A peculiar question about pronunciation and grammar that I came across.
Since we know that reconstructed classical pronunciation uses the letter "v" for something like an English "w"-sound, does it count as a consonant or a vowel? I wanted to form the ablative of "vis"(strength, force, violence), but was and still am unsure whether "e vi"(if counted as a consonant) or "ex vi"(if counted as a vowel) applies. Thanks already for your answers!
In this course V counts as a consonant and U counts as a vowel (obviously). In classical times it was both, w/ V being used w/ capital letters (supposedly to avoid having to curve the u when carving in stone) and U w/ lower case. That changed over time. Here is what Allen and Greenough's grammar says; don't overlook the ref. to § 5 . I bet you can find some decent discussions of this online.
VladaFu's objection is good. I guess my reply really boils down to: it varies. Which is not really helpful to you, is it?
If you have a specific instance in mind, as you do, you can look in a dictionary, such as Lewis and Short's, which says in the entry for "ex": "ex always before vowels, and elsewh. more freq. than e . . but no rule can be given for the usage." The course developers prefer the Oxford Latin Dictionary (which is newer), which says, "ex used before vowels and consonants, e before consonants only," but the OLD is not available online, and L&S should do fine for questions like this. Grammars, too, generally have something to say about this. I'll check those that I have later, when I have a chance, but that I've ever seen the results will be what these two dictionaries say.
Well graphically of course V or U, no matter which one, stood either for what we now denote as V or what we now denote U when we distinguish it consistently. My understanding of the original question is, however, was what we now denote with V, and what certainly is a consonant to us, especially at the start of the word and in front of a vowel, considered a vowel or a consonant for the propose of choosing a certain form of certain prepositions?
The grammar you link does not address this at all. Consider "ex uero" - 13 matches in https://latin.packhum.org and "e uero" - 6 matches.
The grammar you link does not address this at all.
Yes it does. See the ref. § 5 I pointed out. So, FWIW, I'd write and pronounce e vero. . . . But usage varies, and you have to go by how a combination sounds. For instance, not "e parte" or "e post facto," but "ex parte" or "ex post facto". A/ab are the same way: you will see instances of either before a given word starting with a consonant.
. . . So it's good you questioned my reference (thanks), as it definitely wasn't complete. And I still can't say more than "you should go by how it sounds," which doesn't help much for somebody like OP, who hasn't heard a lot of Latin.