Attested Latin words with three vowels in a row?

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cclaudian
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Attested Latin words with three vowels in a row?

Post by cclaudian » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:37 am

Hi all, I'm not sure if this is the correct board for this sort of query, but it seems as good as any. Anyway, I just have a quick question on triple-vowel words like cieo. A cursory search of PHI reveals that cieo in its 1st person singular form appears literally nowhere, nor do subjunctive forms like cieam -as -at etc.. Having three vowels in a row is something I don't recall seeing very often in Latin (except for Greek doozies like Aeaea), which has me wondering whether there's an unspoken rule against it. Are there any examples in Latin literature of words that have a genuine three-vowel-in-a-row feature, excluding verbs such as meiere (wherein ei scans as a single syllable, c.f. Mart.11.46.2), or old spellings of words like deicere (as found in the Qasir Ibrim Gallus fragment )?

A conjecture of Scaliger's is what got me thinking about this topic to begin with: cieat for amiciat in a line of very mangled classical poetry. In its restored context I find cieat very attractive, but its complete absence from the record of Latin literature is crushing my hopes :(

Anyway, has any literature been written on this topic to date, or is this an already well noted phenomenon? If I wanted to I could probably find out for myself by typing in all the various orderings of Latin vowels on PHI, but really I haven't the patience to go through all the permutations.

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Re: Attested Latin words with three vowels in a row?

Post by will.dawe » Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:14 pm

Seeking a Latin dictionary for three or more consecutive voveles "eyuioa" gives me 418 words . Supposing words starting with capital letters are proper names, sound "u" is a semivowel, and counting diphthongs "æ/œ" for one sound, the list can be reduced to 35 words:
Spoiler
Show
accieo
ææa
aiens
aio
anteeo
cieo
cliœati
cohabitaio
concieo
cosmopœia
diiambus
eia
elegeion
eoad
eupatereia
excieo
extriyi
feneratieius
haliæetos
heia
hordeia
ilithyia
introiet
leiostrea
leucoion
obiyi
oiei!
percieo
præeo
præiens
prosopopœia
quincunciaiis
remuneraio
thyia
vieo
Aeneid (Verg. A. 5.186):
Sergestus capit ante locum scopuloque propinquat,
nec tota tamen ille prior praeeunte carina;
parte prior, partem rostro premit aemula Pristis.
P.S. Results of the automatic processing preserves errors and typos existing in the original dictionary, such as "cohabitaio" in place of "cohabitatio".
Last edited by will.dawe on Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Hylander
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Re: Attested Latin words with three vowels in a row?

Post by Hylander » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:12 pm

Would praeeunte be treated as trisyllabic with correption of ae, or as disyllabic with synizesis of praee?

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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Attested Latin words with three vowels in a row?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:31 am

Hylander wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:12 pm
Would praeeunte be treated as trisyllabic with correption of ae, or as disyllabic with synizesis of praee?
Let's see what Vergil has to say. Aeneid 5.186:

nec tota tamen ille prior praeeunte carina

Looks to me like it has to be disyllabic here. But is this simply metri causa, and it would be pronounced trisyllabic in prose?
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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Ser
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Re: Attested Latin words with three vowels in a row?

Post by Ser » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:44 am

Regarding the thread's question, there is at least one common word with a three-vowel sequence: the verb tueor. Most of will.dawe's words are irrelevant because they don't seem to be attested in a form of interest, except for "anteeo", which is attested in Cicero's De Lege Agraria as "anteeunt".


Regarding praeeunte, Ovid does the same thing in Fasti I.81. I think it's rendered that way to fit the meter nevertheless. I wouldn't say it's synizesis of praee-, but rather synizesis of -eu-: prae-eunt (two syllables).

iamque novi praeeunt fasces, nova purpura fulget

In other similar -eunt- words, the poets have no problem syllabifying the -eu- sequence as belonging to two separate syllables:

turbaque miratur matrum prospectat euntem (Vergil, Aeneis, VII.813)
saepe aliquis digito vatem designat euntem (Ovid, Amores III.I.19)
exprimitur faucesque fluunt pereunte veneno (Lucan, Bellum Civile, IV.729)
haec caecus fati divumque abeunte favore (Silius Italicus, Punica II.206)

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Re: Attested Latin words with three vowels in a row?

Post by cclaudian » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:17 am

Ser wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:44 am
Regarding the thread's question, there is at least one common word with a three-vowel sequence: the verb tueor. Most of will.dawe's words are irrelevant because they don't seem to be attested in a form of interest, except for "anteeo", which is attested in Cicero's De Lege Agraria as "anteeunt".
Thanks for this. Others I've been able to add to the list include "clueo" and "abnueo" (for "abnuo", Enn. Ann. 8.262. All three have have the shape "-ueo[r]" in the first person singular. Perhaps this was easier for the Roman to pronounce than "-ieo", which in "cieo" is admittedly quite the mouthful. In any case, I still wonder if there is a more concrete reason for the avoidance.

