The Italian word "fare" is often used in a very generic way. English doesn't use "do" or "make" that much, but it can still be a good comparison. Let me give some examples. We may say "fare Greco" ("make Greek", literally, or "do Greek") to mean "do something related to Greek", like studying grammar, translating something. We can say "fare piano" ("do/make piano") for "play the piano". I once kept a diary in Latin, and to render that I simply used the suffix -izo to create new verbs. The examples above gave me Græcizo and clavilizo. But I was wondering: was there something like this in Latin?

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    From what I know, word transformations usually went the other way, from verb to noun. I might want to look into this... Interesting... – Sam K Jul 9 '16 at 13:36
  • To be entirely clear: I made the suffix use up for the diary. – MickG Jul 9 '16 at 14:20
  • Oh I understood. -izo is very rare in Latin and it was apparent in your question. – Sam K Jul 9 '16 at 14:47
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    @SamK Noun->verb derivation is very common (in languages generally and Latin specifically). – TKR Jul 9 '16 at 16:42
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    Two notes: (1) It would actually sound more natural to me to use deponent verbs: graecizari and clavizari. Unfortunately I have no better reference than discussions with old Finnish Latinists. (2) Facere is not as generic as fare is, but agere is pretty broad. The best single Latin verb I know to translate the Italian generic fare is agere. Probably not as idiomatic in Latin as fare is in Italian, though. – Joonas Ilmavirta Jul 9 '16 at 19:14

For playing a musical instrument, Latin uses ludere. See II. under Lewis and Short:

II. Trop. A. To sport, play with any thing, to practise as a pastime, amuse one's self with anything: “illa ipsa ludens conjeci in communes locos, Cic. Par. prooem.: Prima Syracosio dignata est ludere versu Nostra ... Thalia,” Verg. E. 6, 1.—Esp., to play on an instrument of music, to make or compose music or song: “ludere quae vellem calamo permisit agresti,” Verg. E. 1, 10: “talia fumosi luduntur mense Decembri,” Ov. Tr. 2, 491: “quod tenerae cantent, lusit tua musa, puellae,” id. Am. 3, 1, 27: “coloni Versibus incomptis ludunt,” Verg. G. 2, 386: “carmina pastorum,” id. ib. 4, 565; Suet. Ner. 3: “si quid vacui sub umbra Lusimus tecum,” Hor. C. 1, 22, 2.

Were it a real word, clavilizo would be more "to turn X into a piano" or "to do the piano thing".

Since facere and agere are mentioned, I might as well mention their possible analogies. E.g., you might have an analogy with facere histrionem as found in Plautus, Amphitruo 89–90:

quid? admirati estis? quasi vero novom
nunc proferatur, Iovem facere histrioniam;

The last three words are to be translated as "Jupiter plays an actor." That's not quite the same as "playing a piano", though, since this is more "playing a part" than making an object work.

In that case, the better word is agere; to drive a cart" is agere raedam, which I feel is better analogy for the piano.

However, for playing the piano or doing any sport or amusement, stick with ludere.

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