5

In Lingua Latin per se Illustrata I, Orberg generally avoids comma splices, that is, he typically connects independent clauses in a single sentence with semicolons, dashes, or coordinating conjunctions:

Collum Lȳdiae margarītīs pulchrīs ōrnātur; Lȳdia autem nūllum aliud ōrnāmentum habet (8.32)
Aliae fēminae digitōs ānulōrum plēnōs habent—meī digitī vacuī sunt! (8.85)
Mēdus est servus Iūliī, sed dominus eius Rōmae nōn est. (8.27)

However, he sometimes uses a mere comma to connect such clauses in a way that would be less than ideal to some English speakers:

Ānulus digitum Aemiliae ōrnat, margarītae collum eius ōrnant. (8.22)

In some Romance languages, like French, I understand that comma splices are not generally considered incorrect. But a comma splice like this would be considered borderline at best by some English grammars since at least the beginning of the 20th century.

All this leads me to wonder if the "rules" for comma splices in Latin might be more lenient than they are in English. Of course, a key tool for avoiding comma splices, the semicolon, wasn't even invented until the 15th century, so I doubt the Romans had an opinion on this (correct me if I'm wrong?). Instead, let me ask this in two ways:

  • Generally, did Modern Latin (pre-1900) adopt a distinctive and at least somewhat internationally uniform approach to comma splices?
  • Particularly, do any Modern Latin texts forbid connecting independent clauses with a mere comma?
3

This doesn't quite make the 1900 cutoff, but:

Arcadius Avellanus, born Mogyoróssy Arkád in 1851 Hungary, is said to have been the last native speaker of Latin. In 1878 he emigrated to the US, where he became a Latin teacher, advocating (evidently with not much success) living Latin.

I looked through his translation, published in 1918, of Guy de Maupassant's "La Parure" (The Necklace) and found a strong tendency to avoid comma splices, though the occasional one did pop up, e.g.

Naturalis subtilitas, instinctus innatus cognoscendi quid elegans sit, atque tractabilitas ingenii sola sunt hierarchia quae mulieres etiam tenuissimae sortis, pares efficit matronis ordinis optimatum.

(Note that, as far as I can tell, in the original French these two sentences are not a comma splice; they're connected with et ("and"). I'm basing that on a version I found online, though, so it's possible that the transcription introduced an error.)

But comma splices were certainly much rarer in this text than they are in Ørberg.

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