23

(This answer is based on Weiss's Historical and Comparative Grammar of Latin and Clackson and Horrocks's Blackwell History of the Latin Language.) The first thing to know about these two ablative endings, -e and -ī, is that neither of them is descended from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) ablative ending. -e comes most probably from the PIE locative ending, *...


20

The Latin ablative case represents a merger of three earlier Proto-Indo European (PIE) cases: the ablative (sometimes referred to as the 'from' case, because it was used to express ideas of source, separation, etc. – ideas where English often can use the preposition 'from'), the sociative-instrumental ('with' case), and the locative ('in'/'on' case). Of ...


17

There is a locative case in Proto-Indo-European, but in many later languages it merged into other cases, Slavonic languages being an exception. (So Slavonic didn't invent the locative case.) Old Latin had a functioning locative case, but for a number of reasons (like shift in pronunciation), the locative case merged for the most part into the ablative in ...


15

This is a very abbreviated answer, which I will intend to expand on in the future (unless others get in there before me). The short answer is that the ablative didn't replace any earlier case - it dates back to at least late Proto-Indo-European (PIE), which developed a complex system of cases (including the ablative) best preserved (in general) in Sanskrit. ...


12

I read through Ron Conte's blog post and find it sloppy and unscholarly. He makes the (correct) point that Fr. Z's proposed translation sounds literal and stinted and, almost in the same words, asks us to use his translation even though it makes no grammatical sense, because he has translated many things. It does not help that his proposed translation is ...


10

History of Italian is not my forte - I am not going to pretend to know Italian grammar or its history. Obviously, it takes years and decades to become an expert in such matters, so I can only summarize some relevant research I've been able to find recently. Let's wait what our Italian experts might say - I know we have them here. Professor Martin Maiden (...


10

Saying that Italian noun and adjective forms are derived from Latin accusative forms is a simplification. The nominative is also a source in some cases, such as for the singular form of the noun uomo. In other cases, neither the Classical Latin nominative nor the Classical Latin accusative seems to be sufficient to explain the form of an Italian word (...


9

Yes, this is attested in Classical Latin, particularly in the case of the non-human serving as an agent (taking the preposition). Allen and Greenough, §405: The ablative of the agent is commonest with nouns denoting persons, but it occurs also with names of things or qualities when these are conceived as performing an action and so are partly or wholly ...


9

One can split up the process of finding the case to three steps: Find all possible cases a word could possibly be. Also bear in mind that there might be several options for the base word, like supplici coming from either supplex or supplicium. Check the declension tables if you don't remember them by heart. Analyze the grammatical context. Does the word go ...


8

Roundly, the ablative is used for price and the genitive for value. The ablative of price occurs with verbs of acquiring, buying, selling etc., as in mensam quadraginta sestertiis emit. As well as specific forms there are, of course, general ablatives of price such as magno, parvo, vili. The genitive of value (quanti, tanti, plurimi, nihili etc.), as you ...


8

Among Bennett (§180), Allen & Greenough (§397b), and Gildersleeve & Lodge (§338), the last provides the most detail on this construction. Two varieties are identified: Definite: The Accusative of the part affected Indefinite: cētera, alia, reliqua, omnia, plēraque, cūncta; in other respects, in all respects, in most respects. The first ...


8

Yes, it does have an ancient origin. See RFC 5332 (3.6.5): When used in a reply, the field body MAY start with the string "Re: " (an abbreviation of the Latin "in re", meaning "in the matter of") followed by the contents of the "Subject:" field body of the original message. If this is done, only one instance of the literal string "Re: ...


7

In this instance, alas, though I'm sure in no other, you are mistaken. Haruspex is a nominative singular noun meaning a kind of soothsayer. It takes a third-person singular verb, which cenaret is. Cum followed by a subjunctive can mean either "when" (temporal) or "since, because" (circumstantial). In this case, temporal seems more appropriate, so the ...


7

The following is my summary of Silvia Luraghi 2010 paper, in the tabular format (obviously, here I summarized those parts that are relevant to your question only). All the examples are hers, including the translation. Luraghi 1986 writes that in Latin “human agents are usually marked by a prepositional phrase introduced by the preposition ab, which takes ...


7

Both Latin and Slavic languages descend from parent Proto-Indo-European language spoken around 3500 BC north of the Caspian Sea. PIE language, as it is reconstructed, had the following cases: Nominative Genetive Dative Allative? (not certain) Accusative Instrumental Locative Ablative Vocative Latin, through its development, merged instrumental, ablative ...


