About SBI!
Lesson Plans
Social Studies
SAT Test Prep
Contact Us
Word Of Week
Latin Roots
[?] Subscribe To This Site

Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Subscribe with Bloglines

Demonstrative pronouns - correct pronunciations

by Brett

Dear Latin Teacher,

Sorry if this has been asked before, but I notice in my 6th edition copy of Wheelock's Latin (pg 55) that some of the singular demonstrative pronouns are listed without macrons. My New College Latin and English Dictionary lists them as having macrons. Specifically, these are the two versions (Wheelock's first, followed by the dictionary versions):


nominative masculine: hic, hīc
nominative neuter hoc, hōc
genitive huius, hūius
accusative neuter hoc, hōc

In the plural both books agree with each other.
I'm wondering which form is correct, and if both are correct why are there two forms? (Is it because of different usages over different time periods?) As a Latin teacher, which form do you teach?

Thanks in advance,
Brett (trying to self-learn Latin)

Dear Brett,

I may not be the most authoritative person to answer this question, but I'll tell you what I know.

As for hic vs. hīc and hoc vs. hōc, the short -i- and short -o- are the older forms. Books that attempt to recreate classical Latin will use the short vowel. Dictionaries that include later Latin will often use the long vowel. Grammar books before the mid 20th century usually use the long vowel, modern texts the short.

Putting the macron on huius, i.e. hūius, seems to indicate that the syllable is considered long in poetry, although it is short by nature. That is, it is long by position before the consonant -i-.

esse velis, nostrosque huius meminisse minores (Aeneid 1.733)

en huius, nate, auspiciis illa incluta Roma (Aeneid 6.781)

In both of these lines of Vergil, the first -u- of huius scans as a long vowel, even though it is really short by nature. In older grammars and school texts the macron is included to indicate that it always scans long in poetry. The same thing happens to cuius, i.e. cūius.

Because I teach Classical Latin with Restored Classical pronunciation, I always teach these vowels as short. When it comes to Latin IV, with my seniors, I mention in passing that they scan long in Vergil, Ovid, Catullus, Horace, et al.

Really, once you move to reading real Latin, which does not use macrons, the question is moot.

Hope this helps, and thanks for asking a Latin teacher.



P.S. This Q&A blog is powered by Content 2.0 from Site Build It!

Content 2.0

See more Latin Roots

Return to Vocabulary Lesson Plans


Click here to post comments.

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How?
Simply click here to return to Ask a Latin Teacher