Monday, November 1, 2010

-ant, -ent, -ance, -ence

So in English we have on the one hand
(i) ˈarrogant, belˈligerent, beˈnevolent, conˈstituent, ˈdecadent, ˈfumigant, perˈcipient, ˈpermanent, ˈreticent, sigˈnificant, ˈsubsequent
—with antepenultimate stress reflecting the Latin short vowel in rŏgō, gĕrō, vŏlō, etc.; and on the other hand
(ii) exˈponent; abˈsorbent, aˈbundant, aˈstringent, correˈspondent, conˈvergent, inˈsistent, maˈlignant, reˈluctant
—with penultimate stress reflecting the Latin long vowel in pōnō and the consonant clusters in the other words.

In acquiescent and abhorrent the spellings sc, rr reflect what were consonant clusters in Latin, even though we now pronounce single consonants in English. In apparent the Latin vowel of appārĕō was long, even though we now pronounce it in BrE as short æ rather than as long eə. Conversely in provident Latin -vĭd- was short, generating antepenultimate stress, although we have a long vowel aɪ in provide.


No comments: