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16
votes
2answers
380 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. ...
8
votes
1answer
384 views

Active perfect stem conjugation and forms of esse

Many forms formed from the perfect stem (habitav-, fec-, tetig-, and others) resemble forms of esse. It looks as if a form of esse was directly attached to the perfect stem. In perfect conjunctive an -...
8
votes
2answers
5k views

What are the names of the fingers in classical Latin?

What are the names of the five fingers in classical Latin? Some fingers may have several names, some may have none; I place no restrictions on the numbers of translations. Googling gives some answers, ...
6
votes
0answers
291 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 (very subtle?) meaning differences involved in triads like {aperit/se aperit/...
5
votes
1answer
205 views

Can a “dative of agent” appear in an Ablative Absolute construction?

I was wondering to what extent the syntactic distribution of so-called “dative of agent” and that of “ablative of agent” is different. For example, besides appearing in verbal contexts (e.g., Proelium ...
12
votes
2answers
877 views

The lowest form of humor

Many Ancient Greek jokes are preserved in the Philogelos, ranging from wordplay to stereotypical foreigners to utter nonsense. And certain epigrams from Lucillius and Argentarius contain excellent/...
9
votes
2answers
400 views

The difference between coniunctivus and imperativus when expressing commands

What is the rule for choosing coniunctivus or imperativus when expressing commands? I know, that imperativus has only second person forms, so one is forced to use coniunctivus for other persons. Are ...
9
votes
3answers
3k 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.
8
votes
1answer
140 views

How did 'ad' + 'hūc' compound to get its meanings?

[ Adverb   adhūc : ]   Etymology     ad "to" + hūc "here" so far, thus far, hitherto, still [2.1] again; [2.2] furthermore; [2.3] moreover; [2.4] besides (used in scholastic debates to ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

Stem for derivatives like figura, statura and cultura

I learned in a recent question that derived nouns like figura, statura and cultura do not always look like the future participle but are actually formed from a different stem. Examples of differences: ...
2
votes
0answers
219 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, ...
46
votes
6answers
28k 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 ...
25
votes
6answers
2k views

Why not “Agne Dei”?

Here's a sentence from the Catholic Mass: Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis. Why not agne? Shouldn't agnus be in the vocative? Note tollis and miserere in the second person. ...
28
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
25
votes
1answer
2k views

Why did Roman authors never feel a need for word spacing?

I have read a few excellent threads from this forum on punctuation in classical Latin. The first concerns what punctuation they used, the second concerns ancient descriptions of punctuation, and the ...
24
votes
1answer
3k views

How do we know how gn was pronounced in Classical Latin?

As far as I am aware, the classical pronunciation of -gn- (as in magnus) is not [gn] but [ŋn]. How do we know that this is in fact how -gn- was pronounced?
22
votes
1answer
3k views

A story of a king who wanted to simplify Latin grammar

I vaguely remember reading a story years ago, and it was something like this: A king in medieval Europe knew some Latin but made mistakes. I think there was something like him writing plurals ...
13
votes
1answer
746 views

Was elision specific to verse in classical Latin?

The rigid poetic meters used by ancient poets strongly indicate that elision is done (almost) every time one word ends in a vowel and the next one begins with another — with the usual exceptions ...
18
votes
1answer
659 views

Why are verbs often listed under their first person singular form and not under infinitive as in many other languages?

The natural way of listing verbs in dictionaries is by infinitive, but this is not the case in many Latin dictionaries. Why? Were there some of the first Latin dictionaries using first person singular ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

How can I use “quippe” properly?

Lewis & Short gives the following definition: surely, certainly, to be sure, by all means, indeed, in fact certainly, indeed, forsooth for, for in fact for, because, inasmuch as for ...
16
votes
2answers
559 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
411 views

How to read mathematics out loud?

Reading symbolic mathematical expressions out loud in any language is mainly folklore: everyone in the field knows how to do it but finding explicit written instructions is surprisingly hard. I have ...
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
357 views

Is there an aoristic-perfective distinction in the Latin perfect?

I have just recently learned that the perfect tense in Latin can serve also as an aorist tense as well as a perfect tense and that the perfect tense in Latin is simply the result of the original Proto-...
9
votes
1answer
193 views

Qua ratione in hoc libro Henrici Allen notæ diacriticæ ponuntur?

This wonderful book, Doctrina Copularum Linguæ Latinæ Sive De Vi Atque Usu Elegantiori Particularum AC, ATQUE, ET, -QUE Deque Earum Formulis, Commentarius by Henry Ellis Allen, A.B., published in 1830,...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

Was the final “-m” a “full-featured” consonant?

Is there any solid evidence supporting or denying the hypothesis that in Classical Latin the syllable-final vowel -m (especially at the end of the word) was only an orthographic convention, but in ...
14
votes
2answers
566 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Do we know how 'ng' was pronounced in classical Latin?

