adsuetus: how many syllables?

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hlawson38
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adsuetus: how many syllables?

Post by hlawson38 » Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:02 pm

Context: I've been working on scanning, having scanned about 350 lines over the past month. I'm getting about three-fourths of them right, using this web site as a criterion of correctness:

http://hexameter.co/

I keep having trouble with the letter "u": vowel or consonant?


Here is a dictionary entry, with a single macron over the "e": adsuētus. [ In case the macron doesn't come through for you, I'll uppercase the long "e" here: adsuEtus. ] Can I tell from this dictionary entry whether the "u" is to be read as a vowel, which makes "adsuetus" quadrisyllabic, or as a consonant, which makes it trisyllabic? Is there a convention for reading these entries?

I'm working alone, with no teacher to give timely corrections of my errors.
Hugh Lawson

Victor
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Re: adsuetus: how many syllables?

Post by Victor » Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:28 pm

I don't know what dictionary you're looking at. A macron over the e doesn't necessarily imply that the u is consonantal.

The (first) u in adsuetus is in fact nearly always consonantal.

Since you're still grappling with scansion, it's probably not much consolation to you to hear that the best guide you have to whether a letter is vocalic or consonantal is usually not a dictionary but how, in a line of verse you're looking at, it happens to scan.

cramberepetita
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Re: adsuetus: how many syllables?

Post by cramberepetita » Sun Jan 29, 2017 5:16 pm

When a word like consuesco or adsuesco is used in hexametric poetry, the -u- has no choice but to be consonantal, given that the syllable before and after it are invariably long, and a sequence ¯ ˘ ¯ is not permitted.

hlawson38
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Re: adsuetus: how many syllables?

Post by hlawson38 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:57 am

cramberepetita wrote:When a word like consuesco or adsuesco is used in hexametric poetry, the -u- has no choice but to be consonantal, given that the syllable before and after it are invariably long, and a sequence ¯ ˘ ¯ is not permitted.
Yes (slaps hand against head) of course! It's surprising sometimes how many things are obvious once they've been pointed out! Many thanks!
Hugh Lawson

hlawson38
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Re: adsuetus: how many syllables?

Post by hlawson38 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:58 am

Victor wrote:I don't know what dictionary you're looking at. A macron over the e doesn't necessarily imply that the u is consonantal.

The (first) u in adsuetus is in fact nearly always consonantal.

Since you're still grappling with scansion, it's probably not much consolation to you to hear that the best guide you have to whether a letter is vocalic or consonantal is usually not a dictionary but how, in a line of verse you're looking at, it happens to scan.
Right, right! Sometimes it's hard to see the obvious.
Hugh Lawson

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