Old Latin: FHEFHAKED

francisgranada

Senior Member
Hungarian
Hello,

The verbal form FHEFHAKED appears on the so called "Fibula praenestina", in an old Latin inscription. The entire inscription is "MANIOS MED FHEFHAKED NUMASIOI".

Well, the "Fibula praenestina" is/was considered by some linguists as a falsification. Neverthless, the form FHEFHAKED reflects the existing IE phenomenon of reduplication of the first syllable of verbs in some tenses or aspects (present in other IE languages, as well).

I have two questions:
1. Why FHEFHAKED instead of FEFAKED? What is the reason for the "aspirated FH" in an original Latin word?
2. Does this FH appear in other Latin written documents as well?

Thanks in advance
 
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  • francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Also in Etruscan (where it comes from; Old Italic script - Wikipedia) and Venetic (Venetic language - Wikipedia).
    It is not an aspiration. <FH> is the old way to spell /f/ when <F> still meant /w/ (di-gamma).
    I understand, but the letter V also had the value of /w/ (a semi-consonant) in Latin. So why FHEFHAKED and not e.g. VEVAKED? What would be the difference in the pronunciation in the period, when the "Fibula praenestina" is supposed to be created?
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    The sound is /f/ and not /w/ and <FH> represented the sound /f/. Why are you asking about VEVAKED? I don't understand.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    The sound is /f/ and not /w/ and <FH> represented the sound /f/. Why are you asking about VEVAKED? I don't understand.
    Well, perhaps I didn't understand you ... You have written "<FH> is the old way to spell /f/ when <F> still meant /w/ (di-gamma)", which suggests as if FH were pronounced /w/ ... Now I see that I have misunderstood you, neverthless I don't understand why FH had to represent the sound F. Please, try to explain it a bit more clearly :) ...
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    which suggests as if FH were pronounced /w/
    No, I said exactly the opposite: The sound /f/ was spelled <FH> because the spelling <F> at the time still meant the sound /w/.

    Just I case, here a small reminder of symbols:
    /.../ = sounds (phonemic)
    [...] = sounds (phonetic)
    <... > = spelling.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Ok, now I understand. Finally, even the form of the letter F reminds the Greek di-gamma. What I still don't understand is why the solution <FH> (F+H) to represent the sound pronounced /f/ ...
    Why not? The Phoenician and Greek alphabets, from which the Latin alphabet is derived, had no /f/ sound and, hence, didn't need a letter to represent it. Latin needed to come up with some way so represent this sound. Assigning special meanings to digraphs is a frequently used method. In English, e.g., <sh> represents a sound that didn't exist in Latin.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Later Latin consistently used V for consonant [w], but it was also vowel [ u]. A spelling with VH could be read as a syllable in itself. Whereas the archaic F was only [w], so FH was unambiguously a consonant. I am reminded of Maori wh [ɸ], which was evidently felt at the time (early 1800s when it was first written down) to be closer to English voiceless wh, though other Polynesian languages use the spelling f.

    What I am unclear about is whether Latin ever used plain F for [w]. As far as I can recall it's only the fibula that has this derived use. Are there any other uses of F or FH in Latin before F was repurposed as [f]?
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    As @ahvalj has explained, we know this writing system from Etruscan and Vetetic texts. There are no other Latin inscriptions that old and reflecting this early stage of the Italic writing system.
     

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    I read somewhere (I don't remember where) this inscription has a trait specific to Old Latin,
    i.e. the duplication of the first syllable in perfect tense:
    FHEFHAKED instead of FHAKED.

    Did such feature survive in any irregular verbs in Classical Latin or in Romance languages?

    I have an example in mind and I don't know if it can be explained by Old Latin:
    the verb do (I sing.) which has a strange form in perfect tense: dedi (I sing.)

    DIZIONARIO LATINO OLIVETTI - Declinatore/Coniugatore Latino
     

    ahvalj

    Senior Member
    Wallace RE · 2008 · Zikh rasna: a manual of the Etruscan language and inscriptions: 21:

    upload_2019-4-10_18-56-53.png

    I read somewhere (I don't remember where) this inscription has a trait specific to Old Latin,
    i.e. the duplication of the first syllable in perfect tense:
    FHEFHAKED instead of FHAKED.

    Did such feature survive in any irregular verbs in Classical Latin or in Romance languages?

    I have an example in mind and I don't know if it can be explained by Old Latin:
    the verb do (I sing.) which has a strange form in perfect tense: dedi (I sing.)

    DIZIONARIO LATINO OLIVETTI - Declinatore/Coniugatore Latino
    Classical Latin examples of reduplicated perfects:

    There is a number of prefixed and compound verbs continuing the reduplicated dedī and -didī in Western and Central Romance, e. g. the Latin vēndidī was restored back to vēndedī, and this form became the source of the modern Italian vendei; likewise perdidī>perdedī>perdei.
     
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