Prosody and syllable stress

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adrianus
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Prosody and syllable stress

Post by adrianus » Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:24 pm

I'm a Latin language novice learning in isolation and I've only just discovered this forum. I've been looking at 16th and 17th century school books that focus on conversational latin (at Lilly, Erasmus and Corderius, in particular) and, from them, it would appear not unusual to stress a word's final syllable, particularly with adverbs at the end of a sentence. These authorities often mark a final syllable with an acute or a grave or a circumflex, and Lilly's Prosodia is clear about what these accents mean. However, when 'a' is marked with a circumflex in a first declension noun ablative case, most people I have read suggest that this is simply to differentiate the case from the nominative and does not indicate syllable stress. There is no implication that the sign is meant to be taken literally as a stress accent representing a rise and fall in pitch, as the Latin grammarians say a circumflex should. However, why not? Am I completely wrong in believing that a final stress on an ablative "a" could make a lot of sense?

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Post by bellum paxque » Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:16 am

From everything I've read about Latin accent and quantity - which, admittedly, is hardly everything there is to read - the last syllable only receives the stress in monosyllabic words. That is, when there is more than one syllable, the last syllable NEVER receives the stress.

I think the question has been asked before in this forum about the circumflex accent in older texts. I think it is, as you suggest, to distinguish the singular ablative of the 1st declension from the singular nominative (sometimes a thorny interpretive problem). I highly doubt that it was ever used to mark stress, since stress in Latin is not arbitrary but rather dependent on regular rules. As long as you know the quantity of a word's vowels, you can determine its accent.

But there are others here with more experience than I in the pronunciation of Latin.

Best luck,

David

PS - Have you enjoyed Lilly and Erasmus so far? I've never done much reading in their conversational guides, though I have heard of them. Do you recommend them?
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Post by TADW_Elessar » Mon Sep 11, 2006 5:32 am

the last syllable NEVER receives the stress.
Well, yes, almost never. Priscian says:

"Ratio namque distinguendi legem accentuum saepe conturbat. Siquis pronuntians dicat poné et ergó, quod apud Latinos in ultima syllaba nisi discretionis causa accentus poni non potest: ex hoc est quod diximus poné et ergó. Ideo poné dicimus ne putetur verbum esse imperativi modi, hoc est póne; ergó ideo dicimus ne putetur coniunctio rationalis, quod est érgo."
I think it is, as you suggest, to distinguish the singular ablative of the 1st declension from the singular nominative (sometimes a thorny interpretive problem). I highly doubt that it was ever used to mark stress, since stress in Latin is not arbitrary but rather dependent on regular rules. As long as you know the quantity of a word's vowels, you can determine its accent.
I definitely agree with that. A circumflex accent was (and is) often used to mark a long syllable, especially in the ablative case (first and second declension mainly).
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Stress and pitch

Post by adrianus » Mon Sep 11, 2006 3:23 pm

Thanks for the comments. Allen (Vox Latina) notes words such as nostrás, illíc, adhúc, addúc, tantón stressed on the last syllable (due to loss of a former final vowel --nostrátis, illíce, adhúce, addúce, tantóne), in syncopated verb endings -át, -ít, from -ávit and -ívit, and stressed final vowels in words with a subsequent enclitic (-que, -ne). The early-modern grammarians mention these and more. When the matter of accenting in early books is discussed, it is usually said that the practice was unnecessary because the reader already knew how to pronounce the words. I believe this is a wrong interpretation of the purpose of accenting (at least in the early-modern period). I believe it was less to do with word pronounciation that with word stress and de-stress within the sentence, and that it directed the reader to a musical interpretation of the sentence's rhetorical object, as opposed to its literal meaning. It helps very much if you read aloud while following the accent directions and using these rules: an acute accent represents a pitch rise, a grave a pitch fall, and a circumflex a rise followed by an immediate fall back to the median level (exactly as Lilly and others say they should). This is above and beyond the pitch change required to accent a syllable within a word. Very slight changes (perhaps a tone) suffice to accent a syllable, but the accents in these writings represent the highest and lowest notes of your normal speaking voice--those we use for sentence colour and emphasis. This explains why the accents appear so selectively and where they appear. Read like this and you will hear the text come to life (and this was before mechanical recording devices). So, in answer to David's question "are the colloquies of Lilly, Erasmus, Comenius, Corderius, etc. worth reading?", they are indeed, and not just for what these writers say but for the SOUND of them saying it in the original editions. That's the context within which I'm looking at circumflexed final-'a' and, yes, it does disambiguate the word's sense, but it seems very hard to suddenly change your interpretation of a circumflex when you've just got into your stride with the author's music and rhythm (particularly when that circumflex appears elsewhere in the sentence over other vowels where it can have only a pitch purpose) and where acute and grave accents appear over other final vowels.

