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Latin Grammarians on the Latin AccentThe Transformation of Greek Grammatical Thought$
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Philomen Probert

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198841609

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198841609.001.0001

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Some History of Scholarship

Some History of Scholarship

An Unhelpful Question and Some Helpful Ones

Chapter:
(p.17) 2 Some History of Scholarship
Source:
Latin Grammarians on the Latin Accent
Author(s):

Philomen Probert

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198841609.003.0002

Modern discussion of the Latin accent can be said to have begun in earnest with the publication of Weil and Benloew’s Théorie générale de l’accentuation latine in 1855. Responses to this work divided scholars strongly into two opposing camps—or rather, they strengthened and extended a pre-existing division into two camps that had originally concerned only the relationship (if any) between Latin metrical forms and the position of the Latin word accent. On closer inspection the two camps turn out to be rather loose alliances, but when the focus is on the Latin accent itself they rally around opposing answers to a central question: did Latin have a pitch accent or a stress accent? Chapter 2 sketches the beginnings of this battle and the main turns it has taken, and then argues that it is a mistake to see ‘pitch or stress accent’ as the crucial question, or even as a meaningful one. Even attempts to offer intermediate views mostly put a misconceived and unhelpful question at the centre of the argument. But if this question can be put to one side, some genuine questions come into view.

Keywords:   pitch accent, stress accent, history of scholarship, Latin accent, Weil and Benloew, Latin grammarians

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