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Re: Attested Latin words with three vowels in a row?

Post by Hylander » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:07 pm

A conjecture of Scaliger's is what got me thinking about this topic to begin with: cieat for amiciat in a line of very mangled classical poetry. In its restored context I find cieat very attractive, but its complete absence from the record of Latin literature is crushing my hopes.
I don't think the lack of attestation should crush your hopes, but perhaps it should be treated with caution, like most conjectural emendations of corrupted texts. In the small slice of surviving classical Latin texts, there must be a great many possible forms of otherwise well-attested verbs that don't happen to be attested.

Out of curiosity, what is the passage in question? Propertius or Catullus?

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Re: Attested Latin words with three vowels in a row?

Post by Ser » Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:00 pm

Hylander wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:07 pm
I don't think the lack of attestation should crush your hopes, but perhaps it should be treated with caution, like most conjectural emendations of corrupted texts. In the small slice of surviving classical Latin texts, there must be a great many possible forms of otherwise well-attested verbs that don't happen to be attested.
I agree. "Cieo" could simply be missing from the classical corpus out of pure bad luck.

In linguistics, there is the notion of the Herdan-Heaps' Law, which states that the appearance of new words never actually stops. The larger the corpus, the more attested word forms can be identified. A large English corpus may contain words like "polypeptides" and "astrolabe", an even larger one words like "fard" and "ren", an even larger one words like "tricent" (the Chinese mile) and "screeve".

The instrumental case form of the Russian number 1000 has two forms: regular ты́сячей (tɨsyachei) and irregular ты́сячью (tɨsyachyu). I remember once coming across a paper that noted the existence of a large Russian corpus a few billion words long that had proved to be not large enough to contain the irregular form. Sometimes, important word forms simply don't get attested.

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Re: Attested Latin words with three vowels in a row?

Post by cclaudian » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:02 am

Hylander wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:07 pm
A conjecture of Scaliger's is what got me thinking about this topic to begin with: cieat for amiciat in a line of very mangled classical poetry. In its restored context I find cieat very attractive, but its complete absence from the record of Latin literature is crushing my hopes.
I don't think the lack of attestation should crush your hopes, but perhaps it should be treated with caution, like most conjectural emendations of corrupted texts. In the small slice of surviving classical Latin texts, there must be a great many possible forms of otherwise well-attested verbs that don't happen to be attested.

Out of curiosity, what is the passage in question? Propertius or Catullus?
Interestingly, Tibullus 1.4.43-44. The poet is here explaining how a devoted 'amator' should follow his love whithersoever he goes, rain or shine:

Postgate's OCT follows the agreement of some of the best and oldest manuscripts, AX+, and obelises:

quamuis praetexens picta ferrugine caelum
†uenturam amiciat imbrifer arcus aquam†

Later critics are split between team 'imbrifer arcus' and team 'nubifer Eurus':

Luck (1985):
quamvis praetexens picea ferrugine caelum
venturam admittat nubifer Eurus aquam:

Goold (1987):
quamvis praetexat picta ferrugine caelum
venturam minitans imbrifer arcus aquam.


Unfortunately I don't have access to Guy Lee's text. I'd be interested to see what he prints.

'amiciat' is of course the most pressing problem. I wonder if its a gloss for praetexat/ens. I've also been toying with the idea of 'nimbifer Arctos', but 'nimbifer' is rare, and the idea of a constellation causing the sky to cloud over is admittedly quite strange. But perhaps it provides a nice balance to 'canis', the Dogstar, of 42.

Luck's 'admittat' follows HV, but I struggle with the meaning: OLD 14b 'directs the coming water’, or OLD 14a ‘gives rein to the coming water’. Maybe it was a fix for 'mittat': dittography of 'am' > venturamammittat, scribe reads 'ammittat', retains a syllable by altering it to 'admittat'. But is 'send the rain'/'emit rain'/'loose the rain' any better? *iaciat* shares this fault as well, but is palaeographically attractive.

One issue I have with Goold's text is his 'minitans', which (and I have not done all the research to confirm this) I think can only be used to mean "threaten to do x", not "threaten that x will happen". Compare "excīsurum urbem minitans" at Verg. Aen. 12.762. Any thoughts? I admit I feel quite out of my league when discussing textual problems like these!

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Re: Attested Latin words with three vowels in a row?

Post by Hylander » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:50 pm

You're not alone in feeling out of one's league when addressing textual problems, but at least (unlike me) you're adept at composing Latin verse, which undoubtedly helps.

Check out the OLD for minitor. Paragraph 2 gives as a meaning "To hold out as a threat, threaten (an ill)," with a number of examples of the "accusative of the ill threatened" (to coin a grammatical category), e.g.:

Livy 2:49:4: milites . . . ibant . . . Veienti populo pestem minitantes

Minitans seems attractive, but requires changing praetexens to praetexat to provide a finite verb for the clause.

