Questions tagged [language-evolution]

For questions regarding how Latin has changed over time.

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How did Αμμόχωστος become Famagusta?

Hope I found the right place to ask and we can avoid a migration to Linguistics or History SE Wikipedia says it is Αμμόχωστος that developed into Famagusta (original Famagouste in French). How did it ...
George Ntoulos's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
3k views

Did Latin have the same gender labels that the Romance languages have?

I'm curious about the concept and origin of gendered nouns. In a modern romance language such as Spanish, nouns are masculine or feminine which I'll describe as anthropomorphic labels. From my ...
pinoyyid's user avatar
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When did the silencing of 'h' start?

I am reading (a bilingual version of) Augustine's Confessions, and I stumbled upon: si contra disciplinam grammaticam sine adspiratione primae syllabae hominem dixerit (1.18.29) Roughly translated ...
G Frazao's user avatar
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What would the general pronunciation of Latin be like in the 600s CE?

In other words what changes from Classical Latin definitely were mainstream by that time: vowels, consonants, regional divergences? I'm aware of certain changes, but not exactly timewise when these ...
VivatLinguaLatina's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
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Did Latin change less over time as compared to other languages?

In this answer to a question about the preciseness of Latin, there is a quote from from Frederic Taber Cooper's Word formation in the Roman Sermo Plebeius (1895): There were, as Cicero himself has ...
Adam's user avatar
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In what ways Latin is considered to be "imprecise"?

To a rather outstanding @Penelope's answer, @Unbrutal_Russian comments: ... Latin is very imprecise as a whole by the standards of modern European languages, and was pretty imprecise even by Greek ...
d_e's user avatar
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Does "laviniaque" from Vergil's Aeneid point to Romance palatalization?

The second i in "laviniaque" from the 2nd line of Aeneid is supposed to be consonantal to fit the hexameter; therefore the pronunciation should be something like: /la'wi.nja.qʷe/. My ...
VivatLinguaLatina's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
411 views

When and why did "Σ" make a comeback?

Math uses "Σ", as does modern Greek. But according to Wikipedia, "Σ" disappeared during late antiquity and the Middle Ages: In handwritten Greek during the Hellenistic period (4th–...
MWB's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
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What are some ancient Greek words from which a word-internal digamma was lost?

It's been 4,000 years since I studied ancient Greek, and the only words I can remember that once contained digammas started with the letter: οἶνος, οἶδα, and so on. Were there word-internal digammas ...
Joel Derfner's user avatar
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Roman awareness of the Italic branch

I've recently learned the Romans and Greeks were aware of their linguistic connection (aeolism). However, I couldn't find anything pertaining to their more obvious relationship with the Sabellic ...
MMastro1610's user avatar
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Possibility of Vulgar Latin or Old Romanian origins of "Akoldo" and "Dir" in medieval Primary Chronicles of Kievan Rus

The names "Akoldo" (that's how he was called for the first time, and later he is mentioned as Askold) and "Dir" are mentioned as the first Varangian rulers of Kiev in the medieval ...
Damir's user avatar
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Does the old English second person verb ending -est (eg thou comest) come from Latin conjugation?

I feel like the question has all the information but yeah I'm just curious if the Latin verb endings influenced the old English -est endings.
hive's user avatar
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Parallel examples of the change of Apothēca to boutique?

French boutique, Spanish bodega etc. are by etymology said to be from Latin apothēca (REW). Are there other cases of word-initial a- being lost in Romance languages? From the top of my head, words ...
vectory's user avatar
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Why is the phrase negotiorum gestio instead of alienorum gestio?

In Law negotiorum gestio is a form of agency wherein a gestor acts on behalf and for the benefit of a principal without the latter's prior consent. For example, while you are traveling abroad, a ...
George Ntoulos's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
903 views

Why is Latin more different and hard to learn for a Romance-language speaker than the other Romance languages?

I am a native Romanian and I can master more or less only English, French and Italian - while Spanish and Bulgarian are transparent to me: but German is not - nor Latin! It seems to me obvious that ...
cipricus's user avatar
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When did the Latin language stop changing?

