Skip to main content
15 votes

Does mentula ("penis") derive from the same root as mens ("mind"), and if so why?

Well, this may obviously be outdated, but G.M. Messing banged out a 3-page treatment of "The Etymology of Lat. Mentula" for the Oct. 1956 Classical Philology (Vol. 51, No. 4, pp. 247–249). His ...
lly's user avatar
  • 776
13 votes

Origin of the Latin Language?

In the beginning, there was…well, we're not really sure. The origins of language are lost to time. But at some point, there was Proto-Indo-European, the hypothetical reconstructed ancestor of all the ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.4k
12 votes
Accepted

How are εὔχομαι and voveo cognates?

The reconstructed Proto-Indo-European form listed is *h₁wegʷʰ- "to promise, vow, praise". h₁ is a "laryngeal consonant", so-called because we don't know what else to call it. The most common theory ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.4k
12 votes

How do the verbs do and δίδωμι come from *deh₃-?

*h3 is called the "o-colouring laryngeal," which means that it "colours" (i.e., changes) a neighbouring e into *o or *ō: the former from *h3o and the latter from *oh3. See *h3ewis > ovis and *deh3[r/n]...
Wtrmute's user avatar
  • 1,226
12 votes
Accepted

How can I translate the names of the Proto-Indo-European gods and goddesses into Latin?

Latin words/names from the roots *dyḗws and *dʰéǵʰōm The usual form of the sky god's name in Latin was Iuppiter, or its variant Iūpiter, which pretty obviously goes back to *dyḗws ph₂tḗr. Specifically,...
Asteroides's user avatar
  • 29.7k
10 votes
Accepted

How did PIE *h₂énti-h₃kʷós get lengthened to Proto-Italic *antīkʷos?

A laryngeal following a vowel disappears (after colouring that vowel if it's *e), lengthening that vowel. This process is most prominent within roots, since ablaut means *e ends up next a laryngeal ...
Cairnarvon's user avatar
  • 10.7k
10 votes
Accepted

Why does “inferus” have /f/ rather than /d/?

Weiss (Hist. Comp. Gramm. Lat. 75, note 26) says that "the first syllable of īnferus was identified with in- and the medial *dʰ was therefore given a pseudo-initial treatment". De Vaan (s.v.) agrees, ...
TKR's user avatar
  • 31.5k
10 votes

What's the cool killer app of Latin?

I get the sense you are most interested in unusual linguistic features of Latin, which I'm not qualified to talk about. It's also worth noting that 'why study Latin' is a well-addressed question in ...
dbmag9's user avatar
  • 1,401
9 votes
Accepted

Are there other Latin words from the same PIE root as oculus?

NIL mentions the following: atrox, cf. de Vaan "Probably a derivative of the adj. āter 'black' and the PIE root *h3ekw- 'to look', thus 'having a black aspect'." ferox, cf. de Vaan "The adj. fer-ōx ...
Alex B.'s user avatar
  • 11.7k
9 votes
Accepted

How can you tell whether prefixed ‘in-’ is the preposition ‘in’ or Indo-European ‘in-’?

The negative prefix in- typically attaches to an adjective, while the prepositional prefix in- typically attaches to a verb. The main complication to this distribution is the existence of adjectives ...
Asteroides's user avatar
  • 29.7k
8 votes

What evidence points to a long ō in the first syllable of nōscō's present-tense form?

A note re: evidence from IE comparanda PIE *nH > Sanskrit ā, Avestan ā, Latin nā, etc. but Greek nē/ā/ō (Beekes 2011: 151). Some of the relevant IE cognates are Greek γιγνώσκω, OPers. xšnāsāhiy, ...
Alex B.'s user avatar
  • 11.7k
8 votes
Accepted

Are λαλέω and λέγω related?

The resemblance is accidental. For one thing, there's no way to relate PIE *leǵ- and *leh₂- (if the latter is really the root of λαλέω, which is doubtful). Second, the similarity in sense is secondary....
TKR's user avatar
  • 31.5k
8 votes
Accepted

Was there ever dual conjugation in Latin?

PIE appears to have had dual verb forms, as can be seen from e.g. Greek ἐστόν "you two are", Sanskrit ithás "you two go", Gothic baírats "you two carry". (Anatolian, though, lacks dual forms, which ...
TKR's user avatar
  • 31.5k
7 votes
Accepted

What underlying semantic notions connect the stem '-festus' to the PIE root *gu̯hedh- ('to ask, beg, wish for')?

This etymology is based on the assumption that infestus “hostile” comes from Indo-European *n-gwhedh-to- “implacable”. There are serious semantic and phonetic problems with this theory (which are ...
fdb's user avatar
  • 17.9k
7 votes
Accepted

How do the verbs do and δίδωμι come from *deh₃-?

