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41

A why-question is almost unanswerable, the answer is "because it happened so". But there was a strong trigger for the replacement of bellum, namely the homophony with the word for "beautiful", in Latin bellus, bella, bellum. So for the stem bell- the meaning "beautiful" won over "war", and the word for war was replaced ...


33

Languages evolve in many ways! Proto-Indo-European had no articles at all, but they evolved independently in several different branches: you can still see the similarity between English "the" and "that", which is almost exactly the same as how ille turned into el/il/etc. It looks a bit more likely, too, when you realize this evolution only had to happen ...


28

By definition, a dead language is a language that does not have any native speakers anymore but that had native speakers earlier (the last clause is needed to delineate dead languages from constructed languages that never ever had any native speakers). Looking at the definition, Latin is definitely a dead language, and Sanskrit is a dead language, too, ...


25

Greek had the /h/ phoneme only at the beginning of a word, and it was marked with a diacritic (rough breathing sign) rather than with a letter. Koine Greek lost the /h/ phoneme and early manuscripts (such as Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus) didn't mark rough breathing, or had it added by a later scribe (according to their respective Wikipedia pages), ...


25

Gin is abbreviation from genever, originally Dutch, where the word means "juniper". The original drink was made from fermented juniper berries in the Netherlands. The word genever (juniper) derives from Latin iūniperus via its French version genevre. Geneva is ultimately from Latin Genāva, with the etymology you pointed, and unrelated to ...


22

such a drastic structural change The change is not drastic at all! It is a simple case of semantic bleaching (this is where the meaning of a word gets weaker. So you can kind of see how the is a "weaker version" of that). Also it's not a structural change, since wherever ille and all its forms may be used, it's the same whether it was early on and meant ...


22

I'm going to take a slightly different approach than Jk's answer, which does a good job coming at this from a Greco-Roman perspective. Instead, I'm going to focus on the Punic situation because it's a bit of an interest of mine In this early stage of Greek (Classical Attic), we had three alveolar stops (I will come back to the bilabials in a bit, don't worry)...


19

No language is "more simple" than other languages. Old English had just 2 tenses, present and past, now there are 16 of them, future and future-in-the-past forms developed over the time, the continuous aspect appeared, the perfect appeared, so the verbal system acquired much more forms than it used to have. On the other hand, the nouns lost the gender and ...


18

The basic meaning of the Germanic *wirr is “disorder, chaos” etc. The shift in meaning to “warfare” originated in Frankish and is attested since the 9th century, spreading to French and then to other Romance languages. So this really has nothing to do with Roman soldiers. It bears witness to the fact that in the Frankish kingdom Latin was the language of ...


17

The Greeks had most probably noticed a similarity of their language with Phrygian. Socrates at least did so while speaking to Hermogenes: "Well then, consider whether this pyr is not foreign ; for the word is not easily brought into relation with the Hellenic tongue, and the Phrygians may be observed to have the same word slightly changed, just as they have ...


16

None, really. TL;DR: the tria nomina were dead before the empire was, so pre-Romance times. Long version: The tria nomina system is the most famous used in ancient Rome, but it wasn't by any means universal. It had already started to fade out in the first century. Around this time, the upper classes started using multiple nomina to indicate extra familial ...


15

The Trésor de la langue française has most the answer to your question in the etymology section for femme: From Classical Latin femina “female”, then “woman, wife” which competed against the Latin words mulier “woman” which no longer survives in French (contrast with Italian moglie, Spanish mujer) except in the archaic form moillier “wife, woman” (which ...


15

Arnaud Fournet's answer is correct: there's no evidence for a relationship. But to add a bit more evidence that there isn't a connection… The Classical pronunciation of vīvere was something like /wiːwɛrɛ/, while the Biblical pronunciation of אָבִיב was something like /ʔɑːbiːb/. Both words are attested well before the relevant sound changes (W-hardening and ...


15

At some time in the history of the Greek languages, the letters Phi, Theta, and Chi represented aspirated consonants /ph/, /th/ and /kh/. The Romans felt that they were different enough from their native sounds /p/, /t/, /k/ (spelled ⟨c⟩) to deserve a special spelling ⟨ph⟩, ⟨th⟩, and ⟨ch⟩. This was the state of sounds at Cicero's time. Later, the Greek ...


