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LINGUIST List 18.3032

Wed Oct 17 2007

Diss: Historical Ling/Writing Systems: Mercado: 'The Latin Saturnia...'

Editor for this issue: Luiza Newlin Lukowicz <luizalinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Angelo Mercado, The Latin Saturnian and Italic Verse

Message 1: The Latin Saturnian and Italic Verse
Date: 11-Oct-2007
From: Angelo Mercado <anmercaducsc.edu>
Subject: The Latin Saturnian and Italic Verse
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Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Program: Indo-European Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Angelo O. Mercado

Dissertation Title: The Latin Saturnian and Italic Verse

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
                            Writing Systems

Subject Language(s): Latin (lat)
Language Family(ies): Indo-European

Dissertation Director:
Brent H. Vine

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation investigates the remains of archaic Latin, Faliscan,
South Picene, Umbrian, and Oscan stichic verse, mainly from the linguistic
and comparative-philological perspectives, and, departing from traditional
syllable-counting and/or quantitativist approaches, proposes synchronic
descriptions of their meters based on their systems of phonological

The Latin Saturnian can be described as a complex accentual meter, based on
the rules of (ante-) penultimate accentuation in Plautine Latin, with
thirteen or twelve positions distributed into two half-verses and four
quarters. The 130+ surviving literary and epigraphic epic, elegiac, and
gnomic verses of archaic Latin point to 25 metrical line archetypes related
to each other derivationally through the operation of inversion, anaclasis,
and acephaly on essentially two half-verse archetypes. The meager Faliscan
remains may instantiate two Saturnian line archetypes, either by initial or
(ante-) penultimate accentuation. Close examination of South Picene poetry
likewise yields a Saturnian and several more accentual trochaic-dactylic
cola according to Sabellian initial accentuation. The trochaic-dactylic
colon is also found in Vestinian and Paelignian Oscan, and possibly
Faliscan. Lastly, Paelignian attests a complex trochaic-dactylic pentapody.

The synchronic descriptions I propose further point to a prehistoric Italic
poetic-metrical unity, recoverable through the tentative reconstruction of
an extendable and invertible *trochaic-dactylic colon. This is also found
in archaic Celtic, suggesting a possible Proto-Italo-Celtic unity as well.
That archaic Italic (and Celtic) meters can be described in coherent
systems with reference to phonological accent has far-reaching implications
for the broader comparison of Indo-European metrical systems and for the
reconstruction of the Urvers.

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