Questions tagged [orthography]

Conventions of written Latin – including spelling, punctuation, and capitalization

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3
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1answer
268 views

Variation in the spelling of word-final M

I recently visited the museum of the main monastery of the Carthusian order near Grenoble. I saw this in an open book on display in a former chamber of a monk: What took me by surprise is the ...
3
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1answer
42 views

First use of capital letters

The first standard latin script which consisted of both majuscule and minuscule letters (lowercase and uppercase, or small and capital letters) in one word is Carolingian minuscule. It is a fact. But ...
3
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2answers
64 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
68 views

Using “R” to mark vowel length

When messaging a British colleague, I noticed something interesting in the orthography. Where I would write "she killed" as necāvit, she writes necarvit. In a non-rhotic accent, this makes perfect ...
9
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1answer
142 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 ...
10
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3answers
249 views

Why was Z used in digraphs?

According to this other question, Late Latin used various digraphs with the letter Z in them, for sounds which might have been /ts/, /dz/, and /z/. If the letter Z was used for /z/ at the time, the ...
6
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1answer
87 views

Which Latin word has the most spelling variants?

Not all words have had a single spelling across all eras and contexts. For example, the past participle of the English word "cleave" can be written as "cleft", "cleaved", or "cloven". Rare ...
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2answers
236 views

Why do many write Latin words with both letters v & u?

The letter V in Classical Latin was pronounced as /w/, unless another V came after it, in which case it'd be pronounced /wu/. Considering this, what would be the need to use both v and u in the same ...
5
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1answer
78 views

When transliterating from Latin to Greek, what kind of rho is used?

In Latin there is only one type of R and as far as I know the combination RH does not appear in native Latin words. The corresponding Greek letter rho can have two kinds of breathing (rough ῥ, ...
5
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1answer
479 views

How and when did we get two forms of sigma?

The Greek letter sigma (σ) has a different form (ς) when used at the end of a word. This distinction seems unnecessary to me, and it's not clear why it would emerge. Do we know why and ...
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113 views

Does “octopus” get a circumflex?

I just learned (from Pé de Leão here) that in Neo-Latin orthography, Latin words that come from Greek names that end in -οῦς get a circumflex in imitation of the Greek circumflex, e.g. Trapezûs, ...
11
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1answer
264 views

Did the Romans ever distinguish long vowels in writing?

In most modern writing of Latin, long vowels are distinguished from short vowels by using macrons (e.g, āēīōū). As far as I know, however, ancient authors rarely, if ever, distinguished long vowels ...
12
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1answer
402 views

Church Latin: when did the orthography change occur?

Sometime around the middle of the 20th century the Latin orthography of official Roman Catholic liturgical books of the Roman Rite switched from "juxta", "Jesus", "Judaei" etc. to "iuxta", "Iesus", "...
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1answer
103 views

Reading a snippet of 15th century handwriting in Latin

The Lilly library has a Gutenberg bible on display and the page that it is open to varies. This week the page had a marginal comment in it, which is unusual for this particular copy, and I was hoping ...
7
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2answers
143 views

Origins and point of boustrophedon

I'm a complete tiro in Latin and Greek, and very puzzled by the phenomenon of boustrophedon. Most languages are written left to right, or right to left, but to combine both in the same sentence seems ...
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6answers
19k views

Why is the Roman acronym SPQR and not SPR?

SPQR stands for "Senātus Populusque Rōmānus". It would be logical (at least in English or Spanish) to expect the initialism or acronym to be SPR. However, the first letter of the conjunction "-que" is ...
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132 views

Reviewing the evidence of the spirantization of β (betacism) in Greek

I originally submitted this question to the Linguistics beta site, and those users recommended that I ask anything related to Greek here. Although I understand that it is impossible to assign a ...
10
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1answer
312 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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2answers
523 views

Use of circumflex in Latin: Is there a difference between “hora” and “horâ”?

For example, is there a semantic difference between the two following sentences? Lapis descendit ab A ad B unâ horâ. vs. Lapis descendit ab A ad B una hora. This site, e.g., says The ...
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2answers
257 views

What would be the etymologically Greek spelling of 'misogynoir'?

I asked this at another language Stack Exchange but was directed to here instead. I wasn't too sure how best to phrase the title of this question, so hope I can better explain it in this body. For ...
7
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1answer
108 views

Is it possible to have a single Latin ligature be majuscule and minuscule?

Context The Latin grapheme: "Œ" is the majuscule ligature of the letters "O" and "E". Is it proper—or in-fact possible—to have part of the ligature be majuscule and the other part be minuscule?
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2answers
165 views

Is there such a thing as “word-[space-comma-space]-word” punctuation in Latin?

I'd like to typeset an excerpt of Metalogicus from Ioannis Saresberiensis. The Patrologia Latina version can be found here (MPL199 – the exact reference of the excerpt is Lib. III, Chap. 4, col. 900c.)...
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1answer
324 views

How can I ask the spelling of a word in Latin?

