Nasal vowels in Latin
Posted: 17 September 2011 01:03 AM   [ Ignore ]
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WP says:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_spelling_and_pronunciation#Nasal_vowels

Nasal vowels

Latin vowels also occurred nasalized. This was indicated in writing by a vowel plus ‹M› at the end of a word, or by a vowel plus either ‹M› or ‹N› before a fricative,[18] as in monstrum /mõːstrũː/.

The following reference is given:
Clackson, James (2008). “Latin”. In Roger D. Woodward. The Ancient Languages of Europe. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-68495-8.

Are the above statements about nasal vowels in Latin entirely uncontroversial?

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Posted: 17 September 2011 03:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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That Wikipedia article contains the following caveat:

Latin pronunciation continually evolved over the centuries, making it difficult for speakers in one era to know how Latin was actually spoken in prior eras. This article deals primarily with modern scholarship’s best guess at Classical Latin’s phonemes (phonology) and their pronunciation and writing.

I’d say that about sums it up. Nothing about ancient Latin pronunciation is uncontroversial, and no one really knows how it was pronounced. Although some guesses are better than others.

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Posted: 17 September 2011 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Dave is being way too wishy-washy for my taste.  Evolution isn’t “uncontroversial” either; that doesn’t make it wrong.  We know the pronunciation of classical Latin with a good deal of accuracy, and yes, the final -m was a nasal mark (note that in poetry it is ignored in the meter, the previous vowel coalescing with a following initial vowel to form a single foot/syllable).

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Posted: 17 September 2011 08:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks, both. It’s very interesting.

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