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Transcription complete: Meissner's "Latin Phrase-Book"

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Transcription complete: Meissner's "Latin Phrase-Book"

Postby Carolus Raeticus » Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:00 pm


I have finished transcribing Carl Meissner and H.W. Auden's Latin Phrase-Book and uploaded it to my web-site Hiberna Caroli Raetici. It's a very useful supplement to Walter Ripman's Classified Vocabulary, also freely available there. I also uploaded the respective plain text input files I used to automatically create the main part of these two books for free use. So remix and reformat at your convenience.

Note: I redesigned the web-site. Therefore the old download links do not work anymore. All files can now be found in the downloads-section.

Some information about the Latin Phrase Book (this is a copy of my introduction to the book):

Carolus Raeticus wrote:Carl Meissner’s „Lateinische Phraseologie“, first published in 1878, is a rich source of Latin idioms. I chose to transcribe its English translation by H.W. Auden, the „Latin Phrase-Book“ to supplement Walter Ripman’s „Classified Vocabulary“, an equally useful book for Latin vocabulary, also transcribed by me and freely available.
Meissner’s book of Latin phrases is based on his own collections and excerpts from Cicero, Caesar, and Livy, as well as various secondary literature.
But let Carl Meissner himself tell us about his work:
„It cannot be denied that, while grammatical competence is rightly aimed at in the classical secondary schools [the German „Gymnasien“], and probably successfully so, the ability to freely use the language has not always kept abreast of it. The explanation for this can be found in one-sided concentration on purely formal aspects which lead to a neglect of the language in its expressions and phrases. It is, however, not enough to merely educate the pupils concerning grammar and style. Instead, one also has to methodically aim at enabling them to have at least some command of the language material. This goal, however, will not be attained either by time-consuming dictation of the phrases, or by leaving it up to the pupil to collect them. Instead the pupil has to be offered a definite but narrow stock of phrases for firm and sure acquisition which will then be available to him in the composition exercises.
Accordingly, only the most common and frequent phrases have been included in this phraseology, whereas all phrases have been omitted for which the student probably will have no use. It is then up to the pupil to broaden the material offered in this phraseology based on his reading matter.“

As for the structure and content of the book:
„The phrases themselves are arranged in seventeen rather comprehensive categories, and these in turn have been divided into smaller groups for easier overall view. In doing so I have followed practical rather than strictly logical considerations. Furthermore, I found it appropriate to proceed from the Latin phrases in order not to stray too often into comparative stylistics which would have been unavoidable due to the differences of Latin and German idioms. I solely endeavoured to show which words can be combined in Latin, not how this or that German idiom might be best expressed in Latin.“

I made a thorough proof reading run. So all or almost all transcription errors should have been removed. But nothing is ever perfect. So, should you encounter any error, please contact me via Textkit.

One suggestion: the Meissner-plain text files would be ideal to create an (automatic) Latin phrase of the day e-letter. It would be cool if Textkit could create something along this line. The data at least is available now.


Carolus Raeticus
Sperate miseri, cavete felices.
Carolus Raeticus
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