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21 votes
3 answers
4k views

When did 'ph' start to be pronounced like 'f'?

I learned from Nathaniel's answer to my previous question that 'ch', 'th' and 'ph' were aspirated voiceless stops in classical Latin. In my experience many contemporary speakers of Latin pronounce 'ph'...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
18 votes
3 answers
3k views

The Latin word “Have” rather than “Ave” as a translation of the Greek word Χαῖρε?

According to BlueLetterBible, the Latin Vulgate translation of Matthew 26:49 states, The Greek text from the Textus Receptus states, ΜΘʹ καὶ εὐθέως προσελθὼν τῷ Ἰησοῦ εἶπεν Χαῖρε ῥαββί καὶ ...
Der Übermensch's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
548 views

Which grammatical format is the double-perfect system as found in the Vulgate?

Question: Please show me a grammar resource that explains what the following construction is: John 1:24 "missi fuerant" John 1:40 "secuti fuerant" John 2:10 "inebriati fuerint" John 3:3 "natus fuerit"...
BrennickC's user avatar
  • 403
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why is Jesus inflected in such a way?

The name Iesus is declined in a very peculiar way in Latin, and no other word seems to follow similar declensions. Why is this so? Is there a way to put this broader declension in context to make some ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
387 views

Greek pronunciation, invisible aspirations

Is there any evidence that aspirations that are as a result of composition no longer orthographically marked were still pronounced? Or to the contrary? I mean was προαίρησις pronounced proairesis or ...
Toothrot's user avatar
  • 589
12 votes
2 answers
491 views

When did consonantal "v" start being transcribed as "β"?

Since I learned Latin using ecclesiastical pronunciation, I have a general interest in the shift from the classical pronunciation of "v" as /w/ to /v/. This question is more focused though: I am ...
brianpck's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
3k views

When to use the Greek accusative?

The Greek accusative or the accusative of respect (accusativus Graecus or accusativus respectus) is used like the ablative of respect (ablativus respectus). This construction is a loan from Greek, ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
446 views

How did σσ differ from σ?

Varro mentioned in this answer: I think it's highly likely that originally Greek σσ had a distinct sound from σ which made it a closer match to a foreign [ʃ] than σ would have been, which is why it ...
Draconis's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
210 views

How are "Arsaces" and "Gotarzes" declined, and why?

Declinatione nominum latinorum a nominibus graecis quae -ης finiuntur perturbor. Dictionarium L&S exhibet "Arsăces, is m." a nomine graeco Ἀρσάκης. (E in syllaba ultima de "Arsăces" longum esse ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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33 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why did the letters in the alphabet shift position?

When presented with the Greek alphabet, it is like this: Α Β Γ Δ Ε Ζ Η Θ Ι Κ Λ Μ Ν Ξ Ο Π Ρ Σ Τ Υ Φ Χ Ψ Ω Or the Etruscan alphabet: A B G D E V Z H Θ I K L M N Ξ O P Ś Q R S T Y X Φ Ψ But if we ...
Yadeses's user avatar
  • 1,115
29 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why hippopotamus instead of potamohippus?

Judging by this dictionary entry for hippopotamus, the Romans knew this animal and used the name we currently use in English. This word has an obviously Greek origin: hippos is a horse and potamos is ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why does "ῤάρος" have a smooth breathing?

I recently discovered that LSJ lists exactly two words beginning with ῤ (rho with a smooth breathing mark): ῤάρος and its diminutive ῤάριον. Most beginning Greek students are taught, of course, that ...
brianpck's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
759 views

What was the sibilant in θάλασσα?

The word θάλασσα thálassa "sea" is spelled in various different ways, with different letters replacing the sigmas: some dialects had a tau, for example, while others had a theta. Do we know (through ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.1k
13 votes
1 answer
289 views

Can you place "et" inside a prepositional phrase?

I became curious about this question as I was translating a passage written by a textbook author. The passage begins, Poeta Ovidius fabulam de dea Latona et de femina Niobe narrat. (Latin via Ovid)...
ktm5124's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
791 views

How do the verbs do and δίδωμι come from *deh₃-?

I was a little surprised to find that the PIE root of do and δίδωμι is *deh₃-, not *do-. How did we get the "o" vowel sound from eh₃? I don't actually know how to pronounce h₃, but I'm assuming that *...
ktm5124's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
2k views

In the etymology of 'physics', what is the ultimate Greek root?

The Oxford English Dictionary says the following about the etymology of physics: < PHYSIC adj. (see -ic suffix 2), after classical Latin physica natural science, in post-classical Latin also the ...
linguisticturn's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
259 views

Hexametric Greek names

A number of Greek names encountered in hexameter follow the syllable length pattern -vv-; consider for example Penelope, Telemachos, Calliope, Terpsichore. The pattern -v-- is absent as the metric ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
203 views

Do we know how Greek dialects sounded?