14

It's true that Greek was spoken in a large area at some time in human history and indeed it's now spoken mainly in Greece in a mostly uniform way. The main reason that there are not many Greek-deriving languages is political. Greek was spoken mostly in the eastern part of Mediterranean sea, Balkans, Anatolia (now Turkey), now Syria, Jordan, Israel, Egypt ...


14

Applying the comparative method to contemporary dialects (not MSA) would not result in Classical Arabic, since the contemporary dialects have lost features found in Classical Arabic, such as case. However, parallel to proto-Romance, a proto-language antecedent to the modern dialects could in principle be reconstructed. Ferguson (1959) "The Arabic koine&...


13

Did Romance languages evolve in North Africa? Yes. What languages were spoken in North Africa between Vulgar Latin and the arrival of Arabic? Both Romance and Arabic failed to totally supplant the Berber languages as they supplanted other languages in many other places. After Latin and then Arabic came Mediterranean Sabir a.k.a. lingua franca, another ...


13

Very unlikely! While the phonetic similarities are real, the old Norse name of the weekday etymologically goes back to Frig's day, and not Freyja's day. The actual form of the Norse word is somewhat blurred by a possible early loan from Old Saxon (or some other such west Germanic language) into the attested Norse frjádagʀ. This form is very likely from ...


13

If you want inflectional forms, you'd have to look at the major Romance language which still inflects nouns, Romanian. Even there, you will only find a reflex of -orum in the articles as far as I'm aware, but the indefinite article inflects to unor from Latin unorum, and the definite article is even better because, while coming from ille like in other ...


12

You're actually not the first one to ask this question. The Romans themselves had various explanations to offer. For them, the relation was clear - although they did not necessarily agree with each other. More recently distinguished latinists such as Ernout and Meillet could not rule out the possibility of two distinct homophonic roots ([[3]] - puto). As ...


11

Many modern European languages are as complex as Latin, Ancient Greek, or Sanskrit. I'd point out Lithuanian but most Slavic languages are typologically similar to the mentioned ancient ones. And yes, native speakers use all constructions their language provides (all languages change, of course, so there are archaic constructions but it has nothing to the ...


11

Generally this process is called prothesis when it occurs at the start of a word (epenthesis occurs between two sounds). This process did indeed involve the addition of a vowel to the start of words with these clusters. History of the prothetic vowel insertion From what I see here, your source only says that this happened in Vulgar Latin; it is silent on ...


11

The traditional Latin names are formed from the supine stems of verbs—basically, a way of turning a verb into a noun, and then into an adjective. Nōminātivus, for example, comes from nōmināre "to name"—it's "the case for naming". When other case names were needed for other languages, they tended to also be formed from Latin verbs. So here are the meanings ...


10

Hebrew šɛmɛn שמן “oil, fat” is a Semitic cognate of Arabic samn سمن “fat, butter” (with Semitic s1). It is not related to šaḥm شحم “fat, grease” (with Semitic s2 and ḥ) or to the IE words mentioned above. It is true that šɛmɛn looks superficially like Latin semen, but the vowels of the former are the result of a specifically Hebrew development (Semitic qatl ...


10

O is basically just a circle, so unlike with C/G, the visual similarity with Q is trivial. You could equally wonder if C being O with a chunk taken out has to do with anything. Q and O derive from two different Phoenician letters, qop and ayin; back then, they actually did have something in common since both were "throaty" consonants; however, since the ...


10

A great number of loanwords from Ancient Greek have been integrated into Czech with great attention to the original forms. For instance, many Ancient Greek nouns from the third (athematic) declension preserve their stem consonants when declined in Czech. Consider the proper name Paris (the Greek mythological prince). In the table given on the linked page, ...


10

Latin vir, Sanskrit vīra-, Avestan vīra-, Old Irish fer, Lithuanian výras, Gothic wair, all mean “man” and all derive from Indo-European *wīro- (or *uiH-ro).


10

Yes, borrowing still happens—in both directions! While Latin is dead in that nobody speaks it as their first language, it's still used for official purposes by scientists and the Vatican. When they need a word for a new concept, they have to either create or borrow one, just like for any language. For example, "internet" in modern Latin is interrete (...


10

Definitely! The most common are direct loanwords from one language into another, or Wanderwörter, words that spread over long distances via trade. For the first category, look at sabbatum, the Latin word for the Jewish day of rest. This is quite definitely borrowed from Hebrew שַׁבָּת‎ (shabbāth), since Latin didn't have a good word for "one day out of ...


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