical rhythms at the end of periods (clausulae) in principle would give some insight into what happens when there is a collision of vowels. But I do not know what the results of studying them are, or even if such a study would be conclusive. Perhaps more instructive are statements about the occurrence of hiatus/hiulca (lit. 'a gaping' i.e. when two values sit next to each other in adjoining words but there is NO elision or prodelision joining them) in speeches.

Quintilian (ix.4.33):
hiulca etiam decent faciuntque ampliora quaedum, ut 'pulchra oratione act'.
But on the other hand, Cicero (Or. 150ff.):
Nolo haec tam minuta constructio appareat; sed tamen stilus exercitatus efficiet facile formulam componendi. Nam ut in legendo oculus sic animus in dicendo prospiciet quid sequatur, ne extremorum verborum cum insequentibus primis concursus aut hiulcas voces efficiat aut asperas. Quamvis enim suaves gravesque sententiae tamen, si in condite positis verbis efferuntur, offendent auris, quarum est iudicium superbissimum. Quod quidem Latina lingua sic observat, nemo ut tam rusticus sit qui vocalis nolit coniungere. Judgments on the hiatus in Greek authors follow; this probably indicates that Cicero is here applying an effect natural to the Greek language to something that may not be native to Latin.

So it seems that opinions differed. I hope I've shed some light on the matter, though I've hardly produced greater clarity.

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Post by Turpissimus » Sat Oct 16, 2004 6:43 pm

I am not sure in the classical poets whether we can even know if they used elision or prodelision when forms of the verb 'esse' were involved. I would imagine that they used prodelision
I am aware of one instance of prodelision - Lucretius I.10 uses patefactast for patefacta est. I've seen other instances of prodelision of est in the poem as well. So at least one instance there.
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cweb255
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Post by cweb255 » Thu Nov 04, 2004 1:15 pm

Where do you come across Roma est? It's all in the context.

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