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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 ...
6
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1answer
96 views

When/where was <FH> used for /f/?

It's generally accepted that the oldest Latin inscription is on the Praenestine Fibula: MANIOS MED FHE FHAKED NUMASIOI The verb here seems to be an old reduplicated perfect of faciō, equivalent to ...
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36 views

As for I and V, when are they semi semivowels and when are they vowels?

In the olden days, before they had invented letters J and U, the way they spelled ords like IVLIVS always seemed to me like they could be misread a little, and if you don't know the word, you don't ...
7
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2answers
287 views

Why distinguish u/v but not i/j?

Latin Wikipedia and many other modern (Classical?) Latin texts use "u" for the vowel /u/ and "v" for the consonant /w/, but "i" for both the vowel /i/ and the consonant /j/. This practice is more ...
3
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1answer
332 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 ...
8
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1answer
413 views

What is Plautus’s pun about frustum and frustrum?

The word frustum is often mispronounced as frustrum. Wikipedia states that this mispronunciation goes back a long time and a pun about them is included in the works of Plautus. Can anyone direct me ...
1
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1answer
77 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 ...
2
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3answers
139 views

Do vowels before /j/ make diphthongs?

In my experience, Latin has a short list of diphthongs that are found in native words. This list includes ei /ej/, as in dēinde. However, there are other vowels that can appear before /j/: see major /...
8
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2answers
2k views

When is “ei” a diphthong?

Many introductory Latin books will explain that Classical Latin has four diphthongs: ae and au are common, while oe and ei are rarer. (Eu and ui also show up, but if I understand right that's a Greek ...
16
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3answers
3k views

Can “ee” appear in Latin?

There are a few instances in Latin where words are spelled with two vowels next to each other, in hiatus: filii "sons", metuunt "they fear". Now, the last words of the Emperor Julian II are normally ...
6
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1answer
162 views

Is there a Latin 'studiare'?

The Latin verb for studying is studere, but a number of descendants look as if they came from studiare. These include the Italian 'studiare', French 'étudier', and the Spanish 'estudiar'. Was there ...
8
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1answer
84 views

The spelling of τηλικοῦτος

Why is τηλικοῦτος (< τηλικ + οὗτος) not spelled τηλιχοῦτος? Cf. e. g. ἀφορισμός.
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159 views

Was the name “Sasan/Sassan” often spelled with a double S in Latin or Greek?

A question on ELU (“Sassanian” vs. “Sasanian”) brought up the fact that the name of Sāsān has often been spelled in English with a double S in the middle: "Sassan". (The same goes for related words ...
9
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1answer
238 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
277 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
91 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 ...
5
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1answer
43 views

Spelling aquaeductus together

The word aquaeductus can also be spelled aquae ductus or ductus aquae, possibly with the plural aquarum (see Lewis and Short). Spelling it separately in either order makes sense, as the aqueduct is a ...
4
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1answer
99 views

Heic instead of hic in a Maltese tomb

Continuing my series of questions about Malta (locative vs. in and monumentum/monimentum), I would like to ask about an inscription I saw in St. John's co-cathedral in Valletta. The floor was tiled ...
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3answers
135 views

Monumentum spelled as monimentum

I saw a great number of Latin inscriptions in a cathedral on Malta, dating roughly between 1500 and 1800 CE. There were at least a couple of instances of the word monimentum, but saw no monumentum. Is ...
3
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1answer
107 views

Lex Valeria Horatia de senatus consulta - spelling?

Wikipaedia has the following: Lex Valeria Horatia de senatus consulta ordered that the senatus consulta (the decrees of the senate) had to be kept in the temple of Ceres by the plebeian aediles, ...
12
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1answer
408 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
95 views

How does one pronounce 'Servilia'?

I am giving a presentation on women in Rome, and one of my chosen women is named Servilia, the mother of Brutus. I was curious how to pronounce her name, as I know Romans used the letter 'v' to ...
5
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1answer
225 views

Emeo – possibly misspelled word

What does word emeo mean? As in: "Heri, ad tabernam eō. In tabernā sunt trēs rēs quārum amō duas sōleās et unam mensam. Habeō trēs denariōs, sīc ego emeō mensam sōlum quod sum nōn dīvīnitās" ...
4
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1answer
280 views

Is there a word for a typo?

Yesterday in our chat it turned out that we didn't know a Latin word for a typo(graphical error). For example, I typed lingarum instead of linguarum. What would be a Latin word to describe a mistyped ...
3
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3answers
178 views

Is there a Latin standard for transliterating Russian?

Consider the Russian last name Тихонов (of a mathematician). The most common transliteration I have seen in English (mathematical literature) is Tychonoff, and the transliteration according to Finnish ...
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2answers
3k views

E pluribus unum or Ex pluribus unum?

I've seen the phrase in both wordings E pluribus unum and Ex pluribus unum. Which one is correct? See my follow-up question for the double meaning of this phrase.
10
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1answer
327 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 ...
12
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1answer
236 views

Why is it “dare” and not “dāre” when most first conjugation verbs spell like “amāre”?

Why does dō conjugate differently from other first conjugation verbs in that you find a short a where otherwise you might expect a long ā? BACKGROUND Examples: amāre (dare), amārī (darī), ...
8
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1answer
214 views

Why does 'a' change to 'i' in verbs derived from 'habere'?

The verbs derived from habere usually have an 'i' in the stem rather than an 'a'. For example, adhibere, exhibere, inhibere, and prohibere, leading to the modern English verbs adhibit, exhibit, ...
8
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1answer
336 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 ...
6
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1answer
237 views

Were there informal spelling variants in classical Latin?

All modern languages I know allow expressing essentially the same thing in different ways, and sometimes there is a difference in the level of formality. Formality is not binary; I would not say ...
3
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1answer
110 views

Is it acceptable to translate these names in this manner?

After reading this question, I wondered what I could do to some names vital to my translation of D. Gray-Man, a recent project. Some names are fine, such as Allen becoming Alenus, Moa easily remaining ...
8
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1answer
210 views

Variations on the diminutive: -olus and -ulus

The usual Latin diminutive suffix is -ulus (or -ula or -ulum). However, it sometimes appears as -olus, like in filiolus, aculeolus, petiolus, and bestiola. (And perhaps Venezuela, Venetiola, is a ...
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2answers
790 views

Latin ligature “qz”?

I'm wondering what is that ligature: The closest on the Wikipedia's list of ligatures would be "qp" but it doesn't look exactly like that.
10
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2answers
226 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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1answer
2k views

Why “ex nihilo” instead of “e nihilo”?

I was helping a friend earlier with an English-to-Latin translation and we started talking about the prepositions "a(b)" and "e(x)", which lose their consonant if the following word begins with one [...
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3answers
503 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 ...
12
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2answers
336 views

Did the Romans confuse a long vowel with two short ones?

Consider the words sūs and sŭŭs. The former has one long u, the latter has two short ones in two syllables. For another similar pair with a different vowel, consider īmus and ...
7
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1answer
258 views

What digraphs did the Romans use?

English uses a variety of digraphs to represent sounds which lack their own letters. Some of these (such as "th" and "sh") appear in native words; others (such as "kh") only appear in loanwords. I ...
13
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1answer
279 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 ...
6
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1answer
190 views

Why is “paeniteo” considered more correct than “poeniteo”?

Through answers to another question, I came across Lewis & Short's definition of paeniteo, which begins: paenĭtĕo (less correctly poen- ) L&S say that it comes from the Greek ποινή, which ...