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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 299 pages of information about Latin for Beginners.

Va:’de ad formi:’cam, O:  pi’ger, et co:nsi:’dera:  vi’a:s e’ius et di’sce sapie’ntiam:  quae cum no:n ha’beat du’cem nec praecepto:’rem nec pri:’ncipem, pa’rat in aesta:’te ci’bum si’bi et co’ngregat in me’sse quod co’medat.

[[Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:  which, having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer and gathereth her food in the harvest.]]


11. The quantity of a vowel or a syllable is the time it takes to pronounce it.  Correct pronunciation and accent depend upon the proper observance of quantity.

12. Quantity of Vowels.  Vowels are either long (^) or short.  In this book the long vowels are marked.  Unmarked vowels are to be considered short.

[Transcriber’s Note:  The wording of Sec. 12 is as in the original, except that the macron (long-vowel symbol) has been replaced with a caret ("hat"), and the breve (short-vowel symbol) has been omitted.]

  1.  A vowel is short before another vowel or h; as po-e:’-ta\,

2.  A vowel is short before nt and nd, before final m or t, and, except in words of one syllable, before final l or r.  Thus a’-mant\, a-man’-dus\, a-ma:’-bam\, a-ma:’-bat\, a’-ni-mal\, a’-mor\.

  3.  A vowel is long before nf, ns, nx, and nct.  Thus
  i:n’-fe-ro:\, re’-ge:ns\, sa:n’-xi:\, sa:nc’-tus\.

  4.  Diphthongs are always long, and are not marked.

13. Quantity of Syllables.  Syllables are either long or short, and their quantity must be carefully distinguished from that of vowels.

  1.  A syllable is short,

    a. If it ends in a short vowel; as a’-mo:\, pi’-gri\.

NOTE.  In final syllables the short vowel may be followed by a final consonant.  Thus the word me-mo’-ri-am\ contains four short syllables.  In the first three a short vowel ends the syllable, in the last the short vowel is followed by a final consonant.

  2.  A syllable is long,

    a. If it contains a long vowel or a diphthong, as cu:’-ro:\,
poe’-nae\, aes-ta:’-te\.

    b. If it ends in a consonant which is followed by another
    consonant, as cor’-pus\, mag’-nus\.

NOTE.  The vowel in a long syllable may be either long or short, and should be pronounced accordingly.  Thus in ter’-ra\, in’-ter\, the first syllable is long, but the vowel in each case is short and should be given the short sound.  In words like saxum\ the first syllable is long because _x_ has the value of two consonants (_cs_ or _gs_).

  3.  In determining quantity h is not counted a consonant.

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