Appendix:Mutations of the letter and sound a in the Latin language

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
Crystal Clear filesystem trashcan full.png This appendix has been nominated for deletion(+)
Please see that page for discussion and justifications. Feel free to edit this appendix as normal, though do not remove the {{rfd}} until the debate has finished.

The sound of the A is short or long in every part of the word; as, ăb, păter, ită; ā, māter, frustrā. During a short period (between about 620 and 670 A.U.C. = from 134 to 84 B.C.) long a was written aa, probably first by the poet Lucius Attius, in the manner of the Oscan language; so we find in Latin inscriptions: AA. CETEREIS (i.e., a ceteris), CALAASI, FAATO, HAACE, MAARCIVM, PAAPVS, PAASTORES, VAARVS; and in Greek writing, ΜAAPKOY YIOΣ MAAPKEΛΛOΣ, KOINTON MAAPKION (like Oscan aasas = Latin āra, Oscan Paapi = Latin Pāpius, Oscan Paakul = Latin Pāculus, Pācullus, Pācuvius, etc.), vide Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl's Priscae Latinitatis Monumenta Epigraphica, page 28 sequens, and compare Theodor Mommsen, Die Unteritalischen Dialekte, page 210 sequens. (The Umbrian language has gone a step farther, and written long a by aha, as Aharna, Naharcom, trahaf, etc.; compare Aufrecht and Kirchoff, Umbrische Sprachdenkm. page 76 sequens) See also the letter E and U.

III. In etymological and grammatical formation of words, short a very often (sometimes also long a) is changed into other vowels.
A. Short a is changed, 1, into long a
a. In consequence of the suppression of the following consonants at the end or in the middle of the word: ăb, ā; vădis, vās; ăg-, ăg-men, exāmen; tăg-, contāmino; căd-, cāsus. Hence also in the ablative singular of the first declension, and in the particles derived from it, in consequence of the suppression of the original ablative ending. -d: PRAEDAD (Col. Rostr.), praedā; SENTENTIAD (S. C. de Bacch.), sententiā: EXTRAD (ibidem), extrā; SVPRAD (ibidem), suprā.—Hence
b. In perfect forms: scăb-o, scābi; căv-eo, cāvi; făv-eo, fāvi; păv-eo, pāvi (for scābui, căvui, făvui, păvui).
c. In other forms: ăgo, ambāges; păc-, păc-iscor, pācis (pāx); săg-ax, sāgus, sāga; măc-er, mācero; făg- (φαγειν), fāgus. (Contrary to analogy, ă remains short in dănunt, from dă-in-unt, see Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl, Priscae Latinitatis Monumenta Epigraphica, l. 1. page 17.)
2. Short a is changed into ĕ or ē
a. Into ĕ. (α) Most frequently in the second part of compounds, particularly before two consonants: facio, confectus; jacio, conjectus; rapio, dereptus; dăm-, damno, condemno; făl-, fallo, fefelli; măn-, mando, commendo; scando, ascendo; ăp-, aptus, ineptus; ăr-, ars, iners, sollers; ăn-, annus, perennis; căpio, auceps; căput, triceps; ăgo, remex; jăcio, objex. And thus in Plautus, according to the best manuscripts, dispenno, dispessus from pando, compectus from compăciscor, anteceptus from capio (on the other hand, in Vergil, according to the manuscript, aspargo, attractare, detractare, kept their a unchanged).
(β) Sometimes ă is changed into ĕ also before one consonant (but in this case it is usually changed into ĭ; vide infra 3.a.α.): grădior, ingrĕdior; pătior, perpĕtior; părio, repĕrio; păro, vitupĕro; ăp-, coepi (i.e., co-ĕpi); căno, tubicĕn, tibicĕn; in the reduplicated carcĕr (from carcar) farfĕrus (written also farfărus); and so, according to the better manuscripts, aequipĕro from păro, and defĕtigo from fătigo.
(γ) In words taken from the Greek: τάλαντον (tálanton), talĕntum; φάλαρα (phálara), phalĕrae; σίσαρον (sísaron), sisĕr (but according to the best manuscripts, camăra from καμάρα (kamára), not camăra).
b. Short a is changed to ĕ in some perfect forms: ăgo, ĕgi; făcio, fĕci; jăcio, jĕci; frag-, frango, frĕgi; căpio, cĕpi, and păg-, pango, pĕgi (together with pepĭgi and panxi, vide pango).
