Questions tagged [language-evolution]

For questions regarding how Latin has changed over time.

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4
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0answers
56 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, ...
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58 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 ...
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264 views

Comparing decem and -decim

The Latin cardinal numbers starting at ten are decem, undecim, duodecim… Does the -decim (roughly "-teen") come from decem or from the same root? (I faintly recall decem and δέκα coming from ...
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3k 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'...
9
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1answer
456 views

Why did Cicero switch from "abs te" to "a te" in his later works?

Lewis and Short, in their entry on ab, describe a shift in use of abs in Cicero's works that had far-reaching ramifications: The use of abs was confined almost exclusively to the combination abs te ...
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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 ...
7
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1answer
178 views

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’. ...
3
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1answer
83 views

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 ...
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2answers
555 views

How is the supine related to the derived fourth declension noun?

I asked yesterday about the word venatu. There was a good answer and good comments, but I want to ask a broader related question more specifically — especially due to TKR's comment. I want to know how ...
4
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1answer
104 views

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 ...
8
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1answer
219 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?...
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2answers
605 views

Why do we say that an ablative absolute has a participle?

An ablative absolute consists of a noun in the ablative and a participle modifying it. Except that that's not really the case. We frequently find the participle replaced with just an adjective (or ...
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3answers
2k views

Which verbs have reduplicated perfect stems?

Certain verbs, such as curro, have reduplicated perfect stems (such as cucurri). Other verbs, such as facio, fero had a reduplicated perfect stem in Old Latin (as seen on the Praeneste fibula) which ...
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152 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 ...
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2answers
2k views

Relationship between early Latin and Greek?

I am just restarting my schoolgirl Latin, but have already become fascinated with its links to Greek. According to Wheelock, whom I have absolutely no right to question, both Latin and Greek are ...
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1answer
191 views

What is the origin of the active perfect indicative personal endings?

The active perfect stem conjugation in Latin resembles the conjugation of esse a lot, but I recently learned that it is likely to be a coincidence. However, the active perfect indicative forms do not ...
9
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1answer
239 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 ...
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3answers
4k views

When did the consonant U (i.e., V) begin to be pronounced as the fricative [v] instead of [w]?

It's well established that the consonantal u (or v) was pronounced as [w] in Classical Latin (i.e., w as in wine). Of course, Romance languages developed voiced fricatives out of this u-consonant, ...
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1answer
154 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 ...
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2answers
527 views

The disappearance of digamma

Do we know why the Greek letter digamma (ϝ) fell out of use? The letter continued to have indirect effects despite disappearing from writing. Was it still pronounced despite not being written, or ...
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2answers
157 views

Why would the prae­po­si­tion "per" ᴇᴠᴇʀ take an ab­la­tive in­stead of an ac­cu­sa­tive com­ple­ment?

ᴘᴇʀ + ᴀʙʟ.: Bar­bar­ism, solœ­­cism, or di­a­chron­ic evo­lu­tion? Lewis and Short clear­ly state that per is a prae­po­si­tion whose nor­mal com­ple­ment is in the ac­cusative. With­out hav­ing dol­...
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1answer
128 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 ...
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2answers
178 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 ...
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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 &...
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Did Alexander the Great change the meaning of "Hellenes"?

The Hellenistic era was launched by Alexander the Great, and his death is usually defined as the starting point. The Greek word Hellenes (Ἕλληνες) was in use before, during, and after the Hellenistic ...
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1answer
602 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 ...
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2answers
383 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 ...
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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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2answers
915 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 ...
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4answers
3k views

Rhotacism: why?

I know Ancient Latin was subjected to a phenomenon called "rhotacism", which changed some s into r. However, I can't help but ask myself why it happened. Why did rhotacism happen? Did it influence ...
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1answer
198 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 > ...
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1answer
90 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 ...
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1answer
862 views

When did the latin alphabet become bicameral?

The simultaneous use of uppercase and lowercase letters is a feature of the Latin alphabet used today. The uppercase and lowercase letterforms evolve from different styles of writing. Originally, the ...
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1answer
163 views

When did elision fall out of use?

In classical Latin word-final vowels before initial vowels were elided also in prose, not just in poetry. However, I am under the impression that elision is not (intended to be) used in contemporary ...
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1answer
287 views

When did equus regain its first U?

I learned from this question about sequundus > secundus that -quus was in fact pronounced as if it was -cus. However, words like equus were not spelled as ecus, since most oblique cases would still ...
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112 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 ...
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1answer
253 views

Third conjugation passive infinitive: why -i and not -eri?

The active infinitive is uniform (-re from -se by rhotacism) across the regular Latin conjugations, but the passive one is not: the third conjugation loses the consonant. We have amare/amari, habere/...
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4answers
545 views

Where did the Romans think Latin comes from?

Did the Romans have a theory for the origin of their language? I assume there were several ideas, and it would be great to see a summary of them. No need to go very deep on any individual theory; a ...
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3answers
557 views

Remnants of the dual number

To my understanding, Latin doesn't have a dual number at all. The adjectives duo "two" and ambō "both" have some special forms derived from the PIE dual (-ō, -ābus, -ōbus), but are considered ...
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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 ...
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2answers
98 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 ...
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1answer
1k views

When did scriptio continua and interpuncts give way to spaces between words in Latin?

From this overview of punctuation in Classical Latin, I understand that word spacing as we know it didn't really exist at that time: either an interpunct was used to separate words, or there was no ...
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3answers
5k views

Why does Latin have five different noun declensions?

Do they originate in particular dialects or languages that influenced Latin? Is the question even answerable? With any degree of certainty? Just curious.
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2answers
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 ...
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1answer
214 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 ...
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2answers
178 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 ...
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1answer
431 views

Why sequundus > secundus?

It seems quite clear that secundus comes from sequundus, a gerundive of sequi. But why did -quu- become -cu-? This change is not universal, since some Latin words do preserve -quu-, at least the end ...
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1answer
3k 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, ...
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3answers
406 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 ...
8
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1answer
134 views

Future: why -am instead of -em?

The future tense of third and fourth conjugation verbs is marked by -ē-, as in trahes and audies. The regular personal endings are added after this vowel. But in the first person singular the ...