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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6
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2answers
797 views

Was there a Greek or Latin name spelled "Jesus" or similarly before the advent of Christianity?

Many of the originally Barbarian names in history were Christianized. Many Christian saints with Slavic/Germanic names were given similar-sounding Greek and Latin names. In this way "Kuzma" (...
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2answers
130 views

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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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 ...
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2answers
94 views

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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3answers
820 views

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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1answer
150 views

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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1answer
73 views

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")?
6
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2answers
478 views

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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0answers
77 views

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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2answers
357 views

Why does Latin, Turkish, and Albanian share common words?

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
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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 ...
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2answers
940 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 ...
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3answers
12k 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?
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0answers
106 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
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1answer
418 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 *...
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1answer
118 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
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3answers
410 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 ...
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1answer
128 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
100 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 ...
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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
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0answers
112 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
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
146 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?
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1answer
87 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 ...
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2answers
127 views

Why doesn't Latin caseus have "w"?

Why doesn't Latin caseus from *kwh₂et- have "w"?
9
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2answers
364 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 ...
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1answer
761 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?
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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 ...
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2answers
406 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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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 ...
10
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2answers
886 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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6answers
17k 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
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2answers
395 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. ...
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1answer
148 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
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2answers
187 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
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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 ...
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3answers
638 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
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1answer
95 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
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1answer
127 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. ...
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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
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1answer
630 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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2answers
218 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
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0answers
178 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, ...
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1answer
160 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 ...
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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. ...
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0answers
172 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 ...
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3answers
275 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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0answers
82 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.” ...

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