We've already had a question asking What are the classical names of the letters of the Latin alphabet? I am curious to know if, and how, a Roman could ask the spelling of a word. Though Latin is ...
4
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1answer
75 views

Capitalization of adjectives with prefixes

When answering a recent question about the prefix per-, I gave an example of a national adjective (Finnus) with a prefix, to produce Perfinni. If I attach a prefix to an adjective that always starts ...
8
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1answer
447 views

What's the deal with Ov. Met. V, 414

I'm writing this Latin verse parser/scanner, and all is fine and dandy until I load up Ov. Met. V. This book features the following verse in my source text, which is usually very good: adgnovitque ...
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1answer
1k views

Did the Romans have a “question mark”?

Were questions in written classical Latin ever indicated by anything other than the meanings of the words1 and the context? That is, was there a "question mark"? Here a "question mark" can mean some ...
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1answer
150 views

On Macrons and Vowels

Reading LLPSI, I made a list of the proper nouns with macrons in the first lesson of the first chapter: CAPITVLVM PRĪMVM Rōma Eurōpa Germānia Hispānia Āfrica Nīlus Rhēnus Dānuvius We encounter with ...
5
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1answer
136 views

What are the decimal and grouping marks in modern Latin?

To write non-integer numbers in the decimal system (without fractions), one needs a decimal mark. In English one uses the decimal point, but in many other languages one uses a comma instead. Wikipedia ...
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1answer
150 views

Are θ/þ/th distinct in Etruscan transcription?

While trying to answer an etymological question, I was looking through several different online resources about Etruscan vocabulary. Annoyingly, although these resources use mostly the same ...
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2answers
204 views

-NL- and -LL- in Classical Latin

I just stumbled upon an old meta question about the name of our chat room, and a comment gave me the impression that the classical spelling would be conloquium rather than colloquium. (Let me ignore ...
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3answers
345 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 ...
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178 views

On two types of S in a text from 1759

I ended up studying this poem last year: This is a congratulatory poem in a dissertation at the Academy of Turku from 1759. It is on page 4 of the full dissertation. I also published an English ...
8
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1answer
142 views

Deciphering Latin words from a very old book (printed in 1544)

I'm trying to decipher the text in a paragraph from an old Latin book (De facultatibus partium animalium, Basileae, 1544) and it's very difficult. This is my result of the first line and I would like ...
8
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1answer
290 views

A medieval scribal abbreviation missing from Unicode?

Placita de quo Warranto is the 1806 printed transcription of latin legal texts from around 1300 written on vellum. There are many abbreviations. The 1806 document in its preface gives an example ...
9
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1answer
238 views

Interpretation of circumflex in a poem from 1621

A poem from 1621 contains one ô and one â. The ô is the interjection ô and the â is in the relative pronoun quâ. No circumflexes are used elsewhere in the poem. Does the circumflex (or caret or ...
12
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1answer
536 views

When were macrons first used to mark Latin text?

A macron is a diacritical mark, which, in modern Latin texts, is sometimes used to mark a long vowel: ā, ē, ī, ō, ū, ȳ. From Roman uses of diacritical marks, I understand that the ancient Romans did ...
13
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1answer
231 views

Use of ß (“eszett”) in Latin text

I am translating a medical text from the late 16th century. The author is Swiss. The text uses the ß character (like the German eszett). Example: toti amplißimo conseßui Is this character being ...
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1answer
2k views

Roman uses of diacritical marks

In what circumstances did Romans use diacritical marks, like macrons, in their writing? In particular how common was it to use diacritics in naming letters?
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3answers
944 views

When to use j and when to use i?

I know that in Medieval Latin i and j were interchangeable in sound. Was the choice of the letter arbitrary, or were there rules dictating which letter to use depending on the situation?
9
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1answer
86 views

Technique to find first principal parts when later parts change spelling? E.g. find 'nanciscor' from 'nactus'

I am tutoring a friend who is preparing for a graduate school translation exam, of the "unseen passage, dictionary allowed, time limit imposed, be accurate" variety. We came across nacti in ...
18
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1answer
494 views

“Eundem”/“eumdem” in medieval Latin

"Eundem" is the correct accusative of "idem". However, I saw "eumdem" in various texts of medieval and/or Church Latin. So I wonder: when did "eumdem" start to be used, perhaps by non-native Latin ...
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6answers
4k views

Difference between “Lacrimosa” and “Lacrymosa”

This movement from Mozart's Requiem is known as either "Lacrimosa" or "Lacrymosa" (see for instance the Wikipedia article, which uses both spellings). Why is there two different spellings and which ...
30
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4answers
693 views

When is an I not an I?

For whatever daft reason, the current trend in modern Latin orthography is to write consonantal 'i' (IPA /j/) as 'i' rather than as 'j'. How can we then tell whether a given 'i' is a vowel or a /j/, ...