Textkit Logo

V's and U's

Here's where you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get translation help and more!

Moderator: thesaurus

V's and U's

Postby Sebastian Swift » Sat May 14, 2005 9:19 pm

I've seen the following combinations of letters used by various Latin texts and scholars: V's and U's (virumque), just V's (virvmqve), just U's (uirumque). Which letter scheme is correct?

Thanks,
Keith
User avatar
Sebastian Swift
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 12:53 am

Postby mraig » Sun May 15, 2005 12:27 am

The answer: yes. They all are.

The Roman alphabet originally did not have separate symbols for 'U' the vowel, and 'V' the consonant. (They also did not have separate symbols for 'I' the vowel and 'J' the consonant). Since they considered 'U' and 'V' the same letter (which they made like a V), and since their alphabet was all capitals, our Julius Caesar would be their IVLIVS CAESAR.

But, 300 years or so ago, we decided it would be handy to separate the consonants and the vowels, and we gradually started seeing J and U - although they weren't always used entirely consistantly at first. Sometimes you might see V for all the capitals and u for all the lower case letters.

But eventually, they settled on j/i and v/u, and in Pharr's 1930 student edition of Virgil, for example, you'll see 'jam' for 'iam' and 'juvenis' for 'iuvenis'.

For some reason, the J fell away before the V; you'll very rarely see 'jam' and 'juvenis', but U/V were kept distinct for a while longer (e.g. they're separate in Cassell's dictionary, Wheelock's textbook).

Then, probably because it was felt to be unauthentic to make a distinction between U and V that the Romans themselves did not make (even though we mark word division, punctuation, upper and lower case letters in a way that they did not), texts started using all 'u's. I think this is pretty much standard now; in Oxford Classicals Texts and the Oxford Latin Dictionary you'll find 'u' for both the consonant and vowel in the lower case, and 'V' for both the consonant and vowel in the upper case. So Oxford has "Venus", "Vxor" (for 'uxor' at the beginning of a sentence), "uenio" (for 'venio') and so on.

The short answer: an editor may choose to use any of the three schemes you've outlined, but what you're most likely to found now is 'V' in the upper case, 'u' in the lower case.
mraig
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 142
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 6:24 am

Postby Sebastian Swift » Sun May 15, 2005 2:31 am

mraig,

Thanks so much for the thorough reply. Just to clarify, V has never been used exclusively in the lowercase (virvmqve)?

I suppose if Oxford has already set the guidelines for Latin typography, far be it from me to challenge them.
User avatar
Sebastian Swift
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 12:53 am

Postby mraig » Sun May 15, 2005 6:06 am

To my knowledge there has never been an editorial style that used lower case 'v's for consonant and vowel; the closest you'd find is the actual Romans, who used upper case 'V's for both. But, unfortunately, editorial style in classics is very inconsistant, and in many cases, each new editor can pretty much do whatever he or she feels like.

In the introduction to the 'Oxford Latin Grammar', James Morwood ends by saying,

"I am delighted to have compiled the first Latin grammar in English to have banished the letter 'v' from the Latin alphabet. It was never there."
mraig
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 142
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 6:24 am

Postby 1%homeless » Sun May 15, 2005 6:43 am

I think this is pretty much standard now; in Oxford Classicals Texts and the Oxford Latin Dictionary you'll find 'u' for both the consonant and vowel in the lower case, and 'V' for both the consonant and vowel in the upper case.


What time period do they have in mind when deciding to simulate more "authentic" orthography?
User avatar
1%homeless
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 440
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 6:21 am
Location: East Hollywood

Postby classicalclarinet » Sun May 15, 2005 8:04 am

"I am delighted to have compiled the first Latin grammar in English to have banished the letter 'v' from the Latin alphabet. It was never there."


I thought 'u' was the nonexistant letter? why not eliminate it instead of alsmost ecxepting v?
User avatar
classicalclarinet
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 400
Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2004 12:27 am
Location: Anc, AK, USA

Postby whiteoctave » Sun May 15, 2005 10:16 am

as to the original question, surely all three cannot be said to be correct. i do not know a miniscule text that prints all 'v's - do let me know of one. the only truly correct system is to use all 'u's (or if in maiuscule all 'V's, but this letter of course still represents the same letter).
u, like i, could be used either as a pure vowel or semivocalically (not in Classical times as a full consonant, i.e. the fricative it became). the gap between these two usages was often quite fluid, for instance trisyllabic fulua versus dissyllabic genua. one can, however, as a discerning reader, easily distinguish between the vocalic and semi-vocalic pronunciations. the introduction of the letter v (representing the late/Medieval latin [v]) is a necessarily non-Classical degeneration, and it behooves the Classicist who seeks to learn as much about the ancient language as possible to imitate pronunciation and orthography as best as can be done. the Victorian schoolboy's 'j' and 'v' were eventually dismissed by the forceful arguments of many later 19th c. scholars, most notably Munro and Postgate.
this having been said, then, the only correct system to write Latin (if one has due regard for Classical precedent) is to use i and u alone.

~D
phpbb
User avatar
whiteoctave
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 603
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2003 11:42 pm
Location: Cambridge

Postby cweb255 » Sun May 15, 2005 10:36 am

Who cares about precedent? The Romans wrote in all caps and usd I and V, thus the same goes for me. I don't think that U was ever attested in Roman writing before the medieval ages.
phpbb
User avatar
cweb255
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 12:15 am

Postby whiteoctave » Sun May 15, 2005 4:31 pm

cweb255, it really is a waste of time to make sweeping platitudes founded on misconceptions that do not even deserve the sad name of 'half-truths'. when you say 'The Romans' you must refer, we have to presume, merely to those who wrote inscriptions or those slaves who copied manuscripts for the Roman élite. you seem to lack all knowledge of the Roman cursive hand, about which wall graffiti of Pompeii has taught palaeographers a great deal. for images of the cursive hand, i gladly refer you to CIL vol.iv or Pal.Soc.ii.30 or De Rossi's Roma subterranea Christiana. you may also be interested to learn of the waxed tablets preserving Roman cursive from c.A.D. 53-62 (found in 1875, edited in 1898 in suppl. to CIL, iv). along with these one can consider the waces tablets found in Dacia (in CIL, iii) and, more recently, the hand of the Vindolanda tablets is of course a form of Roman cursive. some miscellaneous papyrus scripts with Latin cursive also survive. to quote Thomson on the matter (Greek and Latin Palaeography): '[such] examples of Roman cursive writing represent the ordinary writing of the people for about the first three centuries of the Christian era. The letters are essentially the old Roman letters writtern with fluency, and undergoing certain modifications in their forms, which eventually developed into the minuscule hand. The same original Roman letters written carefully became [of course]...the formal capital inscriptions under the Empire.' a quick look at the tables printed in the above works shows that the form of the letter (for there was only one letter in the mind of the Romans) was, depending on the hand either a u or a halfway cross between u and v with two curved strokes reaching a point on coming together at their base. if one takes a look at the famous Ravenna deed, u (by which i mean u and the modern, and barbaric, consonantal v) is very much in the form of the typed letter here, with the tail at the base of the right ascender.

you are thus most sorrily wrong. luckily, to use your words, 'who cares avout precedent?'. let our arrangement therefore stand as follows: those who do, in studying the Classical word, wish to emulate their conception of their own tongue as best as possible shall use u and u alone; those who care little for such matters can, in a state of Polyphemic blindness and bacchic lunacy do whatever on earth they wish - and yes, that includes breaking the rules of Latin syntax.

~D

[edit: corrected second reference]
Last edited by whiteoctave on Sun May 15, 2005 8:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
phpbb
User avatar
whiteoctave
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 603
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2003 11:42 pm
Location: Cambridge

Postby whiteoctave » Sun May 15, 2005 4:35 pm

< medio+aeuum.

~D
phpbb
User avatar
whiteoctave
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 603
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2003 11:42 pm
Location: Cambridge

Postby Sebastian Swift » Sun May 15, 2005 8:18 pm

whiteoctave, what an orgasmic post. I'm salivating.

I am officially an all-U's man.
User avatar
Sebastian Swift
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 12:53 am

Postby 1%homeless » Mon May 16, 2005 5:57 am

Wow, "u" in 53-62 AD? I had no idea that it goes that far back. Finally, I have some references to check up on ...if I can find them.

whiteoctave, what an orgasmic post.


I usually enjoy his posts too, but... :lol:
User avatar
1%homeless
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 440
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 6:21 am
Location: East Hollywood

Postby cweb255 » Mon May 16, 2005 10:58 am

Really, whiteoctave, you need to find a better way to take out your aggression. I merely said "I don't think" and you fly off your ****ing rocker trying to prove a point. What a waste of time.
whiteoctave wrote:cweb255, it really is a waste of time to make sweeping platitudes founded on misconceptions that do not even deserve the sad name of 'half-truths'. when you say 'The Romans' you must refer, we have to presume, merely to those who wrote inscriptions or those slaves who copied manuscripts for the Roman élite. you seem to lack all knowledge of the Roman cursive hand, about which wall graffiti of Pompeii has taught palaeographers a great deal. for images of the cursive hand, i gladly refer you to CIL vol.iv or Pal.Soc.ii.30 or De Rossi's Roma subterranea Christiana. you may also be interested to learn of the waxed tablets preserving Roman cursive from c.A.D. 53-62 (found in 1875, edited in 1898 in suppl. to CIL, iv). along with these one can consider the waces tablets found in Dacia (in CIL, iii) and, more recently, the hand of the Vindolanda tablets is of course a form of Roman cursive. some miscellaneous papyrus scripts with Latin cursive also survive. to quote Thomson on the matter (Greek and Latin Palaeography): '[such] examples of Roman cursive writing represent the ordinary writing of the people for about the first three centuries of the Christian era. The letters are essentially the old Roman letters writtern with fluency, and undergoing certain modifications in their forms, which eventually developed into the minuscule hand. The same original Roman letters written carefully became [of course]...the formal capital inscriptions under the Empire.' a quick look at the tables printed in the above works shows that the form of the letter (for there was only one letter in the mind of the Romans) was, depending on the hand either a u or a halfway cross between u and v with two curved strokes reaching a point on coming together at their base. if one takes a look at the famous Ravenna deed, u (by which i mean u and the modern, and barbaric, consonantal v) is very much in the form of the typed letter here, with the tail at the base of the right ascender.