Visiting an old house today, I observed a Latin inscription above the door and it occurred to me that it makes sense to use a 'dead' language for permanent messages as the meaning of the words will ...
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How did Latin's inchoative verb endings (-sco) get very productive in the Romance languages?

How did this particular suffix scheme get so common in the daughter Romance languages? Take Latin: finire, finio Then look at Spanish: fenecer, fenezco Italian: finire, finisco French: finir, je finis ...
VivatLinguaLatina's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
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Ex + sisto preposition choice

Why is it exsisto instead of subsisto? Between the verbs sisto and ἵστημι there seems to be an almost perfect correspondence in meaning but the prepositions switch from exsisto to ὑφίστημι (which ...
George Ntoulos's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
116 views

From what date do we find spellings with V for B?

In late Latin, there was frequent confusion between B and V between vowels (a position where the distinction was eventually lost throughout the Romance languages), and even at the start of words (...
Asteroides's user avatar
4 votes
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Has the word 'focus' ever meant 'fire' in Latin literature?

I ask this because in virtually all the Romance languages, the respective descendants simply mean fire, yet when I come across the term in classical literature specifically, it usually meant 'hearth'. ...
VivatLinguaLatina's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
909 views

Is there a relationship between the phonology in Old Latin and later Vulgar Latin?

After some reading and research, I can't help but notice many similarities between Old Latin and what would become the Romance Languages. For example, the case endings for the nominative and ...
VivatLinguaLatina's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
612 views

Littera Canina in Classical Latin and Old Latin

Ancient Romans called the letter R littera canina as the R in Classical Latin was trilled to sound like a growling dog! Was the letter R trilled to sound like a growling dog when the ancient Romans ...
Ana Maria's user avatar
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1 answer
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Are there records of Latin-based pidgin languages?

A pidgin language is a simplified form of communication that arises naturally when two groups lacking a common language need to interact. Such interactions must have been common in the ancient world, ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
136 views

Sigillare and sugillare

From signum ("sign") we have a diminutive form sigillum, "little sign", whence in particular: "wax seal made by one's ring print", to close and sign a letter or a box, ...
Pietro Majer's user avatar
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126 views

Latin Perfect Tense and romance languages particularly Portuguese

How did the perfect tense evolve in each romance language? For example is the Preterito Perfeito functionally equivalent to the Latin Perfect Tense? Heri dormivi. Ontem dormi. Ayer dormi. Hier j'ai ...
George Ntoulos's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
139 views

Latin "Basic" Colors and Shades

Salvete Omnes, While I am working on a Minecraft resource pack that changes the Latin, which hopefully fixes some rough spots in it, I came back to a problem which strikes me occasionally with colors ...
NanoEta's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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How the Latin Hexameter was adopted and developed from the Greek?

In Wikipedia I stumbled upon quite surprising sentence: The hexameter came into Latin as an adaptation from Greek long after the practice of singing the epics had faded. Consequentially, the ...
d_e's user avatar
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Did perveniō acquire a new meaning in Late Antiquity?

Introduction I am reading an article by Bowersock.¹ In a discussion of the removal of Āra Victōria from the Senate, he references Symmachus’ ‘ūnō itinere nōn potest pervenīrī ad tam grande sēcrētum’. ...
Canned Man's user avatar
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What is the relation and history of 'si' and 'sic'?

Lewis and Short tell me that sic comes from si by adding the particle -ce. I can understand sice wearing down to sic, but I do not quite understand how I am supposed to understand the meanings of the ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
369 views

When did Old Latin develop initial stress?

The stress system of Classical Latin is thought to have been preceded by a period of fixed initial stress. When did that earlier system arise, replacing the inherited Proto-Indo-European mobile accent?...
TKR's user avatar
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8 votes
0 answers
659 views

When did "si" become the standard word for "yes" in the Italian peninsula?

I am aware that classical Latin did not have words for "yes" and "no" in the same sense that English does. I know that they could express the idea of "yes" by either ...
David's user avatar
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2 answers
433 views

Are there any general rules for creating 'proper' Latin neologisms, beyond matching gender, number, and case?

