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15
votes
2answers
461 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
3answers
564 views

Was the plural future imperative ever used?

In Latin today, we ran across the word "esto", which our teacher told us is the future singular imperative of "sum, esse". When I half-jokingly asked what the plural was, he thought for a few seconds ...
15
votes
2answers
377 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
422 views

Why are Greek nouns in -ον, -ος transliterated in Latin as -um, -us?

Although there are numerous conventions that appear to be followed when borrowing words from Greek to English, an especially noticeable one is the change made to the endings of 2nd declension nouns, ...
15
votes
2answers
253 views

Can there be double diminutives in Latin?

I've been reading some Latin of the 17th and 18th centuries and am wondering if it is possible for there to be "double diminutives." As I understand it, the word "cerebellum" (Oxford Latin = "brain") ...
15
votes
1answer
316 views

Translating “Nocte volat caelī mediō”

Line 184 of Vergil's Aeneid, Book IV, begins as follows: Nocte volat caelī mediō Would this be translated as "She of the sky flies in the middle of the night", or "At night she flies in the middle ...
15
votes
1answer
833 views

How does forem compare to essem?

The verb esse has two sets of imperfect conjunctive forms: essem, esses, esset… and forem, fores, foret… What is the difference between these two, in meaning and in use? Are there cases ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

What was a draco?

The Latin dictionaries I checked suggest that the word draco is attested in classical literature and it is often translated as "dragon". However, it is my impression — which may well be wrong! &...
15
votes
2answers
338 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. ...
15
votes
1answer
488 views

What did the Romans consider the “basic” form of a verb?

Many of us are used to using the (active present) infinitive form of a verb as a "label" or "basic form" or "representative" of the verb. By this I refer to uses like dictionary entries or grammatical ...
15
votes
2answers
574 views

Quid est differentia inter «opus est» et «necesse est»?

Quid est differentia inter «opus est» et «necesse est»? Exempli gratia,1 "emas non quod opus est, sed quod necesse est; quod non opus est, asse earum est," Quoque «opus est» scriptum est ...
15
votes
1answer
106 views

“qua dabatur liberum aeris spatium” in a letter of Erasmus

Erasmus's letter 1756 (readable in its entirety here) describes an explosion of gunpowder in a castle at Basel. I'm having trouble understanding a five-word phrase in the letter. This is the passage: ...
15
votes
1answer
9k views

When and how much did Romans speak Greek?

Here are a few historical facts that most amateur ancient historians are aware of: The Romans began speaking Latin. After the conquest of Alexander the Great, Greek became a "lingua franca" in the ...
15
votes
1answer
674 views

Are there any other neuter words of the second declension that end on -us than “virus”?

Virus is a neuter word of the second declension even though it ends on -us, as evidenced by its genitive on -i (it has no plural). Are there any other such words? Bonus question: is it possible that ...
15
votes
1answer
206 views

Were there grammatical disagreements in Latin?

Latin has such a long history that at some point some native — or otherwise very fluent — speakers surely have disagreed about what is correct and grammatical Latin. I would like to know ...
15
votes
1answer
331 views

Are there dictionaries that translate profanities profanely?

Sometimes I come across Latin profanities, for example when reading a certain poem of Catullus. Many dictionaries fail to translate profanities properly, perhaps in order to maintain a certain level ...
15
votes
2answers
871 views

Why did Medieval Latin use “ad” with the accusative instead of just using the dative?

Part of Documents of Medieval Latin (page 14) states several differences between Classical Latin and Medieval Latin. One is an increased use of prepositions where Classical Latin used a simple ...
15
votes
1answer
321 views

Meaning and etymology of ūrīnor and ūrīna: “to dive” comes from “pee”?

Starting from a Bart Simpson prank call, I looked for "urinator" in Wiktionary, and suddenly found myself faced with the Latin meaning of the word, that is, ūrīnātor meaning "diver"...
15
votes
1answer
696 views

Translating “I too can write in Latin”

I want to translate this short sentence to Latin: I too can write in Latin. I mean that there are also others who know Latin, not that I can write in other languages or that I can speak Latin. ...
15
votes
2answers
187 views

Is there a difference between 'a' and 'de' when the meaning is 'from'?

The Latin preposition de takes an ablative object and has several different translations including 'about', 'of', 'down from' and 'from'. The preposition a/ab also has multiple meanings including '...
15
votes
1answer
369 views

Addressing a superior in Latin

Apologies if this is too basic, and feel free to delete, but I am curious to know how Romans would address a person of higher status - not a slave his/her master/mistress - but, for instance, a wage-...
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 ...
15
votes
1answer
318 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

What would be a “night owl” in Latin?

On the recommendation of an esteemed Finnish member of our forum, I decided to ask how one would translate "night owl" into Latin. night owl (noun) a person who keeps late hours at night I ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Meaning of “dies illa” from Dies Irae

The first verse from "Dies Irae" goes like Dies irae, dies illa I'm trying to understand what "illa" is referring to. According to the declension table for pronouns, "illa" corresponds either to ...
14
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3answers
1k views

Why do Latin nouns (like cena, -ae) include two forms?

So I recently learned the first declension nouns concept and my list of new vocabularies to learn suddenly changed. Words were usually presented as: sagitta pecunia etc. Now, they indicate the ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

What does this text mean with capitalized letters?

I saw this text carved at the foot of a statue in Klagenfurt, Austria: I guess it's in Latin and Google translate gave me a sketchy translation. But I don't get why some letters are capitalized? ...
14
votes
3answers
872 views

How should I pronounce 'ait'?

I'm interested in the proper Classical pronunciation of the word 'ait'. I've been pronouncing it as 'ate', /eɪt/. Should it instead be pronounced as /a.it/ or even /aɪ.it/? What evidence is there ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Proper parsing of “Ite, missa est”

In the Catholic liturgy at the dismissal, the Latin phrase used is "Ite, missa est." The usual translation for this is "Go, the Mass has ended." Can someone suggest a proper parsing of this somewhat ...
14
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3answers
2k views

How to translate “Ceteris Paribus”?

I'm studying economics, and the words ceteris paribus are often used. I know it means that one thing changes, but that the other factors stay the same. I was trying to figure out the translation ...
14
votes
2answers
600 views

What was the sibilant in θάλασσα?

The word θάλασσα thálassa "sea" is spelled in various different ways, with different letters replacing the sigmas: some dialects had a tau, for example, while others had a theta. Do we know (through ...
14
votes
2answers
413 views

Are there many irregular adjectives for the Latin comparison?

I just learned the comparison for adjectives. Most adjectives have regular conjugations (every case/grammatical gender has its own output). But I learned a few irregular adjectives as well (all in ...
14
votes
2answers
481 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
4k views

Does it make sense to display a decimal number such as 12.34 as Roman numerals? If not, how else?

I'm auto-converting any "Arabic" number in a text to Roman numerals. This means that: 123 Becomes: CXXIII But what to do when I encounter decimals such as: 12.34 ? Should I really do: XII....
14
votes
2answers
930 views

New testament Romans 2:8 - Why is nominative used instead of accusative like the previous verse?

See the Vatican version here: 6 qui reddet unicuique secundum opera eius: 7 his quidem, qui secundum patientiam boni operis gloriam et honorem et incorruptionem quaerunt, vitam aeternam; ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

What is a skeleton called?

Other than homo osseus, are there any words for skeleton? In the sense of an enemy of in a video game or similar media, I would use larva, or "evil spirit." But, what about a formation of bones: a ...
14
votes
2answers
756 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Constructing Latin diminutives

In the course of trying to construct an accurate diminutive form of the word abdomen - which for the record is Latin in origin (in the form abdōmen), having been borrowed by English via Middle French -...
14
votes
1answer
412 views

Where does our knowledge of the ancient poetic meters come from?

I have seen several accounts of ancient poetic meters, but it just occurred to me that none of them discussed the origin of the information. Where does our knowledge of the ancient poetic meters come ...
14
votes
1answer
679 views

Why is Jesus inflected in such a way?

The name Iesus is declined in a very peculiar way in Latin, and no other word seems to follow similar declensions. Why is this so? Is there a way to put this broader declension in context to make some ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

What does the “Roman” numeral Ɔ represent?

It's conceivable that the numeral Ɔ and letters it combines with are a mediaeval conceit rather than truly Roman — hopefully this is still on topic. I'm trying to decipher the publication date of a ...
14
votes
1answer
239 views

What is the earliest known word borrowed from Latin to Greek?

There was a great cultural borrowing of ideas from Greece to Rome, and a number of Greek words ended up being borrowed to Latin. But it must have happened the other way, too, at some point. What is ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

What does the suffix -mentum add to a word's meaning?

Lewis and Short lists 275 words ending in -mentum, many of which have come into English: argumentum augmentum documentum fragmentum pigmentum segmentum etc. Wiktionary (cited as an example, not as ...
14
votes
1answer
154 views

Can I put multiple words in a list, with “-que” on the last one?

As a sort of followup to Are "-que" and "et" equivalent?, I'd like to know if this would be considered a valid construction (in classical-latin): Arma virum navesque cano (...
14
votes
2answers
733 views

Latin passive endings: Why is -mini sticking out

The Latin passive ending usually feature an additional letter R compared to the active endings: laud-or, -aris, -atur, -amur, -antur. However, the second person plural is different, using the ending -...
14
votes
1answer
173 views

Why does “e” occur in forms of 'vōs' but not 'nōs'?

The forms of nōs and vōs exhibit a pattern, except in the genitive (nostrī/um, vestrī/um) and the possessive (noster, vester). Did vōs originally resemble nōs in all its forms, only to diverge later? ...
14
votes
1answer
332 views

How was perpendicularity expressed in classical Latin?

In today's mathematics, two lines are said to be normal to each other if they are at a right angle (perpendicular) to each other. I want to know how this can be expressed in classical Latin. Closely ...
14
votes
2answers
499 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, ...
14
votes
1answer
127 views

Why is “repetunt” 3rd pl active in Luke 12:20 (Vulgate)?

I was reading today's gospel from the Roman calendar and noticed this in Luke 12:20: dixit autem illi Deus stulte hac nocte animam tuam repetunt a te quae autem parasti cuius erunt I was struck by ...
14
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2answers
642 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 ...

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