How was 'ng' pronounced in classical Latin and how do we know? I believe metric considerations strongly indicate that it was not a short consonant (/ŋ/ or other), but I can still think of two ...
13
votes
5answers
436 views

How do you show an infinitive for reason?

For instance, if you say, "I came here to eat," or "We want something good to eat," you are using the infinitive "to eat" to express reason or purpose. How do translate something like this in Latin?
11
votes
3answers
392 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
324 views

aret = aridus est?

Is there any semantic or aspectual difference between aret and aridus est (cf. rubet/ruber est; calet/calidus est, candet/candidus est, i.a.)? Ager aret. (Col. 2.8.5) Ager aridus erat. (...
9
votes
2answers
375 views

Vowel length in future perfect indicative and perfect conjunctive

I want to compare future perfect active indicative and perfect active conjunctive. They look identical, apart from first person singular (cogitavero ≠ cogitaverim). But is there a difference in the ...
9
votes
1answer
945 views

What is the difference between plus and magis?

The dictionaries I have checked give translations for both plus and magis, and they seem to have a different tone. However, I have found no comparison between the two. They both mean "more" one way or ...
8
votes
3answers
114 views

How to find scholarly articles related to Latin?

If I want to find research articles of some kind to learn more about a particular topic related to Latin, what should I do? I am a trained scientist, but my own research is on a very different field. ...
7
votes
1answer
538 views

“How do you do?”

How to ask "How do you do?" in Latin. Quomodo te habes, is it common? What other common greetings for the "How are you?" exist? I have seen: Quomodo es? Quid agis? Quomodo te habes?
6
votes
1answer
220 views

Words that unexpectedly but consistently scan long

I learned from TKR's answer to this question about neuter endings that the neuter pronoun hoc is pronounced like hocc, causing it to be scanned long despite having a short vowel. I had never heard of ...
3
votes
0answers
102 views

When and how did the distinction between the gerund and the gerundive develop?

The gerund and the gerundive look similar and have similar meanings, but they are still distinct as any Latin grammar will tell us. But how did classical Latin come to have these two close but ...
14
votes
1answer
267 views

Greek pronunciation, invisible aspirations

Is there any evidence that aspirations that are as a result of composition no longer orthographically marked were still pronounced? Or to the contrary? I mean was προαίρησις pronounced proairesis or ...
13
votes
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 ...
13
votes
1answer
479 views

-eris, -oris, -uris?

Much to students' annoyance, nouns ending in -us can belong to either the second (servus), third (tempus), or fourth (circus) declensions. I understand the origin of the second and fourth: Proto-Indo-...
12
votes
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?
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Where do the plurals of locus come from?

The word locus is masculine in the singular, but it can be masculine or neuter in the plural. Geographical places are loca, but places in a text are loci. As far as I know, this is the only Latin word ...
12
votes
1answer
265 views

How can participles (inflected forms) be distinguished from deverbal adjectives (derived forms) in Latin?

Many modern linguistic analyses of languages like English draw a sharp theoretical distinction between participles, which are analyzed as inflected forms belonging to the paradigm of some verb, and ...
12
votes
1answer
536 views

What is the difference between accusative and genitive with meminisse?

The verb meminisse can take an accusative or a genitive object. Also other constructions are possible (see the entry in L&S), but I want to focus on comparing these two in classical Latin. Are ...
11
votes
3answers
658 views

Comparison of participles

Participles behave much like adjectives. Do they also have comparative and superlative forms? They are easy enough to form: ferentior, dicturissimus. More precisely, are any comparatives or ...
11
votes
1answer
946 views

What is the imperative of velle?

The conjugation tables of irregular Latin verbs that I have seen do not give any imperative forms for the verb velle. The verb nolle has the imperative forms noli and nolite, and they are fairly ...
9
votes
2answers
448 views

Are vowels long before “gn”?

Allen and Greenough, §10d, provide a general rule: A vowel before ns, nf, gn, is long: as in cōnstāns, īnferō, māgnus [emphasis modified] This seems to agree with Priscian: 'gnus' quoque vel '...
8
votes
2answers
184 views

Are there other verbs in -uō?

Someone asked me recently about the conjugation of the obscene verb futuō, futuere, futuī, futūtus—and in particular about the quantity of the ū in the participle. I intended to look at some other -...
7
votes
2answers
415 views

what is the rationale for modern pronunciation of Latin in music

Fellow followers of Latin stackexchange! I hope you have all had a happy Christmas (or, if you do not celebrate Christmas, a happy holiday time). I'm not particularly versed in musical tradition, ...
7
votes
3answers
9k views

How to say Mister (Mrs, Miss, etc.) in Latin

I will mark this question as contemporary-latin because there are obviously not any precise classical equivalents of the titles implied by such English honorifics as Mr (Mister or Master), Mrs (Misses)...

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