vowel length with doubled consonants

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
I have a feeling that I have read something on the vowel length after a doubled consonant changed to a single one, for example marsuppium to marsupium
If the vowel preceding the single consonant is long, is the one before the doubled consonant short?
 

Godmy

A Monkey
compensatory lengthening, it happens when the word has a variant; there are other examples like that which I can't recall atm., but it's a common phonological law done in arbitrary languages (=if you lose the phonetic length in a segment in one place, you put it to another so the segment takes the same amount of morae as before)... But a Latinist is just concerned with this when it comes to word variants.
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
No idea about the font! The reason I am wondering is that the version of Plautus I am reading has a lot of old forms and I am wondering how to macronise them.
 

AoM

nulli numeri
Like Porsena and Porsenna?
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
I can't remember that example, but there have been quite a few. Porsena is short isn't it?
 

AoM

nulli numeri
Yeah. Just passed this line in the Aeneid: nec non Tarquinium eiectum Porsenna iubebat

“and note Eden here on the spelling with an “extra” n, adopted according to Servius metri causa...”
 

Hemo Rusticus

J. Wellington Wimpy
Cinefactus dixit:
If the vowel preceding the single consonant is long, is the one before the doubled consonant short?
Generally speaking, yes (when it comes to variants/by-forms/collateral forms, like Godmy said).
Plautus manuscripts prefer the long consonant form on the whole, and meter will indicate where compensatory lengthening has occurred (as in the case of ēs 'thou art' < Proto-Italic *ess < PIE *(H)essi).

Incidentally, it is guessed that the long consonant had a slightly deferential, or perhaps 'hypocoristic' (Sihler's word), connotation, specially seen in words like flaccus, lippus, and atta, and that this is the reason the form Juppiter is universally preferred, even though comparative evidence supports -. That is, you addressed the god in formulae as a child addressing its father.
 

Iáson

Cívis Illústris
Note, however, that the simplification also seems to happen when the vowel is originally long: bēllua/bēlua, mercēnnārius/mercēnārius, mīllia/mīlia, Pōlliō/Pōliō (cf Vōx Latīna p75). So it's not quite true that if the vowel before the single consonant is long the one before the double consonant will be short.


Like Porsena and Porsenna?
I wonder if this irregularity is because it's a loan from Etruscan. But isn't the form with two consonants the most common (at least in critical texts - I don't know about MSS or inscriptions)? Why does Servius see the -nn- spelling as unusual?
 

AoM

nulli numeri
I wonder if this irregularity is because it's a loan from Etruscan. But isn't the form with two consonants the most common (at least in critical texts - I don't know about MSS or inscriptions)? Why does Servius see the -nn- spelling as unusual?
Conington/Nettleship say:

"Serv. says that the spelling "Porsenna" is adopted for the sake of the metre. The penult is supposed to be short Hor. Epod. 16. 4, and is certainly used so by Martial and Silius: the analogy of other Etruscan names however looks rather the other way. Neibuhr, vol. 1, note 1200, calls Martial's quantity a decided blunder.
 
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