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21
votes
1answer
751 views

When did the word “ly” enter the Latin language and where did it come from?

In an answer to this question, I gave examples of the word "ly" in Medieval Latin. This leads me to wonder when the term entered the language and where it came from? Because it resembles the article ...
21
votes
1answer
1k views

When did scriptio continua and interpuncts give way to spaces between words in Latin?

From this overview of punctuation in Classical Latin, I understand that word spacing as we know it didn't really exist at that time: either an interpunct was used to separate words, or there was no ...
20
votes
3answers
6k views

What does “Vivamus vel libero perit Americae” on Hannity's new book mean?

Sean Hannity is coming out with a new book called Live Free or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink. At the bottom is a perplexing subtitle in Latin: VIVAMUS VEL LIBERO PERIT AMERICAE Here's ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

What did Romans call their language?

I was taught that Latinus is an adjective related to the area of Latium. Latin would be called lingua Latina, "the language of Latium", never merely Latina. There is a single-word expression referring ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the most common classical Latin word that we don't understand?

I assume that we do not know the meaning of every single word attested in classical and older Latin (literature, inscriptions, and other material). If this assumption is false, it makes this question ...
20
votes
2answers
662 views

Is there a way to make a sentence ironic in Latin?

Is there a way (spoken or written) to make a phrase sound ironic in Latin? For example "good for you" would be "tibi bonum est"? Could there be intonation or another word to make it sound ironic?
20
votes
1answer
2k views

Are the two cums related?

In short, is there a relation between the preposition cum and the conjunction cum? It makes some sense that the conjunction would come from the preposition. One could interpret some cum clauses so ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

Why did scientists abandon Latin in their publications?

Whereas the Latin language was used by almost every scientist until the 18th century, this is a fact that since then the use of Latin in scientific publication has fastly decreased: the best example ...
20
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 ...
20
votes
1answer
581 views

Did ancient Romans raise the intonation of their voices when asking questions?

I understand that in Classical Latin, when someone asks a question, the -ne causes stress patterns for some words to be modified, so that both the -ne and the new stress pattern indicates that the ...
19
votes
6answers
2k views

Was “oscŭlum” a cultured word in Latin?

The Spanish language has two words for kiss: Beso, from Latin basium. Ósculo, from Latin oscŭlum. The second one is very seldom used, and only in literature as it is a cultured word. Nonetheless, it ...
19
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a Latin version of “Quick brown fox…”?

"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" is an English pangram, i.e. a phrase or sentence that contains all the letters of the alphabet (Wiki). Pangrams are often used in font typography to show ...
19
votes
5answers
2k views

“Miserando atque eligendo”

There seem to be two schools of thought about the meaning of the motto on Pope Francis's coat of arms: miserando atque eligendo These words are taken from the 21st homily of the Venerable Bede, ...
19
votes
4answers
405 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&...
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 ...
19
votes
2answers
942 views

Are there any complete Latin inscriptions written in boustrophedon?

The Wikipedia entry for Lapis Niger mentions that the inscription was written in boustrophedon, alternating reading direction between every line. This inscription is far from complete. Are there Latin ...
19
votes
2answers
9k views

What are the moon phases in Latin?

Here is a list of phases that we distinguish in English (taken from here): Full Moon Waning Gibbous Moon Last Quarter Moon Waning Crescent Moon New Moon Waxing Crescent Moon First Quarter Moon Waxing ...
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
2answers
10k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
3k 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, ...
19
votes
3answers
256 views

What is the meaning of “suffragio” at the time of Calvin?

In the 1559 edition of Calvin's Institutes, he writes: Quare dum illam recipit, ac suffragio suo obsignat, non ex dubia aut alioqui controversa authenticam reddit Ford L. Battles renders it this ...
19
votes
4answers
814 views

Why do fear clauses invert the meaning of ut and ne?

In a fear clause, we'd write something like this: Timeo ne angue necer I fear I will be killed by a dragon As usual, my Latin writing is bad, and I only barely remember passive subjunctive. Please ...
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 ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Are there native tongue-twisters in Latin?

