I-Stems with Ablative -i

Here’s the other half of that list that I started in (this post). These are the class of consonantal adjectives that tend not to operate as quasi-nouns, and therefore tend to take -i in the ablative, rather than -e.

  • āmēns, āmentis, frantic, crazed
  • anceps, ancipis, double, doubtful
  • concors, concordis, agreed, joint
  • dēgener, dēgeneris, low-born, weak
  • hebes, hebetis, dull, blunt
  • ingēns, ingentis, huge, vast
  • inops, inopis, needy, helpless
  • memor, memoris, mindful of
  • pār, paris, alike, equal to
  • perpes, perpetis, lasting
  • praeceps, praecipitis, headlong
  • praepes, praepitis, nimble, winged
  • teres, teretis, smooth

Sorry for the relative obscurity of these last two posts. The thing is, they cover a few footnotes in Allen and Greenough that I feel should be out there on the Internet, preferably with a basic entry format and definition.

The Essential AG: 121a3

I-Stems with Ablative -e

Consider section 121a4, which lists a variety of consonant stem adjectives that do not take -i in the ablative singular. They are completely regular, and the entry is really there only to keep you from having second guesses.

I’ll list them here so they get some web mileage, despite not being especially interesting, however rare:

  • caelescaelitis relating to the heavens or their Gods
  • compos, compotis possessing control of
  • dēses, dēsidis lazy
  • dīves, dīvitis wealthy
  • hospes, hospitis amicable, relating to guest-friendship
  • particeps, participis participating in
  • praepes, praepitis nimble, winged
  • pauper, pauperis poor, destitute
  • prīnceps, prīncipis princely, noble
  • sōspes, sospitis safe and sound
  • superstes, superstitis surviving

As someone pointed out in a comment, the general but non-binding idea is that those adjectives which most often operate as nouns (like these) take the ablative in -e, whereas those that are properly adjectival take the ablative in -i. You find hints of this throughout the consonantal and i-stem entries in Allen and Greenough (see 121a1-2), but they make no effort to propagate it as a formal rule.

The Essential AG: 121a1-2, a4

The Latin Syllabe

Latin syllables are numbered according to the separate vowels and diphthongs within a word.

a-ci-ē (3), fī-li-us (3), etc.

A consonant is generally contained within the unit of a following vowel, except where there is a double consonant, since paired consonants are always separated, or where a consonant ends a word.

pa-ter (2), in-iū-ri-a (4), mit-tō (2)

(Not that is a semi-consonantal glide pairing, where the i is sounded as the English y.)

This rule becomes trickier with double consonants: what do we do with dixit? (dix-it or di-xit?)

  • A&G prefer dix-it, but acknowledge there is no hard and fast rule. Like the corresponding Greek ξ, this word would have been sounded as dic-sit, so it’s really a matter of preference where you put the double consonant.
  • Luckily, the double consonants, sd and ps, are much rarer in Latin

Note the distinction between a

  • Any syllable founding with a vowel or diphthong is open.
  • Any syllable ending with a consonant is closed.

In compounds, the rules are modified a little to mark the separation of compounded parts.

du-plex (2) instead of dup-lex (2) [it’s not clear to me whether this is a matter of A&G convention, or broader Latin phonological patterns of pronunciation.]

The Essential AG: 7, 7a-b

Our Latin Kin

Not all relations between Latin and English counterparts may be described as derivation. There are a few genuine parallels that stem from a more distant common relation (proto-Indo-European). With these words, Latin is less a mother or grandmother, and more of a cousin.

As we can imagine, this kind of relationship features more striking variations in phonetic form than direct derivation. As Latin and (what A&G call) Primitive Germanic began to undergo separate consonantal and vowel shifts, their PIE derivations took on similar yet distinct forms, which eventually conformed to distinct phonological rules in each family of languages.

(*ph₂tḗr) —> pater / father

(*bʰer) —> ferō / bear, frater / brother

(*dwṓu) —> duo / two, (dēns) dentis / tooth

(*h₁rew) —> ruber / red

(*h₂wḗh) —> ventus / wind

(*sneygʷʰ) —> nive / snow

(*ǵʰans) —> ānser / goose

For those interested, you’ll find a larger list in A&G (19). There are some general phonological rules we see emerging: the aspirated b of PIE becomes Lain f/b and English f/b/v, the aspirated d of PIE becomes Latin f/b/d but in English only d, etc.

The Essential AG: 18, 19

Accusative Case-Ending -im

Certain nouns in Latin have an i-stem, such as puppis, -is (ship). However, following the consonant declension, these generally take an accusative stem –em (puppem), not –im.

This post covers exceptions to that rule, by listing all cases where –im is retained

1. Greek nouns borrowed from the Greek third declension (consonant declension) with an i-stem.

  • Paris -> Parim
  • Adōnis -> Adōnim
  • Busīris -> Busīrim

2. The following Latin nouns:

  • amussis, -is (rule)
  • būris, -is (plough-beam)
  • cucumis, -is (cucumber)
  • rāvis, -is (??)
  • sitis, -is (thirst)
  • tussis, -is (cough)
  • vīs, -ī (force, power)

[n.b. on rāvis, -is…. I can’t find this in any online dictionary. Any clues?]

3. Adverbs in –tim, such as partim (in parts)

The –im ending is also found occasionally in the following words–

  • febris, -is (fever)
  • puppis, -is (ship)
  • restis, -is (cord)
  • turris, -is (tower)
  • secūris, -is (axe)
  • sēmentis, -is (sowing)

“and rarely in many other words,” say A&G. Damn poets…

The Essential AG: 75a-b

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