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17 votes
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If arm is 'arma', why is unarmed 'inermis' and not 'inarmis'?

I believe this is one of many examples of Latin vowel reduction in word-internal syllables. The basic pattern is that short vowels in word-internal syllables were reduced: the resulting vowel in ...
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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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15 votes
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What were the original Latin verbs for the Spanish verbs?

Unfortunately, your source is slightly misleading. It's true that verbs formed from nouns and verbs denoting repeated action in Latin tend to be in the -āre conjugation. However, many other ...
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14 votes
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"There is" in Latin

The next time you get into that dream, use a plain est. Here is an example from Caesar: Flumen est Arar, quod per fines Haeduorum et Sequanorum in Rhodanum influit… (Commentarii de bello ...
11 votes

Was "oscŭlum" a cultured word in Latin?

I cannot provide a complete answer either, but perhaps a few points one the subject of kissing, and the semantics of the words for it. I cannot, unfortunately, provide immediate literature references ...
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11 votes

Was "oscŭlum" a cultured word in Latin?

Another partial answer. Tl;dr: kissing had a social role in Judaism that was inherited into Christianity (as osculum in the Vulgate), where it even had/acquired a ceremonial role (not sure if this ...
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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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10 votes

Was "oscŭlum" a cultured word in Latin?

Here's counter-evidence for you, from Ovid Amores (2,5). inproba tum vero iungentes oscula vidi— illa mihi lingua nexa fuisse liquet— qualia non fratri tulerit germana severo, sed tulerit ...
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10 votes
Accepted

Is the Spanish translation of the "Exultet" chant literal?

You are correct to say that this is not a 'literal' translation. Turba is a feminine singular noun, and exultet is rightly singular. I'm not sure coro is the right word, though. Interestingly, turba ...
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10 votes
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Origin of "lunatĭcus"

According to the Italian Wiktionary entry for the Italian word lunatico, lunaticus is actually a Late Latin expression and, in particular, a calque of the Greek σεληνιακός, seleniakos, and ...
9 votes
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Etymology of "salarium" and its connection to salt

This book suggests: SALARY, salaire, F. From salarium, L. a stated allowance of provisions given to a soldier, of which (sal) salt was a necessary part; and hence the term came to signify pay ...
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 ...
9 votes

Is it possible to predict the gender of nouns?

I'm not sure this covers all relevant ideas, so any addition/clarification is appreciated. Four ideas that can help you: Regarding logics as to certain types of nouns being predictably neuter by ...
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9 votes

Was "oscŭlum" a cultured word in Latin?

Smith's Copious & Critical English-Latin Dictionary (p. 430) in longish articles is good on this, giving suavium as the "most suitable word for ordinary use", osculor as "the term most suitable ...
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8 votes
Accepted

A Dios rogando y con el mazo dando

In French, this proverb exists in the form: Aide-toi et le ciel t’aidera. This comes from a fable of La Fontaine, Le Chartier embourbé. So there is the possibility to read the Latin and Greek fables ...
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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. ...
8 votes

Did the "-ālis" and "-āris" suffixes have the same meaning in Latin?

They not only had the same meaning in Latin, they were the same suffix. In Latin, the suffix -āli- (the -s at the end is the nominative ending, so not part of the suffix) formed adjectives from nouns....
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8 votes
Accepted

How to say "me importa un comino" (or equivalent) in Latin?

There's a whole range of expressions of the type (non) facio (or habeo, aestimo, etc.) + the genitive of some substantive, meaning 'I (don't) value as worth x.' (The genitive is a genitive of value.) ...
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8 votes

Why is specifically "Latin America" called that when numerous other regions' languages are also based on the Latin language?

But doesn't English and French and German and Italian and basically everything in Europe come from Latin as well? Not in the same way! Essentially all European languages have borrowed a lot of ...
7 votes

If arm is 'arma', why is unarmed 'inermis' and not 'inarmis'?

All credit of this answer goes to sumelic. I just found further support for his hypothesis, of which I was not aware. This article states: Bader (1960: 236) remarks that words prefixed by ...
7 votes

Is it possible to predict the gender of nouns?

I was reading a new corpus study on gender assignment the other day - Hoffmann 2016 Gender in Latin and in language typology (in Latinitas Rationes, ed. P. Poccetti). Based on two corpus studies, ...
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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 ...
7 votes
Accepted

Did the Vulgar Latin verb "toccare" exist?

As your question implies, the * in *toccare means that the word is unattested, i.e., there is no direct written evidence that the verb actually existed. This does not mean that there is a good ...
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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

Was "oscŭlum" a cultured word in Latin?

I've already commented on this, but I'll add this as (another) partial answer: ósculo is a learned borrowing from Latin from osculum, rather than having been descended from its Latin origin in ...
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6 votes

Why is specifically "Latin America" called that when numerous other regions' languages are also based on the Latin language?

Latin American here. As mentioned in the other answers, the Americas were colonized basically by the British, Spanish, and Portuguese (and to a lesser extent by the French and Dutch). All the French ...
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5 votes

Was "oscŭlum" a cultured word in Latin?

This is an answer to your bonus question. Yes, there are a number of kissing words in Latin. Based on basium there are basiolum ("little kiss") and basiatio ("the act of kissing", also "kiss" by ...
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)...
  • 16k
5 votes

How to say "me importa un comino" (or equivalent) in Latin?

Titivilitium of no value [Plautus] This is a footnote to cnread's answer, an extended comment. English does refer to 'peppercorn rent,' and 'faith as a grain of mustard seed,'and Edward Lear in the ...
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