Many languages have well established "tongue-twisters" (phrases difficult to articulate). In my native Spanish, "classic" examples are Pedro Pablo Pinto Pérez Pereira, pobre ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do we learn the genitive singular of each Latin noun?

When Latin nouns are listed for memorisation they are listed with the nom. sg., the gen. sg. and their gender. E.g. agricola, agricolae, masculine. Why are each of these forms necessary for ...
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 ...
18
votes
3answers
11k views

How does “It's totally fucked” translate to Latin?

The closest I can manage (uneducated) is "Prorsus Futui Est," but I suspect that's somewhat (if not completely) wrong.
18
votes
3answers
3k views

Historicity doubted by Romans

The Roman historians seem happy to mix history with myth with no discussion on the reliability of one's sources — or even a mention of the sources in the first place. I would like to imagine ...
18
votes
3answers
9k 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,...
18
votes
1answer
3k views

What does the Latin abbreviation “A. O. R.” stand for?

Lately I have come across what appears to be a Latin abbreviation, "A. O. R.," on several title pages of books from the eighteenth century. The abbreviation may have to do with the date, perhaps? Here'...
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 ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

What is “slipped my mind” in Latin?

In English and other languages, we often use alternatives to "I forgot," apparently to shift blame from ourselves to inanimate objects. So in English, we say, It slipped my mind. And in Spanish: ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the distinction between gaudium and laetitia when both denote “joy”?

Both gaudium and laetitia denote joy, but appear to be used differently depending on the circumstances. What is the distinction between the two (or more) Latin words for joy?
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 ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Are there Latin words known only by reconstruction from Romance languages?

I presume that many Latin words made it to the Romance languages, but were never attested in writing, whether because they were limited to Vulgar Latin or just because by chance no writer used them ...
18
votes
2answers
444 views

Nonne “a fortiori, a priori, a posteriori” solecismi sunt?

Are the terms a fortiori, a priori, and a posteriori bad Latin? If so, how and when did they become established? I understand that the dative case never takes a preposition in Latin—a most welcome ...
18
votes
1answer
503 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
691 views

What were used as “filler” words in Classical Latin?

Do scholars have any idea what "words" were used as filler words in Classical Latin, similar to uh and um in English? Surely Cicero and other great orators instructed their pupils to never, ever say &...
18
votes
1answer
768 views

What is an overview of the differences between Classical and Ecclesiastical Latin?

I'm aware of some of the differences in pronunciation between the two, and perhaps this can be covered in greater detail elsewhere, but are there also any other key areas of differences (with perhaps ...
18
votes
2answers
287 views

How would a Roman refer to a great-great-great- . . . -great-grandparent?

Referring to progressively more distance ancestors, I would list my Pater (father) Avus (grandfather) After this point, it gets a bit shaky. This, for example, gives past ancestors as Proavus (...
18
votes
1answer
772 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
288 views

Can “si etiam” have the same meaning as “etiam si”?

As is well known, "etiam si" is a Latin conjunction that means "even if." Are there any examples in Classical or Medieval Latin in which reversing the word order and saying "si etiam" preserves the ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

When and why did the ablative form?

When did the ablative originate? Additionally, I’d like to know which case was used before the ablative for adverbials. I think it replaced the dative, as I also study Ancient Greek. In that language, ...
17
votes
3answers
394 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does “ῤάρος” have a smooth breathing?

I recently discovered that LSJ lists exactly two words beginning with ῤ (rho with a smooth breathing mark): ῤάρος and its diminutive ῤάριον. Most beginning Greek students are taught, of course, that ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

The best way to say *interesting* in Latin

It's sometimes difficult to convey some meaning in such an old language as Latin. I have trouble with the word interesting. I've heard someone say iucundus in this meaning, but it's not an accurate ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

How to Practice Speaking Latin

How does one go about learning to speak Latin fluently? I am considering three options. Translation Based Method - Doing many translations (from Latin to English) would increase my vocabulary in ...
17
votes
3answers
846 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
3k views

Please help translate this short Latin phrase left behind by a deceased man

I worked an estate sale a few years ago and the experience has never left me. The man who passed away left this note on a chalk board and I found a photo of it the other day. I have wondered what it ...
17
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'...

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