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Re: R: Re: Droppin' D's Revisited

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, November 27, 2000, 19:09
At 8:59 pm +0100 24/11/00, Mangiat wrote:
> >The question is now: where is the Classical Latin orthography from?
Lost in the midst of time. It seems to have been one of the many things that the Romans were indebted to the Etruscan for, as they seem to have got their version of the alphabet from them, tho it was apparently modified to some extent by southern Italian Greek usage.
>Maybe it >represent the lang as it was at the time of Cato (Cato Maior, not Uticensis, >obviously), or even that of Ennius.
Caertainly it seems to have become largely fixed by Ennius time, i.e. before the end of the 3rd cent. BC.
>Probably the writing system used in the >Annales Maximi was picked up and retained as traditional even in the future >centuries.
Quite possibly - the Romans were conservative in so many things.
> Another question: if CL had /i:fa:s/, why do we have Italian >i*n*fante (=boy)?
Well, I did say the evidence for non-pronunciation of -n- is lacking or circumstantial at best. It's that the lengthening of the vowel before -n- needs explanation and the most credible is that Vnf- was developing in the same way as Vns-. But it may well be that as there were far less occurrences of this combination, the effect of the traditional spelling and of schoolmasters kept the -n- pronounced. At any rate, the Italian form does attest a long /i:/ in Latin. The Gaulish /Infant-/ looks like a later spelling pronunciation. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================