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58 votes
21 answers
25k views

Which online Latin dictionaries should I use and why?

What good online Latin dictionaries do you know? What are their benefits and drawbacks? Please give only one dictionary per answer. If you have many dictionaries to suggest, give multiple answers &...
86 votes
6 answers
51k views

What is Google Translate good for?

Google Translate is notoriously unreliable for Latin. However, the translations do make some amount of sense. Is there some kind of translation task involving Latin that Google Translate is relatively ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
39 votes
18 answers
7k views

How can I study Latin on my own?

What good widely available courses (e.g. textbooks, online classes) are there for people who wish to learn (or continue to learn) Latin on their own? What are their benefits and drawbacks? Please ...
33 votes
3 answers
4k views

Are there exceptions to the Latin stress rules?

Do the Latin stress rules (antepenultimate if penultimate is light, penultimate if heavy) have any known exceptions? If so, what are the exceptions, and what evidence is there in the grammatical ...
jogloran's user avatar
  • 732
8 votes
2 answers
606 views

On the (typical?) ambiguity of "Porta clausa est"

It is often said that Porta clausa est can have two readings depending on the categorial nature of the participle: verbal (cf. clauditur/clausa est) or adjectival (cf. clausa est/clausa fuit), which ...
Mitomino's user avatar
  • 8,911
59 votes
5 answers
14k views

Are "-que" and "et" equivalent?

I was taught that one can use the '-que' suffix to string together multiple words, in a similar way to putting 'et' between them. Are these two equivalent? Did one have a connotation in classical (...
user avatar
21 votes
2 answers
2k views

Are there feminine and neuter versions of "professor"?

From many verbs one can derive an agent noun for each gender: computare > computator (m), computatrix (f), computatrum (n) scribere > scriptor, scriptrix, scriptrum Some of these derivatives ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Memento quod <subjunctive>

(A tangent off of a question and comment by David Charles.) This verse from roughly the ninth century: Memento rerum conditor, Nostri quod olim corporis Sacrata ab alvo Virginis Nascendo ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
564 views

How can one predict the length of theme vowels in verbs?

The theme vowels a, e, and i in infinitives are long. But, in other forms of those verbs, they can be short. But when, exactly? What are the rules for this? And how about the suppletive vowels used ...
Cerberus's user avatar
  • 20.1k
10 votes
2 answers
602 views

Can a "dative of agent" appear in an Ablative Absolute construction (and, more generally, in a non-verbal context)?

I was wondering to what extent the syntactic distribution of so-called “datives of agent” and that of “ablatives of agent” is different. For example, besides appearing in verbal contexts (e.g., ...
Mitomino's user avatar
  • 8,911
44 votes
4 answers
25k views

What punctuation was used in Classical Latin?

Many Classical Latin textbooks typeset their texts with (small and capital letters and) a broad selection of punctuation, like period ., comma ,, colon :, semicolon ;, exclamation mark !, question ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
  • 1,837
18 votes
6 answers
3k views

Where to find an online Latin text corpus and what can I do with it?

Suppose I want to search for a certain word, expression or structure in the Latin literature. What online tools can I use for such purposes? Where can I find a large collection of Latin texts in ...
10 votes
1 answer
657 views

Are Latin verbs of motion satellite-framed or verb-framed?

Are Latin verbs of motion satellite-framed, verb-framed, both, or neither? Native English verbs of motion are said to be satellite-framed: the verb usually indicates the manner of motion and a "...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
3k views

Nunc est bibendum: gerund or gerundive?

When providing answers to some apparently basic questions (e.g., cf. Tom Cotton's and mine in Mihi legendum/legenda est? & Why use nominative in Coniugatio periphrastica passiva? , respectively), ...
Mitomino's user avatar
  • 8,911
38 votes
5 answers
2k views

Accusative equals nominative for neuter words – how universal is this and why?

The first mnemonic for Latin case ending I learnt was that for neuter words, the accusative form is always identical to the nominative form. This applies even to exotic word endings like animal or id, ...
Wrzlprmft's user avatar
  • 1,174
27 votes
2 answers
16k views

How do you write dates in Latin?