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Post by bellum paxque » Tue Sep 12, 2006 12:10 am

I'm afraid I'm a little out of my league here, adrianus. My opinion, pace your excellent observations regarding prosody and intonation, is that the ablative singular of a 1st declension noun will NEVER have the stress. (Or, ought I to say, ALMOST never, Matthaei?) So how do we account for the grave/circumflex accents used in a variety of ways in these neolatin colloquies? Perhaps a useful analogy is the apostrophe in English, which can obviously be used to indicate both possession ("Sid's") as well as contraction ("it's"). Despite the convergence of usage, there is NEVER (well, ALMOST never) difficulty in interpretation. Perhaps Erasmus, Lilly, et. al. also felt there would be no difficulty here.

Best wishes,

David

PS - Matthaei (if this is indeed the correct vocative form for 2nd declension nouns in -eus), thank you very much for the correction. Once again, I look askance at those introductory texts that oversimplify for the sake of easing a beginner into the language. But I do understand the pedagogical purpose, so I'm not too aggrieved.
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Prosody and Accent

Post by adrianus » Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:25 am

Lilly says that the normal rules of stress are broken in five instances: (1) differentiation, (2) transposition (3) attraction (4) concision and (5) idiom, and this is repeated by grammarians and Latin teachers throughout the 16th and 17th centuries (my sources are mostly English). Greenwood (1590) adds a 6th: asking questions (which opens up the possiblility of stressing any final syllable at the end of a question --and some evidence suggests this could be european-wide). W.T. (the writer only gives his initials), commenting on Lilly in 1696 and specifically referring to exceptional transposition of accent, mentions ablatives "Some [words] are circumflected in the Ultima for difference sake; as, Ablatives, Poetâ, gloriâ, with these, nostrâs, vestrâs, cujâs, Arpinâs, Ravennâs, &c. Some in the penultima; as, in such syncopated words, Amâsse, decrêsse, Deûm pro deorum." I'm not hypothesising that every ablative-'a' need be stressed but just that in speech it could be (and often was) stressed for the sake of clarity (or differentiation). Still unconvinced? I'm trying hard to convince myself but I like your 'apostrophe' argument.

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Prosody and Accent

Post by adrianus » Tue Sep 12, 2006 4:58 pm

My 17th-century historical study was done without Latin. Better late than never, I wanted to learn it, but using the methods and techniques taught in that period. I thought this would be interesting in tying up loose ends in the "Living Latin" tradition, by starting when immersive Latin teaching was on the way out. Latin changes over time but, unusually, it has been most successful in at least trying to keep to its classical roots. So, in spite of the changes, I think that 16th and 17th century authorities should be listened to, particularly when they talk about Latin, not so much in classical times, but as it was, or was recommended to be, spoken in their own day.