δίδωμι “I give” and δίδομεν “we give” can be explained either by “classic” (non-laryngeal) or “modern” (laryngeal) theory. The former derives the singular from full-grade *dō- and the plural from zero-...
fdb's user avatar
  • 17.9k
7 votes

How can you tell whether prefixed ‘in-’ is the preposition ‘in’ or Indo-European ‘in-’?

I don't think it's possible to distinguish in meaning "in" from PIE *en and in- meaning "not" from PIE *n̥ from pronunciation alone. It's well known that the /i/ in in- lengthens when followed by ...
varro's user avatar
  • 4,698
7 votes

Origin of the Latin Language?

The question might be better suited for Linguistics.SE. However, the general information on the history of Latin is outlined in the Wikipedia article of the same name: "It is believed that the ...
tum_'s user avatar
  • 241
7 votes
Accepted

Is "ex-" (old, past) seen in Latin

This is what the OED has to say on the subject: [On the analogy of forms of expression like ex exsule consul, ‘(that has become) a consul from an exile’, the phrases ex consule, ex magistro ...
fdb's user avatar
  • 17.9k
7 votes

Does the old English second person verb ending -est (eg thou comest) come from Latin conjugation?

Nope! They're independent of each other. But I can see how easy it is to make that mistake, since they both come from the same source. Both Old English and Latin are Indo-European languages, and they ...
cmw's user avatar
  • 56.3k
7 votes

Origin of /h/ in ἅζομαι (házomai), ἁγνός (hagnós), ἅγιος (hágios)

It is well known that the PIE sound -y- (also written -i̯-) shows a 'double reflex' in initial position in Greek: either ζ or rough breathing. From what I remember, it has been conjectured that the ...
Asteroides's user avatar
  • 29.7k
6 votes

What evidence points to a long ō in the first syllable of nōscō's present-tense form?

Since posting the question, I was able to consult Peter Schrijver's "The Reflexes of the Proto-Indo-European Laryngeals in Latin" (1991) (cited by de Vaan), which, along with Alex B.'s answer, has ...
Asteroides's user avatar
  • 29.7k
6 votes
Accepted

Does the Latin nosco come from Greek?

Latin nōscō and Greek gignōskō are cognates, but neither is directly derived from the other. They both come from the Proto-Indo-European root *ǵneh₃- "to know", plus the inchoative *-sḱ- marking the ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.4k
6 votes
Accepted

Are vestiges or influence of the instrumental case in any way identifiable in Latin and Greek?

The instrumental -φι suffix in Homeric Greek seems to be derived from the PIE plural instrumental case, which apparently still existed in Mycenaean Greek. From Smyth's grammar (280): -φι(ν) is ...
b a's user avatar
  • 1,332
5 votes
Accepted

Is ῥύομαι cognate with rescue?

The words are unrelated: there's no way to connect ex-cutere with ῥύομαι. The Latin word is based on quatio "shake", which has a Greek cognate πάττω "sprinkle". The etymology of ῥύομαι is a bit messy....
TKR's user avatar
  • 31.5k
5 votes

What underlying semantic notions connect 'mēnsa' to the PIE *me-?

The entry for this word in the Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic languages (2008), by Michiel de Vaan, may provide some illumination. De Vaan says that mensa has an Umbrian ...
Asteroides's user avatar
  • 29.7k
5 votes

What's the cool killer app of Latin?

What interests you might not interest me; however, I have studied the languages you mention, among others, and might have some similar tendencies in what I find stimulating in language study. I ...
Vegawatcher's user avatar
  • 2,710
4 votes

Are vestiges or influence of the instrumental case in any way identifiable in Latin and Greek?

According to Frisk, the omicron-stem seems to make an omega-ending with a few adverbs, while others in the a-stem will become an eta. The consonant stems can be found in compound words, and, in Frisk ...
Oron61's user avatar
  • 61
4 votes

What is the relationship between cubō and cumbō?

Ernout-Millet's Dictionnaire supports my (and your) original thinking: cumbo -is (le perfectum est le même que dans cubo, cf. le cas de sedeo, sido: sedi, et de sto, sisto: steti): type à infixe ...
cmw's user avatar
  • 56.3k
3 votes
Accepted

What semantic notions underlie 'paene' to the PIE root 'pē(i)-' (to hurt, scold, shame)?

Because this etymology means that paene would be related to paenitet (as, indeed, the Oxford Latin Dictionary indicates it is), I should think that the connection is something along these lines: If ...
cnread's user avatar
  • 20.4k
3 votes

Does Latin "pingo" relate to "pix"?

Disclaimer: I'm not even close to expert in Proto-Indo-European, so maybe I'm missing something important. Apparently not. According to this database: pingo comes from PIE root *peik'- pix comes ...
Rafael's user avatar
  • 11.6k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible