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Subject:st st
Time:12:04 pm
Current Mood:impressedimpressed
quod semel dictum est stabilisque rerum (Horace, carm. saec. 26)

Mueller pronounced the homophony of -st st- in 26 to be 'unmöglich', which PHI shows not to be quite the case, but it comes close enough to be an important factor: This would be the only instance in H., it is absent from Virgil (Aen. 7.552-3 abunde est: / stant, with line-end and strong punctuation, the only one such instance, is less offensive), Catullus has one example (78.5 Gallus homo est stultus, where the offense and the effect may be deliberate), as does Lucretius (5.1365), Propertius has two (2.34.53; 3.15.30), Tibullus, none. Ovid is fairly unconcerned, with eleven instances (Her. 15.1; 19.146; Ars 2.444; Rem. 207; Met. 3.186; 4.300; 6.55; 8.451 (across line-end); Fast. 5.448; Trist. 2.1.257; 5.12.62), Lucan has three (3.461; 6.378; 8.592), Statius, one (Ach. 1.600). It was also avoided by prose authors, Livy, for instance, having only ten examples, with intervening punctuation in all but three cases. (Richard F. Thomas's commentary on Horace's fourth book of odes and the carmen saeculare, Cambridge University Press 2011.)

PHI: Packard Humanities Institute, CD ROM 5.3 c. 1991.

I must be deaf, "st st" never offended me.
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goulo
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Time:2012-12-22 12:43 pm (UTC)
> I must be deaf, "st st" never offended me.

Heh, same here; I don't see a problem. It's certainly not 'unmöglich'. :)

E.g. English speakers seem to have no problem with it in "first star" (Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight)...
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cnoocy
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Time:2012-12-22 01:05 pm (UTC)
It does create a pause, though, in both languages. I wouldn't call it offensive, but it's noticeable, like a strong spice that not every cook likes to use. It would be interesting to look at what Ovid does with it in those eleven instances.
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finalarrowhail
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Time:2012-12-22 10:12 pm (UTC)
I pronounce "first star" sort of like "fir-star" but it's obvious to anyone what I'm saying. Perhaps it's similar in Latin?

Edited at 2012-12-22 10:12 pm (UTC)
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leopold_paula_b
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Time:2013-03-09 01:02 pm (UTC)
A riddle from Joyce's Ulysses also ignores the difference between "st" and "st st":

Q: Which opera is like a railway line?
A: Balfe's "Rose of Castile" ("rows of cast steel")
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leopold_paula_b
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Time:2012-12-24 02:23 pm (UTC)
I do hear it now, but as I said I never did before.

"I must stick to my guns" wouldn't sound awkward, would it? I assume in everyday language the first "t" would almost be silent. But on the stage of the German theatre (I'm from Vienna) "Ist's Tag?" (Is it day?) would be quite a tongue-twistster. So yes, impossible after all.
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