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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
3
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
-2
votes
2answers
275 views

Why does Latin, Turkish, and Albanian share common words? [closed]

Latin and Albanian are Indo-European languages so it makes sense that those two languages share many words with each-other. But why is it that Turkish — a non-Indo-European language — shares words ...
3
votes
2answers
854 views

Etymology of Romanian “amor” (cf. “iubire”)

I found it interesting to learn that Romanian borrowed this word from a Slavic language as well as the verb "a iubi". I also discovered that the word "amor" is present in Romanian but apparently it ...
8
votes
3answers
11k views

How many Latin words have Greek roots?

I was wondering how many Latin (both Classical and Medieval varieties) words have Greek roots. Is Greek the common root of most IE languages?
3
votes
0answers
99 views

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, ...
11
votes
1answer
411 views

How does L. “quartus” come from L. “quattuor”, which has “quat” but “quart”?

quartus From Latin quattuor ("four"), originally from Proto-Indo-European As at July 2 2021, the Etymology at the same link for quartus Wiktionary has changed. From Proto-Indo-European *...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

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 ...
5
votes
3answers
401 views

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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
121 views

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 ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

Why are there words meaning both “breath” and “life/spirit” in so many languages?

In Ancient Greek, πνεῦμα (pneuma) can mean "breath" as in "a breath of air" (literal) or "divine breath of inspiration" (figurative); it can also mean "life", "spirit", and "vitality" as demonstrated ...
1
vote
1answer
91 views

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 ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Which Romance Language is the least similar to Latin?

People state that Romanian is closest in some aspects (grammar mainly), and that to learn a romance language studying latin may give you a leg up (which in my opinion just study the language), but for ...
3
votes
0answers
105 views

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 ...
32
votes
3answers
5k views

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 ...
10
votes
4answers
4k views

Is there a named common ancestor of Germanic and Latin besides “Indo-European”?

I was just answering a question about the origins of English and Latin and wanted to talk about their common ancestors but ran into a surprising problem. So we know the majority of languages in ...
1
vote
1answer
141 views

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?
2
votes
1answer
85 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
120 views

Why doesn't Latin caseus have “w”?

Why doesn't Latin caseus from *kwh₂et- have "w"?
8
votes
2answers
353 views

What linguistic impact, if any, has the the Roman three name naming system left on modern Romance and European languages?

The ancient Romans had a three name system (tria nomina): praenomen, the birth/given name; the nomen, like a family name but marking the person as belonging to a specific gens; and the cognomen, of ...
1
vote
1answer
758 views

Schools of Greeks and Romans linguistics [closed]

Which arguments can prove that the Greeks and Romans did not practice linguistics in its modern meaning?
-1
votes
1answer
80 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
351 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
9
votes
2answers
869 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
16k views

Why are many ancient languages so complicated compared to many modern languages?

Many ancient languages have a structure that is more complex than that of the "respective" modern languages. Modern languages like English have simpler structure, without case, gender or declination, ...
7
votes
2answers
387 views

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. ...
1
vote
1answer
139 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
181 views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Why are Latin descendants SVO?

Latin was a language which predominant order was Subject-Object-Verb, as in the example proverb Errare Humanum Est So, why all its modern descendents are predominantly Subject-Verb-Object order? Or ...
36
votes
4answers
7k views

Why do the Romance languages use definite articles, when Latin doesn't?

Classical Latin, as I understand things, barely has a definite article at all: ille is the nearest equivalent, and even this word is closer to English that than the. But Spanish, French and Italian ...
1
vote
3answers
534 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

(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 ...
4
votes
1answer
124 views

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. ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Did Romance languages evolve in North Africa?

So, I know that the dialects of Vulgar Latin evolved into the Romance languages in the Western Roman Empire, but I've always wondered why they only formed in Europe instead of in North Africa. Does ...
10
votes
1answer
622 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
204 views

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) ...
6
votes
0answers
170 views

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, ...
1
vote
1answer
147 views

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 ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

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. ...
1
vote
0answers
166 views

Usage of the implicit object-subordinate clause in Italian (i.e. Usage of the implicit objective subordinate clause in English - part II)

In a sense, the following question is a sequel of this one: Usage of the implicit objective subordinate clause in English. In that question I asked some information about the usage of the implicit ...
4
votes
3answers
243 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
70 views

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.” ...
1
vote
1answer
258 views

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 ...
7
votes
3answers
288 views

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, ...
7
votes
1answer
259 views

Why does “-b-” differ between L “offero” and L “aufero”?

offero From ob ("towards") + ferō ("bear, carry") aufero From ab ("from") + ferō ("bear, carry") Both prefixes of them end with "-b-", but why do their compounds differ from each other, namely ...
1
vote
3answers
311 views

Definite/indefinite articles vs. inflections

While some languages have definite/indefinite articles (a/an/the in English, le/la/les and un/une/des in French), others don't (Russian, Latin). In this connection I have a few questions: Chicken or ...
2
votes
0answers
48 views

Some idea of PIE in the ancient world? [duplicate]

Did the ancient Greeks and Romans have the idea (at least partly) similar to the concept the Proto-Indoeuropean language? Many among the elite spoke Greek fluently or at least learnt it intensively. ...
6
votes
0answers
115 views

“Reconstruction” of an attested and well studied language

I wonder has anyone ever tried to reconstruct Latin language via data on modern Romance languages as if we know nothing about what Latin actually was. Both as a fun exercise and as a method to test ...
3
votes
1answer
353 views

How did Latin drop noun declension?

Latin has/had noun cases, while modern Romance languages don't. I wonder if the transition can be observed in written forms. Are there examples from different historic moments? A side question: ...
1
vote
1answer
153 views

Why is Latin considered a dead language, but Old High German simply a precursor to modern German?

Or, to put it another way: If the Church hadn't preserved Latin, would it even be considered a different language from Italian as opposed to simply an older form in the development of the Italian ...

1
2 3 4 5