Question on convention of long vowels in poetry

meisenimverbis

Civis Illustris
Is it convention that all vowels followed by two consonants (even if in different words) are considered and marked long even if it's naturally short?

If so, who conventioned it? Is it from the ancient times, or is it a medieval or modern convention?

Examples: ānnūs novus / ānnus ōctāvus
(ānnus has short u; octāvus has short o)
 
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Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Is it convention that all vowels followed by two consonants (even if in different words) are considered and marked long even if it's naturally short?
No. A short vowel does not become long just because it is followed by two consonants. The thing is that a syllable is long (or, I think the more technically correct term is actually "heavy") if:

- it contains a long vowel
or
- it contains a diphthong
or
- it ends in a consonant

When a vowel is followed by only one consonant, that consonant gets attached to the next vowel, so that it belongs to the next syllable (even if what follows is a different word, unless there's a strong caesura). As a result, the previous syllable, if the vowel in it is short, is short (or light). For instance, amat illam is divided into syllables thus: a-ma-til-lam, wherein the ma has a short vowel and does not end in a consonant, and therefore is a short (or light) syllable.

Now, when a vowel is followed by two consonants, the first of these belongs to the same syllable, and makes the syllable long (or heavy) even if the vowel in it is short. For instance: amat me = a-mat-me, wherein the mat ends in a consonant and therefore is a long (or heavy) syllable, even though the "a" is short.
 
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meisenimverbis

Civis Illustris
No. A short vowel does not become long just because it is followed by two consonants.
The question was whether it was marked, not whether it became... There's this book (Complete Latin - Teach yourself) that does this... Once someone in a group I'm in asked, I thought about looking for thoughts on the matter. The book marks the vowels as long, not only the syllables. (I'm aware of the long syllable concept.)

A pre-Homerian poet called Konbentiо̄d. Hence the name.
Is that for real? :eek-2:
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
The question was whether it was marked, not whether it became... There's this book (Complete Latin - Teach yourself) that does this... Once someone in a group I'm in asked, I thought about looking for thoughts on the matter. The book marks the vowels as long, not only the syllables. (I'm aware of the long syllable concept.)
Well, in my experience, that isn't done, now apparently some people do it. I think it's misleading, though.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Well, in my experience, that isn't done, now perhaps some people do it. I think it would be misleading, though.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Oh, that horrible thing!
 

Iáson

Cívis Illústris
Ugh. That's so misleading. I guess it's because there's no unicode option for associating the diacritics with syllables (ie. making them float a bit higher), but I still think it's unacceptable.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I don't think there's really a need for marking the lengths of syllables, since you only need to learn a few pretty straightforward rules to be able to tell for yourself which macronless syllables are long.
 
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