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FROM ago and egi are derived the verbs actito and actitavi, which the grammarians call “frequentatives.” 1 These verbs I have heard some men, and those not without learning, pronounce with a shortening of the first syllable, and give as their reason that the first letter of the primitive ago is pronounced short. Why then do we make the first vowel long in the frequentative forms esito and unctito, which are derived from edo and ungo, in which the first letter is short; [p. 173] and, on the contrary, pronounce the first vowel short in dictito from dīco? Accordingly, should not actito and actitavi rather be lengthened? For the first syllable of almost all frequentatives is pronounced in the same way as the same syllable of the past participle of the verbs from which they are formed: for example, lego lēctus makes lēctito; ungo ūnctus, ūnctito; scrībo scrīptus, scrīptito; moveo mōtus, mōtito; pendeo pēnsus, pēnsito; edo ēsus, ēsito; but dīco dīctus forms dictito; gĕro gĕstus, gĕstito; vĕho vĕctus, vĕctito; răpio răptus, răptito; căpio căptus, căptito; făcio făctus, făctito. So then ăctito should be pronounced with the first syllable long, since it is from ago and ăctus.
1 Most modern grammarians prefer the more comprehensive term “intensives.”
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