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What suffix to add?

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What suffix to add?

Postby Lord_WayneY » Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:57 am

Hi all, I am wondering when I am translating a word from other language into Latin, what suffix should I add? I checked some examples about fluvius, but it showed sometimes it was translated as "-us", "fluvius xxxus", sometimes as "-um", "flumen xxxxum". And even in the orginal Latin, we also have "Tiberis" which is ended with "-is" while "Nilus" ends in "-us". So how can I decide which suffix to add?
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Re: What suffix to add?

Postby Godmy » Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:21 pm

If you are asking which suffix to add to an adjective "fluvius magnus" vs "flumen magnum" then you choose it by the gender of the noun. Fluvius is masculine (we guess the gender by the ending/suffix and we confirm it in the dictionary), so you use masculine endings for the adjective.
Flumen like oppidum is neuter so you use a neuter ending for the adjective.

The adjectives however must always retain their own set of endings = their own declension. An adjective magnus declines for masculines only in the second declension so it always must have a second declension ending, no matter what the ending of the noun looks like...

Nouns share with adjectives (=not just share, but they must agree in it) its gender(masculine/feminine/neuter), its number(singular/plural) and its case(nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative, ablative) but never its declension (and if they are in the same declension, it is an coincidence - it bears no importance).

A declension is a particular set of endings for particular noun or adjective and each noun or adjective has for its gender only one set of endings / one declension (the adjectives of type magnus, magna, magnum consist of two declensions, because the feminine one is different from the masculine and neuter one)
Last edited by Godmy on Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:25 am, edited 15 times in total.
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Re: What suffix to add?

Postby Godmy » Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:42 pm

[I deleted this post and edited the preceding post] @Godmy
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Re: What suffix to add?

Postby Lord_WayneY » Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:34 am

E, thank you for replying, but you might be misunderstood me...
Well, actually I am not asking the adjectives, but nouns translated from other languages. For example, there is a river in far east China called "Long River". Should I name it in Latin as Fluvius Longnus, or Flumen Longum? And is there any rules for deciding the gender when translating a noun from other languages into Latin?
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Re: What suffix to add?

Postby Qimmik » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:25 pm

Fluvius Longnus
a typo for Fluvius Longus, I assume?

Your question is a lexical question, not a grammatical one. The words flumen and fluvius are essentially synonomous--they have the same meaning. I'd recommend Flumen Longum, since flumen is more common than fluvius.

Flumen happens to be neuter and fluvius happens to be masculine, but there's no underlying reason for this. Except with reference to male and female human beings and animals, the gender of nouns in Latin is more or less arbitrary--there are no rules, and you just have to learn the gender of each noun as you encounter it. In most cases, however, the gender of a noun will be obvious. For example, most nouns ending in -us are 2d or 4th declension masculine (there are some 3d declension neuters and a few feminine nouns ending in -us); and all nouns (I think) ending in -men are neuter.
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Re: What suffix to add?

Postby A.A.I » Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:11 pm

龙江; pinyin: Lóngjiāng; literally "Dragon River"

Seems that the English is wrong. Still, we can imagine that it's the 'Long River' and still work out how to use it.
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Re: What suffix to add?

Postby Victor » Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:32 pm

A.A.I wrote:龙江; pinyin: Lóngjiāng; literally "Dragon River"

Seems that the English is wrong. Still, we can imagine that it's the 'Long River' and still work out how to use it.

I'm not sure what you mean by saying the English is wrong. Can you please explain?
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Re: What suffix to add?

Postby Lord_WayneY » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:57 am

Qimmik wrote:
Fluvius Longnus
a typo for Fluvius Longus, I assume?

Your question is a lexical question, not a grammatical one. The words flumen and fluvius are essentially synonomous--they have the same meaning. I'd recommend Flumen Longum, since flumen is more common than fluvius.

Flumen happens to be neuter and fluvius happens to be masculine, but there's no underlying reason for this. Except with reference to male and female human beings and animals, the gender of nouns in Latin is more or less arbitrary--there are no rules, and you just have to learn the gender of each noun as you encounter it. In most cases, however, the gender of a noun will be obvious. For example, most nouns ending in -us are 2d or 4th declension masculine (there are some 3d declension neuters and a few feminine nouns ending in -us); and all nouns (I think) ending in -men are neuter.


Ah, yes, it is a typo, I am sorry...

I read these names of rivers from this page :http://la.wikipedia.org/wiki/Res_Publica_Popularis_Sinarum#Flumina

When I saw this, I was wondering, why these four rivers had two different genders? Three of them are masculine, but one is neuter(Although in wikipedia the "Fluvius Longus" actually is in the entry of "Flumen_Caeruleum"). Since there are no rules, could I consider it as chosed freely by the first translator? And if I translate a new word into Latin, could I use any endings I like?
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Re: What suffix to add?

Postby Lord_WayneY » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:03 am

A.A.I wrote:龙江; pinyin: Lóngjiāng; literally "Dragon River"

Seems that the English is wrong. Still, we can imagine that it's the 'Long River' and still work out how to use it.


