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[40] On the other hand, whenever this same letter m comes at the end of a word and is brought into contact with the opening vowel of the next word in such a manner as to render coalescence possible, it is, although written, so faintly pronounced (e.g. in phrases such as nultum ille and quantum erat) that it may almost be regarded as producing the sound of a new letter.1 For it is not elided, but merely obscured, and may be considered as a symbol occurring between two vowels simply to prevent their coalescence.

1 “A very probable account is that -m was reduced through the lips not being closed to pronounce it. If, instead of closing the lips all that were done were to drop the uvula, a nasal sound would be given to the following initial vowel, so that fine onerat would be pronounced finewonerat with a nasalized o.” Lindsay, Lat. Langu. p. 62. It is this sound which Quintilian describes as almost the sound of a new letter.

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