Questions tagged [latin]

For linguistic questions concerning the Latin language, a dead Indo-European language of the Roman Empire and ancestor of modern Catalan, French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, and a few others. For questions specific to Latin only, please visit our sister site Latin Language Stack Exchange.

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What does "torido chaumate" mean? [closed]

What does "torido chaumate" mean? I didn't find these words in Latin.
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Why did the Latin word marmor became French marbre (which is in present day English marble)?

I would like to know what process suffered the Latin word marmor when it was borrowed in French and became marbre. I know that the process from French marbre to English marble is dissimilation, i.e. ...
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Why is feeling and hearing are the same in Italian?

Sentire means hearing, and at the same time feeling, in Italian and it's used passively in both senses. Mi sento male - I feel bad Ho sentito il tuo nome - I heard your name Why among all senses ...
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Do we have evidence of the transition from -mentum to -ment?

Several English words end in -ment: augment, document, movement, moment, segment, etc. According to several dictionaries, the English -ment suffix is in many cases traced to the French -ment, which in ...
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Credible sources for Rho-Rotation?

A teacher of mine recently mentioned a phenomenon in linguistics called "rho-rotation". Across eons and languages if a r/rho sound was next to a vowel it tended to switch postitions and &...
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1 answer
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Are "brat" and "frater" cognates?

Both the Slavic brat (Брат) and the Latin frater mean brother. Are they cognates? Or is their phonetic "proximity" a red herring? Related: How were “bratrъ/bratъ” and “sestra” formed in ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Latin -vus/-uus and PIE -wos

What is the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction, if there is one, of the Latin suffixes -tivus (many examples) and -vus/-uus/-ivus (arvus, residuus, cadivus)? I read in a non-reliable source once that ...
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1 answer
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Pronunciation of "ll" in the Romance languages

I have noticed that all the Romance languages (Spanish, Galician, Catalan, Portuguese, Romanian, Italian, and French) usually pronounce the "ll" like the "y" in "yacht". ...
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1 answer
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Origin of بطريق

I read here that the Arabic word بطريق (penguin) ultimately derives from Latin patricius (patrician), through Greek and Aramaic, but I couldn't find any explanation of how and why the shift in meaning ...
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V-Bar Syntax in Latin

I am reading Devine and Stephens Latin Word Order, but without the requisite grounding in formal linguistics. They use the term V-bar syntax, and I am not sure what they mean by this and would like ...
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Is the Romanian verb "pișca" etymologically related to Spanish "pellizcar" ( to pinch )?

From wiktioanry: "pellizcar (Spain) /peʝiθˈkaɾ/, [pe.ʝiθˈkaɾ] (Latin America) /peʝisˈkaɾ/, [pe.ʝisˈkaɾ]- From Vulgar Latin *vellicicāre, from Latin vellicāre, most likely ultimately from vellus (...
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How did Gothic "𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌱𐌰𐌷𐍄𐌹" (andbahti) become Medieval Latin "ambasiator"?

I found the following etymology of the word "ambassador" on Wiktionary. From Middle English ambassadore, from Anglo-Norman ambassadeur, ambassateur, from Old Italian ambassatore, ...
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How did latin "de post" become Romanian "după"?

Wouldn't the expected result be: "dopă"? I understand that the short "e" was assimilated by the long "o" from the next word, and then /o/ -> /ə/, but why o -> u ? ...
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Is there a rule which accounts for a d in PIE becoming a b in Latin?

According to Wikitionary, the Latin word verb is derived from the Proto-Indo-European word *werdʰh₁om which is the etonym of the English word word and the German wort. I am familiar with Grimm's Law ...
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2 answers
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Why is fucus reconstructed as *bhoiko-?

Why is fucus reconstructed as *bhoiko-? Not *bhoikos or *bhoikon? Is "cus" a suffix like in raucus > ravis?
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3 votes
3 answers
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Is there a common ancestor between the Hebrew לבן ("lavan", white) and the English "albino"?

I noticed these two words share the same central consonants, and wouldn't it be fascinating if the l-b-n semitic root has a common source to the English "albin-" as in albino and albinism? I ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Which Romance languages have three verbs for, and preserved the differences between, Latin's esse, sedere, stare?

