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45
votes
17answers
17k 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 &...
78
votes
6answers
29k 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 ...
31
votes
13answers
5k 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 ...
29
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
56
votes
5answers
8k 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 (...
43
votes
4answers
15k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
759 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
325 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
1k 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), ...
37
votes
5answers
1k 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, ...
15
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
22
votes
1answer
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 [...
8
votes
2answers
118 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
208 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 ...
24
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
30
votes
4answers
985 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/, ...
19
votes
2answers
11k 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 ...
27
votes
3answers
3k 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?
18
votes
2answers
3k 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'...
15
votes
2answers
875 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
403 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
301 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 "...
7
votes
1answer
431 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, ...
12
votes
6answers
53k 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 ...
35
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
23
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
444 views

Did Latin have any ergative verbs?

An "ergative verb" is a verb that can either take two nouns (a subject and an object) or only one (a subject), where the object of the two-noun form corresponds to the subject of the one-noun form. ...
12
votes
1answer
309 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
319 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
288 views

Which grammatical format is the double-perfect system as found in the Vulgate?

Question: Please show me a grammar resource that explains what the following construction is: John 1:24 "missi fuerant" John 1:40 "secuti fuerant" John 2:10 "inebriati fuerint" John 3:3 "natus fuerit"...
11
votes
1answer
198 views

Prefixes in verbs that appear redundant or meaningless: do they really mean anything?

appellere from ad- "to" + pellere "to beat, drive" (see pulse (n.1)) resolvere "to loosen, loose, unyoke, undo; explain; relax; set free; make void, dispel," from re-, perhaps intensive, or "...
9
votes
1answer
169 views

Is cultura a future participle?

Some nouns derived from verbs look like future participles: cultura from colere, sepultura from sepelire, scriptura from scribere… These do not have a future meaning, but are merely names for ...
28
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
3answers
4k views

Non-typographical evidence of V being pronounced as [w]

According to a consensus of Latin scholars, the letter V in ancient Latin was pronounced as [w]. This seems to make sense, because there was no distinguishing between V and U, so the letter V could ...
19
votes
5answers
4k views

Examples of “homo” used for a woman

Any beginning Latin learner discovers that English "man" has two translations: homo, when referring to a man as opposed to another species, and vir, when referring to a man as opposed to a ...
19
votes
4answers
437 views

Did the Romans derive verbs from names?

I know the Romans did derive verbs from nouns (laudare, finire, lucere…), but did they ever derive verbs from names? The Greeks did, for example forming homerizein (ὁμηρίζ&...
18
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
514 views

How accurate is the typical definition of a deponent verb?

Deponent verbs are often defined as verbs that have passive forms but active meanings. But how accurate is this typical definition/generalization? It seems clear that this definition applies without ...
33
votes
2answers
745 views

What gender should a predicate adjective be to agree with a series of things with different genders?

I'd like the translate the following sentence into Latin: Pompeii, Rome, and Herculaneum are visited by the boys. However, since these three cities have different genders, I'm struggling to choose ...
29
votes
4answers
3k views

Rhotacism: why?

I know Ancient Latin was subjected to a phenomenon called "rhotacism", which changed some s into r. However, I can't help but ask myself why it happened. Why did rhotacism happen? Did it influence ...
13
votes
1answer
393 views

Can masculine 1st-decl. nouns be feminine? (e.g. “Nauta perita”?)

Certain nouns, including agricola, nauta, athleta, pirata, and others, are classified in textbooks as masculine. But are these always masculine, even when referring to a female, as in "Haec femina est ...
10
votes
1answer
223 views

Quando “a fortiori” ortum est?

Quando vocabulum a fortiori (sive a fortiore) ortum est ut nomen artis legis logicæve? In quo opere scripto primum apparuit? Volo intellegere eius rationem originis verificareque verbum elisum "...
8
votes
2answers
505 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
285 views

What is the difference in meaning/usage between “nasciturus” and “nascendus”?

Both nasciturus and nascendus seem to exist. Words ending in -turus are often described as future active participles, and words ending in -ndus as future passive participles (they are also called ...
6
votes
1answer
144 views

Synizesis in perfect tense 'ui'

Can synizesis happen when the perfect stem ends in 'u' and the ending starts with a short 'i'? For example, can the 'ui' in fuisti be synizesized1 into a diphthong? In my understanding the two vowels ...
5
votes
2answers
309 views

What is the term for extremely loose Latin word order?

For a Latin-language artificial intelligence called Mensa Latina the user manual will need to discuss and therefore refer to the phenomenon in Latin prose where meaning comes from grammar and ...

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