Difference between "os, oris" and "os, ossis"

Zacharias

New Member
Is there a difference between the pronunciation of os (bone) and os (mouth) in Latin? Or any other differences between the two words or anything else you think I should know that's related?
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Yes, one has long o, ōs, meaning "mouth/face/countenance; the other os is short ŏs, meaning "bone". The plurals of these are ora, and ossa, respectively.
 
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The one meaning 'bone' appears with only one 's' in the nominative/accusative, but it actually has a double 'ss' stem, so its oblique cases were never rhoticised. Single 's' regularly becomes 'r' whenever it falls between two vowels, but double 'ss' survives as 'ss'. When we see a single 's' surviving between vowels in a Latin word, we can usually assume that it came into the language after the period of rhoticisation.
 

Arca Defectionis

Civis Illustris
Exactly what Scriptor said. The stem of "bone" is oss, that of "mouth" is os.

The nominative ending in the third declension is usually -s, so oss-s -> *osss -> os, since Latin words never end in double s.

oss-s -> os
oss-is
oss-i
oss-s -> os
oss-e

oss-a
oss-(i)-um (the ambiguity here arises from the fact that the nominative theoretically ends in -ss, satisfying the rules for i-stem nouns, though technically, since os is neuter, its being i-stem based on its nominative's ending in a double consonant is irregular anyways. The form ossum is more regular, derived from the actual nominative os.
oss-ibus
oss-a
oss-ibus

Os as in mouth has the stem os, which also receives and loses the -s: os-s -> *oss -> os.
The other forms have a single s in between two vowels, which is bad news in classical languages. In Latin, it means the switch to r; for example: os-is -> *osis -> oris

os-s -> os
os-is -> *osis -> oris
os-i -> *osi -> ori
os-s -> os
os-e -> *ose -> ore

os-a -> *osa -> ora
os-um -> *osum -> orum (note that here there is no chance of an i-stem ending)
os-ibus -> *osibus -> oribus
os-a -> *osa -> ora
os-ibus -> *osibus -> oribus
 
he nominative ending in the third declension is usually -s, so oss-s -> *osss -> os, since Latin words never end in double s.
I was wondering how similar this might be to the simplification of '-ts' to simple '-s' in the nominatives of ' t' stem nouns. In those, however, the the final 's' is a nominative case ending, which, like the accusative '-em', only attatches itself to m. or f. nouns in the athematic declensions. Athematic neuters take no ending whatever in the nom./acc. singular, so the analogy might not really hold here.
 
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