Saturday, December 29, 2012

haud violates *μμμ

hau máli videntur (Pseudolus 141)
So what's going on with haud? Is it that hinky first syllable allows for violations of *μμμ rule? I'd say so, given that it's monosyllabic. But then along comes Plautus, and throughout Pseudolus he routinely clips the d off of haud. Once he does that, he prevents a *μμμ violation. I wonder if the clipping is an artifact of stress in spoken Latin. Does haud carry no stress in ordinary speech? Does the lack of stress make it desirable to clip a mora off? Or is haud somehow clitic in the same way that Greek particles are thus making it desirable to clip off a mora? If haud is somehow clitic, why didn't the ancient grammarians mention this?

I hate it. More questions than answers.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Stress-based meter in Latin

It's not all about complicated mora stuff. Post-classical Latin uses a simple stress-based meter. Here's an overview of stress-based meter before I get into how mora might be a better way at figuring out meter in Latin.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Reading Plautus

I've read Plautus before, but this time I'm doing it 21st century style: on a computer. Well, not entirely. I'm also using a Bristol commentary. Anyway, it's new for me.

My problem is that I really like reading on paper. I grossly prefer a book. Call me old school. But I've also been spoiled by Geoffrey Steadman. Have you seen his Greek commentaries? While I don't need the extensive support in Latin, I like having it available. Especially for vocabulary. I understand the value of looking up words, though the power of extensive reading outweighs that. Call me crazy.

Anyway, I'm reading Pseudolus. For fun. My goal is to finish it this week. Here's my progress bar, so you can hold me to my goal. I'll be updating.

1337 / 1337

So why do we set up our readers in such a way as to discourage reading for fun? Why do the very people who love Latin the most seem to be publicly hostile to reading for fun?

End note:
75 / 1335 on Monday
137/1335 end of night Monday (not strong progress, is it?)
230/1335 end of night Tuesday
370/1335 end of night Wednesday, I may not finish this week
537/1337 Thursday evening, I may read a bit more tonight
766/1337 end of night Friday
904/1337 Saturday evening
1337/1337 following Wednesday, holidays got in the way, but I'm done.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mora and accent

Since I'm on about Latin phonology as of late, I might as well talk about accent and mora. I found a paper talking about it. Lehman says this:
P12.  Latin word accentuation
     1. The weight of the last syllable is stipulated to be one mora.
     2. Word accent falls on the third-last mora.
     3. If the word is shorter, word accent falls on the first mora.
While this does not answer the question of whether the mora is a primitive or a derived unit of Latin phonology…
But I don't like the notion of counting the last syllable as one mora for accentuation purposes. It screws up poetic scanning and junks up the whole rest of the system of mora counting. It also fails to account for words that have exceptional accent locations, like illūc.

Making a slight modification to Lehman's rules clears the whole mess up. I propose this:
1. From the last syllable onset position (whether filled or not), count back two moras.
2. Stress the syllable with the mora penultimate to the last onset.
3. If no penultimate mora, stress the mora before the last onset. 
Here's why I like this: No exceptions. Here it is in action. To make things clear, I've turned the ultimate syllable onset red as well as the moras that are counted.

Standard orthography IPA with syllables IPA with moras indicated Onsets and mora count Stress placed
Antepenultimate stressed syllable paenitet paɪ.nɪ.tɛt paɪμμ.nɪμ.tɛμt paɪμμ.nɪμ.tɛμt 'paɪ.nɪ.tɛt
Penultimate stressed syllable amāre a.maː.rɛ aμ.maːμμ.rɛμ aμ.maːμμ.rɛμ a.'maː.rɛ
Ultimate stressed syllable illūc ɪ.lːuːk ɪμlμ.luːμμkμ ɪμlμ.luːμμkμ ɪ.'lːuːk

Presumably the first two rows look like standard action. The last row needs some explaining. First, the /lː/ is part of the second syllable, but it is also a participant in the previous syllable for the purpose of mora. I split it in the IPA with moras indicated column to make the bisyllabic participation explicit. So where do I get off on calling the final /k/ the onset of the ultimate syllable?

Well, for those of you paying attention to your Bennett's, check this:
6.3. When the enclitics… -ce… are appended to words…
And that is exactly what the situation with illūc is. The -c at the end is a remnant of the -ce enclitic. So the actual situation is that the word was originally illucce. Both the ll and the cc, as /lː/ and /kː/, would be ambisyllabic. Ok, so there's some sleight of hand going on by invoking the /k/ at the end of illūc as part of the onset of a non-pronounced syllable, but it kills the irregularity in Lehman's mora-based rule and syllable-based accentuation rules generally. (That said, now we've got a violation of *μμμ. Dammit, nothing works.)