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Post by TADW_Elessar » Tue Sep 12, 2006 5:20 pm

I think that 16th and 17th century authorities should be listened to
Sure, but Diomedes Grammaticus, even if he didn't live during the "Golden Age", had the possibility to have a closer look to latin language than anyone in the 17th century, didn't he? :wink:
not so much in classical times, but as it was, or was recommended to be, spoken in their own day.
Here you can make a choice, and it is completely up to you. :)
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Prosody and Accent

Post by adrianus » Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:08 pm

Talking about the early grammarians (Diomedes and Priscian and Aulus Gellius and others) in The Roman Pronunciation of Latin (www.fullbooks.com/The-Roman-Pronunciation-of-Latin.html), Lord says "In the matter of exceptions to the rule that accent does not fall on the ultimate, we find a somewhat wide divergence of opinion among the grammarians." Don't worry too much about it, he says, "For as Quintilian well says: 'Nam ut color oculorum indicio, sapor palati, odor narium dinoscitur, ita sonus aurium arbitrio subjectus est.'" And, of course, Diomedes (whom Priscian seeks to improve upon by noting some of those exceptions to the rules) can't be used to evidence how latin was spoken (albeit as a second language) in the early-modern period, which was the point I was making.

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Post by Lucus Eques » Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:58 pm

Okay, I'm sorry I didn't get into this discussion for a while; I've been terribly busy.

Anyway, the accents you see, Adriane care, such as "optimé," are not accents, but known as "apices," singular "apex." This in fact is an ancient Roman handwriting (and sometimes inscriptural) bit of punctuation, meant to indicate long vowels where a vowel's inhaerent length is either unclear or hidden.

For example: "c?re Adri?ne, optime amīce." Compare this with the adverb: "optimē fēcistī!" Without our modern macrons, the adverbial or vocative nature of "optime" is obscured. The Romans would sometimes indicate these long final 'e's with the apex: "optimé," meaning not accent or stress, but length. This was a practice sometimes adopted by the revivalists of the Renaissance and also in the Mediaeval aera.

The apex was also placed over a vowel in a syllable whose quantity was already clearly long, yet the vowel's quantity was long as well, allowing itself to be recalled instantly. For example, we write out "rēx," while a Roman might have written "réx." Other examples: "diréctum," which we write "dīrēctum." For "?ctit?," "áctit?" — however, "dux" would receive no apex, since the 'u' is short in "dux;" althrough, a Roman might easily have written "noster dux dúxit." There were also some words where the length was a very powerful factor, or in fact that the length came before a lost final syllable, e.g. "illūc" we write, and a Roman would have written "illúc." For "adhūc," "adhúc." In this case, the apex seems to remind us of stress as well as length.

In short, the ancient Romans would not indicate all long vowels, just the ones where it might have been ambiguous or uncertain. All the normal accent rules of Latin remain intact, despite the various implementations of these ancient mores by Erasmus et aliis.
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Prosody and Accent

Post by adrianus » Wed Sep 13, 2006 12:57 am

Salve Laureola. Your observations are very relevant, I think, for the origins of accenting notation, but even in that case I think the grammarians were saying the opposite: that these signs indicated accent (which they distinguish from vowel length), although which symbol was selected, how it was used or where it was placed, these factors were affected by the length of the vowel receiving them. These symbols were not placed to show you the vowel length but to indicate a word stress, where that stress was useful in disambiguating a word. However, I'm not looking at roman handwriting, but at dozens of 16th and 17th century school books and grammar books teaching Latin orthography, syntax, grammar and pronunciation, and they're very explicit about the use of acutes and graves and circumflexes to signify accent/tone (not breath/spirit or vowel-length/time/macron). And they're often simply repeating what the early grammarians said about the use of such notation to signify accent or musical tone as opposed to vowel-length or time.

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Post by bellum paxque » Wed Sep 13, 2006 1:08 pm

For what it's worth, this confirms Luci sententiam:
NOTE.--The Romans sometimes marked vowel length by a stroke above the letter (called an apex), as ^ ; and sometimes the vowel was doubled to indicate length
Section #10, Allen & Greenough's New Latin Grammar
http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris/AG_1.html
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Post by bellum paxque » Wed Sep 13, 2006 1:16 pm

And incidentally, Allen & Greenough are also aware of the circumflex: "In such cases [unusual or exceptional syllable lengths] the length of the syllable is indicated in this book by a circumflex on the vowel."

