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Recommendations for Latin dictionary and grammar

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Recommendations for Latin dictionary and grammar

Postby prr » Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:28 pm

I have (for Greek) Smyth's Greek Grammar, as well as the large Liddell & Scott. I was looking up a phrase in Ammianus Marcellinus, and wanted to be sure which antecedent a quo was referring to, but all I have for Latin is Wheelock's from at least 20 years ago.

(1) Is there an equivalent for Smyth, in Latin?
(2) What dictionary would be best? I have always heard Lewis and Short, but have been out of the picture in Latin for a while now. Is that still the best? If possible, I'd like a dictionary that has historical uses of the terms, like in the large L&S.
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Re: Recommendations for Latin dictionary and grammar

Postby motchmaster » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:22 am

1) Gildersleeve's Latin Grammar is the best. Freely available on Google books.
2) The Oxford Latin Dictionary, by it only sticks with Classical Latin.
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Re: Recommendations for Latin dictionary and grammar

Postby gerases » Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:39 pm

My favorites:

Grammar: Bennett's. In my opinion it's friendlier than other grammars. It's also available as a book on iphone.

Dictionary: Collin's Latin Dictionary. The definitions are short. I get tired of long dictionary entries :) An added plus: it's available both on Android and iPhone AND you have the English - Latin dictionary included, which is important if you try to write in Latin.

The Oxford Latin Dictionary is certainly excellent but for quick lookups I use Collins on my phone or "Words by William Whitaker" when I have a computer handy.

Actually I've been able to hook up Words in such a way that when I read something in Latin on my computer, I can click on a word and a small window will pop-up with the definition from Words.
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Re: Recommendations for Latin dictionary and grammar

Postby motchmaster » Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:45 pm

gerases wrote:Dictionary: Collin's Latin Dictionary. The definitions are short. I get tired of long dictionary entries :) An added plus: it's available both on Android and iPhone AND you have the English - Latin dictionary included, which is important if you try to write in Latin.


I second Collins for just a simple dictionary. The Android app is great, probably the best in the Marke-cough-Play Store.
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Re: Recommendations for Latin dictionary and grammar

Postby adrianus » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:08 pm

prr wrote:(2) What dictionary would be best? I have always heard Lewis and Short, but have been out of the picture in Latin for a while now. Is that still the best?

It is, alongside the OLD.
Est, unâ cum Oxford Latin Dictionary.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Recommendations for Latin dictionary and grammar

Postby ivanus » Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:46 pm

The dictionary that I use depends on where I am.

On my computer, I use Lewis & Short via either Glossa or Diogenes. The advantage here is that you can give it the inflected word and have it show you your probable options.

On my iPhone, I use Collins. It's indispensable simply because I always have my phone. So if I see an inscription somewhere I can at least work out the gist of what it's saying (and take a photo for later).

At my desk (sans computer or with it turned off so I can pay attention), I use Cassell's, which I find to be lovely to use. It's Latin to English and English to Latin. It has thumb cutouts and labels for every 2 letters (AB, CD, et cetera) with the Latin in blue and the English in red so you can quickly get to what you are looking for. This gives it a distinguished feel and reminds me of the magic of books.

I've not been willing to stump up for the full Lewis & Short or OLD (yet).
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Re: Recommendations for Latin dictionary and grammar

Postby gerases » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:38 pm

It's just me, but the definitions of Lewis & Short are so cluttered that I never use it, period. Luckily, since my native language is Russian, I have one more option when I need a really expanded definition -- I get it from a Russian-Latin dictionary by Dvoretskij, which can be found through Yandex -- if any of you speak Russian :D That dictionary by the grace of gods is also available on iPhone.

As far as giving an inflected form, I use words by William Whitaker. It does wonders and not as overwhelming as Lewis.

I also second Cassell's. A very nice dictionary indeed. I like how it breaks many entries into a "literal" and "figurative" section and sometimes even lists the reasons for this or that mutation of a meaning.
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Re: Recommendations for Latin dictionary and grammar

Postby gerases » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:46 pm

There is one more grammar book that I rarely hear mentioned which is in my opinion outstanding if not the best. It's Latin Grammar by Carl Zumpt. His treatment of many subtle moments is superb. Take his explanation of "quin" and "quominus" as an example. Haven't seen it better explained anywhere. Or the difference between, for example, "amatus eram" and "amatus fueram". Etc, etc.
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Re: Recommendations for Latin dictionary and grammar

Postby Sinister Petrus » Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:54 am

gerases wrote:Grammar: Bennett's. In my opinion it's friendlier than other grammars. It's also available as a book on iphone.


Also my first choice for a grammar point. Gildersleeve if I don't feel Bennett was complete enough, which more often than not is.

As for dictionary, paper dictionaries have two dimensions. Paper quality and heft. For quick and dirty use, good paper and small heft. I find the Oxford Pocket hits both of these points. When citations and the like are needed, OLD. On the computer either Whitaker for quick and dirty or Perseus word tool for more in-depth use.
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