syllabic stress in verbs in 1st sing. active ind.

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
Specifically in the first person singular active indicative, which seem to present a special case, as they all terminate in the long , which makes me question how to pronounce them. I will use the verb amō and a couple of its derivatives as an example: amō, adamō, and amīcō. Below, I will use boldface to indicate a stressed vowel of a given word, or stress in general.

As I understand the basic rule, it is that word stress initially, and fundamentally, depends upon the syllable weight of the penult: if the penult is a longum (a "heavy" syllable) it is stressed regardless of whatever else is going on in the word, so that amīcō should be pronounced amī(wherein the vowels/nuclei are pronounced: short, long, long). If the penult is a brevis (a "light" syllable), then it is not stressed, and where the stress falls now depends on whether or not there is an antepenult, meaning whether the word is two syllables or more than two syllables. If the penult is a brevis, and the word is longer than two syllables, so that there is an antepenult, then the antepenult is stressed whether it is longum or brevis (again, regardless of whatever else is going on in the word), so that adamō should be pronounced adamō (wherein the vowels/nuclei are pronounced: short, short, long). However, if the penult is a brevis, and the verb has only two syllables so that there is no antepenult, then I am unsure. My guess (for I have not read this anywhere) is that in this case, as in amō, one simply stresses the vowel which is "long by nature", and so we have: amō, (wherein the vowels/nuclei are pronounced: short, long). This is in contrast to the case of a two syllable word in which both syllables are breves, wherein the stress falls on the antepenult even though it is a brevis, such as with the noun afa ("dust"), which should be pronounced afa (wherein the vowels/nuclei are pronounced: short, short). Do I understand this correctly? If not, where am I going wrong?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
As I understand the basic rule, it is that word stress initially, and fundamentally, depends upon the syllable weight of the penult: if the penult is a longum (a "heavy" syllable) it is stressed regardless of whatever else is going on in the word, so that amīcō should be pronounced amī(wherein the vowels/nuclei are pronounced: short, long, long). If the penult is a brevis (a "light" syllable), then it is not stressed, and where the stress falls now depends on whether or not there is an antepenult, meaning whether the word is two syllables or more than two syllables. If the penult is a brevis, and the word is longer than two syllables, so that there is an antepenult, then the antepenult is stressed whether it is longum or brevis (again, regardless of whatever else is going on in the word), so that adamō should be pronounced adamō (wherein the vowels/nuclei are pronounced: short, short, long).
That's correct.
However, if the penult is a brevis, and the verb has only two syllables so that there is no antepenult, then I am unsure. My guess (for I have not read this anywhere) is that in this case, as in amō, one simply stresses the vowel which is "long by nature", and so we have: amō, (wherein the vowels/nuclei are pronounced: short, long).
No, the first syllable is stressed.

It is believed that the stress in Latin never fell on the last syllable, except in a few special cases, namely words where a final vowel was dropped and the stress nevertheless remained on the former penult; e.g. illúc was originally illúce, and the original stress was retained even after the shortening of the word.
 

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
It is believed that the stress in Latin never fell on the last syllable, except in a few special cases, namely words where a final vowel was dropped and the stress nevertheless remained on the former penult; e.g. illúc was originally illúce, and the original stress was retained even after the shortening of the word.
Thanks much, that makes the matter very clear. I did read about that type of case, but was unsure about the rest of two syllable words.
 
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