Section #11 (http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris/AG_1.html)

It seems strange to me that they would use the circumflex in such a manner if they were familiar with its strikingly different, indeed contradictory usage by renaissance luminaries and Latin humanists.

-David
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Prosody and accent

Post by adrianus » Wed Sep 13, 2006 3:32 pm

Hi, Davide & Bellum Paxque. Well, Allen & Greenough use an acute (?) to indicate an Apex and talk about other devices such as a raised 'I' and vowel-doubling to indicate long vowels, noting that none of these devices came into general use. However, the grammarians are clear about the roles of the accentus/tonus as indicating stress/pitch/modulation (there is a debate about the implications of each of these words but it doesn't affect my argument) and being of three sorts: acute, grave, circumflex and what each sort means. A&G's note is misleading. But their use of a circumflex to indicate vowel-length when differentiating homonyms is entirely consistent with 18th-20th-century practice. I can see this practice coming into teaching at the end of the 17th century. I believe that the earlier stress meanings of the accent notations had been forgotten or were initially being passed over as no longer important, precisely because Latin was no longer being taught as a living conversational language. As the 17th-century moved along, the language came to be taught as one for reading rather than for speaking everyday, and prosodic elements relating to the finer points of speech were being left out of school books. I think the primary-source evidence shows this.

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Post by Lucus Eques » Wed Sep 13, 2006 4:25 pm

Adriane, for what it's worth, my name is not Laureola; that's just the name of my website, which draws its name from my girlfriend. Go visit it!

If you'd like to see a modern example of the apex in some recent Latin, go to my blog and scroll all the way down, to the post about bats; I was using it there experimentally.
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Prosody and Accent

Post by adrianus » Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:32 pm

Luci care, sincerest apologies for the mistake.
I had already been to your website when I was looking at contributions elsewhere on the TextKit site. I bookmarked it because I think it's a wonderful source that would benefit me greatly, when it comes to reading and learning.
I take your point about the apex in Roman manuscript (as Allen & Greenough and others say) but what's the evidence that length is meant as opposed to accent or tone? I certainly am interested in reading it. Although, even if it applied in classical times (and was independent of what the early grammarians say about acute, grave and circumflected tones), that wouldn't bear on the statements of later grammarians (early-modern) about what these accents meant in their period.

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Prosody and Stress or Pitch

Post by adrianus » Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:45 pm

I thought I would post this as a typical statement made by the grammarians (this is Lilly's latin) which is common to all periods about word stress/accent. These are the rules, and graves, acutes and circumflexes are quite clearly meant to represent stress/tone/pitch (and not vowel-length, although the vowel length can affect the choice of tone-- for example, only a long-vowel can support circumflection because of the time it takes to raise the voice and lower it straightway down again).
"Diuiditur autem Prosodia in Tonum, Spiritum, Tempus.
Tonus, est lex vel nota, qua syllaba in dictione eleuatur vel deprimitur.
Est autem tonus triplex Acutus, Grauis, Circunflexus.
Tonus acutus est, virgula recta ascendens in dextram: sic, [´]
Grauis, est virgula recta, descendens in dextram, ad hunc modum [`]
Circunflexus, est quiddam ex vtrisque conflatum, hac figura [^]
...Monosyllaba dictio breuis, aut positione longa, acuitur: vt, Mél, fél, párs, páx. Natura longa circunflectitur: vt, Spês, flôs, sôl, thüs, rûs.
...In dissyllaba dictione, si prior longa fuerit natura, posterior breuis, prior circunfletitur: vt, Lûna, Müsa. In caeteris acuitur: vt, Cítus, látus, sólers.
...Dictio polysyllaba, si penultimam habet longam, acuit eandem: vt, Libértas, Penátes. Sin breuem habet penultimam, acuit antepenultimam: vt, Dóminus Póntifex."
The exceptions to the rules are another matter.

