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IOL 2004 Problem #3 Latin

Consider fourteen Latin words and their English translations:

barba beard vidua widow
dīvidit he divides mordāx biting
fūmus smoke glabra hairless
fracēs sediment falx sickle
fovēre to heat rubrīca red paint
mandere to chew mediocris moderate
verbum word fingo I sculpt

Linguists believe that in ancient times all these words except one contained the dh sound (d pronounced with an aspiration). Later, dh was replaced by other sounds.

Consider the four English words cognate to four of the Latin words given above:

beard word
widow red

(a) Indicate the Latin word of the above list that never contained the dh sound. Explain your solution.

(b) Consider six more Latin words:

brevis short gurdus silly
frīgus cold unda wave
combrētum reed dēbeo I owe

Which one of these words are sure to have never contained the dh sound? Why?

⚠ Latin x is pronounced like English x as in ox; the dash over vowels indicates that they are long.

—Svetlana A. Burlak, Ilya B. Itkin