You could call it hundreds of examples in Latin if you counted the individual instances (I suppose by the same strategy I could increase the count for Greek as well), but if you look at it on a general level, you will see that syncopes in Latin follow a relatively narrow set of rules. Intervocalic -v- can get dropped and there are a few instances of dropping short u (or i) as in tegmen, saeclum or postum.Look here.
This is strictly-speaking true. But I was trying to be nuanced. Syncope is strongly associated with stress-accent languages, to the extent that Adams (Social Variation and the Latin Language, p90) straight out says 'Syncope is the loss of short unaccented vowels in a language with a stress accent.' The fact that there are roughly three common examples in Greek, compared to hundreds of examples in Latin, is a good indication that Latin has a stress-accent.
Well, that assumption would make sense if Quintilian had differentiated between the different kinds of accents by using vel, i.e. by basically saying 'it doesn't matter much, does it?'.The words used by the grammarians do indeed imply a pitch accent, and suggest a distinction between acute and circumflex.
Most linguists nowadays, as far as I know, think that this is a misunderstanding based on applying Greek terminology to Latin. The terms the grammarians use are direct translations from the Greek: acūta (ὀξεῖα), accentus (προσῳδία), (circum)flexa (περισπωμένη), gravis (βαρεῖα). This is pretty much what happened in the rest of Latin grammatical terminology, and is paralleled elsewhere when the terminology used to describe one language is transferred to another. cf. pp282-8 of the Latin Grammarians book, which for me at least shows up in the preview.
But he doesn't.
That's a different field of discussion, but I don't see how standard English (both in America and in the UK) or standard German are not wholly stress-based. Some dialects of them may have pitch-elements, but certainly not the standard language.As is frequently brought up nowadays, it is very rare for an accent to be wholly pitch-based or wholly stress-based; usually there is an element of both involved - although we can still meaningfully call eg. English a stress accent language. So it's probable that the Latin accent included some element of pitch, which eased the adoption of the Greek terminology, whilst still being a stress accent.
In any case, your argument is a non sequitur. You claim that there are no languages that fully rely on a pitch OR a stress accent (which I won't even deny), and THEREFORE Latin had to be a stress-timed language?
Has it ever occured to you that if that were true Latin would probably be the only language in the history of the world that wrote poetry (and even employed very strict rules for prose) AGAINST the way it was actually pronounced?
That argument works on the assumption that both Quintilian and Varro A) lived in a time where ALL dialects of Greek had lost their pitch accent, B) even if A applies, they were completely oblivious to the fact that Greek (or at least some dialects of it) must have had a pitch accent once and C) even if A and B were true, it never occurred to them that any classical Greek poetry would not work under a stress accent.By the time Varro or Quintilian was writing, it is quite probable (from Greek linguistics) that the pitch accent had been mainly lost in Greek, replaced by a stress accent. So if they were to read the account of a Greek grammarian and listen to Greek being spoken by native speakers, then when they came to apply the same terms to describe Latin, they would naturally use them to describe the Latin stress accent much as they heard them used to describe the Greek stress accent.
Their statements make a lot more sense under the hypothesis that Latin simply had a pitch accent.
Btw., I never denied that Latin didn't have any elements of stress. I think I stated that above. My argument was simply that any such stress was far less relevant than people nowadays seem to think.
I've come to accept the fact that I, for the lack of any native speakers of classical Latin, may at best produce a rather barbaric imitation of what it may have sounded like. How does that undermine anything of what I said?Good luck pronouncing Latin with a pitch accent...
I'm claiming that it didn't.I'm not claiming that Latin was a stress-timed language, I'm claiming that it had a stress accent. I would guess that Latin was probably syllable-timed or mora-timed (cf. Czech).
No. I think I've mentioned before (probably in the Every-time thread, so it's rather lost ) that I was under the impression that it was moving towards a state in which the stress would be more important in Augustean times ... but at the same time, it didn't quite seem to be there, yet.So you think that the correlation in the last part of the hexameter in Augustan poetry is a chance coincidence? If so, why is it more true for later poets than in Ennius, and why specifically in the last two feet of the line?
If you finish an iambic line in a 2-syllale word, the last ictus is bound not to meet any stress-timed pronunciation you'd assume. In most cases, the 5th ictus wouldn't meet that requirement, either.I don't understand what you mean here. Perhaps restate it in different words?
Latin poetry was modelled after Greek poetry to a large extent, but it wasn't a blind copy of it. If Latin poetry hadn't been able to work under the prerequisites of Greek metre (which it duely copied), it would at the very least have been very unlikely to copy it for centuries.Why should it, when the influence of Greek culture was so strong? We know very little about 'native' Latin poetry; as Pacifica said, it was suggested at one time that Saturnians were based on accent.
The way Latin was pronounced in archaic times has no bearing on the pronunciation of classical Latin. I don't pronounce German the same way my ancestors who went to invade England did, either.Considering that the stress accent used to be on the first syllable in the prehistoric period, the Classical Latin accent must be 'relatively' recent, though, making this less plausible.
I think his argument is pretty weak (and, to be frank, I think his observation is wrong). But I also think it doesn't contribute much to this debate (neither on your nor on my behalf).In the last two feet, yes. But I think Sihler's idea is that Ennius' poetry has a greater tendency to overall agreement between ictus and stress accent, whereas Augustan poetry intentionally avoids coincidence of ictus and stress accent in the first four feet, whilst encouraging it in the last two.
As I said, Sihler is not reliable, and doesn't cite sources. I suspect this might come from the statistical study of Sturtevant (1919). Even Ennius (p379) exhibits some tendency towards agreement in the last two feet.
If you still want me to write in greater detail about why I think his argument is weak, tell me.
The role of stress in iambic shortening is complicated. There's a very short article here which has so much linguistic terminology in it that you'll undoubtably dismiss it without consideration (to be fair, I don't fully understand it, so it may go either way). But there is some relationship: stressed syllables (according to the rule) are not shortened.
Is there any language with a (dominant) pitch accent in which stressed syllables (i.e. syllables receiving a special pitch) are shortened?