Latin ‘I’ in Compounds of Iaciō

I found a bit more on the letter I (long /i/, short /ɪ/, consonant /y/ before vowels = long feet, short tittle, consonant yes).

In compounds of iaciō, where the post-i ‘a’ is transformed into an ‘i’ [con-iaciō -> con-iiciō -> con-iciō], although the second i is no longer written within Latin script, it was apparently still pronounced within Latin speech. Thus, is is /kɔnyɪkyo/ and not /kɔnɪkyo/ (for those not-versed in IPA – it’s ‘con-yicki-o’ not ‘con-icki-o’).

This has been deduced by analysis of verse poetry, since the ‘o’ in con-iiciō would be scanned long if the first ‘i’ operates as a consonant, but scanned short if the speaker were merely voicing con-iciō.

The Essential AG: 6d, 11e


2 comments on “Latin ‘I’ in Compounds of Iaciō

  1. Thanks a lot for your continued updates. Just a short question on pronunciation: Wouldn’t it actually be pronounced /kɔnyɪkɪo/ instead of /kɔnyɪkyo/, as the final -o is but a personal ending and thus isn’t ‘diphthongised’ with the -i-? Of course, in poetry, they would commonly join vowels and even skip some consonants; I’m talking about prose pronunciation.
    Please correct and inform me if I’m wrong. Thank you

  2. rsmease says:

    Your point is totally valid, and I was thinking of this purely in terms of ‘how I would pronounce it if I were reading poetry.’ You’re correct (as far as I know), and formal speech would stress the distinction between the stem and the ending.

    In fact, to extend your point into the realm of poetry, within certain parameters would be essential to differentiate between the two vowels. Where the -iō compound sat over the two shorts of a dactyl, they could be spoken as a diphthong. However, in places where the i formed the final short and the ō the long of the next foot, it would be natural and necessary to separate the sounds.

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