Below my comment are the posts written by a couple of Latin teachers. I’ve always wondered what a good example of empiricism vs ? would be and I think this is it. We play around with the only pronunciation we know, English, and see how these phonetic features play out and then make statements about other languages based on the results.
A good example is aspirated initial voiceless stops (ptkch) which cannot be pronounced without aspiration by English speakers. Yet these are normally pronounced without aspiration in many language, e.g. Spanish, French, Italian. In some languages like Hindi/Urdu, they actually make a contrastive pair. But aspirated voiceless consonants do not appear finally except under special circumstances in English, so the assumption is they cannot in other languages.
Earlier in this thread there was doubt cast on the ability to double a final consonant, esp if it was a stop. We had the same ratiocination: well, there had to be some sort of whispered vowel or some such to support the double consonant (b/c I cannot pronounce a doubled consonant, no one can). I referred to Norwegian for examples (water = vann). I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that they believe a Norwegian speaker would be easier to find in the U.S. than a Hindi/Urdu speaker.
My comment:
So Hindi/Urdu speakers cannot distinguish between a mat and dignity (TaT & ThaTh) or a lock of hair and a big bamboo stick (laT & laTh) or seven and with (sat & sath), a tail and asking for something (puc & puch).
Hindi or Urdu speakers are a dime a dozen in the U.S. and the U.K.; you can easily find one and have him pronounce these words for you.
I hope that you and others don’t think I am badgering you. What if someone were to say that Latin could not possibly have verbs at the end of the sentence b/c then you wouldn’t know what the predicate consisted of. We know that that is not true. Do you just let the statement stand?
So I’ll stop participating at this point b/c it seems some of you are awfully sure that what you are saying is correct based either on books on Latin written by classicists or on your own, English-speaking, sense of what is phonetically “possible”. I just don’t want to push this any more.
This reminds me of the discussion on one of these Latin lists about “long” and “short” vowels.
(Is this what they mean by empiricism? Aristotle looking into a woman’s mouth and counting her teeth was hard compared to asking a Hindi/Urdu speaker to say these words for you)
Their posts:
> A Short Historical Latin Grammar, pg 85
> By Lindsay Martin says pretty much what Allen says in V.L.

It might very well be the case that the c of hoc was short before
consonants, and long before vowels, but that is then due to the phonology
of the Latin language, not because of some general phonetic necessity.

> I was perplexed by the involved discussion of how to pronounce the
> final double consonant of hoc that recently took place here, with
> people jumping through hoops to work out how to pronounce a final
> double c.
> Simply, you cannot, without a vowel or shewa.

…or without some kind of (possibly faint) aspiration. But this applies
to all stop consonants, be they long OR short! Obviously, a (voiceless)
stop consonant in itself is completely silent, since it only consists of a
blocked airstream. The reason we at all can hear a difference between
different stops is because they colour the surrounding sounds: the
position the tongue has at the release (i.e. when the air starts flowing
again) will affect the quality of the following sound in a rather subtle
way. When a stop consonant is pronounced at the end of the word, its
release is usually (in most languages) audible, with at least a little air
coming out, resulting in the faint aspiration I mentioned, or, in some
languages, with a stronger, voiced airflow resulting in some kind of
vowel. Obviously the length of the air obstructing phase, i.e. the time
until the release, can be variable, independently of the nature of the

Here’s an analogy I just thought of. Some speakers of Dutch put a vowel between the l and the f of zelf=English ’self’. Others pronounce the l and f without intervention just like English does. What if a Dutch speaker slipping that schwa between the l and the f were to say, “Hey, it’s impossible to pronounce l and f together since I can’t do it.”?

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