For the sake of this question, I'm going to be using this definition of neologism, "A newly coined word or phrase." From my understanding, the loose etymology of this word is the French neo plus Greek ...
Lulah's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
150 views

Translation of ab and de in Greek,

How would one best translate ab and de from Latin to Greek in order to capture the different nuances? In Greek both are usually translated as από. I am trying to capture the nuances so I am using ...
George Ntoulos's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
271 views

Can gender be kept from Latin to a descend language? Are there patterns for this?

I read this in a random forum: "Words neuter in Latin become masculine in Spanish" (For instance "vāsum" = el vaso) Could it be some patterns making predictable the gender from Latin to a descend ...
Quidam's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
368 views

What was the difference in the concept of "colour" in Latin and modern languages?

For this question: Are there Latin words for hair color?, I had to search a little about the concept of "color" in Latin. I also had a debate on another SE, with people who consider that &...
Quidam's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the origin of the deponent verbs and their evolution in Romance languages?

How deponent (and semi-deponent) verbs appeared in Latin, and why? How did they evolve in descend languages? They seem extincts in descend languages (why?) but there are probably specific structured ...
Quidam's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
89 views

Why didn't readers prefer spacing to scriptio continua before 600 A.D.? [duplicate]

Naomi Baron. Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World (1 edn 2015). Top of p. 21. I'm assuming that even in one's L1, “spaced words make it easier to decode in your head”. Why ...
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10 votes
2 answers
640 views

When did "virgo" gain its sexual meaning?

The primary meaning I associate with virgo, virginis is "young woman", perhaps a bit older than a puella but not yet a mulier. However, the descendants of this word (in English and the Romance ...
Draconis's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Was there ever a difference between 'volo' and 'volo'?

The words "I want" and "I fly" are both volō. Was there ever any difference in pronunciation in the classical era or later? I expect such differences to be more likely in vulgar Latin. The rest ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
349 views

When did the difference between acute and grave disappear?

In Classical Greek, to my understanding, there are three types of accents: acute and circumflex both indicate a high tone (just in slightly different ways only applicable to long vowels), while grave ...
Draconis's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
312 views

Dies and the fifth declension

In an answer to this question on Ζεύς Draconis mentions (quoting his own post on another site): The accusative form of the root, *dyēm (cf AGrk Zēn), also survived in Latin, in the form *diēm > ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
143 views

How did "djēm" avoid palatalization?

While posting an answer to this question, I looked back at an answer I'd written on another site, which mentions the strange case of Latin diēs < PIt *diēm. In particular: The accusative form ...
Draconis's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
199 views

When did the infinitive in -ier fall out of use?

At one point, the Latin passive infinitive was formed with a suffix -(r)ier, as in agier "to be driven", amārier "to be loved". Allen and Greenough call this an "ancient form[…] found chiefly in ...
Draconis's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is latino sine flexione dead?

Latino sine flexione is a variant of Latin created by Peano in 1903. As far as I know it was used in scientific literature but since forgotten. I found this site and a few discussions on Duolingo but ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
201 views

Is long vowel feature completely lost in deviated languages?

In Latin, some vowels are marked by a macron, they are long vowels. However, I found that in French and Spanish there's no macron in their writing. Is the long vowel feature completely lost in the ...
zzzgoo's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
3k views

Are the names of these months realistic?

I'm working on a calendar. To choose the name of the months I focused on Latin and in particular on a systematisation of the names finishing with 'ber'. I was wondering if my choices were correct and ...
user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
270 views

When did the penult stress rule disappear?

Classical Latin stress was famously based on the "penult rule": stress goes on the penult if heavy, the antepenult otherwise. In later Latin, vowel length seems to have been lost very early: before ...
Draconis's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
286 views

When did unsyncopated forms become archaic?

I'd always learned that the regular way to say "you loved" was amāvisti, with the "syncopated" version amāsti being poetic and uncommon. However, Unbrutal_Russian says differently (with good ...
Draconis's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why did "cattus" replace Latin "feles"?

The word for cat is now, in almost every European language, derived from Latin cattus, as stated in Etymonline. It also says that the word was [...] in general use on the continent by c. 700, ...
Charlie's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
435 views

If these Greek characters ever had alternative orthographies / typographies

Wondering if any of the following letters were or are ever written in the way described for each. Δ : If it is ever filled in black. Ξ : If it is ever written as similar to E or Ǝ, with a side edge ...
Lance's user avatar
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