I have read a little about the history of the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Julius Caesar introduced the twelve-month Julian calendar in 46 BC, and Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian ...
ktm5124's user avatar
  • 12.1k
23 votes
1 answer
3k 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 [...
sixty4bit's user avatar
  • 475
21 votes
3 answers
4k 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'...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

When can the gerund take an object?

Typically the gerundive is employed when one using a gerund with an object seems possible. For example, I have understood that aqua bibenda est and rei faciendae causa are preferable to aquam bibendum ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
168 views

Which agents are human?

The agent of a passive construction is in ablative, and human agents also come with the preposition a/ab. For example, Marcus a Gnaeo occisus est but Marcus sica occisus est. But which agents should ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
334 views

How obligatory is the predicate in a dominant participle construction?

Typically, so-called "dominant" participle constructions (aka Ab urbe condita constructions; AUC for short) are defined by saying that the predicative participle is compulsory, whereby it cannot be ...
Mitomino's user avatar
  • 8,911
29 votes
4 answers
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/, ...
jwodder's user avatar
  • 524
21 votes
4 answers
7k 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, ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
19 votes
2 answers
3k views

Examples of species whose Latin and scientific names are different

Biologists have given scientific names to many species, and these names are in Latin. A fraction of all named species was also known in ancient Rome (and medieval Europe), and they had a Latin name as ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the difference between -us and -io?

One can derive nouns from verbs by attaching -us or -io to the perfect participle stem. For example, movere gives rise to motus (fourth declension) and motio. The meanings of these derived words are ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
14 votes
6 answers
61k views

What does memento mori actually mean?

I'm wondering what memento mori actually means. From Wikipedia, I see the meaning is "you must die" but that makes it sound like a threat. Legend said that one of the war prisoner use the word for ...
geomars's user avatar
  • 175
12 votes
4 answers
3k views

Is the complement of esse in nominative or accusative when esse is a subject?

Suppose I want to say something like "I like being a human". There are undoubtedly several ways to phrase that in Latin, but I want to do it so that it the subject is "to be a human". The complete ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
600 views

Is "victa serpente" an ablative absolute?

I'm reading Ovid's Metamorphoses, and there's this sentence: Delius hunc nuper, victa serpente superbus, viderat adducto flectentem cornua nervo “quid” que “tibi, lascive puer, cum fortibus ...
user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
593 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 ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
6k views

How do I know where to place macrons?

How do I use macrons? I understand what they do and how they do it, I just don't understand how you know when and where to place them.
Jason Heights's user avatar
7 votes
0 answers
472 views

How things change in Latin

After having provided an answer to Draconis’ question ( Did Latin have any ergative verbs? ), I was wondering about the subtle meaning differences involved in triads like {aperit/se aperit/aperitur}, ...
Mitomino's user avatar
  • 8,911
37 votes
2 answers
10k views

What's the difference between vel, aut, -ve, et cetera?

So I see "vel", "aut", and "-ve" being used (mostly) interchangeably in the Latin I read. Is there any idiomatic difference, or can they be used interchangeably? For ...
user avatar
29 votes
1 answer
9k views

What are the classical names of the letters of the Latin alphabet?

When I refer to letters in Latin, I (sadly) use the English names for them. If I knew the Latin names, I could apply Classical Latin pronunciation rules to say them properly. So, how was each ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
27 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why are there no native Latin words with a Z?

I have always been told that all Latin words with a Z are ancient Greek loanwords. Why doesn't Latin have any native words with a Z?
Yadeses's user avatar
  • 1,115
24 votes
2 answers
3k views

Are there examples of passive imperative forms of non-deponent verbs in ancient literature?

Imperative forms and deponent verbs are quite common ancient Latin literature, and imperative forms of deponent verbs also occur. But are there examples of passive imperative forms of non-deponent ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
18 votes
3 answers
3k 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 ...
Der Übermensch's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
5k views

What is the difference between "ac" (or "atque") and "et"?

