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19
votes
1answer
1k views

On the etymology of “discipulus” and “disciplina”

I am interested in the origin of the words discipulus and disciplina, which have found their way into many modern languages, e.g., in the English words disciple and discipline. Unfortunately, there ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

“Et tu, Brute?”

"Et tu, Brute?" Julius Caesar's last words; according to William Shakespeare's play of the same name. There seems to be a difference of opinion regarding the exact translation and thus, too, ...
14
votes
2answers
484 views

What does “quibus intemptata nites” (Odes 1.5.10–11) mean?

I'm currently reading Horace's Odes 1.5, and on lines 10–11 there's an odd construction: ...Miseri, quibus intemptata nites... Now, as far as I can tell, this literally means "Wretched people, ...
9
votes
1answer
107 views

Quomodo “cochlear” a “cochlea” est ortum?

Cur cochlear a cochlea est ortum? Quomodo connectuntur? In Anglicum liberaliter traductum: What do spoons have to do with snails?
15
votes
2answers
452 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
187 views

Accusativus 'Graecus' pertinetne ullo modo ad accusativum temporis?

Confer exempla haec: Vinctus pedes senator fugere non potuit. Augustus multos annos regnans rem publicam sibi subiecit. Accusativus Graecus a Graecis esse dicitur. Discentes linguam Graecam ...
23
votes
1answer
4k views

Why is 'r' often rolled in modern classical Latin?

During my Latin education (using classical pronunciation), I was taught that 'r' should be 'rolled', making a sort of growling sound. For example, the r's (more the second than the first set) in ...
12
votes
1answer
380 views

Why does Latin not have an instrumental case?

Seeing so many similarities in grammatical structure between Sanskrit and Latin, why is it that Latin does not have an instrumental case as Sanskrit does?
17
votes
3answers
380 views

Would it be good Classical Latin style to always use the preposition “ab” and never “ā”?

I understand from Lingua Latina per se Illustrata (chap. 6) that the prepositions ā and ab are equivalent, except that ā is used only before words beginning with consonants, while ab can be used ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Why might “Philosophiae Doctor” (the source of “Ph.D.”) have been preferred over “Doctor Philosophiae”?

The English abbreviation Ph.D. comes from the Latin for Doctor of Philosophy, which I understand would be either Philosophiae Doctor or Doctor Philosophiae. I know word order is flexible in Latin, ...
13
votes
2answers
262 views

“Dies unus”—non primus?

Genese 1:5 Hieronymus traduxit: Appellavitque lucem Diem, et tenebras Noctem: factumque est vespere et mane, dies unus. Cur "unus", non "primus"? Nonne numerum ordinalem significat? Nonne "unus" ...
10
votes
1answer
173 views

“Ignis solis propinqui”

Linguā Latīnā Per Sē Illūstrātā Ioānnis Ørbergī pāginā 207 scrīptum est: Ignis sōlis propinquī cēram, quā pennae iūnctae et fīxae erant, mollīvit et pennās ussit. Cur nōn "propinquus" dīcit?
12
votes
6answers
45k 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 ...
25
votes
1answer
398 views

Are there any recorded classical Roman abbreviations of “et cetera”?

Today, there are many different abbreviations for the phrase "et cetera", including etc. &c. &ct. As far as I know, the phrase was used in the classical period - in other words, it's not ...
-1
votes
1answer
269 views

When and why did Latin mutate into Italian, French and Spanish? [closed]

At which point in history was the language spoken not anymore called Latin but any of the succeeding languages like Italian, French or Spanish? What are the characteristics which made them different ...
9
votes
1answer
172 views

Difference between “hiems” and “hībernum”

The two words both translate to "winter" in English.1,2 Although information on Wikipedia is sparse, I gather that hiems is most commonly used as a noun, while hibernum is the noun form of the more ...
14
votes
1answer
113 views

When and where was the non-deponent form of verb “miror” used?

I've heard that deponent verb "miror" also had a non-deponent form. As far as I know it was in medieval Latin. So is it true? When exactly was the verb "mirare" used? Was it used everywhere, or was it ...
34
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
485 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
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 ...
15
votes
1answer
311 views

Were mnemonics used to teach Classical Latin?

Latin has quite a complex grammar and many mnemonics have been used in the past as a memory aid. A famous example is the rhytmic "rosa rosa rosam" which is used to teach the first declension. It was ...
16
votes
2answers
144 views

What is the difference in meaning or nuance between 'premō' and 'imprimō' in the sense of 'I press'?

Wiktionary shows that both premō and imprimō can mean (among other things) "I press." Looking at the formation of the latter word, the prefix im-, can negate the root word. How this applies to this ...
29
votes
2answers
531 views

Why did the letters in the alphabet shift position?

When presented with the Greek alphabet, it is like this: Α Β Γ Δ Ε Ζ Η Θ Ι Κ Λ Μ Ν Ξ Ο Π Ρ Σ Τ Υ Φ Χ Ψ Ω Or the Etruscan alphabet: A B G D E V Z H Θ I K L M N Ξ O P Ś Q R S T Y X Φ Ψ But if we ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the process for translating modern words like “tablet” or “smartphone” into Latin?

