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Questions tagged [ambiguity]

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3
votes
4answers
582 views

Disambiguation of “nobis vobis” and “nobis nobis”

For many words, the dative and ablative take the same form. Two examples are nos and vos (nobis and vobis, respectively). Imagine you want to say something like "from us to you [plural]" (where "...
8
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4answers
2k views

Can 'in-' mean both 'in' and 'no'?

The prefix in- can mean "in" or "into" or similar, as in inire. It can also mean "non-" or "un-", as in infelix. Both meanings of the prefix are attested, but I am not familiar with any case where ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

How to translate “from nothing to existence” preferably keeping ambiguity

What's a possible Latin motto meaning roughly "from nothing to existence/reality/something"? I'd like it to be ambiguous if possible, preferably implying "(something) comes into being from nothing" ...
6
votes
1answer
63 views

How to resolve ambiguities with the infinitive

In the Vulgata, Titus 3:8 reads as follows: Fidelis sermo est: et de his volo te confirmare: ut curent bonis operibus præesse qui credunt Deo. Hæc sunt bona, et utilia hominibus. In particular, ...
5
votes
2answers
84 views

Are the pronoun-looking forms of quire attested?

The verb quire is conjugated like ire, and there are some forms that look like an interrogative or relative pronoun. Those forms are quīs and quī. Are these attested in classical ...
6
votes
1answer
150 views

How “sōlā fidē” means what it is supposed to mean

The question is whether the phrase (a) denies there being more than one faith or (b) excludes there being any other means of salvation. BACKGROUND I am assuming that the phrase is intended to ...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

The (implied) meaning of “Et” in “Et in medio…” of Ubi Caritas

Here is a passage in Ubi Caritas: Simul ergo cum in unum congregamur: Ne nos mente dividamur, caveamus. Cessent iurgia maligna, cessent lites. Et in medio nostri sit Christus Deus. The English ...
6
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3answers
114 views

Two possible translations of a hymn: which is most likely right?

I came across this catholic hymn, whose text can be found in various versions online, and I found the following: Jesu, rex admirabilis, Et triumphator nobilis, Dulcedo ineffabilis, Totus ...
7
votes
3answers
209 views

Can one recreate the ambiguity of the (incorrect) sentence “You can learn writing.” in Latin?

It seems (to me at least) that with regard to the English sentence You can learn writing. the following is true: Strictly speaking, the sentence is grammatically incorrect w.r.t. standard modern ...
12
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2answers
436 views

Does Latin have a mechanism to disambiguate possessive pronouns of the same gender referring to distinct persons?

Question: does Latin have a grammatical mechanism to disambiguate the ambiguous use of `his' in the third of the three following English sentences? Person A wrote a book. Then person B wrote a ...
5
votes
1answer
81 views

Who asked whom about the cape of parchment? And who answered?

I quote this cautionary tale about the dangers of studying Scholastic logic in full because it's just too good not to, but my question is only about the part in bold face: Parisius accidit, quod ...
7
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1answer
246 views

Dative–ablative ambiguity

When I first looked into Latin, I saw in a textbook that the dative and ablative singular are the same in the second declension: nom. servus acc. servum gen. servi dat. servo abl. servo ...
10
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3answers
325 views

Nominative-accusative ambiguity

It's the Middle Ages and you're explaining to someone how to play rock-paper-scissors. You say: Cisorium pergamenum vincit. Wait a minute. Both of those nouns, being neuter, are the same in both ...
4
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0answers
49 views

Ab eo abeo ; In clino inclino Are there other jingles of this form?

Quintilian told his students to watch out for ambiguity where two words could be heard as one. Medieval writers seem to have enjoyed such word-play. Are there other examples like these either written ...
7
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2answers
205 views

Ambiguities in De Bello Gallico 1.3.3

There are a couple words and phrases which are ambiguous to me in Caesar's De Bello Gallico, 1.3.3. I'll reproduce the text, here, which I got from the Perseus digital library. Ad eas res ...
4
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2answers
215 views

Sapiens: tasty or smart?

The verb sapere can mean tasting like something or having a sense of taste. The latter can be understood figuratively close to "to be wise or sensible". Dictionaries list the participle sapiens ...
9
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3answers
215 views

Is sal ever neuter?

Are there instances in known literature where sal, "salt", is neuter instead of masculine? If yes (as it now seems), can it be freely used as both masculine and neuter or is there a difference? The ...
9
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2answers
579 views

Hit the lamb with the flower

Page 18 of "Prosodic Phrasing in Adolescents with High-Functioning Autism" by Jessica Mayo, a doctoral dissertation that has nothing to do with Latin (but watch for the relevance, it's coming), ...
10
votes
1answer
433 views

Victorum: victus or victor

The (masculine) plural genitive of both the participle victus and the derived noun victor is victorum. If I write, for example, uxores victorum infelices erant, it is unclear which wives were unhappy. ...
4
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0answers
267 views

Soli Deo gloria: sol or solus?

In the phrase Soli Deo gloria one can read soli in two different ways: If it is solus, the phrase means "glory only to the God" or "glory to the only God". If it is sol, the phrase means "glory to ...
4
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2answers
100 views

Is the unmarked 1st-declension ablative in writing ever jarring or confusing?

Occasionally while reading, I've mistaken a first-declension ablative for a nominative, or vice versa,* and gotten confused for a moment until I sorted it out. Both appear the same in writing, of ...
13
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1answer
291 views

Wordplay with “Vox Populi” (populus, m vs. populus, f)

Say I want to mock up the idiom "Vox Populi" using not "populus" (m, people) but "populus" (f, poplar tree). Meaning something like "the sound of the poplar leaves rustling". Do I have a way to ...
14
votes
1answer
451 views

Omnia vincit amor: vincere or vincire?

The phrase omnia vincit amor (from Vergilius' tenth Ecloga; see full text in Latin and English) is typically translated as "love conquers everything". However, vincit can come from either vincere (to ...
5
votes
1answer
144 views

Does “Sum faber” necessarily mean “I am a craftsman,” or can it mean “My name is Faber”?

I understand that a legitimate, though perhaps uncommon, way to introduce oneself in Latin is: [Ego] sum Iulius I also know that in Latin, as in English, people's names are often connected to ...
8
votes
1answer
66 views

Ambiguity of “sōlus”

Dædalus solus volare didicit. Does that mean: Dædalus alone learned to fly? Dædalus learned to fly alone? Dædalus learned on his own to fly? How could you indicate each of those meanings without ...
14
votes
2answers
372 views

What word order resolves the ambiguity of two nominative nouns in a sentence?

This question is a beginner's confusion about sentences of the form: [subject_noun] [object_noun] est. E.g. Bob agricola est. From my understanding, both the subject and object are declined in ...
10
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2answers
113 views

Ambiguitas casus genitivi?

The first sentence of the introduction to the Systema Naturæ by Linnaeus is: Homo mundi intraturus theatrum quæritur Quis sit. How do you tell what noun goes with mundi? Grammatically, two ...