you are thus most sorrily wrong. luckily, to use your words, 'who cares avout precedent?'. let our arrangement therefore stand as follows: those who do, in studying the Classical word, wish to emulate their conception of their own tongue as best as possible shall use u and u alone; those who care little for such matters can, in a state of Polyphemic blindness and bacchic lunacy do whatever on earth they wish - and yes, that includes breaking the rules of Latin syntax.

~D

[edit: corrected second reference]
phpbb
User avatar
cweb255
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 12:15 am

Postby whiteoctave » Mon May 16, 2005 12:03 pm

hinc illae lacrimae!
~D
phpbb
User avatar
whiteoctave
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 603
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2003 11:42 pm
Location: Cambridge

Postby cweb255 » Mon May 16, 2005 8:32 pm

te futue, cinaede. Tua mentula est minimor quam formica, et facies cunnus mulieris obesae est. Tua mater est mea meretrix, et pater est tua ancilla. Affa equum.

And on a related note, cursive writing isn't the same as print, which I assumed we were talking about. There's a reason when asking for your information it always says "Print Please".

Like I said earlier, you go out of your way to try and insult me on a subject I quite clearly stated I wasn't sure about, and still end up failing. Mala forma, D.

Chris
phpbb
User avatar
cweb255
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 12:15 am

Postby whiteoctave » Mon May 16, 2005 8:54 pm

re: te futue, cinaede. Tua mentula est minimor quam formica, et facies cunnus mulieris obesae est. Tua mater est mea meretrix, et pater est tua ancilla. Affa equum.

oh, cweb255, you are truly priceless! i do rebuke myself, however, for supposing, so falsely, that your knowledge of some 127 languages would have meant you could write sense in at least one! putting your best American 'insults' into scrappy Latin surely only causes detriment to yourself. 'te futue, cinaede' is utterly meaningless. minimor! minimor! in the roughly adapted words of Bentley to Malelas, [face=SPIonic]eu]ge, w] paidi/ske[/face]! affa!

as for cursive not being the same as print, thanks for clearing up that evident difficulty of distinction I was grappling with.

mala forma indeed.

~D
phpbb
User avatar
whiteoctave
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 603
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2003 11:42 pm
Location: Cambridge

Postby Keegan » Tue May 17, 2005 1:01 am

I think the reason some people are confused about the letter u/v in Latin (I may be wrong here, correct me if I am) is the difference between how the letter tended to look when inscribed in stone or on a coin compared to how it looked in handwriting. I have noticed when inscribing, the Romans tended to make their letters rather rigid, perhaps due to it being easier to inscribe a straight line than a curved one, thus making the letter look rather like a 'V'. In cursive, however, the letters tend to look more curved, making the letter look more like a "U". Of course, it would be wiser to emulate the Roman handwriting for your own handwriting, rather than emulating the inscriptions.
Keegan
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 4:29 am

Postby Lucus Eques » Tue May 17, 2005 2:54 am

Good heavens! what a row.

Cweb, if I may respectfully add this as a fellow reader and participant in this forum, although I understand why you felt antagonized, perhaps the use of obscenities (even in an ancient language) was not the kindest of approaches in response. But I can comprehend if you felt offended; even I was offended and the comments were not made toward me. Still, I feel that tolerance and moderation are the best means of achieving civil peace.

David, you have earned the right to be passionate and defensive of these classical languages that you love so very much, but I believe it would be wise to be careful to separate yourself as a person from them from time to time, and not take offenses against them as offenses directed towards you. I have many sincere passions myself, so I understand how I feel when an ignorant person treats such a passion of mine carelessly; indeed, I get pissed. And though I certainly have made this mistake many times in the past, I now have learned that it is wiser not to take offense against a certain love as an offense against me myself.

With all due respect, David, I think your response to cweb's simple, perhaps overly simplistic remark was just plain mean. I can see why cweb might have interpreted it as a harsh censure unprovoked and thusly found offense.