Yoïn van Spijk's diagram substantiates that French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish merged at least two of Latin's esse, sedere, stare. Are there any Romance languages which still feature direct ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Are Latin causative verb ending -eō and Old Slavic -ити from verbs eō and ити ("to go")?

Are Latin causative verb ending -eō and Old Slavic -ити from verbs eō and ити ("to go")?
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6 votes
2 answers
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Why is the proto-italic reconstruction of "corpora" "*korpezā"?

I was studying rhotacism and I came across the word corpora (plural of corpus). I would reconstruct the proto-italic form as *korpoza, but I saw the entry on Wiktionary and it says that the actual ...
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Percentage of Latin loanwords in northern Germanic languages

What is the percentage of Latin loanwords or words that are of ultimate Latin origin even from intermediate languages in each of the northern Germanic languages? I have noticed that there seem to be ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Was the word "Jew" originally a racial slur?

The English ethnonyms "Jew" and "Jewish" originate from the Biblical Hebrew "Yehudi" (יהודי, meaning "Judahite," "Judean," or "one from the ...
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Did Classical Latin lack tenseness contrast in long and short vowels?

Contrary to the traditional supposition of /ɪ ʊ ɛ ɔ/ vs /iː uː eː oː/, the idea that Classical Latin contrasted the short and long versions of high and mid (or just mid) vowels only quantitatively, ...
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How could Vulgar Latin divide in so many branches in the Balkans in a such small timespan?

From the literature I've read ( Al.Rosetti History of Romanian for example ) it looks like we can talk about Vulgar Latin until the 4th or 5th century in the Balkans, and further than that many ...
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The outcome of *woid- in Latin/Italic

The IE root * weid- seems to have meant “to see” and, in its perfective stem * woid-, “to know”. The “know”-semantics of this root are well attested in all the main branches of IE (English wot, Greek ...
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Why do verbs use 1st singular present active indicative instead of infinitive as the "canonical" or "representative" form in Latin?

I see many dictionaries use the 1st person singular present active indicative form as the "canonical" or dictionary entry for verbs in Latin. For example, a typical dictionary would show ...
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Origin of Italian plurals

Some sources say that italian plurals come from the nominative case, so "italiano" has the plural "italiani", and "italiana" has the plural "italiane". However ...
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33 votes
3 answers
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Why is the word "war" in Romance languages predominantly of Germanic origin instead of Latin?

I wonder why in all Romance languages the word "war" ("guerra", with their multiple intonations) is a term that comes from Germanic languages, and that no modern language resembles ...
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1 answer
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Does the root word mus- in Latin mean "thief"'? Mouse=thief, Moses=Extractor etc

I first got the idea of Latin mus- = mouse = thief from this list My primary question here is whether someone can confirm this, because I have not found any direct words in Latin that indicates that ...
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1 vote
2 answers
138 views

Why doesn't Latin caseus have "w"?

Why doesn't Latin caseus from *kwh₂et- have "w"?
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1 answer
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Why are PIE oi changes to ī in Latin and Proto-Slavic?

Why are PIE oe changes to ī in Latin and Old Slavic? English PIE Latin Old Slavic wolves *wĺ̥kʷoes lupi vlĭci Is it a result of short u singular ending in place of PIE o? English PIE Latin Old ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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Pronunciation of P in Latin, versus Ph in Greek

In Latin, it seems some sounds that are pronounced like an "F" in Greek, are pronounced like a "P", why is this? For example, we have the Greek word Phoenicians, and this word ...
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10 votes
2 answers
911 views

Is there a form descending from Latin genitive plural somewhere in modern Romance languages?

The Latin genitive plurals in -rum are very noticeable in the paradigm. Be it first declension in -ārum, second in -ōrum, or fifth in -ērum, they are heavyweight, attract accent and basicall stand out ...
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2 votes
2 answers
487 views

Words with "hybrid" declension (in Latin, or borrowed by English from Latin)?

