XXVI[26arg] A passage of Publius Nigidius in which he says that in Valeri, the vocative case of the name Valerius, the first syllable should have an acute accent; with other remarks of the same writer on correct writing.
THESE are the words of Publius Nigidius, a man pre-eminent for his knowledge of all the sciences, from the twenty-fourth book of his Grammatical Notes: 1 “How then can the accent be correctly used, if in names like Valeri we do not know whether they are genitive 2 or vocative? For the second syllable of the genitive has a higher pitch than the first, and on the last syllable the pitch falls again; but in the vocative case the first syllable has the highest pitch, and then there is a gradual descent.” 3 Thus indeed Nigidius bids us speak. But if anyone nowadays, calling to a Valerius, accents the first syllable of the vocative according to the direction of Nigidius, he will not escape being laughed at. Furthermore, Nigidius calls the acute accent “the highest pitch,” and what we call accentus, or “accent,” he calls voculatio, or “tone,” and the case which we now call genetivus, or “genitive,” he calls casus interrogandi, “the case of asking.” [p. 503] This too I notice in the same book of Nigidius: 4 “If you write the genitive case of amicus,” he says, “or of magnus, end the word with a single i; but if you write the nominative plural, you must write magnei and amicei, with an e followed by i, and so with similar words. Also 5 if you write terra in the genitive, let it end with the letter i, as terrai; 6 but in the dative with e, as terrae. Also 7 one who writes mei in the genitive case, as when we say mei studiosus, or ' devoted to me,' let him write it with i only (mei), not with e (meei); 8 but when he writes mehei, it must be written with e and i, since it is the dative case.” Led by the authority of a most learned man, I thought that I ought not to pass by these statements, for the sake of those who desire a knowledge of such matters.