7

Fortunately, there is a straightforward answer. In medieval Latin, the ablative gerund often communicates manner. The result is not so different from a participle or even an adverb or adverbial phrase. For example, you will read that someone is doing something "flendo." This doesn't mean "by means of weeping," it just means "while weeping" or "in tears." So,...


7

(I am posting my previous comment here in part because I hope this will help, in some small way, to get this site past the beta stage. However, I do not think my comments deserve a bounty.) Fr. Z seems correct to me: the ablative gerund, which can come close to being a mere present participle, usually expresses an ablative of means or cause (or is used ...


7

I am a Dominican friar; in our priory in Olomouc in Czech Republic we pray parts of the Liturgy of the Hours in Latin. Brothers most fluent in Latin pronounce all the lengths mostly correctly, others (including me) try to pronounce them making many mistakes. Since our native language distinguishes long and short vowels, pronouncing everything short sound bit ...


6

You are right that there will be the occasional ambiguity. But there are several ways in which the ambiguity is normally resolved. The ablative without a preposition is not normally used with a person. A deo data = given by a god In deo inventum = found in a god Cum deo perire = to perish with a god Deo data = given to a god (in all ...


6

I don't know about the Vatican. But I've met very few people at conventicula, living-Latin events, etc., who make any distinction whatsoever. I don't generally have a problem, I think in part because nobody talks in insane periods like Cicero uses for orations, and with many speakers, unfortunately, though by no means a majority, word order is closer to ...


6

I'll give you a partial answer, but I'm not a fluent reader yet, so others will be better able to say. If the structure is complex enough that I have to "work it out," then it's sort of moot. But, as I've grown more experienced, the complexity of sentences I've been able to "just read" has slowly increased. And when I'm "just reading," it seems I'm able to ...


6

FWIW, Pope Francis spoke about this recently (in an article translated into English by five independent experts): "I always felt my motto, Miserando atque Eligendo [By Having Mercy and by Choosing Him], was very true for me.” The motto is taken from the Homilies of Bede the Venerable, who writes in his comments on the Gospel story of the calling of ...


6

It is quite a usual thing in Latin to use the ablative case to indicate the circumstances under which the main clause's action (sc. that of the main verb) happens. In such a case, the rule is that the noun (or pronoun) may not appear in the main sentence. You seem to be confounding the ablative absolute with this, the so-called ablative of attendant ...


6

It seems to me this was not very common. For instance, Pinkster 2015 postulates the following observation, based on his corpus research: "The arguments of three-place verbs are always distinctly marked (with some exceptions, Chapter 12.4). He gives the following data: the second argument: ACC (81%), PREP (9%), DAT (6%), ABL (4%), GEN (no data); the ...


6

The L&S entry is pretty clear, in my opinion. Per takes the accusative, but it has mistakenly been used with the ablative. It cites two examples from later inscriptions: Inscr. Miseni Repert. ex a. p. Chr. n. 159 Inscr. Orell. 3300 After some tracking down, I found it in Campania tardoantica (284-604 d.C.). Here is a relevant image from pg. 283:


6

Let me make some remarks on what you say above: "Imagine you want to say something like "from us to you [plural]" (where "from" indicates ablative and "to" dative). Since the order is usually uninformative in Latin, nobis vobis is not precise enough. Would something like a nobis vobis be enough?". As pointed out by Joonas, context is important here. For ...


6

As L&S put it, in their classic textwall style (entry for in, II.C.2): Of the object or end in view, regarded also as the motive of action or effect: “non te in me illiberalem, sed me in se neglegentem putabit,” Cic. Fam. 13, 1, 16: “neglegentior in patrem,” Just. 32, 3, 1: “in quem omnes intenderat curas,” Curt. 3, 1, 21: “quos ardere in proelia vidi,...


5

Ovid's Remédia Amórés 422 suggests that your grammar is mistaken and that non-humans with agency can be considered agents: Á cane nón mágnó sæpe tenétur aper. Cicero's Dé Officiís 1.68 suggests that, at least metaphorically, emotions can be considered agents: Nón est autem cónsentáneum, quí metú non frangátur, eum frangí cupiditáte, nec quí invictum ...


5

I think there is a semantic difference between "a Gnaeo" for the agent and "sica" for the instrument. The agent will be expressed in this way only in a passive sentence, but the ablative of instrument can be used also in an active sentence (Marcum sica occidit). The agent is normally animate. Note that there is a difference between "animate" (=humans, gods, ...


5

Re was certainly used with the same meaning, as stendarr points out in another answer, but it was not used in the same manner. For example, Cicero did not start his letters with it, although there are examples of him using the word with the meaning "in the matter of." There are many references in ancient texts showing the use of the word res in the ...


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