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Post by Lucus Eques » Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:23 pm

Adriane, thanks for the compliment! I hope I can live up to that. :-)

Very interesting commentary from Lilly. When did Lilly write? So far it seems like his whole description of accents is fairly identical to, perhaps immitative of Greek. It is logical, though, that the two languages would be similar in this respect, since they share a good deal in common, particularly scansion (it is extremely remarkable that the Romans were able most fully to adapt Greek versiforms into their own language, something nearly impossible for other languages). I'm curious to know what he says about the grave accent, where it goes, what it means, and whether this all is a natural aspect of Latin, or merely an imitation of Greek and artificial.

He also seems to get "p?x" wrong, which is not merely long by position, or so we know it today; the 'a' in "pax" should be long in any position; vide "p?ce."
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Prosody and accent

Post by adrianus » Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:04 pm

Lily (or Lilly), William, 1468?-1522 (I prefer the alternative spelling, 'Lilly') is the main man for English-Latin linguistic scholarship. For the next two hundred years, other grammarians are translating, construing, commenting and expanding on his royal grammar. No, it's not artificial Latin, but Latin as it is taught and spoken in England and (as far as I can tell) throughout Europe. Nor is Lilly changing any rules but compiling the rules of antiquity. And just as the classical grammarians say an acute accent is a raising of pitch, a grave accent is a fall of pitch, and a circumflected accent is a rise followed by a fall of pitch, Lilly repeats it. You will get the same information in Varro, Quintilian, Gellius, Diomedes, Priscian or by reading Lord (The Roman Pronunciation of Latin) or Allen (Vox latina) or Sturtevant (The pronunciation of Greek and latin).

I see from works, prescriptive and otherwise--every primary source you pick up--, that the use of the grave accent (the fall of pitch) is for final syllables mostly of an adverb in the middle of a sentence (at the end of a sentence an adverb's final syllable has a rising acute pitch) and for any preposition following a substantive it applies to (as in 'silvam pèr'). In practice, also, I see most writers apply it to single-letter (long) prepositions (à, say), to indicate a natural de-stress (or dropping of pitch). Actually, you only really start to feel why the accenting makes sense (even where it bends the rules) by reading out loud.

By the way, I don't think 'páx' is wrong. It's a short 'a' in the nominative (or better, one of those cases of falling between long and short as the final 'o' in 'amo' is) so it is acuted. You do not have time when 'pax' is spoken normally in the context of a sentence to say 'pâx' (it definitely sounds odd), but circumflected 'pâcem', however, sounds very right with its long-'a' rising and falling. You can still say 'pácem' using the long-'a' and just rise and hover on the 'a', but the grammarians would accuse you of being rather lazy (or too modern). Note the qualification: 'in the context of a sentence'. Word-stress can be subtly different when you're learning it within a grammatical system than when it's applied in speech, and grammarians become progressively bold about noting these distinctions (if only to be able to score on predecessors).
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Post by Lucus Eques » Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:53 pm

I only have time for a quick response:

I would love to see in particular the Roman treatises on these accents in full sentences, just as you've described; my intuition is that they are how I have come to employ the spoken language based on my Italian intonation experience, but I would like to see more in short.

As for pácem, that makes more sense, at least as far as Greek accentuation rules go, whereas pâce makes sence in the ablative -- but these Roman in-context-in-speech intonation rules are new and very fascinating to me. Please provide more! and the more ancient and Classical (Quintillian) the better.
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Prosody and accent

Post by adrianus » Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:28 am

Lucus Eques wrote:As for pácem, that makes more sense, at least as far as Greek accentuation rules go, whereas pâce makes sence in the ablative.
In the meantime, Luci, could you try to explain to me, or articulate, the Greek accentuation rule that you refer to? Or is it a habit of speech more than a rule? (I don't know any Greek. I can't claim to be a good latinist either, for that matter, but I'm trying very hard to improve, albeit in a very odd, roundabout way.)

Hu

Post by Hu » Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:41 am

There's an excellent guide to Greek accentuation here. (The examples are in Greek, but the rules are explained in English with diagrams on the Greek words).

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Post by adrianus » Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:57 am

Hu wrote:There's an excellent guide to Greek accentuation here.
Thanks, Hu, this site is incredibly useful. It puts some of the primary-source Latin vocabulary into context, or at least I suspect and hope it will when I can study it more carefully.

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Prosody and accent

Post by adrianus » Thu Sep 14, 2006 4:14 am

This is what the royal grammar says about differentiation.

DIFFERENTIA.

Differentia tonum transponit: vt Vná aduerbium, vltimam acuit, ne videatur esse nomen: sic, Eó, aliquó, alió, continuó, seduló, porró, forté, quá, siquá, aliquá, nequá, illó, falsó, citó, feré, plané, & id genus alia: putá pro sicut, poné pro póst, corám, circúm, aliás, palám, ergó coniunctio, sed ergô pro causa, circunflectitur, vt, illius ergô ~Venimus. Haec igitur omnia sicut Graeca acutisona, in fine quidem sententiarum acuuntur, in consequentia verò grauantur.
Sic differentiae causa antepenultima suspenditur in his, Déinde, próinde, périnde, aliquando, síquando, húcusque, álonge, délonge, deinceps, dúntaxat, déorsum, quápropter, quínimo, enímuero, propémodum, ådmodum, åffabre, intereá-loci, nihilóminus, paulóminus, cùm non sunt orationes diuersae, vti sunt, Pube tenus, Crurum tenus, non enim composita sunt, velut Háctenus, quátenus, & eius generis reliqua.

Apart from the secondary sources I listed previously, a great source for quotations is Charles W. Johnson, "The Accentus of the Ancient Latin Grammarians", Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 35 (1904), pp.65-76. Stable URL http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0065-9 ... 0.CO%3B2-2. But Johnson is not addressing exceptional cases, just the stress-pitch debate about Latin and Greek accenting.

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Post by Lucus Eques » Fri Sep 15, 2006 5:20 am

Adriane, I've really been fascinated by this stuff. I'm interested in seeing examples with full sentences and these final syllable acutes and perhaps graves and circumflexes, and all the musical accents of Latin speech, certainly Roman examples if there are any, but even something as late as the royal grammar would be useful and interesting. Based on what you've praesented so far, I've done a few studies, but I'd like to see these grammarians' assertions in context.
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Prosody and Accent

Post by adrianus » Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:18 am

Dear Luci (or is it Luce?--in a seventeenth century source, I see that the vocative for Lucus can be both Luce and Lucus, and Luci the vocative for Lucius),
I think this stuff may be quite novel so I'm preparing a paper on it and I can email you the paper for your comments when it's ready (if you would like that). It worries me, of course, that I'm very wrong and exposing my considerable ignorance, or else I'm right but it's all a commonplace. I promise to post some examples asap (certainly within 24 hours), but what I'm doing immediately is gathering evidence from sources and devising a method for its analysis.

P.S. Lily/Lilly is also a Greek scholar (one of the greatest in England and a buddy of Erasmus and Thomas More) but the similarlities with Greek accenting you detect in him can not be ascribed just to him but more properly to borrowings from the early grammarians, whose Greek influences are well known (as I understand from the secondary sources I referred to earlier).
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Post by vir litterarum » Sat Sep 16, 2006 2:16 am

Is this entire discussion postulating that Latin had a pitch accent? From all of the sources I have heard, save Cicero (i.e. acuta vox), Latin is considered to have a stress accent, so why would you use the Greek accentuation symbols?

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Stress or Pitch

Post by adrianus » Sat Sep 16, 2006 2:39 am

Vir litterarum, the issue you raise is relevant to this discussion. The sources I'm using (mid-to-late 20th century listed earlier) say, basically, that the classical latin accent is a bit of both (stress and pitch). I think the debate about this issue was more polarised in the early-20th century (from what I've read). The position I am taking on accent will, I think, incidentally illustrate how this can be possible (stress and pitch), although the discussion hasn't brought out yet the evidence for this. I hope to get there eventually. Remember also that I want to focus on evidence for accent in the late-Renaissance-early-Modern period and this has only an indirect bearing on classical Roman pronunciation (but I still think it does have a bearing).

Actually, however, whether the accent is one of pitch or of stress is not really what this discussion focusses on (at least from my point of view). For me, it's about what syllable gets accented, and the evidence to show that the taught rules about accenting before the 18th century were more complicated than the simplified modern position which only taught the penultimate rule and ignored common exceptional cases (a situation that, I think, came about to simplify a botched position on accenting that arose at the end of the 17th century).

Also, I'm using the Greek accents because the evidence is that these accents (talking about the graphic symbols however intended) were used in Latin texts (certain texts--not all) by the Romans and other Europeans up until the nineteenth century.
Last edited by adrianus on Sat Sep 16, 2006 5:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Prosodic example

Post by adrianus » Sat Sep 16, 2006 4:59 am

1667 example illustrating sentence prosodic pitch emphasis (stress and destress) as distinct from individual word stress:

R. Rogâsti veniam?
P. Non rogavi, sed tântisper expecta me dum eo rogatum.
...
R. Quo vultu te praeceptori excepit?
N. Hilari sané.
R. Eodem me quoque excéperat.
N. Non solet irasci nobis, nisi illum adeamus intempestivè.
...
R. Quò ascendis?
N. In cubículum nostrum.
R. Quid eó?
N. Petítum thecam scriptóriam.

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Re: Prosody and Accent

Post by Lucus Eques » Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:00 pm

adrianus wrote:Dear Luci (or is it Luce?--in a seventeenth century source, I see that the vocative for Lucus can be both Luce and Lucus, and Luci the vocative for Lucius),
True! My forum name is really just a Textkit handle; "Lucius" is the praenomen I translate for my real name, "Luke." But "Lucus," "Lucius," "Lucas," I'll respond to any of them; whichever you like.
I think this stuff may be quite novel so I'm preparing a paper on it and I can email you the paper for your comments when it's ready (if you would like that). It worries me, of course, that I'm very wrong and exposing my considerable ignorance, or else I'm right but it's all a commonplace. I promise to post some examples asap (certainly within 24 hours), but what I'm doing immediately is gathering evidence from sources and devising a method for its analysis.
Grand! I eagerly await all these forthcoming materials!


Vir litterarum, as Adrianus explained, Latin should have both stress and pitch. This is merely logical: in English we also have a language whose accentuation is based upon stress, yet we have plenty of pitch variation; for example, an Irishman will tend to have a good deal more pitch variation, or "lilt," in his English than a Californian. That Latin like every language should also have pitch variation and musical accent follows naturally. What is remarkable about Adrianus' discoveries here is that the Romans thought about the nature of pitch variation in their language, probably inspired by the Greeks, and have apparently wrote extensively about it. I've read some sections and commentaries from grammarians about accute and grave accents, but it never occurred to me that these Romans were distinguishing between musical accent and stress.

Which indeed is the point: to call a stress accent accute or grave or circumflex is largely meaningless to the human ear. Although we will certainly vary the intensities of stresses we apply to words through the period of that stress, those variations are not regular or particularly noticeable like accents of musical pitch. Therefore it is clear that the grammarians were indeed speaking of the pitch variations in Latin, and, rather logically, this system appears to resemble that of Greek and to sound quite similar to the lilt of most Italian.
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Post by Lucus Eques » Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:07 pm

Adriane, those are really amazing examples! If you provide some more, I'll record my interpretation of them.
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Prosody and accent

Post by adrianus » Sat Sep 16, 2006 2:50 pm

1688 example:

G. Tenésne memoriâ praelectionem?
I. Propemodum.
G. Visne repetamus uná? [corrected in the original from an earlier edition's ‘unà’--not by me]
I. Maximé. [corrected in the original from an earlier edition's ‘maximè’--not be me]
G. Incipe igitur
...
I. Jam errâsti, incipiendum fuit ab hesterna lectione.