3. Short a is changed to ĭ
a. (most frequently in the second part of compounds) (α) before one consonant: ăgo, abĭgo; făcio, confĭcio; cădo, concĭdo; sălio, assĭlio; răpio, abrĭpio; păter, Juppĭter (in Umbrian language unchanged, Jupater), Marspĭter; Diespĭter, Opĭter; rătus, irrĭtus; ămicus, inĭmicus (but ă remains unchanged in adămo, impătiens, and in some compounds of a later period of Roman literature, as praejacio, calefacio, etc.).—(β) Sometimes also before two consonants (where it is usually changed into ĕ; vide supra, 2.α.β.): tăg-, tango, contingo; păg-, pango, compingo (unchanged in some compounds, as peragro, desacro, depango, obcanto, etc.).
b. ă is changed into ĭ in the reduplicated perfect forms: cădo, cecĭdi; căno, cecĭni; tăg-, tango, tetĭgi; păg-, pango, pepĭgi.
c. Likewise in some roots which have ă: păg-, pignus; străg- (strangulo, στράγγω (strángō)), stringo.
d. In words taken from the Greek: μηχανή (mēkhanḗ), machĭna; πατάνη (patánē), patĭna; βυκάνη (bukánē), bucĭna; τρυτάνη (trutánē), trutĭna; βαλανειον (balaneion), balĭneum; Κατάνα (Katána), Catĭna; (written also as Catana (Catana)); Ἀκράγας (Akrágas), Agrĭgentum.
4. Short a is changed into short or long o.
a. Into ŏ: scăbo, scobs; păr, pars, portio; dăm-, dŏmo; Fabii, Fŏvii (vide Paulus Diaconus' epitome of Sextus Pompeius Festus' De significatu verborum, page 87); μάρμαρον (mármaron), marmŏr; Mars, redupl. Marmar, Marmor (Carm. Fratr. Arv.).
b. Into ō: dă-, dōnum, dōs; ăc-, ăcuo, ōcior (vide this article).
5. Short a is changed into ŭ
a. In the second part of compounds, particularly before l, p and b: calco, inculco; salsus, insulsus; salto, exsulto; capio, occŭpo; răpio, surrupio and surruptus (also written surripio and surreptus); tăberna, contŭbernium;—before other consonants: quătio, concŭtio; as, decussis; Mars, Mamŭrius, Mamŭralia; and once also condumnari (Tab. Bant. lin. 8, immediately followed by condemnatus, vide Leo von Klenze, Philologische Abhandlungen tabula I., and Theodor Mommsen's, Die Unteritalischen Dialekte, page 149).
b. In words of Greek origin: Ἑκάβη (Hekábē), Hecŭba; σκυτάλη (skutálē), scutŭla; κραιπάλη (kraipálē), crapŭla; πάσσαλος (pássalos), pessŭlus; ἄπλαστον (áplaston), aplustre; θρίαμβος (thríambos), triumphus.
c. ă is perhaps changed into ŭ in ulciscor, compared with alc-, ἀλέξω (aléxō) (arc-, arceo).
B. Long a is sometimes changed into ē or ō.
1. Into ē: hālo, anhēlo; fās-, fēstus, profēstus; nām, nēmpe.
2. Into ō: gnā-, gnārus, ignārus, ignōro. (But in general long a remains unchanged in composition: lābor, delābor; gnābus, ignāvus; fāma, infāmis.)
IV. Contrary to the mode of changing Greek α into Latin e, i, o, u (vide supra), Latin a has sometimes taken the place of other Greek vowels in words borrowed from the Greek, as: λόγχη (lónkhē), lancea; κύλιξ (kúlix), călix; Γανυμήδης (Ganumḗdēs), Catămītus.
V. The repugnance of the Latin language to the Greek combined vowels αο (ao) has caused the translocation of them in Alumento for Λαομέδων (Laomédōn) (Paul. ex Fest. p. 18 Müll.).—Greek α (a) is suppressed in Hercules from Ἡρακλης (Hēraklēs) (probably in consequence of the inserted u; in late Latin we find Heracla and Heracula, cf. Ritschl, in Rhein. Mus. Neue Folge, vol. 12, p. 108).
VI. Latin ă was early combined with the vowels i and u, forming the diphthongs ai and au; by changing the i into e, the diphthong ai soon became ae. So we find in the oldest inscriptions: AIDE, AIDILIS, AIQVOM, GNAIVOD, HAICE, DVELONAI, TABELAI, DATAI, etc., which soon gave place to aedem, aedilis, aequom, Gnaeo, haec, Bellonae, tabellae, datae, etc. (the Col. Rostr. has PRAESENTE, PRAEDAD, and the S. C. de Bacch. AEDEM. The triphthong aei, found in CONQVAEISIVEI(?), is very rare; Miliar. Popil. lin. 11, v. Ritschl, l. 1. p. 21). In some poets the old genetive singular of the first declension (-ai) is preserved, but is dissyllabic, āī. So in Ennius: Albāī Longāī, terrāī frugiferāī, frondosāī, lunāī, viāī; in Vergil: aulāī, aurāī, aquāī, pictāī; in Ausonius: herāī.