But what is arcus doing here? Rainbows don't threaten rain -- they usually occur when rain is receding, and also they don't usually cover the sky with dark clouds. I guess that's what Luck's emendation and your Arctos address. Could Arctos be used to mean just "north", not the constellation?

Nubifer or another word beginning with a consonant seems necessary if a subjunctive verb ending in -at is retained. How does Scaliger address this issue with cieat?

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Re: Attested Latin words with three vowels in a row?

Post by mwh » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:53 pm

There seems little prospect of reaching a definitive solution for the complex textual problems, which accordingly I won’t weigh in on, but as to the original question I don’t think that a word’s having three vowels in a row would in itself be much of an inhibition against using it, unless the resulting sound were aurally offensive (which cieat here would not have been, I fancy). Cicero has ipsa tueatur in quasi-clausula (cf. esse videatur for the rhythm); I haven’t checked verse.

Praeeunte is surely a case of internal correption (and so meets the criterion). And indeed I see OLD in praeeo actually says “1st syll. usu. short.” That will be true of prose usage too.

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Re: Attested Latin words with three vowels in a row?

Post by cclaudian » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:22 pm

Hylander wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:50 pm
You're not alone in feeling out of one's league when addressing textual problems, but at least (unlike me) you're adept at composing Latin verse, which undoubtedly helps.

Check out the OLD for minitor. Paragraph 2 gives as a meaning "To hold out as a threat, threaten (an ill)," with a number of examples of the "accusative of the ill threatened" (to coin a grammatical category), e.g.:

Livy 2:49:4: milites . . . ibant . . . Veienti populo pestem minitantes

Minitans seems attractive, but requires changing praetexens to praetexat to provide a finite verb for the clause.
Ok, thanks for the citation.
Hylander wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:50 pm
But what is arcus doing here? Rainbows don't threaten rain -- they usually occur when rain is receding, and also they don't usually cover the sky with dark clouds. I guess that's what Luck's emendation and your Arctos address. Could Arctos be used to mean just "north", not the constellation?
The best MSS read 'picta' - 'picea' I think is a conjecture to smooth over 'nubifer'/'nimbifer' (it is also found in another MS, W). Goold translates: "the rain-charged bow fringes the sky with hues of purple." It's worth noting that 'imbifer arcus' is found in other poets. L&S tell me that Arctos is used of the north pole, the north wind, the northern constellation, and even northerners [!], but here I like the idea of a constellation, for the balance it has with the scorching Dogstar of the previous couplet and the star's association with cold and rainy weather: ( Arctoos raris Aquilonibus imbres, Luc.9.422; gelida non crebrior exsilit Arcto | grando, nec Oleniis manant tot cornibus imbres. Stat. Theb. 6.422-423)
Hylander wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:50 pm
Nubifer or another word beginning with a consonant seems necessary if a subjunctive verb ending in -at is retained. How does Scaliger address this issue with cieat?
As far as I can tell, he doesn't. I have a hazy recollection that 3rd sing. pres. endings like -it -at -et can stand before a vowel at caesurae, certainly at a strong caesura one in the Virgilian hexameter. I'm not sure if this holds for pentameters, however. If it's a fault, Lenz and Galinksy (1971) suffer it too, printing 'anticipet'. Scaliger's note on the line runs as follows:

VENTURAM admittat imbrifer) Eleganter 'Admittat'. quid sit admittere equum notissimum est. unde Ovidius: 'et celer admissis labitur annus equis. et idem alibi aquas amnis admissas vocat. sed noster codex aliam lectionem praefert, nempe, 'venturam amiciat'. quod rectissimum est. nam aqua amictum intelligit, quod physicus et meteorum indagator valde probabit. sed duplici 'ii' scribendum, 'amiciat'. ut quum volunt producere 'obice', addunt 'i' alterum, imo restituunt, 'obiice'. ab 'ob' enim et 'iacio' est. ut amiicio, ab 'am' et 'iacio'.

https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_uzR5 ... /page/n125
mwh wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:53 pm
There seems little prospect of reaching a definitive solution for the complex textual problems, which accordingly I won’t weigh in on, but as to the original question I don’t think that a word’s having three vowels in a row would in itself be much of an inhibition against using it, unless the resulting sound were aurally offensive (which cieat here would not have been, I fancy). Cicero has ipsa tueatur in quasi-clausula (cf. esse videatur for the rhythm); I haven’t checked verse.

Praeeunte is surely a case of internal correption (and so meets the criterion). And indeed I see OLD in praeeo actually says “1st syll. usu. short.” That will be true of prose usage too.
That's an interesting OLD note on praeeo - I'll remember it!
Last edited by cclaudian on Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Attested Latin words with three vowels in a row?

Post by cclaudian » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:31 pm

.

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Re: Attested Latin words with three vowels in a row?

Post by mwh » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:54 am

Confirmation: Ov.AA.1.459f.
disce bonas artes moneo Romana iuventus,
non tantum trepidos ut tueare reos:
(You can guess the continuation: ... eloquio victa puella ....)

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