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.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member
I haven't read about this specifically, but the following is consistent with what I've read non-specifically. The ancient Greeks came up with macrons and breves for use in scansion exercises. To my knowledge they weren't used as vowel length marks and so there was no confusion. They were shortly adopted for use in Latin, where likewise no confusion existed for the same reason - long vowels were marked with apices and I'm not sure that these were common or even in use any more when the scansion notation became common. Macrons continued to not be used for marking vowel length up until the 19th century, and I strongly suspect their use was extended specifically from those Gradus ad Parnassum books.

This system of vowel length marking became universal in linguistics and some new 19-th century orthographies adopted it as well (Latvian, Lithuanian, Maori, IAST for Sanskrit). This was because acutes = apices had become well-established as stress and tonal accent marks. Today the best practice for marking scansion seems to be using underscore macrons and breves, as this video by Luke demonstrates; though the implementation for this in print is lacking.
 
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Iáson

Cívis Illústris
The ancient Greeks came up with macrons and breves for use in scansion exercises. To my knowledge they weren't used as vowel length marks and so there was no confusion.
hoc nōn vērum est; macrōnēs et brevēs spectant ad quantitātem vōcālium. exemplī grātiā, vidē hunc papyrum Erinnae (PSI IX 1090): col. iv, linea 1 δρῠ´πτει - syllaba longa est (in versū hexametrī) sed vōcālis brevis.
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
Here I've long wondered whether medieval writers had wordlists (glossaries) or learning texts (lectionaries) that had long vowels marked? I notice a lot of them are fairly decent at metrical poetry, and yet in the few manuscripts of glossaries I've seen there were no long vowels marked... Does anyone know anything relevant? Interested in anywhere between the 7th and 14th centuries.

I haven't read about this specifically, but the following is consistent with what I've read non-specifically. The ancient Greeks came up with macrons and breves for use in scansion exercises. To my knowledge they weren't used as vowel length marks and so there was no confusion. They were shortly adopted for use in Latin, where likewise no confusion existed for the same reason - long vowels were marked with apices and I'm not sure that these were common or even in use any more when the scansion notation became common. Macrons continued to not be used for marking vowel length up until the 19th century, and I strongly suspect their use was extended specifically from those Gradus ad Parnassum books.

This system of vowel length marking became universal in linguistics and some new 19-th century orthographies adopted it as well (Latvian, Lithuanian, Maori, IAST for Sanskrit). This was because acutes = apices had become well-established as stress and tonal accent marks. Today the best practice for marking scansion seems to be using underscore macrons and breves, as this video by Luke demonstrates; though the implementation for this in print is lacking.
Objection: they were already in use in the 18th-century. Archive.org's oldest Gradus ad Parnassum, from 1720, and this Forcellini dictionary, from 1771, have macrons and breves... You've made me pretty curious about the influence of the Gradus ad Parnassum books. I wonder what if any uses of macrons and breves for the length of vowels or the length/weight of syllables can be found in the 1600s, before any Gradus ad Parnassum came into existence...

Also, why did EstQuodFulmineIungo and you add an angry emoji to Iáson's wonderful manuscript evidence? :oops:
 
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Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member
Here I've long wondered whether medieval writers had wordlists (glossaries) or learning texts (lectionaries) that had long vowels marked? I notice a lot of them are fairly decent at metrical poetry, and yet in the few manuscripts of glossaries I've seen there were no long vowels marked... Does anyone know anything relevant? Interested in anywhere between the 7th and 14th centuries.
I haven't heard of these and I take it as evidence that the tradition was oral, but the lack of any such references is admittedly puzzling.
Objection: they were already in use in the 18th-century. Archive.org's oldest Gradus ad Parnassum, from 1720, and this Forcellini dictionary, from 1771, have macrons and breves... You've made me pretty curious about the influence of the Gradus ad Parnassum books. I wonder what if any uses of macrons and breves for the length of vowels or the length/weight of syllables can be found in the 1600s, before any Gradus ad Parnassum came into existence...
I'm saying that the system spread from the Gradus ad Parnassum and you're telling me it was already found in the Gradus ad Parnassum before it spread from it :crazy: xD How exactly it got into the Gradus I don't really know, but I do know that there were many and various experiments with Latin orthography that started even before the advent of printing, some in use only in particular monasteries but generally basing themselves on ancient practices and grammatical treatises that were gaining wider recognition. This is where the acute-grave-circumflex system came from. I wouldn't be surprised if some of that was imported from contemporary Greek scribal practices, since many manuscripts were brought from Greece to Europe after its conquest by the Ottomans.
Also, why did EstQuodFulmineIungo and you add an angry emoji to Iáson's wonderful manuscript evidence? :oops:
DOGE ANGERY
qqja4bex6tz51.jpg

angery because Iáson's evidence raises even more questions and doge hasn't come across any decent treatments of this topic and doesn't want to add another 20 open tabs to their already astronomical number of open tabs
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
I haven't heard of these and I take it as evidence that the tradition was oral, but the lack of any such references is admittedly puzzling.

