Northern Drive to St Lucy

Northern Drive to St Lucy
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quantitative Meter Bedfellows - Part One

Quantitative Meter likes to measure the time it takes to talk with syllables. Naturally, any talk with syllables required the obvious bunkering down with vowels. Why you asked! The syllable is always in bed with a vowel. They cannot resist each other. They are like Siamese twins, identical to say the least but with minor precularities. The vowel asserts her independence though by telling her soul-mate whether her stay is long or short. This jiving does have significance in Latin and how might that be?

In Latin a word has as many syllables as it has vowels or diphthongs. Dividing a word into syllables is called syllabication. Let see how this impacts Latin poetry. Latin words are divided into syllables along a few basic rules as shown below:

- Two contiguous vowels or a vowel and a dphthong are separated. For example: dea, de-a ; deae, de-ae

- A single consonant between two vowels goes with the second vowel. For example: amicus, a-mi-cus

- When two or more consonants stand between two vowels, generally only the last consonant goes with the second vowel. For example: mittō,  mit-tō; servāre, ser-vā-re; consūmptus, con-sūmp-tus

- A stop (p, b, t, d, c, g) plus a liquid (l, r) generally count as a single consonant and go with the following vowel. For example: patrem pa-trem; castra, cas-tra

- Counted as single consonants are the qu and the aspirates ch, ph, th which should never be separated in syllabication. For example: architectus, ar chi tec tus; Loquācem lo-quā-cem

Every syllable in any vocal language must have a vowel. Every word must hav a vowel. Well of course, the number of syllables in a word dictates how many vowels will appear in the word. For example: disyllables have two syllables and two vowels; trisyllables have three syllables and three vowels; tetrasyllables have four syllables and four vowels and obviously a word with five syllabes would have five vowels and so on and so forth.

In Latin a syllable is long by "nature" if it contains a long vowel or a diphthong, a syllable is long by "positio" if it contains a short vowel followed by two or more consonants or by X which is a double consonant:Ks. Otherwise a syllable is short, again. Check out these examples shown below:

- Syllables long by nature: laudō lau dō; Rōma, Rō ma; amīcus, a mī cus
- Syllables long by position: servat, ser-vat; sapientia, sa-pi-en-ti-a; axis, ax-is (ak sis)
- Examples with long syllables underlined, whether long by nature or long by position: lau--te,
mo-ne-ō, sae-pe, cōn-ser--tis, pu-el--rum

Syllable quality plays out even in the English Language where some syllables take longer to pronounce than others, but we don't as a rule think about this so much. How often do you stop to think how in the word 'enough' (e-nough) with its very short first syllable and the longer second syllable.  In Classical Latin this observation is very important because syllable quality impacts significantly on Latin poetry; and of immediate importance, syllable quality determined the position of a word's stress accent.

Words in Latin, like those in English, were pronounced with extra emphasis on one syllable (or more in the case of long words); the placement of this 'stress accent' these strict and simple rules apply:

- In a word of two syllables the accent always falls on the first syllale:  sérvo, sér-vo; sáepe, sáe-pe; níhil, ní-hil

In words of three or more syllable, the accent falls on the next to last syllable (the penultimate), if the syllable is long. For example: servare, ser-vāˊ-re; conservat, cōn-sér-vat; fortuna, for-tūˊ-na Otherwise the accent falls on the syllable before the "antepenultimate. For example: moneo, mó-ne-o; patria, pá-tri-á; pecunia, pe-cū-niˊ-a; volucris, vó-lu-cris.  Please note that accent marks are hardly included when writing Latin because the rules for accentuation are very regular.

Next Topic: Classical Latin Vowels and Diphthongs
(Soon to come)

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Haiti Under Rubble from 7.0 Earthquake

Natural disasters whenever and wherever they occur impact on all of our lives. The Good Book says we are our brothers and sisters keepers lead by the Holy Spirit. Hence, we must do our part when disaster shows its ugly face. Any assistance, great or small, given from generous and loving hearts has equal weight. I'm passing on this information I received that Barbadians can go to First Caribbean Bank to donate to the Disaster Relief Fund for Haiti. The banking information is shown below:

First Caribbean Bank Account--2645374-- Cheques can be written to: HELP #2645374

For more information click on this link

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti.

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