There is a recently-coined technical usage (in mathematics) of the word "anima", borrowed from Latin to English. The funny thing about this coinage is that the coin-ers of the term insist on ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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Apparent exceptions to the sound law f -> h in old Spanish

At some point during the evolution of Spanish, several initial [f] became silent (this is represented with an h in modern Spanish). This explains words such as hacer, harina, herir and many more. ...
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1 answer
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Why are native English speakers convinced that English language is a Romance language? [closed]

Most people I've know so far in the USA are always saying that learning Latin would be really easy because, since English comes from Latin, it cannot be a hard thing to do, and they really get shocked ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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What other languages, apart from Latin, mix elements from different syntactic constituents? And why mixing?

Latin has a curious syntactic possibility, which is mixing elements from different constituents, like in the sentence Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando which is translated by Wiktionary as ...
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1 answer
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Etymology of latin suffix -idus

What is the (probably Indo-European) origin of the latin suffix -idus, as in "acidus"? Are there any known cognates?
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2 votes
1 answer
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Latin suffixes -or and -idus, is there a correspondence?

In Latin (and daughter languages), there seems to be a correspondence between nouns of the third declension in -or/-us, -oris denoting a quality, and adjectives of the Ist class in -idus,a,um denoting ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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(Latin) spondeo > (Spanish) esposas?

I am looking for the exact history of the Spanish word esposas ("handcuffs") and its connection with the Latin word spondeo ("promise"). I read several times on the web the ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Is English grammar teaching tradition rooted in Latin?

I heard once that the way English grammar was taught as school was rooted in Latin and it wasn't a correct approach for a number of reason ? This was a long time ago, so I cannot remember the details. ...
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10 votes
1 answer
646 views

Can or has the comparative method be used in current Arabic dialects to reconstruct Classical Arabic?

The comparative method has been used in modern Romance languages to piece together Vulgar Latin and Proto Romance. Has the same been done for the modern Arabic dialects to recreate the last descendant ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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It's very uncommon for Italian nouns and verbs to end in consonants, but vast number of Latin nouns and verbs do. Why?

Edit: I asked this question on the Italian Stack Exchange and got some rubbish comments, so I'm trying here instead. The vast, vast majority of native Italian (i.e. not imported from another language) ...
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6 votes
0 answers
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Has the development of double consonants in Latin been studied?

When one studies both Latin and Greek, one of the most prominent differences between the two is the much greater number of double consonants in Latin. While Greek does have some instances of them, ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What is the origin of the word assassin?

I discussed this recently with some friends and different explanations regarding the words etymology were mentioned. I did some research and confirmed these two: from Arab. aššāšīn "hashish ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Relationship between Geneva and gin?

I've been curiously browsing wikipedia today. The word Geneva, besides the city and Canton, is also used to refer to a type of Gin that's made there, and to any other kind of Gin as a generified word. ...
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1 vote
3 answers
851 views

Why is Spanish SVO and not VSO?

I understand that Spanish sentences have an SVO sentence structure. (S)(Yo) (V)compro (O)los zapatos. What confuses me is the fact that when the subject is a pronoun, it is omitted so often that you ...
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4 votes
3 answers
377 views

Where does the letter <j> come from to Slavic Cyrillic alphabets?

Most South-West languages of Slavic language family with Cyrillic writing system as primary have the Latin letter in their alphabets, which doesn't origin in what we consider today Cyrillic. Where ...
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Did a single word derived from “de fenestra” exist in European languages prior to the Defenestration of Prague?

Many European languages have a single word derived from the Latin prepositional phrase de fenestra (“out from a window” or “down from a window”) meaning “the act of throwing someone out a window.” ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Aura, Aurum, Aurora & *h₂ews-

Good morning, I am a scholar from a different field, trying to gain insight into the etymological connection between aura and aurum (air and gold). How do they relate? I have found a connection ...
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7 votes
3 answers
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Etymology of some Romance languages' verbs meaning "to sleep"

Portuguese, Spanish and French dormir, Italian dormire etc. come from the Latin verb dormīo. Wiktionary's entry says that its etymology is: From Latin dormīre, present active infinitive of dormiō, ...
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