To some extent, we know how sounds varied between ancient Greek dialects: the Aeolians lost rough breathings but preserved digamma, for example, while the Attics changed many of their long alphas into ...
Draconis's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
275 views

Greek font with legible diacritics

Is there any monospaced font with Greek where the diacritics are distinctly legible around 10 points? I'm now using DejaVu Sans Mono, but to be sure, especially about spiritus, I have to increase ...
Toothrot's user avatar
  • 589
8 votes
1 answer
247 views

Who assigned numbers to the declensions and conjugations, and why?

Why are the declensions in the order they are? If someone was learning Latin 2000 years ago, would they have used the same numbers? Would they have believed that some god assigned the numbers to the ...
onigame's user avatar
  • 253
7 votes
2 answers
455 views

Inflections of Ζεύς

Διώνη is the name of a Titaness, a nymph, and Phoenician goddess. And according to the Wikipedia article on said Titaness, it's derived from the feminine form of the genitive of Ζεύς. And according to ...
MarqFJA87's user avatar
  • 665
6 votes
2 answers
278 views

Identifying corrupted Sappho fragment or mention of Sappho found in just-newly-found-online Spanish edition of Sappho

OK, so this question is perhaps somewhat weird, but I have no idea where to start, so here I am. Let me give some introduction. Me, languages, and Greek Let's start very far back. As my blog ...
MickG's user avatar
  • 3,275
6 votes
1 answer
386 views

Is the ancient word Greek πῐ́θηκος / píthēkos ("monkey") attested with the meaning "dwarf" more than once?

I am interested in the obscure etymology of popular Romanian word "pitic" (n.m. "dwarf", adj. "of small stature"). It might have a connection with the Latin line that led ...
cipricus's user avatar
  • 423
6 votes
2 answers
382 views

Rules to constructing a proper compound noun in Ancient Greek

I know this StackExchange is dedicated to Latin, but since one for Greek/Ancient Greek is currently under proposal, I was advised to post my question here after having posted it on Linguistics. I am ...
Pyromonk's user avatar
  • 163
6 votes
2 answers
787 views

Male personal names ending in -um

A number of personal names in the works of Plautus end in -um in the nominative singular, which struck me as odd when I first encountered them, since nominative singular -um is characteristically ...
Asteroides's user avatar
  • 29.5k
5 votes
1 answer
129 views

How is the name "Penthesilea" formed?

The Homeric name Πενθεσίλεια seems to come from πένθος "grief" and λαός "people", presumably meaning something like "grieved by the people". This would be drawing a ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.1k
5 votes
1 answer
391 views

How were names ending in -ιον used in Greek?

In the plays of Plautus, there are some names ending in -um. They are generally formed as Greek names (whether genuine or pseudo-Greek), and the Latin ending -um here seems to correspond to the Greek ...
Asteroides's user avatar
  • 29.5k
4 votes
2 answers
294 views

About supplemented word ὀλόφῳ in a fusion of Lobel-Page fragments from an Italian Sappho anthology

This Italian Sappho anthology, on p. 57-58, has a fusion of several Lobel-Page fragments (cfr this question of mine), among which is 67(a). In l. 3 of that fragment, which is l. 16 of the fusion, the ...
MickG's user avatar
  • 3,275
3 votes
2 answers
804 views

About Sappho 16, ll. 6-9

There are apparently numerous versions of these lines. I only have access to two1 however: Edmonds': […]· ἀ γὰρ πόλυ περσκόπεισα κάλλος ἀνθρώπων Ἐλένα τὸν ἄνδρα [κρίννε κάλ]ιστον [ὸς τὸ ...
MickG's user avatar
  • 3,275
3 votes
1 answer
305 views

Sappho 94: the Spaniards' completion

Cross-post notice A week ago, I asked the exact same question (modulo the title) on Literature. It was met with an uproar of upvotes (alliteration casual, 9 upvotes), but not answers. I discussed the ...
MickG's user avatar
  • 3,275
3 votes
1 answer
239 views

Tracing mysterious line ends in a combination of Sappho fragments found in an Italian anthology

Somewhat recently, I stumbled upon this Italian Sappho anthology, where, among other combinations, the following is found: First off, they are not listing all the fragments joined into this ...
MickG's user avatar
  • 3,275
2 votes
1 answer
109 views

Why does the contraction rule ε+εν -> ειν apply to the formation of λύειν?

In their discussions of the formation of the infinitive, both Pharr and White remark on the contraction of -εεν to -ειν, but I don't understand why this would apply to most of the examples that come ...
user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
107 views

Is the Greek infinitive regular?

My general understanding of Greek verbs is that if you know the six principal parts, you should be able to infer all forms of the verb (although there may be complications such as contractions, the ...
user avatar
20 votes
3 answers
641 views

Did the Romans ever combine Greek and Latin morphemes?

