5th century latin pronunciation

Serenus

Civis Illustris
It's okay to give an idea of the changes, but judging by the transcription in the comment at least, there's a lot of mistakes (typos, inconsistencies), and also some odd choices or missed things if the idea was to render 5th-century Tuscan. For example:
- He uses ubī > [ˈoβi] but Florentine Italian has ove reflecting Latin ubĭ (with a short i). Should've used [ˈoβe] there.
- He renders final -s and -t as still pronounced, but it's possible that much of northern and central Italy had already lost those consonants, including 3rd-person plural -nt. Venantius Fortunatus (530-609) is able to rhyme prodeunt and mysterium in the first lines of his two famous hymns (Late Latin rhyme, so only the final syllable), as if they both ended in the same vowel. Maybe they were [pro.ˈjɛ.o] (or [ˈpro.de.o], etc.) and [mesˈtɛɾjo], or similar.
- Regarding loss of -s, there are pre-classical inscriptions like the epitaph of one of the Scipios that shows dropped -s. Venantius Fortunatus also rhymes corporis and Tartarī, although corporis here is likely just a spelling for underlying corporī [ˈkwɔɾpoɾi]. (Romanian merged the genitive and dative cases, keeping the dative in the singular, and also retains that "intertonic" -o- in -orī. Fortunatus' pre-Venetian dialect may have been the same in the 6th century retaining the dative singular as a genitive, and the poem's metric properties demand that corporis should be read with three syllables.)
- This is not to say that Venantius Fortunatus spoke pre-Tuscan instead of pre-Venetian, but still, his language is symptomatic of the north-central Italian region at the time, and is unlike the pre-Oïl of the Merovingian Kingdom where he spent much of his later life, where rhyming prodeunt and mysterium would've been impossible...
- 3rd-person -ĭt has a short i, so it should have the Late Latin vowel /e/: vīdit [ˈβide]. Very notably, Venantius Fortunatus rhymes concinit and carmine, maybe as [ˈkɔntʃene ˈkaɾmene].
- He transcribes -ur (tenēbantur) with [or], but this suffix probably had the -> [ro] metathesis (sound switch) that is so widespread in Romance. Just as quattuor ends up as quattro in Tuscan, and imperātor as *[empeˈɾaðɾo] > emperaire [empeˈɾaiɾə] in Old Occitan, tenēbantur was probably [teneˈβantɾo].

I did love that he transcribed oculī as [ˈɔkːi] though.

Overall this was very fun.

Imagining some forms of 5th-century pre-Oïl (and pre-French) or 5th-century pre-Spanish would be possible too, and with different results. For example:
- Both Old Oïl and Old Spanish show voicing between vowels, unlike Old Tuscan (so autem pre-Oïl *[ˈɔde] or *[ˈɔdə], pre-Spanish *[ode]). I've read there are 4th century inscriptions, spread throughout the empire, showing misspellings with voiced consonants too.
- Both also show lots of stresses moved from the third-to-last syllable to the second-to-last syllable (so quaeritis > *quaetis > pre-Oïl *[keˈɾedes] > Old French querez [kəˈɾets], and pre-Spanish and Old Spanish queredes [keˈɾedes] (modern vosotros queréis, vos querés, vos/tú querís).
 
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Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Venantius Fortunatus (530-609) is able to rhyme prodeunt and mysterium in the first lines of his two famous hymns
Those lines are supposed to rhyme? Wow. I had no idea. I thought it was the early medieval equivalent of blank verse. o_O
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
Those lines are supposed to rhyme? Wow. I had no idea. I thought it was the early medieval equivalent of blank verse. o_O
Late Latin poetry can make a little more sense when you know about what historical linguists have been saying regarding spoken Late Latin / early Romance. :)

As I said, the rhyme is just for the last syllable though, and the rhyming lines are supposed to just have the same last vowel, ideally with the same final consonant(s) after. Both Old Venetian (and modern Venetian) and Old Florentine (the ancestor of modern standard Italian) dropped the -nt of the 3rd person plural, and like the rest of Romance they also lost the accusative -m with only a few exceptions. This helps support the interpretation that in Fortunatus' 6th century dialect prodeunt and mysterium ended in a vowel, likely [o].* Even then there's plenty of unrhymed verse in Late Latin, because at the time having the same number of primary stresses was more important ("accentual metre"), often while using the same number of syllables line after line.