龙江; pinyin: Lóngjiāng; called as "Dragon River" is translated by meaning; called as "Long River" is partly by meaning( River ), partly by pronunciation ( Long ). But since "Long River" is used by the biggest river of China, this "Lóngjiāng" is probably called as "Dragon River".
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Re: What suffix to add?

Postby Qimmik » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:05 am

Since there are no rules, could I consider it as chosed freely by the first translator?


Yes, you could just as well call it Flumen Longum.

And if I translate a new word into Latin, could I use any endings I like?


The endings have to be appropriate and grammatical, whether you use flumen or fluvius. If you choose fluvius, you have to use an adjective with a masculine ending, and if you chose flumen, you have to use an adjective with a neuter ending: either Fluvius Longus or Flumen Longum.

But in Fluvius Margaritae, Margaritae isn't an adjective, it's a noun in the genitive case: "River of [the] Pearl."

And in Fluvius Draconis Nigri, Draconis Nigri is a noun and adjective in the genitive case--"River of [the] Black Dragon." Here, Nigri is an masculine genitive singular adjective. Nigri modifies Draconis, a masculine genitive singular noun, and therefore Nigri must have the ending of the same gender, case and number of Draconis, in other words, the masculine genitive singular ending. The adjective must "agree" with the noun it modifies.

Does that help?
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Re: What suffix to add?

Postby Victor » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:23 am

Lord_WayneY wrote:[ But since "Long River" is used by the biggest river of China.

不对。长江英文叫做"Yangtze",英国人不习惯说 "Long River".
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Re: What suffix to add?

Postby Lord_WayneY » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:22 am

Qimmik wrote:Yes, you could just as well call it Flumen Longum.


Very thanks, it is helpful. I find this question is somehow like in English the nation sometimes ends with "-ese", somtimes "-ish", somtimes "-ian", and somtimes others special. And when we encountering a new place, meeting new people, the ending could be various until one of them become commonly accepted.
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Re: What suffix to add?

Postby Lord_WayneY » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:24 am

Victor wrote:
Lord_WayneY wrote:[ But since "Long River" is used by the biggest river of China.

不对。长江英文叫做"Yangtze",英国人不习惯说 "Long River".


.... I thought you were Russian or other slavic.
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Re: What suffix to add?

Postby Victor » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:27 pm

Things have grown rather confused, Lord_Wayne Y, partly because of the way in which you framed your original question. I think it would be helpful just to spell out a few salient points.

To translate the Chinese river name 长江 into English as "Long River" or into Latin as "Fluvius Longus/Flumen Longum" would be perfectly justifiable, since 长 in Chinese means "long". But to translate the Chinese river name 龙江 also as "Long River" or "Longus Fluvius/Longum Fluvium" is really quite misleading, since the character 龙 means "dragon" and the only connection it has with the English word "long" and the Latin "longus" is that "long" happens to be the Pinyin Romanisation of the sound that the character 龙 approximately has when it is pronounced in Putonghua (Mandarin). A different Romanisation system might just as well have represented the sound with "lung" or "loung".

It seems to me that if we are translating into English or Latin a river called 龙江 we should studiously avoid the word "long" or "longus" in our translation.
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Re: What suffix to add?

Postby Lord_WayneY » Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:18 am

Pinyin nowadays has been the standard Romanisation system for Chinese, and all the city names are spelled by Pinyin as the standard Romanise names except those who have Romanise names widely accepted before. So theoretically I think it does not matter to translate "龙江" as "Long River" or even "Longjiang River".
Actually names are seldom translated literally. The more usual one is by prounciation. e.g. Peking, now Beijing, but not "the North Capital"; Tokyo, but not "the East Capital"; and Mississippi... I think it is obviously not an English meaningful name.
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Re: What suffix to add?

Postby Victor » Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:54 pm

Lord_WayneY wrote:Pinyin nowadays has been the standard Romanisation system for Chinese, and all the city names are spelled by Pinyin as the standard Romanise names except those who have Romanise names widely accepted before. So theoretically I think it does not matter to translate "龙江" as "Long River" or even "Longjiang River".
Actually names are seldom translated literally. The more usual one is by prounciation. e.g. Peking, now Beijing, but not "the North Capital"; Tokyo, but not "the East Capital"; and Mississippi... I think it is obviously not an English meaningful name.

I'm well aware what status Pinyin occupies, and that Chinese names are typically translated by sound, not meaning. Neither of these points was ever in dispute.
What is in dispute is the wisdom of translating 龙江 specifically as "Long River", given that the name of the most famous Chinese river, 长江 (in Pinyin "Changjiang"; in English "Yangtze"), literally means "long River". To call another river the "Long River" because "long" is how the character 龙 (meaning "dragon") happens to be rendered in Pinyin is as irresponsible as it is misleading. "Long" is a very common English adjective and just happens to be an attribute typically associated with rivers. In the name of common sense, we have to choose a different word.
Resorting to "Long Jiang River" is a marginally more acceptable solution, but then we fall into the error of saying the word river twice, since 江, as you know, means river anyway. The English have committed this mistake already with the River Avon; let us not beget further examples of the same kind of infelicity.
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