Well, I'd posted my answer to Richard offline, for I was afraid I might
annoy somebody with my "Italian lessons".
Here's what I wrote:
" 'Nuovo' and 'novo' mean exactly the same thing. Rather, they are the same
word. Just, 'novo' is closer to Latin 'novus'. According to the vowel
changes one studies when giving the Romance Philology exam, both in early
vulgar Spanish and Italian stressed /e/ and /o/ in an open syllable (that
is, ending in a vowel sound) became respectively the dypthongs /ie/ and
/uo/. Thus -- 'novus' = no+vus (no=stressed, open syllable) > nUO+vo
(dypthong+fall of the Latin termination). This variation occurs also in
several verbs as you conjugate them -- i.e., the verb 'morire' (=to die)
derives from the Latin 'morior' (=mo+ri+or, where 'mo' is a stressed, open
syllable). So, as you conjugate it, you can see it varies according to
whether 'mo' is stressed or not:
Noi moriamo ('ri' is stressed here)
Voi morite ('ri' is stressed here)
I hope I was clear enough. This is a phonological rule of Spanish and
Italian as deriving from Latin. You can say 'novo' if you want to say it as
they called it in Dante's times, or you can say 'nuovo', which is modern
----- Original Message -----
From: "Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2004 6:22 PM
Subject: Re: Dolce stil novo
> Richard Seddon wrote:
> > What is the difference between "novo" and "nuovo"?
> The term "dolce stil novo" ("sweet new style") comes from Canto 24 in
> Dante's Purgatorio. In the Italian version of the Purgatorio that I
> have "novo" is used 14 times and "nuovo" is used once.
> An Italian/English side by side version of Canto 24 is at:
> > Longfellow's translation of Dante, which was for a long time "the"
> > English translation, has been recently republished by Modern Library,
> Longfellow's translation is in the public domain and has been on the
> web for years. A new translation of The Divine Comedy done by Tony Kline
> is available via the URL (yep, new and free):
> He supplies a hypertext glossary too.
> Visit Kline's homepage to see the amazing variety of literature he has
> translated (and poems he has written himself.)
> Rick Parker