16 votes
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Homo Novus vs Novus Homo

While it's true that it's "standard" for the adjective to follow the noun, Latin word order is VERY flexible, and a noun following an adjective is not at all unusual. A quick search of the corpus at ...
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16 votes
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Is Duolingo good for Latin?

I have used Duolingo for other languages, and I've now briefly tested it for Latin. There are two major issues: It goes way too fast. If the course has to be short for practical reasons, I would much ...
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16 votes
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Why is it "nomen mihi est" for "my name is", but it's "tibi nomen est" for "your name is"?

The Latin Duolingo course is not of particularly high quality. Completing the course will certainly give you some insight to Latin, but every detail of the course must be taken with a grain of salt. ...
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14 votes
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Why might "Philosophiae Doctor" (the source of "Ph.D.") have been preferred over "Doctor Philosophiae"?

There is no significance to the word order, and both are perfectly acceptable in Latin. In fact, it is only in English translation that there is a difference felt. The genitive in Latin is perfectly ...
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13 votes

Word order in Virgil's Aeneid - why so scrambled?

I suspect that any reply to this broad a question will always be rife with conjecture, but the reason for the convoluted word order is always a combination of the metrical cadence, and the effect that ...
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  • 1,420
13 votes
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Word order in Virgil's Aeneid - why so scrambled?

I think you're still assuming that English-style word order is in some sense natural or default, despite your correct disclaimer that "sentences that appear 'scrambled' in English might not be ...
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  • 28.5k
10 votes
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Yoda's distinctive speech syntax in Latin, "lost in translation"?

It is certainly not impossible to mimic Yoda's speech style in Latin, though I would say that the effect will be a little more muted. English is an analytic language with a low morpheme-per-word ratio:...
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  • 36.7k
10 votes
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'Conclusio sequitur ex premissis' or 'sequitur conclusio ex premissis'?

I give some real examples taken from medieval latin: ex his praemissis haec sequitur conclusio (Saint Lawrence of Brindisi) sequitur ex praemissis ista conclusio (Ockham) haec / ista conclusio ...
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  • 2,866
10 votes
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What word order resolves the ambiguity of two nominative nouns in a sentence?

Spevak 2010 writes that the most frequent pattern is Subject Predicative.Noun sum (in Cicero, it's 57%), as opposed to Predicative.Noun Subject sum (3%). However, since other orderings are possible (...
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  • 11.2k
10 votes

What is the term for extremely loose Latin word order?

If Latin prose had an "extremely loose word order", which is (generally) not the case, the appropriate linguistic term involved would be "non-configurationality". However, rather than being vaguely ...
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  • 6,614
9 votes

Elementary word order question

Joonas Ilmavirta's answer is exactly correct. I'll just add two things. First, although word order is relatively free in Latin, the default position, as you rightly believe, is Frater meus unum ...
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9 votes

What word order resolves the ambiguity of two nominative nouns in a sentence?

The direct object of an active sentence is typically in accusative, an indirect one in dative. An object in an active sentence is never nominative. The verb esse (to be) is active but does not take ...
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9 votes

Puella Mea OR Mea Puella?

Word order in Latin is fairly free, so neither of those is incorrect. However, adjectives in Latin tend to follow their nouns. And skimming the L&S entry for meus, most of the attestations have ...
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9 votes
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Puella Mea OR Mea Puella?

Both word orders are possible. Word order is flexible in Latin. It would be wrong to say that the Latin word order is completely free, but it is far more flexible than that of English. In isolation, ...
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9 votes

How do I best translate "A big window into history"?

Whether you say fenestra magna or magna fenestra is up to you – both is absolutely fine in Latin. If you go with fenestra at all, I recommend using the preposition ad, because there is a precedence ...
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9 votes
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Positioning 'quoque' in the sentence

I would give two main rules for positioning quoque: It comes right after the word it comments on. If several people are angry and Iulius is one of them, then Iulius quoque iratus est. If Iulius has ...
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8 votes
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Does -ne affect word order?

Brian has given a good answer, but perhaps it can be expanded. The overriding principle is that -ne should occupy the second place in a clause (or, to put it another way: it is attached to the first ...
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  • 15.9k
8 votes

Is Duolingo good for Latin?

Besides the issues found by Joonas, I'd add a few features not necessarily bad, but worth knowing in advance, for those willing to try the course: Pronunciation is consistently reconstructed. The ...
8 votes

To what extent there was a difference between written and spoken Latin?

This type of "unsual" word order is often called scrambling. This term includes when modifiers are detached from what they modify (or vice versa) and where grammatical heads and their ...
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  • 2,580
8 votes
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"Aurea prima sata est aetas" - is there ambiguity here?

None of the first 5 words in your passage is in the ablative case. As you note, scanning the line will reveal this fact. Aurea is an adjective ('golden'/'[made] of gold'), not a noun ('gold'), and ...
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  • 18k
7 votes

Showing which words are emphatic in a Latin sentence

Some variations in word arrangement are a matter of style and don't necessarily affect emphasis. Although textbooks may present some ideal arrangement of words and suggest that any deviation causes ...
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  • 18k
7 votes

Does -ne affect word order?

Perhaps there is a more subtle answer, but I will give the naive view: Yes, -ne affects word order because it moves the principal word (usually the verb) to the beginning of the sentence. More detail ...
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  • 36.7k
7 votes
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New to Latin—why is the Present Indicative sometimes at the end, and sometimes in the middle of a sentence?

Latin word order is very free, and the predicate — like est or sunt — can go anywhere. Any of these is valid: Gallia est in Europa. Gallia in Europa est. Est Gallia in Europa. Est in ...
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7 votes
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On the syntax of 'Cogitate quantis laboribus fundatum imperium (...) una nox paene delerit' (Cic. Cat. 4, 19)

Summary: the reason why this sentence seems unusual after translation is only because of the limits of English syntax, not because anything odd in the Latin. A short form of expression combining two ...
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  • 18.6k
7 votes
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Would the meaning change a bit if I changed "mea culpa" to "culpa mea" even if Latin doesn't care about word order?

No, the meaning would not change. Mea culpa and culpa mea both mean “my fault.” There is a tendency that when the possessive comes first, it is emphasized (my fault, not yours), and when it comes ...
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6 votes
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Word order in latin

The verse is a hexameter in the classical dactylic metre, internally rhymed (-orum, -orum) and chiastic (with symmetric word order) to add intensity. The hexameter, which Arturo Graf in 'Art of the ...
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  • 8,457
6 votes
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Need a Latin backronym for military unit - defensive, national, secret

How about praetorium laribus defendendis nostris, or "the body guard for defending our homes"? The word order in Latin is quite free, so the key problem is to find the words you want to use. It would ...
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6 votes
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Elementary word order question

The word order is quite free in Latin. It is typical to put the verb last, but by no means compulsory. The example sentence you give has a correct word order, but it is not the only correct one. It ...
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6 votes
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The instances where verbs might take the genitive case

hominum is a post-classical (or if you prefer: erroneous) spelling for hominem (acc. sing.).
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  • 15.9k
6 votes

How do I best translate "A big window into history"?

magna fenestra is fine, but as noted by @Sebastian Koppehel, historia is written history, rather than the historical events themselves which you probably want to refer to. So I suggest magna ad ...
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