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WHAT the Greeks call προσῳδίαι, or “tones,” 1 our early scholars called now notae vocum, or “marks of tone,” now moderamenta, or “guides,” now accenticulae, or “accents,” and now voculationes, or “intonations.” But the fault which we designate when we say now that anyone speaks barbare, or “outlandishly,” they did not call “outlandish” but “rustic,” and they said that those speaking with that fault spoke “in a countrified manner” (rustice). Publius Nigidius, in his Grammatical Notes 2 says: “Speech becomes rustic, if you misplace the aspirates.” 3 Whether therefore those who before the time of the deified Augustus expressed themselves purely and properly used the word barbarismus (outlandishness), which is now common, I for my part have not yet been able to discover.

1 The Greeks had a pitch accent, pronouncing the accented syllable with a higher tone.

2 Fr. 39, Swoboda.

3 Cf. Catull. lxxxiv.

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