Recently I was thinking about words in English which were formed from a Greek and Latin morpheme pair. An example of this is 'television', where 'tele-' is a Greek-originating prefix while 'vision' is ...
Cataline's user avatar
  • 929
16 votes
1 answer
262 views

Quare dicitur "poeta" et non "pœeta"?

"Why is it "poeta" and not "poeeta" in Latin?" This question occurs in the Harvard University Catalogue of 1872-73, but I haven't been able to find the answer. The reason I would expect "pœeta" is ...
Asteroides's user avatar
  • 29.5k
16 votes
2 answers
996 views

Why are Greek nouns in -ον, -ος transliterated in Latin as -um, -us?

Although there are numerous conventions that appear to be followed when borrowing words from Greek to English, an especially noticeable one is the change made to the endings of 2nd declension nouns, ...
brianpck's user avatar
  • 41.7k
15 votes
1 answer
391 views

Use of Greek article in Latin to clarify use of foreign indeclinable nouns

This question concerning the pluralization of letter names has led me to ask a somewhat related question on the use of Greek to clarify indeclinable nouns in Latin. The background to this question is ...
varro's user avatar
  • 4,698
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

When did the Romans start using Z?

Several of my recent questions have touched on the letter Z, which was introduced fairly late to the alphabet (it's disappeared from its Phoenician position and been added back in at the end, in its ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.1k
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is "anti" used in Latin?

Apparently, anti is a word already available in Greek, meaning against. However, it seems this word did not reach Latin. Still, Wikipedia entries of common English words that have anti as prefix are ...
luchonacho's user avatar
  • 12.5k
13 votes
1 answer
435 views

Are there instances of free indirect discourse in Latin or Greek?

Free indirect discourse is a type of narrative device which has some similarities with direct discourse and some with ordinary indirect discourse, but is different from both. Here's an English example,...
TKR's user avatar
  • 31.4k
12 votes
4 answers
5k views

Is this bible in Koine Greek?

So I bought a Greek bible and I’m not sure whether it is Koine or Modern Greek. Could someone please help me out? Thanks.
Owl's user avatar
  • 677
11 votes
2 answers
385 views

Was -oe- used natively in standard classical Latin, or was every word with -oe- adopted from a foreign or non-standard origin?

Latin has quite a few words with -oe-, such as Poenus and moenia. But I've heard it said that all of those words are either translitterations from Greek -oi- or adopted from non-standard dialects of ...
Cerberus's user avatar
  • 20.1k
11 votes
1 answer
239 views

Scope of negation with absolute constructions

In Latin and Greek, when a negator appears in an absolute construction (ablative absolute, genitive absolute), it is generally taken to negate the predicate within that construction: hostibus ...
TKR's user avatar
  • 31.4k
10 votes
3 answers
385 views

Why σελήνη instead of ἑλήνη?

The Greek word for the moon is σελήνη selēnē, σελᾱνᾱ selānā, or σελάννᾱ selánnā, depending on dialect. All seem to come transparently from the same root as σέλας sélas, "shine". But since these both ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.1k
9 votes
1 answer
308 views

Borrowing Greek verbs without -ίζω

I was recently linked to this post on False Cognates, discussing different verb classes in Latin, Greek, and Germanic. One part caught my eye: Latin verbs of all conjugations are borrowed easily (...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.1k
9 votes
2 answers
391 views

Do any Latin verbs use a temporal augment?

In Greek, past tenses are formed with "augmentation," e.g. present -> imperfect: λῡ́ω > ἔλῡον εὑρῐ́σκω > ηὕρῐσκον Since we know that certain Latin verbs preserve perfect reduplication, I wonder: do ...
brianpck's user avatar
  • 41.7k
9 votes
1 answer
746 views

What are popular fonts for polytonic Greek?

There are quite a lot of fonts available for writing Latin, which have been designed for easy legibility and contain all the letters of the Latin alphabet. For the Greek alphabet, however, most modern ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.1k
9 votes
2 answers
500 views

Etymology of Nausicaa?

There was an interesting question on Lit regarding a proposed meaning of Nausicaa as "burner of ships". Although I don't have an issue with the ναῦς/κάω hypothesis, I suspect κάω is more likely used ...
DukeZhou's user avatar
  • 1,102
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is this letter?

I came across this picture attached to a clickbaity article this morning: A nice, normal-looking Greek alphabet…except for something that looks like S in between epsilon and zeta. What is this ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.1k
8 votes
2 answers
236 views

Why vowel lengthening in Greek compounds?

In Greek compounds, when the second member of the compounds begins with a short vowel, this vowel is often lengthened: στρατ-ηγός < ἄγω ἀν-ώνυμος < ὄνομα ἡμι-ώβολον < ὀβολός What is ...
TKR's user avatar
  • 31.4k