What is the process for translating modern words into Latin? For example, Latin Wikipedia has entries for tablet computatrum tabulare and smartphone sophophonum. Is there any particular process for ...
26
votes
2answers
383 views

How different were high medieval Latin dialects from different parts of Europe?

There are some regional differences in contemporary Ecclesiastical Latin, mostly in pronunciation (for example, "c" before e/i can be pronounced as [ʧ] or [ts]). Also, I know that as non-natives, ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

When can I perform an elision?

I've been reading poetry lately and sometimes, the meter just doesn't make sense. Now, I know that elision is a thing, but I don't know the rules. When can I elide letters? Are there any hard-and-fast ...
6
votes
1answer
171 views

What underlying semantic notions explain the etymology of 'pravus'?

[Wiktionnary in French for 'pravus' (adj.) :] De l’indo-européen commun *pra[1] (« penché ») qui n’existe qu’en latin et dans les langues celtiques. Pokorny rattache à ce radical pratum (« prairie, ...
30
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the origins of the two Latin names for boron, borium and boracium?

On Latin Wikipedia, there are a number of chemical elements with two Latin names, e.g. boron being borium and boracium. (Another example being nitrogen: nitrogenium or azotum.) What is the etymology ...
27
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the arguments for Classical pronunciations vs. Ecclesiastical pronunciation?

I know to some degree it's a matter of taste, but are the arguments for one pronunciation being used over another? Is it simply a matter of taste, or are there claims that one is "correct" and another ...
11
votes
1answer
131 views

What underlying semantic notions explain the meaning of 'against' for the preposition 'in'?

[Wiktionary :] 1. (governs the ablative) in, at, on (space)  [quotations ▼] 2. (governs the dative) within (time) 3. (governs the accusative) into, to  [quotations ▼] 4. (governs the ...
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?
42
votes
4answers
13k 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
748 views

“Eundem”/“eumdem” in medieval Latin

"Eundem" is the correct accusative of "idem". However, I saw "eumdem" in various texts of medieval and/or Church Latin. So I wonder: when did "eumdem" start to be used, perhaps by non-native Latin ...
8
votes
1answer
71 views

How else might the Latin 'torrere' have shifted semantically to mean 'rushing, roaring (of streams)'?

[Etymonline] [...] from Latin torrentem (nominative torrens) "rushing, roaring" (of streams), also "a rushing stream," originally as an adjective "roaring, boiling, burning, ...
6
votes
2answers
80 views

What underlying notion connects “a fall or leap” to 'prae' + 'caput'?

[precipitation (n.) :]  [...]  Latin praecipitationem (nominative praecipitatio) "act or fact of falling headlong, haste," noun of action from past participle stem of praecipitare "fall, be hasty,"...
19
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
83 views

What is the semantic field of 'exigō' ?

[exact (adj.)]   exigere "demand, require, enforce," literally "to drive or force out," also "finish, measure," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + agere "drive, lead, act" (see act (n.)). [Wiktionary:] ...
3
votes
1answer
106 views

What underlying notion connects “roll” (in “volvere”) to “leap” (in “*volvitare”)?

[vault (v.1) :]   [...] from Vulgar Latin *volvitare "to turn, leap," frequentative of Latin volvere "to turn, turn around, roll" (see volvox). [...] I ask not about the meanings "turn" or "...
36
votes
4answers
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, ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

How does ‘pontifex’ connect to the significance of bridge building as pious work?

From the Online Etymology Dictionary: pontifex (n.) member of the supreme college of priests in ancient Rome, 1570s, from Latin pontifex "high priest, chief of the priests," probably from ...
18
votes
6answers
5k views

Difference between “Lacrimosa” and “Lacrymosa”

This movement from Mozart's Requiem is known as either "Lacrimosa" or "Lacrymosa" (see for instance the Wikipedia article, which uses both spellings). Why is there two different spellings and which ...
30
votes
4answers
868 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/, ...
16
votes
2answers
314 views

How did “spina” shift semantically from “thorn” or “prickle” to “backbone”?

From the online etymology dictionary (boldface mine): spine (n.) c. 1400, "backbone," later "thornlike part" (early 15c.), from Old French espine "thorn, prickle; backbone, spine" (12c., Modern ...
12
votes
1answer
334 views

Does “ad” have its origin in Hebrew/Semitic languages?

The sources I've read usually say that 'ad' (i.e., in 'ad infinitum') is derived from Proto-Indo-European *ád ‎("near, at"). However, they don't refer any Semitic origins. But here's an excerpt from ...
33
votes
4answers
3k views

What effect should a macron have on the sound of a letter and its word?

Latin makes use of macrons (small lines above letters) to indicate a different pronunciation for that letter. Exactly what should the macron indicate about the pronunciation of the letter? Does the ...
32
votes
2answers
605 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 ...
42
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is “ille” used in Winnie ille Pu and Hobbitus Ille?

I learned early on that Latin has no articles. So why is it, then, that Winnie the Pooh and The Hobbit are translated Winnie ille Pu and Hobbitus Ille? Wouldn't it be more correct to not translate ...

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