I do love your passion, amice, like many, and it goes without saying that you have earned one of the greatest places of honor in this forum, to be sure. However, perhaps we all would find ourselves a little wiser and a little happier if we all were a bit more tolerant of each other.

.finivi
Last edited by Lucus Eques on Tue May 17, 2005 4:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Lucus Eques
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 2001
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2004 12:52 pm
Location: Tōkyō, IAPONIA

Postby Lucus Eques » Tue May 17, 2005 3:09 am

Make that finiui.

Indeed, I learned a great deal from your posts in this thread, David, and have already begun eager research on the subject of Roman handwriting, and owe you my thanks.

It will be difficult a transition, though, I imagine, getting out of the habit of writing the 'v' for the semivocalic 'u', especially with cognates. Still, something to make me stronger ...
User avatar
Lucus Eques
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 2001
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2004 12:52 pm
Location: Tōkyō, IAPONIA

Postby whiteoctave » Tue May 17, 2005 6:58 am

a very Stoical response, ecule, read with some interest. i do not deny passion for veracity and accuracy with regard to the Classics. i dislike any personal exchange: my rebuttal of inaccurate statements is purely against the false propositions themselves rather than their propositor. cweb255 did, there can be little doubt, take offence, and that is a little embarrassing (especially when it transpires my mother is his meretrix - something of which i was unaware!). i feel a kindred alliance with anyone who shares my desire to reach as accurate a state of knowledge as possible about the Ancient World, whatever their character; those who claim to study the Classics but have utter disregard for precedent i cannot, however, bind myself in any academic sense.
hoc finis, quaeso, fiat.

~D
(i am glad you are convinced on the 'u' front.)
phpbb
User avatar
whiteoctave
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 603
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2003 11:42 pm
Location: Cambridge

Postby Lucus Eques » Tue May 17, 2005 7:32 pm

I also feel kindred alliance with those who wish to capture with authority and clarity the true manners of ancient times. Thus one of my obsessions is to see vernacular forms of such languages brought back to life, like spoken Latin. And since I am very fond of all forms of handwriting, including calligraphy, I take particular interest in the manner in which our beloved Romans wrote.

Speaking of calligraphy, I spent this semester abroad in Florence perfecting my Italian, and visited many parts of Italy and also Ireland during my travels there; and I saw more than one ancient Bible filled with illuminated manuscripts — I even saw the very Bible of Saint Francis of Assisi (in Assisi - a beautiful little town; I highly recommend it), as well as numerous writings of his and the confirmation letter from the Pope authorizing the Franciscan order — all in Latin, of course, which was very exciting to read and understand. In any case, the wonderfully overriding theme among all the manuscripts and pages was the use of 'u' -- even at times with the little "tail" that is has in our modern lowercase letter -- in all the Latin where one might find a 'v'. And more than that, there was no 'v' even in the (pre-Dantesque) Italian! all 'u's instead, which makes me wonder exactly how they pronounced the letter in either language. And the real marvel was seeing a copy of Dante's Divine Comedy, known as La Divina Comedia in Italian:

Image

I took this picture in awe; and the 'i's appear to be dotted (such as the 'ia' combination at the end of "Comedia"). And also, Dante's surname is spelled differently; he is known today as Dante Alighieri.

As for the shape of 'V' or 'U' when dicussing the same Latin letter, a look at the orthographic origins might be in order. The Romans inherited almost everything from the Etruscans, including their alphabet, which was a version of the Greek alphabet used at one time in the Italian colonies of Magna Grecia. The Etruscans used a letter shaped like our 'Y', derived from the Greek üpsilon, to represent a sound between dark 'o' and 'u' (Etruscan had only four vowels that they wrote: 'a', 'e', 'i', 'o/u'). In later Etruscan, the tail of this letter began to fade away, and what remained instead was a shape like a 'V'. That's then the Romans took over, and adopted the Etruscan alphabet with some Greek trappings here and there, as well as a few innovations of their own. The Etruscan 'Y' became in shape 'V' because it was faster to write and without the tail there was no confusion with other letters. I believe the same can be said of the Romans' simplification (especially in script) of the shape of 'V' into something more like 'U'; there was for the Romans no confusion with other letters, and it was faster to write.
User avatar
Lucus Eques
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 2001
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2004 12:52 pm
Location: Tōkyō, IAPONIA

Postby Episcopus » Fri May 20, 2005 8:25 pm

cweb255 wrote:te futue, cinaede. Tua mentula est minimor quam formica, et facies cunnus mulieris obesae est. Tua mater est mea meretrix, et pater est tua ancilla. Affa equum.




Image
phpbb
User avatar
Episcopus
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 2563
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2003 8:57 pm


Return to Learning Latin

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], swtwentyman, Yahoo [Bot] and 80 guests