17 votes

What did "actuālis" actually mean in Latin?

I'll try to answer my own question, if I may. After a bit of research I discovered that no more than 300 years ago the meaning of Spanish actual was actually the same as English actual, as seen by ...
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17 votes
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When did “c” before “e” or “i” start to be pronounced as [ts] (in contrast to classical [k])?

This pronunciation change was underway by the fifth century, but perhaps not finalized until the sixth or seventh. Paul M. Lloyd, in From Latin to Spanish, writes: There is no inscriptional ...
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13 votes

When did “c” before “e” or “i” start to be pronounced as [ts] (in contrast to classical [k])?

Sturtevant, The Pronunciation of Greek and Latin, says of the change in pronunciation of C before front vowels (p. 167): "The epigraphical evidence of this change is not abundant enough to inspire ...
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11 votes

Why do some Latin adverbs have accent on the last syllable?

This seems to be a mystery. I haven't found any good explanation yet; I don't know if this is because the subject has been neglected so far, or if it's because the very occurrence of the phenomenon is ...
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11 votes
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Verbum Hispānicum "mientras" significat "-m" fīnāle prōnūntiātum esse?

I don't think the /m/ of mientras implies a great deal about the pronunciation of Latin -m beyond what is already known from other sources. Mientras is clearly not just the regular outcome of applying ...
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9 votes

What did "actuālis" actually mean in Latin?

Per Lewis & Short: actŭālis , e, adj. id., I. active, practical, Macr. Somn. Scip. 2, 17.—Adv.: ac-tŭālĭter , actively, Myth. Vatic. vol. 3, p. 181 ed. Bod. So it wasn't particularly close ...
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9 votes

Why was Z used in digraphs?

Note that the letter Z has been associated with affricate sounds like [ts] for a very long time. Ancient use of "Z" for affricate sounds Zeta in Classical Attic Greek is thought to have ...
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9 votes

Why do some Latin adverbs have accent on the last syllable?

An important note about my sources: A question has been raised by another user re: sources in my answer. Anyone can easily check the accuracy of my statements and sources. Dr. Stotz is an expert in ...
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8 votes
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Why was Z used in digraphs?

Archaic and Classical Latin First of all, the letter Z has never been common in Archaic and Classical Latin, for a number of reasons, primarily because there was no such phoneme (see more on ...
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8 votes

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

Some of the reasons after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, contact between various regions slowed down and lost a lot of its importance; thus the strongest reason to maintain the unity of the ...
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8 votes

What did "actuālis" actually mean in Latin?

In philosophy and theology there is a core distinction between potentiality and actuality. This distinction is originally from Greek philosophy, but can also found in medieval Christian theology (e.g. ...
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8 votes

Did Boethius write in Classical, Late, or Medieval Latin?

In Medieval Latin, K. P. Harrington briefly describes the style of Boethius (480–524) in his chapter entitled "The Rise of Late Latin": The sort of straightforward prose writing that had dominated ...
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Why did "cattus" replace Latin "feles"?

From the history of cats, it is clear that domesticated cats were introduced to the Romans from Egypt. Before that, the Romans had ferrets as mouse hunters. So the classical word feles refers to the ...
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7 votes
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Does "quidam Ciceronis" indicate respect for the person?

Does quidam have a special meaning in this context? I have been unable to find any indication, beyond Chadwick's assertion, that using "quidam" was a "rhetorical convention of the time" to express ...
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7 votes

What would a 5th-6th century learned Latin pronunciation have sounded like?

Long comment: By the fifth century you'd already have this, this, this. Palatalization of "c" before "e" or "i" would still be under way. I'm not totally sure but "ae" and "oe" might have ...
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7 votes

Most used word for "quince" in classical Latin

According to the Etimologia botanica of Alexandre de Théis, these words originally referred to two different species. On the one hand, melimelum comes from the Greek μελίμηλον, and this originally ...
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When did the infinitive of purpose arise?

It actually does appear in vulgar Latin. Here's Palmer, The Latin Language 319: [Infinitives], as we saw, are formally either old datives or locatives and both these cases could express purpose. ...
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7 votes
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Did perveniō acquire a new meaning in Late Antiquity?

Section 2.b under the Merriam-Webster link Sebastian provided holds the answer, I believe: 2.b: to discover the inner contents or meaning The Latin is easy enough to get: pervenire meaning "to ...
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7 votes

Why is SoS 8.5 ‘dē dēsertō’ not interpreted as ‘from the forsaken’?

All dictionaries I have checked seem to agree that to indicate desert as a place, it should be neuter plural; I would have expected the Latin to be dē dēsertīs, not dē dēsertō. In Classical Latin, ...
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6 votes

What would a 5th-6th century learned Latin pronunciation have sounded like?

We can judge some features of educated Late Latin from the Appendix Probi (probably from the 3rd or 4th century). It is a list of corrected errors. There are can see that learned speech was different ...
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6 votes

Most used word for "quince" in classical Latin

This is from Plin. Nat. Hist. Book 15, ix, 37 — his proxima amplitudine mala quae vocamus cotonea et Graece cydonea, e Creta insula advecta. incurvatos trahunt ramos prohibentque crescere parentem. ...
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6 votes

Apicius' "sp[h]ondyli vel fonduli"

The original word is not fond-/fund-, but sphondylium, from the Greek σφονδύλιον. The original pronunciation would have been "sp-," but as the Greek phi softened, it turned into an /f/, and the /s/ in ...
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6 votes

Why do some Latin adverbs have accent on the last syllable?

It seems that Saint Augustine in your quote is describing the same phenomenon that we can see consistently marked in later Latin. While trying to read Marracci's 'Refutatio Alcorani' (https://books....
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6 votes

Analysis of Dative in >>Confessions<<

Here is the relevant passage: Augustine. Confessiones 2.3.6: Itaque illa exilivit pia trepidatione ac tremore et, quamvis mihi nondum fideli, timuit tamen vias distortas in quibus ambulant qui ponunt ...
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What does "facti" mean in this sentence?

In this case, facti is nominative plural, agreeing with Tzani, not genitive singular. You're right that the word order is a little strange, especially since Romanorum is separated from republica. Here'...
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6 votes

Why ipsa and not ipsae in Psalms 42:3?

Draconis is right that the neuter plural is possible, but that's not the whole story with this passage. This translation (and remember that all of the Vulgate is a translation) comes from the ...
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5 votes

What did "actuālis" actually mean in Latin?

Latin actualis first occurs in Macrobius (5th century AD), who uses it to mean “active, efficient”. This is also the original meaning of French actuel. The shift of meaning to “present, current” ...
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5 votes

Most used word for "quince" in classical Latin

Very strangely, there is no entry for melimelum in (the electronic version of) L&S. I do not have the print version before me at the moment, but there are lots of good references (Pliny and others)...
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5 votes
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Does "plurimi" imply "vast majority" in Augustine's Enchiridion?

One can use quam as an intensifier of plurimi, so that quam plurimi is most naturally translated as "very many" as in the translation you cite, or perhaps "quite many". There are several classical ...
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4 votes
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Latin etymology of Spanish "tarde"

The "slow" meaning came first. The Latin adjective is tardus -a -um (with adverb tarde), and its origin is unknown. But it definitely was used for "late" or "slow" in Latin (hence "tardy", "...
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