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 ...
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35 votes
Accepted

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

Can they not be worked out from each other? No! That's the whole point for learning all of them. Why are each of these forms necessary for memorisation? That is the minimal amount of information to ...
26 votes
Accepted

Why do ablatives of the 3rd declension sometimes end on -e, at other times on -i?

(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 ...
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23 votes

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

Joonas's answer is spot-on, but to give some more illustrations: Quite a lot of Latin nouns end in -us; it's one of the best-known features of the language. But they don't all decline the same! ...
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21 votes
Accepted

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

The second form is the genitive singular. The above answers address the substance of your question, but I wanted to add as a supplementary answer something that doesn't appear to be explicitly stated ...
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20 votes
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Can "ee" appear in Latin?

First, Galilaee sounds right. See this question about the vocative of Gnaeus for details. There are situations where one finds -ee- in Latin without the first e belonging to ae. What I found is not ...
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....
16 votes

"Tu quoque, Brutus, mi fili?" Grammar question

I suspect that your friend misremembered the phrase. Concerning the actual phrase that Julius Caesar said, the biographers offer conflicting evidence. Suetonius tells us that Caesar died in silence, ...
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16 votes
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Is there any rule for determining whether a verb beginning with ε- will augment to η- vs ει-, or must all verbs' behaviors be memorized?

You'll basically have to memorise them, yes, though there are patterns. Both the η- in ἠλευθέρουν and the ει- in εἶχον represent a contraction of ε + ε, but the former is much older than the latter. ...
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15 votes

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

It's the singular genitive-case form. The use is that if you know the nominative singular form, genitive singular form, and the gender of a regularly inflected Latin noun, you can predict all of its ...
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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

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
Accepted

Why is it Iuppiter rather than Iuppater?

You're absolutely right that PIE *a gives Old Latin /a/. But somewhere between Old Latin and Classical Latin, vowel reduction happened. Basically, Old Latin stress was always on the first syllable. ...
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14 votes
Accepted

What construction is "διδαχή?"

διδαχή is indeed built on διδάσκω, though without the inchoative infix -σκ-: the root is διδαχ-, as can be seen in the aorist ἐδίδαξα, and -σκ- is one of those infixes that only show up in the present....
  • 6,612
13 votes

Did the Romans ever combine Greek and Latin morphemes?

In a couple of letters where he describes villas (esp. 2.17 and 5.6), Pliny the Younger uses cryptoporticus (Greek κρυπτός + Latin porticus) to describe a colonnade with wall and windows – a covered ...
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13 votes
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Why sequundus > secundus?

Secundus is regular, eqvus isn't There's a sound change called the "Boukólos Rule", which started back in Proto-Indo-European. When labiovelar consonants (like /kʷ/ and /gʷ/) appeared next ...
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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
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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
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'Fomites'? From 'fomes'?

The etymological derivation of the noun fōmes, fōmitis from the base of the verb foveo is too difficult for me to answer. So in this post, I'll focus on something else in your post that I think I ...
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12 votes
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Why does Ago become agit, agitis, agis, etc? [conjugate with an *i*?]

If you're asking how the third conjugation historically came to use the vowels i/u, it has to do with regular sound changes that affected the original Proto-Indo-European (PIE) endings. The present ...
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12 votes
Accepted

What is the origin of the -a in words like "collega, advena"?

It is generally believed is that "The Italic "1st declension" continues PIE feminine formations ("ā-stems") built with an invariable suffix *-eh2(-)" (Vine 2017: 755) cf. Beekes 2011 proposal of ...
  • 11.3k
12 votes

Can "ee" appear in Latin?

The Vulgata is full with proper nouns having double -ee, specially as endings (e.g. Bersabee, Phacee, Osee). I imagine you are not particularly interested in these. Below are all the other words I ...
11 votes
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Which verbs have reduplicated perfect stems?

Since you’re asking about reduplicated perfect (and not reduplicated present, as in bibo < *pi-ph3-e or sero < si-sh1-e, Weiss 2009: 405), I will try to address perfect formation only. One of ...
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11 votes
Accepted

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

Tuomo Pekkanen's Ars Grammatica (a Latin grammar in Finnish) says that the second declension has three neuters ending in -us: vīrus, vulgus and pelagus. They are only used in the singular, and ...
11 votes
Accepted

Which islands appear in the locative?

I get zero results for the locative Lesbi in the HP corpus (the results appear to be all genitives), but I find a handful of in Lesbo. The same applies to a locative Euboeae, in favour of in Euboea. ...
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11 votes
Accepted

How is the supine related to the derived fourth declension noun?

Remember than infinitives are “typically frozen case-forms” of verbal nouns (Fortson 2010: 107; see also Weiss 2009: 445). So, in several IE branches (Balto-Slavic, Indo-Iranian and Italic), there is ...
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11 votes
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Why is it "dare" and not "dāre" when most first conjugation verbs spell like "amāre"?

The story, as often, has to do with Proto-Indo-European laryngeals. Both these verbs had a laryngeal as the last consonant of the root: *deh₃-, *steh₂-. All the forms in Latin are based on the zero ...
  • 28.7k
11 votes

"Tu quoque, Brutus, mi fili?" Grammar question

It should indeed be Brute, not Brutus, and the vocative form seems to be far more common if you make an internet search. The person who told that the last words came with Brutus appears to be slightly ...
11 votes
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Why -ώς in αἰδώς?

"Is this just a phonetic thing in this word, rather than a semantic one?" Yep. In fact, as Smyth says, αἰδώς is the only such "-οσ- stem" word in Attic. (In Homer you will also ...
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11 votes
Accepted

Why is it "Discipulus pulcher est" and not "Discipulus pulchrus est"?

There is no word pulchrus. The word in the masculine, nominative, singular is pulcher, and it is one of the 2nd declension noun and adjectives that end in -er. There are many adjectives of this type, ...
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