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In Spanish we have the word mano for hermano ("brother"), and that form can give the diminutive manito, when the brother is very small (less than one). In Latin, like in Italian, it might be possible to shorten frater to fra.

Now, the question is: how can we make fra diminutive? Of course, there exists fraterculus, but that's the diminutive of frater. This would need to be a diminutive of fra. Perhaps fraolus?


Summary: is it possible to truncate frater, like fra in Italian? If so, can a diminutive of this truncated form be constructed, as in Spanish?

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    Bienvenido! Interesante pregunta. Se supone que las preguntas en este sitio deben hacerse en inglés (o latín, pero eso ya es otra historia). ¿Tendrías inconveniente en agregar una traducción, aunque sea breve? – Rafael Jun 4 at 11:41
  • I've translated your question into English (with my very limited Spanish knowledge); if I got something wrong, or you'd like to translate it yourself, feel free to roll back my edits. – Draconis Jun 4 at 22:01
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I'm afraid *fra is not possible in Latin. Truncating words like that is probably very rare in Latin—of course excluding abbreviations in inscriptions and the like: those would be pronounced in full when read. So what you suggest seems impossible.

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It seems difficult to find a diminutive form of the word frater in actual usage in Latin. The closest I can find is in the Italian fra as in Fra Angelico.

There is a traditional Benedictine monastery near where I live and the priests are often referred to as Pater (P. Placidus) and those studying for the priesthood are are called frater (Fr. Augustinus). Affectionately, they are called the fraters, but not Fra(s).

In this same community, the lay brothers are called brothers (in English).

  • First of all, you should not assume that Benedictine monks who are not priests are studying for the priesthood. If you read the rule of St. Benedict, you will see that ordination was originally the exception rather than the norm for Benedictine monks, and it is certainly not a requirement even today, though it is becoming much more common in recent times as bishops pressure abbots to encourage their monks to become priests to help make up for the shortfall in diocesan priests. – C Monsour Jun 16 at 11:12
  • Second, in my experience, Benedictine monks often use the title "Dom." (lord), whether ordained or not. The ordained may precede is with the appropriate honorific for priests in their locale (e.g., "Rev." in the English-speaking world). – C Monsour Jun 16 at 11:16
  • @CMonsour It all depends on what congregation we are talking about, as there are 21 Bendictine congregations in total. The Swiss American congregation of monks at Westminster Abbey at Mission, BC have made the following documentary Set Apart with Frater Ceasarius being interviewed. – Ken Graham Jun 16 at 13:17
  • If you are talking about titles, then, yes, it depends on the congregation. If you are talking about whether aspiring to ordination is a requirement like it is, say, for Jesuits, then I'd be shocked if any congregation calling itself "Benedictine" had such a requirement. If you are claiming there is such a Benedictine congregation, please name it so I can research. – C Monsour Jun 16 at 13:32

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