B. ae as well as au are changed into other vowels.
1. The sound of ae, e, and oe being very similar, these vowels are often interchanged in the best manuscripts. So we find caerimonia and cerimonia, caepa and cēpa, saeculum and sēculum; scaena and scēna; caelum and coelum, haedus and hoedus, maestus and moestus; cena, coena, and caena, etc.
2. In composition and reduplications ae becomes ī: aequus, inīquus; quaero, inquīro; laedo, illīdo; taedet, pertīsum (noticed by Cicero); aestumo, exīstumo; caedo, cecīdi, concīdo, homicīda.
3. ae is also changed into ī in a Latinized word of Greek origin: Ἀχαιός (Akhaiós) (Ἀχαιϝός (Akhaiwós)), Achīvus.
4. The diphthong au is often changed to ō and ū (the latter particularly in compounds): caudex, cōdex; Claudius, Clodius; lautus, lōtus; plaustrum, plōstrum; plaudo, plōdo, explōdo; paululum, pōlulum; faux, suffōco; si audes (according to Cicero or according to others, si audies), sōdes, etc.; claudo, inclūdo; causa, accūso. Hence in some words a regular gradation of au, o, u is found: claudo, clōdicare, clūdo; raudus, rōdus, rūdus; caupo, cōpa, cūpa; naugae, nōgae (both forms in the manuscripts of Plautus), nūgae; fraustra, frode, frude (in manuscripts of Vergil); cf. Ritschl, in Wintercatalog 1854-55, and O. Ribbeck, in Jahn's Neue Jahrb. vol. 77, p. 181 sq.—The change of au into oe and e appears only in audio, (oboedio) obēdio.
5. Au sometimes takes the place of av-: faveo, fautum, favitor, fautor; navis, navita, nauta; avis, auceps, auspex. So Latin aut corresponds to Sanscrit ave (whence -vā, Latin -ve), Osc. avti, Umbr. ute, ote; and so the Latin preposition ab, through av, becomes au in the words aufero and aufugio (prop. av-fero, av-fugio, for ab-fero, ab-fugio). Vide the article ab init.
VII. In primitive roots, which have their kindred forms in the sister-languages of the Latin, the original a, still found in the Sanscrit, is in Latin either preserved or more frequently changed into other vowels.
A. Original a preserved: Sanscrit mātri, Latin māter; Sanscrit bhrātri, Latin frāter; Sanscrit nāsā, Latin nāsus and nāris; Sanscrit ap, Latin aqua; Sanscrit apa, Latin ab; Sanscrit nāma, Latin năm; Sanscrit catur, Latin, quattuor (in Greek changed: τέτταρες (téttares)); Sanscrit capūla, Latin căput (in Greek changed: κεφαλή (kephalḗ), etc.).
B. Original a is changed into other Latin vowels—
1. Into e: Sanscrit ad, Latin ed (ĕdo); Sanscrit as, Latin es (esse); Sanscrit pat, Latin pet (peto); Sanscrit pād, Latin pĕd (pēs); Sanscrit dant, Latin dent (dens); Sanscrit gan, Latin gen (gigno); Sanscrit , Latin mē-tior; Sanscrit saptan, Latin septem; Sanscrit daśan, Latin decem; Sanscrit śata, Latin centum; Sanscrit aham, Latin ĕgo; Sanscrit pāra, Latin per; Sanscrit paśu, Latin pĕcus; Sanscrit asva, Latin ĕquus, etc.
2. Into i: Sanscrit an-, a- (neg. part.), Latin in-; Sanscrit ana (prep.), Latin in; Sanscrit antar, Latin inter; Sanscrit abhara, Latin imber; Sanscrit panca, Latin quinque, etc.
3. Into o: Sanscrit avi, Latin ŏvi (ovis); Sanscrit vac, Latin vŏc (voco); Sanscrit pra, Latin pro; Sanscrit , Latin po (pōtum); Sanscrit nāma, Latin nōmen; Sanscrit api, Latin ŏb; Sanscrit navan, Latin nŏvem; Sanscrit nava, Latin nŏvus, etc.
4. Into u: Sanscrit marmara, Latin murmur.
5. Into ai, ae: Sanscrit prati, Latin (prai) prae; Sanscrit śaśpa, Latin caespes.
6. Into different vowels in the different derivatives: Sanscrit , Latin mē-tior, mŏdus; Sanscrit prac, Latin prĕcor, prŏcus; Sanscrit vah, Latin vĕho, via.
C. Sometimes the Latin has preserved the original a, while even the Sanscrit has changed it: Latin pa-, pater, Sanscrit. , pitri..
REFERENCE: Lewis and Short’s Latin Dictionary, Oxford, 1879.