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Re: Details on Protopteryx

In a message dated 12/14/00 7:51:29 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
stephenbowden@home.com writes:

> Your argument emphasises a syllable that is
>  made up of the linking part of the first half of the name, plus part of
>  the initial consonant of the second.  

Actually, accenting a connecting vowel in a Greek compound is perfectly 
acceptable and very common.  In a word like "lepidoptera", which is a very 
common form, there is a one-syllable ending (-a), a one-syllable root 
(-pter-), and a one-syllable connector (-o-).  (However, when you string them 
together, the actual syllable boundaries are le-pi-dop-te-ra.)

The accent rules don't care where a syllable came from or what it means, only 
about its length.  If the last syllable has a long vowel or ends in a double 
consonant (x [=ks] or ps), it gets counted as long, and the accent goes on 
the second-to-last syllable.

If the ending has a short vowel and ends in a single consonant or no 
consonant, then it is short, and the accent moves back to the third syllable 
from the end.  The -a in "Lepidoptera" is short, so the accent goes on the 
-o-: "lepidOptera".

In actual practice, the accent rules for Latin are usually followed, but they 
often give similar results:

In Latin, if the second-to-last syllable ends in a consonant or contains a 
long vowel, then it gets the accent.  Otherwise, the accent goes on the 
third-to-last syllable.  Latin would segment "Lepidoptera" just the same way 
as Greek: le-pi-dop-te-ra, and since the -e- in the -te- syllable is short, 
the accent goes on the -o-.

--Nick P.