You also need to pay attention to what the native language of the writer is, since non-native Latin speakers from Ireland, Britain and Germany used a pronunciation that was close to the spelling, unlike native late Latin / early Romance speakers like Venantius Fortunatus. There is even evidence that the Irish kept pronounce ce- ci- with the [k] sound until very late.


* Italian then added -no to most 3rd person plural forms, in what I can only describe as an elaborate sequence of changes. Romance in general kept final -m/-n/-nt in words with one syllable (rem > French rien, quem > Spanish quién), so pre-Florentine retained sunt as [son]. Like many dialects of Italy, pre-Florentine lost -nt elsewhere just like every other final consonant though. So amant was pronounced [ama], but sum and sunt were still [son] (dant also became [dan], habent [an], stant [stan], faciunt [fan], vadunt [van]). (Venetian today still just has a bare -a: manducat manducant > magna, i magna.) The 1st person singular then gained the -o of every other 1st person singular (ego amo, bibo, audio), becoming [sono], affecting the 3rd person plural to become [sono] too. And then this 3rd person plural -no was dispersed to every existing 3rd person plural in Florentine, so that amant [ˈama] > amant-no [ˈamano], giving Florentine amano. The few verbs that still had -n (dant, habent...) then gained a doubled -nn- in Florentine after attaching -no: danno, hanno, stanno, fanno, vanno.
 
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Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
What about lines 3 and 4?

quo carne carnis conditor
suspensus est patibulo.


Was that final "r" of conditor just not pronounced?
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
What about lines 3 and 4?

quo carne carnis conditor
suspensus est patibulo.


Was that final "r" of conditor just not pronounced?
Likely it's just this, mentioned in my first post here:
Ser dixit:
He transcribes -ur (tenēbantur) with [or], but this suffix probably had the -> [ro] metathesis (sound switch) that is so widespread in Romance. Just as quattuor ends up as quattro in Tuscan, and imperātor as *[empeˈɾaðɾo] > emperaire [empeˈɾaiɾə] in Old Occitan, tenēbantur was probably [teneˈβantɾo].
In Romance, words with -Cor at the end undergo metathesis (a switch of two sounds) to become -Cro. Further examples:
- quattuor > Spanish cuatro, Romanian patru
- antecessor > *ant'cessro [anˈtsɛsro] > Spanish ancestro, Old French ancestre [anˈtsɛstrə]
- trāditor > reinterpreted as *trādī(re) + -tor > *trādītro > Old French traïtre [tra.ˈi.trə] (with trāditōrem > traïtor/traïteur as the accusative form)
- minor > *minro [ˈmenro] > Old French meindre later moindre (with minōrem > menor/meneur as the accusative form)
- senior > *seinor > *seinro > early Oïl se(i)ndre (with seniōrem > seignor/seigneur as the accusative)
- senior > *seior > *seiro > Old French sire (borrowed by English as "sir") (with seniōrem > *seiōrem > (mon)sieur as the accusative)
- sartor > Catalan sastre
A possible but rare example of the -r simply dropping is soror > *soro > Old French suer (giving modern sœur; if it was *sorro, then Old French would have *sor giving modern *sor).

The above can also apply to -Cer, as in presbyter > *presb'tre > Old French prestre, magister > Old Spanish maestre (besides magistrum > maestro).

So I think conditor was pronounced [ˈkɔndetro] or something similar ([kɔnˈdetro] with stress on the 2nd syllable is another possibility I'd entertain), with a word-final [o] like patibulo.
 
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Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Do you have any idea why this particular shift happened in the Romance languages (and not, say, in Old Latin)?
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
Do you have any idea why this particular shift happened in the Romance languages (and not, say, in Old Latin)?
Historical linguistics has enough trouble trying to figure out how languages evolve as it is, now, to figure out why... Sometimes it's possible to explain changes happening because some sound or sequence of sounds or forms or constructions are uncommon, so the language gets rid of them replacing them with something else, or conversely a language reduces very common ones to a shorter form and reinterprets everything. But more often it just looks like random entropy/chaos and changes in fashion. Who knows...
 

