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Latin Pronounciation: Arguere

by Dick
(Orinda, California)

Dear Latin Teacher,

At the risk of asking for too many answers, I have one more request. Could you be so kind as to tell me whether the infinitive arguere should be accentuated on the initial letter a (so that the letter u would be seen as a semivowel), or whether it should be accentuated on the letter u as a full-fledged vowel?

As you can tell, interpretation of the letter u as a vowel or semivowel is problematic for me sometimes in my attempt to establish the correct stress accentuation on a word.

Thanks so much once again.


Dear Dick,

Any form of the word arguere will have a separate syllable for the -u-, even though it is preceded by a -g-.

I don't really know how I know this, so I double checked, looking it up in a few poets where meter gives away vowel quantity.

In the following lines of Vergil, Ovid, and Horace, the word arguere is used, although not in the infinitive form.

  • degeneres animos timor arguit. heu, quibus ille
  • (Verg.A. 4.13)

  • Arguat et macies animum: nec turpe putaris
  • (Ov.Ars I.733)

  • furtim labitur, arguens
  • (Hor.Carm. I.13.7)

In all three examples the -u- is a metrically short syllable, which proves that it was pronounced independent of the preceding -g-.


I think this time you have stumped the Latin teacher.



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Stress Accent on arguere
by: Dick

Dear Latin Teacher,

Once again, many thanks for you terrific answers to my questions. It's difficult to learn something as complex as Latin without some help, and you have provided outstanding aid.

Dick Hindman

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