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Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-08-27, 20:43
by Narbleh
Well I've decided to give Latin a shot because I'm very curious to see the connections between it and French, and after actually looking at it some more, I've found Latin words can be quite pretty as opposed to stuffy and pigs-grunting-like as I originally thought :P

So my first question is regarding pronunciation. I checked out a copy of Wheelock's and it says ch/ph/th are all pronounced as c+h/p+h/t+h. Is that just trying to express in layman's terms that those are aspirated kʰ pʰ and tʰ versus normal c/p/t which are unaspirated?

Thanks :D

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-08-27, 20:54
by KingHarvest
Yes, they are aspirates.

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-08-27, 23:57
by Narbleh
Thank you :)

Are short "e" and "i" really /ɛ/ and /ɪ/ or just shorter versions of /e/ and /i/?

What are the forms of verbs that I'm required to memorize without an explanation of what they stand for, such as erravi and erratum?

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-08-28, 3:09
by KingHarvest
Yes, the short vowels are the same as the English short vowels (except for <a>).

The four principal parts are amo, amare, amaui/amavi (whichever spelling convention you prefer), amatum/amatus (whichever you prefer), and so on for the other three conjugations. The first principal part is the first person singular active indicative present; the second principal part is the present active infinitive; the third principal part is the first person singular active indicative perfect; the fourth principal part is either the supine or the past participle, whichever you prefer.

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-09-01, 4:11
by Narbleh
Thanks :) Do you have a favorite English<->Latin dictionary you use online?

And how do publications that are released in Latin now handle neologisms like firefighter or airplane?

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-09-01, 4:35
by KingHarvest
The hands down best dictionary (for Latin -> English) is Tufts's Perseus Project (just google it and it's the first thing) since they have all of Lewis & Short uploaded onto it for free. If you use firefox, you can add it to your dropdown search bar. It also parses forms, which is useful when you're encountering very irregular verbs (like cecini, I sang, from cano, I sing) as a beginner. The only downside is that the Perseus Project is mind bogglingly slow at times.

William Whitaker's Words (again google will take you right to it) does both Latin to English and English to Latin. It is less reliable than Perseus in number of words, accuracy of definitions, and ability to parse as it is the product of an amateur and not academics (it also doesn't quote passages of Latin to illustrate meanings like Lewis & Short does).

I'm not sure why you would need neologisms, but Father Reginald Foster ("Father Reggie" as he is informally known amongst Classicists) is the Latin Secretary to the Pope and is in charge of creating neologisms for official Vatican correspondences. You're on your own beyond that since I'm not particularly interested in conlanging Latin.

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-09-01, 4:42
by KingHarvest
The Romans had firefighters though, so there's a perfectly good Latin word, uigil, for it.

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-09-01, 16:25
by modus.irrealis
The perseus project is also available at http://perseus.uchicago.edu/ which is more reliable. There's also Diogenes, which you can download from http://www.dur.ac.uk/p.j.heslin/Software/Diogenes/, which comes with the perseus parser and dictionaries, so you can have it all on your computer if you want.

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-09-02, 4:35
by TaylorS
Narbleh wrote:Thank you :)

Are short "e" and "i" really /ɛ/ and /ɪ/ or just shorter versions of /e/ and /i/


The vowel system of Latin in the last century BC was something like:

Code: Select all

i:                         u:
       ɪ               ʊ
      e:              o:
          ɛ       ɔ
             a a:

aj oj aw ew


/ɪ/, /ʊ/, and /a/ merged with /e:/, /o:/, and /a:/ respectively during the Imperial period.

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-09-02, 8:13
by loqu
The difference in quality between long and short vowels is disputed as far as I know. In Textkit that discussion is as old as time.

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-09-04, 1:20
by TaylorS
loqu wrote:The difference in quality between long and short vowels is disputed as far as I know. In Textkit that discussion is as old as time.


I thought the quality distinctions were considered a well-accepted fact.

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-09-04, 1:29
by KingHarvest
It is. Don't pay attention to whatever it is they're saying at TextKit.

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-09-04, 7:39
by loqu
None of the Latin books printed in Spain that I've read describe any difference in quality --they say it arose in the 2nd century AD. Meanwhile all Latin books printed in English-speaking countries say that difference in quality is classical. That's why I assume it's disputed.

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-09-05, 1:41
by modus.irrealis
And of course there's always the strong possibility that things varied in space as well as time -- like how TaylorS's mergers only occurred in the Western Romance area. If I remember correctly, in the Balkans you had /ʊ/ ~ /u:/, /o:/ ~ /ɔ/, which also occurred in Sardinia, where you also had /ɪ/ ~ /i:/ and /e:/ ~ /ɛ/, and southern Italy had something else, which I don't remember the details of. I don't know what that says about the classical pronunciation, though.

The vowel system with the difference in quality looks really Germanic, though, doesn't it? Did (or do) the Celtic languages have a similar system? It could have been an areal feature.

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-09-06, 21:43
by loqu
modus.irrealis wrote:The vowel system with the difference in quality looks really Germanic, though, doesn't it? Did (or do) the Celtic languages have a similar system? It could have been an areal feature.


I thought so too. :hmm:

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-09-11, 14:31
by Babelfish
Ancient Greek also had a difference in quality afaik, for Ο and Ε only - the long variants of which were therefore marked Ω and Η. Latin didn't bother to provide us with such information :?

Re: Narbleh's Latin Questions

Posted: 2009-09-11, 17:51
by KingHarvest
<i>, <e:>, and <e> (and <u>, <o:>, and <o>) were all enunciated closely together, but in different positions. We know this for several reasons. The first is that they all merged into one phoneme for back and front respectively. Second, in Greek transliterations short i is often represented by epsilon rather than by iota, which it would always be transliterated as if there were only a difference in quantity between long and short i. Third, the Latin grammarians describe the various phonemes as having different qualities.

Babelfish wrote:Ancient Greek also had a difference in quality afaik, for Ο and Ε only - the long variants of which were therefore marked Ω and Η. Latin didn't bother to provide us with such information :?


In Attic Greek, the difference between ο, ω and ε, η was one of quality only, [ɔ, ɔ:] and [ɛ, ɛ:] respectively. ου and ει originally represented both [oʊ, o:] and [eɪ, e:] respectively, but then each monophthongized into their respective long monophthongs and were later raised to [u:] and [i:] during the Hellenistic period. The other vowels exhibited only differences in quantity.