Hemo Rusticus

Jive Turkey
Do you have any idea why this particular shift happened in the Romance languages (and not, say, in Old Latin)?
I would hazard the almighty phenomenon of 'analogy' of, in this case, the inherited o-stems.

While the case was different with Old French (varying by dialect), in West Romance generally the 'oblique form' (< L accusative or ablative, both of which, if from e.g. porcu(m)/porco, would have resulted in the same *porco* by the vowel merger) came to be used no matter the original case, so that there also came to be an unspoken rule that nouns end in a vowel/open syllable.

It doesn't seem impossible that this 'unspoken rule' of nouns would operate on the syllable structure of the language as a whole, whether the speakers somehow found it more logical or easier to pronounce those metathetic forms Ser mentioned, or they thought 'what's good for the goose is good for the gander' (with reference to 'nouns' & 'verbs').
 

Hemo Rusticus

Jive Turkey
Kind of funny 'cause I just recently got to the vexilla regis in Dante, & Fortunatus came up. I find Ser's addendum in #4 particularly interesting.

@Ser
Do you know of a historical/comparative Italian grammar (possibly in English) or something like it you could recommend?
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
@Ser
Do you know of a historical/comparative Italian grammar (possibly in English) or something like it you could recommend?
Most Romance languages seem to lack good not-so-old syntheses of their history in English, but fortunately for you, Italian is one of the two languages that do: Martin Maiden's A Linguistic History of Italian (2013). Most of the 300 pages of content are about Florentine, but there's some 15 pages of general comments about other Italo-Romance varieties. You can find a discussion of 3PL -no in pages 130-132, with more details than my little paragraph. Do note that like most linguistic histories, there's not much of syntax. (Then again, we don't really know a lot about historical syntax in most languages, even in the more heavily studied ones like the Germanic and Romance languages. It's a lot harder to do research on.)

It really is the case that if you want to learn about historical Italo-Romance in general, you need to read research in Italian though. I just checked the Dewey Decimal catalogue of the University of British Columbia's library, and it lists about 50 books on Italo-Romance historical linguistics in Italian, a couple in German, and one in English (Martin Maiden's).

(The other Romance language would be Spanish, because of Ralph Penny's A History of the Spanish Language (2002, 2nd ed.), and, in a lesser level of detail, David Pharies' A Brief History of the Spanish Language (2015, 2nd ed.). For French, the last English syntheses were published in the 1950s (I don't count Rickard's 1989 book because of its low level of detail). As far as I know, no such books have ever been published in English for Portuguese and Romanian... Again, researchers know a lot about historical Romance phonology/morphology, I'm just saying general books don't get published often in English. People who're interested are expected to read syntheses in other languages and piece together what is known from a variety of publications there and there.)
 
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Issacus Divus

H₃rḗǵs h₁n̥dʰéri diwsú
I've been learning a lot of Proto West Romance recently and Old Latin, so to see oþers into þinges like it, 'tis a goode þinge indeed!
 

Hemo Rusticus

Jive Turkey
I've been learning a lot of Proto West Romance recently and Old Latin, so to see oþers into þinges like it, 'tis a goode þinge indeed!
Thou'rt among friends, reordcyningæs sunu.

Alas, that @Imperfacundus no longer haunts our humble abode. Let us send up a great weeping therefor, aoi!
 

Issacus Divus

H₃rḗǵs h₁n̥dʰéri diwsú
Yndeed, yt be true amonge friends I am; but þat hefenfrogge is ygo. I singe up to þose po'ers þat be, bring him back!
 

Issacus Divus

H₃rḗǵs h₁n̥dʰéri diwsú
Think you've got 'im confused with Imber Ranae, but they're both heroes.
Ah, meþinks þat Í be ycursed tó confuse two, for þis has happened before.
 

Issacus Divus

H₃rḗǵs h₁n̥dʰéri diwsú
Yn fáct, now Í ám confusing þree öld heros.
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Kind of funny 'cause I just recently got to the vexilla regis in Dante, & Fortunatus came up. I find Ser's addendum in #4 particularly interesting.
Are you reading it in the original, or in translation?
 
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