By - EstebanOD21
Those are macrons marking vowel length, and vowel length is not marked by everybody. From what I've heard, it is pretty well known which vowels are long and which are short in almost all of the words. The different spellings are probably because they did not mark them or they did it incorrectly, but if I'm wrong please someone correct me.
The biggest way is by seeing how the words are used in poetry, where we have clear descriptions of what vowel lengths are allowed where.
Sorry but I'm not 100% sure what you meant by that? My knowledge in Latin is practically nonexistent
Imagine if you wanted to figure out which syllables were stressed in English, but had no native speakers. One thing you could do is read sonnets, because we have written descriptions of the sound patterns that sonnets use. You know there’s not 100% adherence to the pattern, but in general you know there’s about 5 stressed syllables per line and it’s roughly ever other syllable. If you read enough sonnets, you can see how it all averages out.
Ohhhh that makes sense thank you!
latin poetry uses meter not ryhmes. so 'to ryhme' you have to use words with certain lenghs
There are words for which different versions are attested (such as ego/egō), but for the vast majority it is indeed clear. You study them, and you study the rules as well to make the job easier.
Those are marks to indicate vowel length. You don’t strictly have to write them at all, though since ancient times people have recognized the usefulness of marking long vowels, and the macron (horizontal line) has become the modern standard way of doing this. It’s also traditional to use other accent marks like the acute or circumflex for this, though you don’t see that much anymore.
The dipping curved line marks a short vowel and is only found in dictionary entries where they want to specify that a vowel is short; nobody writes those in actual text, since when you already have a way of marking long vowels, also having a marker for short vowels is superfluous. Vowels are either long or short.
Usually the text will either mark the long vowels or none at all. Even so, discrepancies arise because hasty editors will make mistakes (this also happened in ancient texts). And in older texts they just got some of the quantities wrong—e.g. giving *māgnus* for *magnus*—because people used to mistakenly believe that vowel was long.
Oh I see, so it's best that I just don't use any to make sure I don't do mistakes in my tree
I don’t know what you mean by “tree,” but it is acceptable to write Latin without any vowel markers. That is how nearly all scholarly texts are still done. The upside is that you won’t make any mistakes with the vowel quantities; the downside is that it relies on the reader to know which vowels are long vs. short.
Oh my bad, I'm making a 'family tree' chart of the origins of my last name, how it evolved from other words since Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Proto Latin, and Proto Indo European
Yeah, it’s entirely up to you, then. Unless the vowel quantities matter to you for this purpose, and they probably don’t, feel free to omit them.
Actually, if you are speaking about an etymology tree of words, in some cases vowel length is essential, because in romance languages sometimes a syllable has changed to one sound or to another depending just on whether the vowel was short or long.
Oh I see, yes it's indeed an etymology tree of words
In your examples it seems to be a case of people simply writing the words incorrectly. However, sometimes, when you see the same word written with different macrons, that's because it's not the same word. Some words use vowel length to distinguish themselves from a verb or from a different declined form of that same word.
For instance, the word pulchra can be written either pulchra or pulchrā. Both are correct and exist, the difference is the case. Pulchra is nominative, while pulchrā is ablative. I am not considering neuter for this example, only the feminine, otherwise we'd have more cases for the same words.
For starters, the Latin speakers "back then" did not have lowercase letters, so if you're really willing to imitate that kind of style you'd use SANCIÓ, SÁNCTÍ, and LÁCÓBV́S (the last one doesn't exist, as far as I can tell. Perhaps you confused uppercase I with lowercase L? Iācōbus / Jācōbus is a given name. Even if that were the case, I can't find a version with a long ū).
But for the actual diacritics, the macrons (horizontal line over the letter) is used mainly in post-classical Latin to mark vowel length. In classical times, there was no standardized system to do this, but the most common way probably was the "apex", which looks somewhat like the acute accent (see above).
The breve (the other diacritic symbol you used, as in "ĭ") is used in some dictionaries and textbooks to indicate short vowels, but if long vowels are marked in some way (whether that be apices or macrons) all other vowels are obviously short.
Usually, vowel length is not indicated in medieval Latin literature and ecclesiastical works. To most accurately represent classical pronounciation, natural rhythm or simply for the sake of distinguishing minimal pairs (anus, ānus; ēsse, esse) some kind of long vowel marking should be used.
Ohh thank you for your answer!
And for "Lācōbūs" yes it's referring to the name, it was written like that on the website where I found it but I can't find the website anymore
There are a few factors at play here:
* Latin is a dead language with no native speakers. So there's no one to verify anything with. (Although, things vary with different native speakers of any language too, especially across time and generations.)
* Because of that, anyone typesetting or typing a text can easily make a mistake, so in Latin textbooks, long marks are often a frequent error... especially the more modern you get, because nowadays, finding proofreaders with the skill in Latin is difficult compared to the "golden ages" of classics.
* The long marks have been reconstructed over time. They were mostly considered correct by the 19th century, but there have been continued advancements in the phonology of Latin and a number of things have been corrected into the 21st century. So when something was published could make a difference. Also--just the "house dictionary" or style guide can vary from publisher to publisher.
These different spellings, believe it or not, do not indicate different pronunciation. Macrons and breves are optional. They are needed for three reasons: first, they help to determine which syllable is accented (penultimate - the one before last - if it is long; otherwise it's the one before it); second, they help with Latin poetry, because the verse meter is determined by various combinations of long and short syllables (unlike other languages, where it is stressed and unstressed syllables); third, in some systems of Latin pronunciation the long vowels sound either longer (the so called Restored Classical) or just different from short ones (as in Traditional English pronunciation).
Are accents used to mark vowel lenght. Can be written or not. That's it