I longa in hiatus in Corpus Vindolandense

Francesca Cotugno


The Corpus Vindolandense includes the oldest extant Latin handwritten documents in Britain written between the 1st and 3rd century CE. One of the most interesting phenomenon concerns the so-called I longa. Actually, this graphic feature may mark the vowel, but also the palatal glide in hiatus. Our analysis concerns this latter case, i.e. the spelling phenomenon where [i] in hiatus context loses its status of syllabic nucleus, becoming a glide. Since in the Corpus Vindolandense I longa in hiatus occurs quite often, we assume that the gliding of i in hiatus occurred in Latin as spoken in Vindolanda. The process can be described as an instance of the sociolinguistic variation because its frequency reflects diaphasic and diastratic dynamics.


Vindolanda’s tablets; I longa; resyllabification

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