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Latin Grammarians on the Latin AccentThe Transformation of Greek Grammatical Thought$
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Philomen Probert

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198841609

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198841609.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 July 2021

Latin Vowel Length

Latin Vowel Length

(p.171) 7 Latin Vowel Length
Latin Grammarians on the Latin Accent

Philomen Probert (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 introduces the concept of vowel length in Latin grammatical thought, and ways in which the grammatical tradition responded to a changing linguistic reality. By the late antique period, the classical Latin contrast between long vowels and short vowels has been largely or entirely lost. Yet grammarians continue to consider vowels long or short, in the traditional way, and to appeal to these quantities for various purposes. For example, traditional vowel quantities are deployed to help predict which conjugation a verb belongs to. In this capacity, traditional vowel length has become an abstract entity or technical device of the descriptive system. But words for ‘long’ and ‘short’ still have transparent meanings, and can also be used for vowels that are literally long or short in late antique pronunciation. In late antique synchronic analyses there is a complex interplay between abstract ‘length’ and ‘length’ as literal duration.

Keywords:   vowel length, vowel quantity, long vowel, short vowel, Latin grammarians

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