I'm saying that the system spread from the Gradus ad Parnassum and you're telling me it was already found in the Gradus ad Parnassum before it spread from it :crazy: xD
Nah, no craziness involved here. My post actually contained a joke here: breves and macrons were in use in the 18th century, in Gradus ad Parnassum books anyway... It turns out those books are older than I (and I imagine you) thought!
 

Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member
Nah, no craziness involved here. My post actually contained a joke here: breves and macrons were in use in the 18th century, in Gradus ad Parnassum books anyway... It turns out those books are older than I (and I imagine you) thought!
How is correcting dates a joke? I don't see a hint of humour in what you're saying, and it looks like you simply misunderstood me. I was aware of the existence of Gradus ad Parnassum in the 18th century and earlier than that (wiki has a link to one with a printing permission from 1686). Here's perhaps the earliest modern use I've encountered so far, by J. Lipsius (the whole book is a worthy read for someone interested in the history of linguistics - there are nicer and more recent editions). The point is that in that period the use of macrons and breves was limited to specialised lexicographic tools. I haven't seen their use even in something as little removed from a dictionary as an enyclopedia or a grammar.

Also, I didn't say anything about craziness, it's a smiley. :crazy:
 
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Serenus

Civis Illustris
How is correcting dates a joke? I don't see a hint of humour in what you're saying,
The humour was in the irony of showing an earlier example of macrons/breves than a 19th century Gradus was an 18th century Gradus. Same book (basically), but different century.

Also, I didn't say anything about craziness, it's a smiley. :crazy:
You have to grant craziness is the normal interpretation of that smiley... I and most everyone would normally use it when calling another person crazy / nonsensical.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member
The humour was in the irony of showing an earlier example of macrons/breves than a 19th century Gradus was an 18th century Gradus. Same book (basically), but different century.
Humor is not irony. There can be irony without humour; when sharply critical, it's called sarcasm. What the rest of us understand as humour is a light-hearted remark added beside the point, signalled by overt signs that make it clear that it's not intentended to address the point directly, and whose unexpected nature is meant to divert and remind the interolocutors that the person isn't taking the matter overly seriously, or doesn't think it worth spending too much time on.

There is nothing of that nature whatsoever in your words. There's no light-heartedness or beside-the-pointness, and no indications of a humorous nature. You're addressing what I said directly, and correcting my dates because you didn't understand me right - that the system spread in the 19th century, not that it appeared in the 19th century. In your reply you provide proof (links) that they did appear before the 19th century, and you mention an entirely different book (Forcellini) which has nothing to do with any supposed "same book, different century" irony, and makes it absolutely clear that what you're doing is absolutely earnestly trying to demonstrate that my dating was incorrect.

The real irony is in the following:
You have to grant craziness is the normal interpretation of that smiley... I and most everyone would normally use it when calling another person crazy / nonsensical.
Smileys are the basic way to signal light-heartedness and humour in internet communication. You were in fact taking the matter so seriously that you've managed to interpret a smiley as me "calling another person crazy / nonsensical". What my smiley tried to convey is the humorousness of the way you misunderstood me, namely how confusing the result is when you put together what I say and what you say. The smiley stands for "confusing" and is followed directly by "xD", a smiley meaning "haha, funny". It relates to the humorousness of the situation and is not an attack against your person. Not only did you miss the humour entirely and thought I was was calling you crazy, you're trying to convince me that that it's me who missed your "humour". There is a very obvious explanation to this whole situation, that I'm starting to suspect you're unaware of, and that I will provide in a private message.
 
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Glabrigausapes

Lammergeyer
Debate all you like. You'll never solve the question of greater importance:

Boxers or breves?
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Clemens

Civis Illustris
Here I've long wondered whether medieval writers had wordlists (glossaries) or learning texts (lectionaries) that had long vowels marked? I notice a lot of them are fairly decent at metrical poetry, and yet in the few manuscripts of glossaries I've seen there were no long vowels marked... Does anyone know anything relevant? Interested in anywhere between the 7th and 14th centuries.
I was under the impression that medieval Latin poetry relied on stress-based meter rather than quantitative. I'm thinking specifically of things like the Carmina Burana, O Roma nobilis et domina, the various sequences.
 
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