Or am I missing something? I can't help but feel like I'm missing something when I'm putting forward a new idea.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tense/lax vowels redux

Well. Here's an expert speaking. Or rather writing. Here's the quote to save you the trouble of clicking through.
Short vowels (except a) were generally more lax, and were nearer to each other in articulatory space than their long counterparts. They form a non-peripheral group. The long vowel system was more spread out, and the individual vowels (except ā) had a generally tenser articulation. They form a peripheral group. (p. 251)
Now, I don't know who Philip Baldi is, but I may have to find out. I'm deeply curious to find out what he is basing his suggestion of a tense/lax distinction on. It's a very clean and uses a preexisting phonological distinction. The other nice thing is that it makes Allen's double triangles in Vox Latina make much better sense.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

*VVV? No, *μμμ

Well, I found what I was looking for. I was down the right trail with my suggestion that *VVV was a constraint in Latin. The problem is that I wasn't going far enough: I needed to take it all the way to the mora.

While searching, I found a research paper that focuses on six constraints. Brennan, the author, clearly has sunk more time in than I have. He went far enough to get to *μμμ (at least in syllables that aren't word initial). Makes sense to me. What's cool is that it fits in nicely with what Allen suggests for syllable weights.
canem ➝ [kanẽ:]
And that is ok. The [e] is one mora and the [:] is the other. But then
canēs ➝ [kane:s]
Wait. Isn't that last syllable eμμsμ? No. According to Brennan, /s/ and /n/ aren't moraic. So we've really got is eμμs. And that's not violating *μμμ. So far so good. It gets better. Sort of.

*μμμ solves the [ju:li:] problem quite nicely. In the nominative we lose nothing, and the constraints explain it all.

* μμμ



After all [juμμμʊμs] never has more than three moras in a row—even if the /ɪ/ and /ʊ/ are in separate syllables. But in the genitive we violate * μμμ, though admittedly across the syllable line.

* μμμ

So /juμμμiμμ/ packs three moras into the last two syllables, which, while it is allowed, seems not to be favored. But when we move to the dative we get this.

* μμμ



Three moras. No deletion. My suggestion is that /ɪ/ and /i:/ are somehow considered to be the same. And their orthography and presentation in textbooks would suggest that. The existence of stuff like nihil/nīl, pronounced [nɪhɪl̴] and [ni:l̴], also suggests that /ɪ/ and /i:/ are related quite closely.

The constraint of *μμμ  answers some questions, but brings me back to my initial question of just what is the nature of the relationship between long and short vowels in Latin? Something is afoot. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pleasure reading

Between kids and school and teaching, I feel like there's not a whole lot of time for pleasure reading. It's all just too much. So now that I have turned in my official last bit of homework, I need to pick something to read. 

I've got all sorts of actual books piled up. I'm thinking Mark Walker's Hobbitus Ille would be fun. I've also got a copy of a few of Plautus's plays kicking about I should read one. I've also got part of the Odyssey kicking about. I started in on it in September, but school quickly quashed that idea. But now I've got time.

So here's my pleasure-reading plan. Hopefully not too ambitious.
Week 1: Hobbitus Ille, a few chapters
Week 2: Pseudolus, the whole thing
Week 3: Book 9, OdysseyWeek 4: Something fun and new

Deleting the perfect v

In the last post I looked at syncopation in perfect verb forms. And then I remembered poor īre. It syncopates too, but it doesn't seem to have a theme vowel. So we get this.
īvī → iī
īvistī → īstī
īvit → iit
This reveals something about the v-deletion. First, *VVV is seemingly broken by . Second, if v deletes and takes ī to i, then something really odd, though by no means without parallel elsewhere, is going on with īstī. But then it doesn't happen with iit. Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

But I got another reminder yesterday in class. v-deletion is even more widespread. Remember nōrit? That's right.
nōverit → nōrit
So now we've got -vi- and -ve- deleting. Now we've got some patterns to go hunting for. The question is this: can I find a -- or -- that deletes? If so, this is really simple. It's about front vowels. Will I find -vo- or -vu- deletion? Then it is short vowel deletion, but for now all I can say is -vi- and -ve- delete.
/wV+front+short/  → Ø / V_C
If only -vi- and -ve- deleting, then there are, as I said before, strange things afoot at the Circle K. Then it is confined to front short vowels. (And I really don't care for the terminology long/short since it also is a vowel difference.) What is is about v and these vowels that are prone to deletion? While something like nōrit isn't ambiguous, it isn't wholly clear either. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fall 2012: end of semester roundup

Sorry for the late semester silence.

I managed to make it through the ordeal of typology. Phonology was another story. I loved that. So now I am 3 down and 9 to go. Four more requirements to go and then it's all electives. First language acquisition and morphology are on deck for spring—both requirements.

Over the winter break, I want to blog a little about Latin phonology from a constraint-based perspective. I've already done some, but why not flesh it out a bit more? I'm sure it would get me a slot on the student research symposium in the spring. And I want to get it out of my system before it's time to get going on my thesis.

And then on the last night of class, a fellow student saw my Rockford College t-shirt and asked if I knew Ray DenAdel. Well, of course. I remember going to his office on occasion to talk. I remember his classes: he always spoke of long-dead Romans as if they were alive and just outside of class. If I'm half the teacher he was, I'll be alright.