40 votes
Accepted

Accusative equals nominative for neuter words – how universal is this and why?

I believe there are no exceptions to this rule. That's what I have always read, and I have never encountered any, neither in Greek nor in Latin, nor even in German. There is an hypothesis about the ...
  • 19k
27 votes
Accepted

Do *Mundi* and *Mundum* mean different things?

These are the exact same word, and yes both mean "world" but no you cannot substitute them for each other. Latin is a fully inflexional language, which means that the words have endings which change ...
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27 votes
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Meaning of "dies illa" from Dies Irae

This means "illa" definitely doesn't refer to "dies". But it does! The word dies can be feminine, and it is here. The feminine gender is rarer but it is the typical choice for a special day like an ...
22 votes
Accepted

When is "diēs" masculine, when is it feminine, and why can this word take different genders?

I believe there's no straightforward answer as to „why different usage contexts correlate to different grammatical gender“, but the etymological origin gives some insights to the gender. Diēs comes ...
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20 votes
Accepted

What is the vocative of Gnaeus?

I searched for the vocative form Gnaee in several corpora but did not find any results. A general web search seems to reveal only automatically generated vocatives, which I would not lend much ...
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19 votes
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What is the significance of the different declensions and conjugations?

It's pretty much arbitrary. There are some standard patterns: first-declension nouns tend to be feminine, second-declension masculine/neuter, third-declension abstract concepts, fourth-declension ...
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19 votes
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What are the relative frequencies of cases in Latin?

From the Perseus Database, the frequency of the cases is as follows: Nouns (19630): accusative 31.6% ablative 25.8% nominative 22.6% genitive 13.6% dative 4.6% vocative 1.2% locative 0.2% unknown 0....
19 votes
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Is "victurus" a future participle of "vivo" and "vinco"?

Sebastian Koppehel said the important bits but I want to provide some background for people who like that sort of thing (me). Don't let this confuse you if you don't find it helpful—it can be a lot ...
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16 votes
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Same ending of "Mediolanensis" in "Archiepiscopus Mediolanensis" and "Archidioecesis Mediolanensis"

There are two (main) classes of adjectives in Latin: Some adjectives use the first declension for feminines (e.g. Romana, "Roman") and the second declension for masculines and neuters (e.g. Romanus ...
16 votes

What is the difference between Iesus and Jesu?

The phrase you quote has words in the vocative case. Domine Fili unigenite Jesu Christe The vocative case is used for address. That is, O Lord, only begotten son, Jesus Christ The particle O ...
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16 votes

What declension is the name, Aeneas?

It is of the first declension, but not of the most typical kind. I would divide the first declension into four classes: Case (Feminine) A-type Masculine A-type Feminine E-type Masculine E-type ...
16 votes

Is "victurus" a future participle of "vivo" and "vinco"?

If you look up vivo and vinco in a dictionary, you will see that both have the same supine stem: victum. Thus they share not only the future participle, but also the two supines and the perfect ...
14 votes
Accepted

Why is Jesus inflected in such a way?

'Why' isn't usually a good question for these types of things, because the answer is often "just because." The Greek isn't typical, but it does have a parallel with o-contracted words like νοῦς, ...
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14 votes
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Did grammarians consider the adverbial -e a case ending?

In a recent paper (included in The Latin of the Grammarians), I have made the point that Latin grammarians, unlike their Greek predecessors, did not expressly stress the uninflectional nature of ...
14 votes

When is "diēs" masculine, when is it feminine, and why can this word take different genders?

I can only partially answer your question. In medieval documents dies is sometimes feminine where based on classical usage we would expect it to be masculine. Examples: Liber Pontificalis1 (~10th ...
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14 votes

Accusative equals nominative for neuter words – how universal is this and why?

To answer your second question, this rule is completely exceptionless, not only in Latin but in all Indo-European languages (that is, those that have a neuter gender at all). neuter gender always ...
  • 28.7k
14 votes

Why is suus in the accusative feminine singular in this sentence?

This is a really common stumbling block for those approaching Latin from the background of a language like English, so it merits a careful step-by-step explanation. I'll break my response into two ...
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14 votes

Is "Io" accusative case in "Iuppiter, rex deorum, pulchram Io amabat"?

A number of Greek names ending in -ō have both Latin and Greek style declensions. For example:   Greek Latin nom. Dīdō Dīdō acc. Dīdō Dīdōnem gen. Dīdūs Dīdōnis dat. Dīdō Dīdōnī abl. Dīdō Dīdōne ...
13 votes
Accepted

Why does Latin not have an instrumental case?

I'm not sure there is more of a "why" to it than the fact that, in Latin, the ablative mostly absorbed the Proto-Indo-European instrumental's functions as the latter disappeared, just as the Greek ...
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13 votes

Do *Mundi* and *Mundum* mean different things?

The Latin word used for "world" here is mundus. This word has several forms (singular/plural): nominative: mundus/mundi accusative: mundum/mundos genitive: mundi/mundorum dative: mundo/mundis ...
13 votes
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What gender would "this" or "that" be in if there is no subject to describe?

To complete your example, it would be, Quid est hoc? What is this? Because "what" is neuter, whereas "who" could be masculine or feminine. The demonstratives (hic, ille, iste, ...
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13 votes
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Which Latin declension is most common?

According to this study, the distribution is as follows: 1st declension 21.6% 2nd declension 23.7% 3rd declension 52.6% 4th declension 1.4% 5th declension 0.7% ("Development of Gender ...
13 votes

Meaning of "dies illa" from Dies Irae

It is the feminine nominative and refers to dies. It means “that day.” You do not say why you think you can definitely rule it out, but I guess you think dies is masculine, which is indeed the case. ...
13 votes
Accepted

Why is *dōna* the plural acc. Instead of *donos* like the rest of the 2nd declensions?

Dōnum is neuter; amīcus, fīlius, and ager are masculine. Neuter nouns are always the same in both the nominative and accusative case, in both singular and plural. See this question for more about how ...
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13 votes
Accepted

Alternative methods of ordering declensions

It is not an ordering, but it is common in the context of historical linguistics or comparative Indo-European linguistics to categorize nouns by the ending element of the stem: first declension is ā-...
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13 votes

Is "Io" accusative case in "Iuppiter, rex deorum, pulchram Io amabat"?

For unfamiliar words, it never hurts to check the dictionary. Here is what Lewis and Short have: Īō, Iūs, and Īōn , Iōnis, f., = Ἰώ, I.a daughter of Inachus, king of Argos, beloved by Jupiter, and ...
  • 41.8k
12 votes

Why does singular "mons" become plural "montes"?

Short answer: Latin does not allow the sequence ts (except in compound words), so an expected form like monts was remade into mons. Of course, this only leads to the further question of why this ...
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12 votes
Accepted

Remnants of the dual number

The -ī of vīgintī "20" is originally a dual ending, the same one as in frēnī (PIE *-ih₁). This is why the ending of vīgintī is different from that of the other tens (trīgintā etc.)
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12 votes

What is the difference between Iesus and Jesu?

Ancient Latin had no separate letter for the the vowel I and the consonant Y (J in German). They were both written as I. In Medieval Latin, though, a development took place that differentiated between ...
  • 41.8k
12 votes
Accepted

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

Regarding why the Latin text uses the accusative and then the nominative, this is simply because the Vulgate is closely following the Greek original: 6 ὃς ἀποδώσει ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ· 7 τοῖς ...
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