Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:
> R A Brown skrev:
>> Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:

>> How far had the case system broken down by this time? The accusative & 
>> ablatives had probably fallen together in popular speech. But were 
>> genitives & datives still holding on or had they already giving way to 
>> periphrastic forms with 'de' and 'a(d)'? The use of these (and other 
>> periphrases) is attested as early as Plautus
> Germanic usually uses both prepositions and case simultaneously.
> I guess merged acc./abl. + preserved gen. and dat. would be the way
> to go.  The question is whether would still be like
> or merged with as well.

Yes, spoken Latin must have used both prepositions and case 
simultaneously for quite a time. The beginnings of the use of 
prepositions instead of genitives & datives can seen as early as the 2nd 
cent BCE in Plautus; but nobody seriously doubts that cases still 
figured in spoken Latin at the time. But by the 4th cent CE, the cases 
seem to have been reduced to just nominative & oblique (except, of 
course, in some pronouns). At what stage the spoken Latin of 1st cent CE 
was in this process, I am not sure. But I would think the 4 cases of 
German plus a liberal use of prepositions would be plausible possibility.

As for the ablative plural - when the ablative & acc. singular fell 
together (which seems to have been early on) the result was that all 
prepositions governed the single case. we find that in the plural they 
all govern the acc. plural (most prepositions govern the accusative in 
Classical Latin also). As ablative _meanings_ would be expressed by a 
preposition + noun, the question about the ablative plural becomes a 
"non-question". In effect, the ablative had disappeared.

Peter Bleackley wrote:
 > staving Benct Philip Jonsson:
 >>> Graffiti at Pompeii would be helpful as it got preserved in the 1st
 >>> century.
 >> Is there any study of the language of Latin graffiti?
 >> I did a couple of library searches to no avail.
 > One interesting fact about Pompeian grafitti, which I remember from
 > Latin at school, is that it attests forms such as "marithus". This is
 > why I have always thought that the speech habit described in Catullus'
 > "Chommoda dicebat" cannot be ascribed entirely to hypercorrection -

Why not? Most hypercorrection (Has I was saying...., See has... etc) in 
my experience occurs in just such non-literary contexts. Also, remember 
that ancient graffiti is not just the defacing of walls by youngsters - 
it included shop advertisements, election slogans, (amphi)theater 
notices, as well as lover's messages etc etc etc. Not all graffiti was 
antisocial by any means.

Henrik Theiling wrote:

 > My question about final -m was also aiming in that direction: are
 > those syllables not counted as heavy (bimoraic) in poetry?

When they are not elided (as they always are before vowels) they are 
indeed heavy. But Classical poetry was a very artificial affair, 
adapting Greek norms to a language which was not entirely suited to 
them. What went on in literary verse was probably about as remote from 
popular speech as anything could be.

 > And can I
 > not deduce that final -m at least lengthened the preceding vowel?

No, you can't. Indeed, it is a rule of Latin that the vowel before final 
-m (and -t, -nt) was always shortened. The only consistent way of 
explaining the behavior of final -Vm in classical verse is that the 
short vowel was nasalized, being elided before another vowel but giving 
rise to a non-phonemic homorganic nasal consonant before the next 

 > Of
 > course, common speech is not poetry, but lengthening why also explain
 > collapse of acc. and abl..  Otherwise (no lengthening by -m),
 > acc. would have a short vowel while abl. usually would have a long
 > vowel.

No - the unstressed, word final vowels seem to have lost quantitative 
distinctions before this became general elsewhere. In 1st decl. the two 
cases would just be -a; in the second the [U] of the acc. & [o] of the 
abl. were practically the same in final, unstressed position. The 
ablative -e in the 3rd decl. was short in anyway, so again the acc. & 
abl. would be homophonous.

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