What is the difference between ac (or atque) and et? And how do I know when to use atque instead of just ac? It seems that ac "binds more tightly" than et. Is this true? Or is the difference between ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 3,700
16 votes
2 answers
605 views

Why does uacuus have three syllables?

I stumbled across this question on the pronunciation of 'vacuum' in the “linguistics” forum. My question is: If uacuus is *wak+wo- why does uacuus have three syllables, but uiuus, paruus, caluus etc. ...
fdb's user avatar
  • 17.9k
14 votes
1 answer
4k views

Were 'th' and 'ch' aspirated in classical Latin?

I have been taught that 'th' and 'ch' were pronounced just like 't' and 'c' in classical Latin, with no aspiration. The answer to this earlier question confirms that 't' and 'c' had indeed little or ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
9 votes
6 answers
9k views

How to say "everything will be good" in Latin?

I wanted to find out how to say in Latin "everything will be good" (like in "all'll gon'a be fine"). I came up with Omnium bene futurum. Is this o.k., or am I too ill-Latined?
AHN AHN's user avatar
  • 121
9 votes
1 answer
532 views

When to use a genitive pronoun instead of a possessive adjective

The genitive form of the personal pronouns (e.g. mei, tui, nostri, nostrum, etc.) seem to occur fairly often in the following contexts: Partitive genitive: to indicate a part of some whole. Quis ...
brianpck's user avatar
  • 41.7k
8 votes
1 answer
723 views

Can Gerundives be predicates of Ablative Absolutes?

I was wondering if Gerundives, the verbal adjectives referred to as "future passive participles" by Latin grammarians, can appear as predicates of Ablative Absolute constructions. As is well-known, ...
Mitomino's user avatar
  • 8,911
5 votes
0 answers
385 views

How many types of so-called “predicative Gerundives” can be differentiated in Latin?

In many textbooks of Latin grammar it is often noted that Gerundives can be used predicatively in agreement with the direct object of transitive verbs such as do, trado, mitto, peto, curo, relinquo, ...
Mitomino's user avatar
  • 8,911
35 votes
2 answers
13k views

How do we know how the Romans pronounced Latin?

A quick Google Search says plenty of things about Roman Latin pronunciation, and since it's an edu domain I'm inclined to believe it. However, the closest to citing a source it gets is saying "we know ...
user avatar
30 votes
4 answers
4k views

When is "diēs" masculine, when is it feminine, and why can this word take different genders?

Wiktionary goes into it a bit: Diēs is an exceptional case of a fifth declension noun since it is both used in the masculine form and in the feminine form, instead of just feminine like the rest of ...
Jackson's user avatar
  • 403
27 votes
2 answers
6k views

When did “c” before “e” or “i” start to be pronounced as [ts] (in contrast to classical [k])?

In Classical Latin, "c" was always pronounced as "k". Since Renaissance Latin grammar reform, the correct pronunciation of "c" before "e" or "i" was codified to [ts]. So in Renaissance the true ...
Pavel V.'s user avatar
  • 1,863
21 votes
3 answers
12k views

Latin word for "code" or "program" (the verb)

As part of a(nother) assignment for my Latin class, we have to write a description of how we spend our free time. I'm trying to translate this: After my homework is done, I like to program. So far,...
user avatar
18 votes
3 answers
9k views

What are the Latin names for modern countries?

With the Olympics starting this week, I got interested in all the countries of the world. Naturally, I would like to know the Latin names for modern countries. I have only been able to find a few ...
Sam K's user avatar
  • 3,998
15 votes
2 answers
999 views

What word order resolves the ambiguity of two nominative nouns in a sentence?

This question is a beginner's confusion about sentences of the form: [subject_noun] [object_noun] est. E.g. Bob agricola est. From my understanding, both the subject and object are declined in ...
modulus0's user avatar
  • 253
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Which animal names have grammatical gender, and which have common gender?

In Allen & Greenough, §34, I see a short discussion on the gender of animal names: Many nouns may be either masculine or feminine, according to the sex of the object. These are said to be of ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar

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