Questions tagged [orthography]

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

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11
votes
1answer
437 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 ...
29
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4answers
1k 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/, ...
17
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3answers
1k 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 ...
49
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6answers
31k 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 ...
14
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1answer
1k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
12
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1answer
3k 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?
11
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2answers
279 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 ...
12
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3answers
474 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 ...
9
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1answer
299 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
525 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 ...
10
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1answer
337 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 ...
8
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1answer
204 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, ...
7
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1answer
198 views

Are any phonemic distinctions not represented in Latin?

Latin orthography seems to have been relatively phonemic. In other words, if long vowels are marked somehow (macrons or apices), there seems to be a straightforward mapping between letters and ...
7
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4answers
380 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 ...
6
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2answers
4k 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 ...
6
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1answer
1k 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 ...
5
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2answers
318 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
147 views

How were vowels u and i discerned from consonants v and j?

If in original texts there were no means of distinguishing whether u and i were consonants or vowels, how then do we now know which ones were which? The easy ruleset I learned in high school is that ...
10
votes
1answer
623 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
723 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 ...
8
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1answer
977 views

Æ ligature – the definitive answer

I have tried a search on the internet, but did not find anything official. I am looking for the definitive explanation of the symbol "æ" in Latin. Is it equivalent to the diphthong "ae&...
7
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2answers
788 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 ...
7
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1answer
186 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 ...
5
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1answer
219 views

More details on the Appendix Probi

Does the Appendix Probi specifically talk about what correct "pronunciation" should be (of the day), or correct "spelling"? Does "Idem non ide" mean that you shouldn't say "ide" or write it? An ...
5
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1answer
150 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, ...