History of long mark on first-declension ablative endings?

By Callaina, in 'Pronunciation, Spelling and Listen to Latin', Jun 5, 2019.

  1. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    Hi -- this came up on a Latin group that I'm part of on Facebook. Does anyone know when people first started routinely marking first-declension ablative singular endings with long-vowel marks? I wrote that it was a medieval innovation developed as a sort of "crutch" for people whose first language was not Latin (i.e. everyone) -- which is true as far as I know, but I'd like to be sure that what I wrote is correct -- and anyway, "medieval" spans a vast length of time, and I'm curious when exactly they first appear.
  2. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    I'm not sure when exactly macrons appeared.

    The Romans themselves sometimes marked long vowels (I mean in general, not especially in the first-declension ablative singular ending) with apices (things that look like acute accents) but they weren't very consistent about it. They also occasionally wrote long vowels as double.

    I don't think I've seen any macrons or apices or any other length-marking diacritics in medieval manuscripts. I haven't seen all medieval manuscripts, of course, so I can't swear they were never used, but if it had been a habitual thing I'd probably know about it.

    In Renaissance or perhaps slightly later books, I've seen length indicated by a circumflex, not everywhere but mostly in forms that would otherwise be technically ambiguous like, indeed, the first-declension ablative singular.
    Last edited by Pacifica, Jun 5, 2019
  3. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    Ah, interesting -- I didn't know that about the Romans. So it's actually mostly a Renaissance innovation, then.
  4. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    in orbe lacteo
    I've seen an inscription with Maarcus to indicate that that's a long a, for instance.
  5. Hemo Rusticus The Lizard King

    • Civis Illustris
    At my folks' house, I've got this old (17th century?) book that, if I remember, is some kind of commentary on V's Culex. At any rate, it used the circumflex, and occasionally the 'grave' accent (for a long mark). I have no idea why/what was the distinction. Maybe Italian knowledge had some bearing?
  6. Quasus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Coimbra, Portugal
  7. Etaoin Shrdlu Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    That link tells me I've reached my limit of available pages, which seems a bit harsh, because I haven't seen any yet. At least I think that's what it's telling me, because it's in Portuguese.
    Dantius, Hemo Rusticus and Pacifica like this.
  8. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Weirdly, it worked for me on second click.
  9. Etaoin Shrdlu Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
  10. meisenimverbis Member

    Location:
    Rio de Janeiro

    It seems that the ablative a (and other vowels, in case of other declensions) is long because it's an elision of a primitive ending in -d. Differently, the nominative would be short because its ending would be none () or -s, depending on the declension (or paradigm within the 3rd declension).

    Romans though would (in some occasions/modalities of writing) mark the difference because it was different for them, I believe...
  11. Iáson Cívis Illústris

    • Civis Illustris
    No. I think the vowel was long even before the loss of -d.

    This link shows some examples from the fifth and sixth centuries CE.
  12. Quasus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Coimbra, Portugal
    > Does anyone know when people first started routinely marking first-declension ablative singular endings with long-vowel marks?

    BTW, in Neo-Latin writing they were marked with the circumflex, not with the macron. The circumflex was never consistently used for vowel length.
  13. meisenimverbis Member

    Location:
    Rio de Janeiro

    I still do it... (Mark long vowels with ^ and short ones with `.) But I do so because I --when I had a problem with my computer, and had to use an awful, awful!, 'netbook'-- went back to use txt notepad, and lingered on it, and it doesn't save with macron and breve marks, so it became a habit. Otherwise though (word, twitter) I use the macra and breves... But it's somewhat romantic the simplistic ^ and ` to mark them.

    Does anyone else here do it too?
  14. Hmm. I never have I think...I guess that'd be much easier. But I've always tried to get macrons.

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