Luci, I believe you are indeed listening to Latin with a distinct Italian accent (as revealed particularly by the circumflected vowels). Significant, also, is that this Latin was spoken in England in 1688, but evidences a long tradition going back at least to the start of the 16th century (and ultimately to Roman grammatical sources), when it was codified by humanist linguist scholars who had researched in the Middle-East, Greece and Rome. Significant, also, are the religious, political and nationalist motivations growing in this period to distance oneself from Roman tradition, which makes the persistence of the teaching with governmental sanction all the more remarkable, until we realize that the significance of such accenting was progressively diminishing. Good immersive Latin teaching was becoming less and less of an option in schools, and conversational teaching resources at the end were less imitated. Finally, such materials came to serve only reading purposes, I think. (Note the modern ring to these issues concerning second-language acquisition in schools. Note, also, that I'm still gathering evidence for these assertions. They might have to toned down a lot, so for the moment they're meant to be provocative.)
Last edited by adrianus on Sat Sep 16, 2006 9:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by bellum paxque » Sat Sep 16, 2006 3:30 pm

adrianus, I've long had a desire to learn more about Latin pedagogy in the renaissance and early modern period, though I've never known a good way to do it. If you don't mind, could you also send a copy of the finished paper to me? I'd be delighted both to read your argument and to see the list of primary and secondary sources.

With regards,

David

(as yet too ignorant to contribute much to the discussion but nonetheless enjoying it)
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More examples

Post by adrianus » Sat Sep 16, 2006 7:29 pm

Examples from Erasmian colloquies.

In ructu crepitúve ventris salutare, hominis est plùs satìs urbani.
...
Heus, heus, quò properas? Resp. Rectâ Lovanium.
...
Frobenium jubebis meo nomine salvere plurimúm. Erasmiolum item meâ causâ salutabis diligenter. Tum matri Gertudi quàm potes officiosissimè ex me salutem dicito.

Davide, I'd be pleased to send you what I produce for your comments.
Adrianus.

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Post by Lucus Eques » Sat Sep 16, 2006 7:33 pm

Grand, Adriane! I am recording my interpretations praesently. Are you going to post more examples soon that I can add to the full recording?
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Nice example

Post by adrianus » Sat Sep 16, 2006 8:11 pm

Irresistible example from 1627, to illustrate an ablative other than first declension differentiated by a grave stress:

Ecce mordicùs apprehendit manicam meam. Etiam Ego illi dentes istos omnes euellam, si non dimittit illicò [sic? illicó].

That will do for the moment, Luci. Waiting for your observations before saying more.
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Post by Lucus Eques » Sun Sep 17, 2006 12:20 am

I am reading the article about Ancient Latin Accent, and this of Quintillian confuses me:

...ultima syllaba nec acuta unquam excitatur, nec flexa circumducitur...

So, then what's all this about "ergô" and "maximé"?

My thinking is that "acuta" here could mean stress, not musical accent.
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Early grammarians

Post by adrianus » Sun Sep 17, 2006 2:16 am


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Post by Lucus Eques » Sun Sep 17, 2006 2:39 am

I have recorded my interpretation of this new pitch accent information, with commentary (about 15 minutes total):

Pars I: http://www.tindeck.com/audio/files/4owz ... cali_I.mp3
Pars II: http://www.tindeck.com/audio/files/59an ... ali_II.mp3

I'm not sure my final "dico" commentary was clear, so I'll write out the words I'm emphasizing (underline means long vowel):

díco
dîcit

dîco


My quaestion now: why is it sometimes there are grave final syllables and sometimes acute? What are the rules governing this placement? if not merely discretion of the speaker or author in imitation the chance intonations of speech — and to write it such, how helpful! for how often have we been confused by words alone, and our misinterpretations of unheard voice mitigated by the appearance of a smily face. :-)

Another quaestion: in these examples of written pitch accents, is there ever a grave accent placed upon a stressed syllable? I don't believe that will be likely.

I believe a slight revision of vocabulary will benefit us: that we not use the word "accent" for the stress, but instead call this "ictus," while reserving "accentus" for the musical pitch. "To accent" : accinere. "To stress" : icere
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