Friday, November 16, 2012

You say Iuli, I say Iulii…

There is something to this *VVV constraint in Latin. If you remember, as I did this afternoon, there is an alternate genitive for 2nd declension -ius nouns, the constraint gets some more evidence for its existence. Exhibit 1: the most famous gens Romana: Iulius. But in the genitive it can be either Iulii or Iuli. Curious that. (And thank the dead language phonologist's friend, Latin grammarians, that surface forms got written down.)

What is interesting—to me, and since I write the blog, we look at what I find interesting—is that even though the /ɪiː/ at the end is two syllables, it is close enough to violating *VVV that the underlying /ɪ/ gets deleted.


While both forms pick up one violation the *VVV violation is worse, so [juːliː] is favored. Now tell me that doesn't make sense and give some strong evidence for the existence of *VVV in Latin.