big doubts

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Cyborg
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big doubts

Post by Cyborg » Mon May 02, 2005 6:17 pm

I gathered a few questions while learning Latin (I'm still learning it), and most of them my books could answer, or give tips to where could I find the answers. I can't find the answers to some of them, though:

1- how do we know that "poena" has the "oe" diphthong and "poeta" does not?

2- one of my books say that I can write "filiabus" for "filiis" (fem. plur. dat. & abl.) and that some nouns use -ubus in the fourth declension to make plur. dat. & abl. (namely: lacus, quercus, portus). Is this considered classical? Has there been a time where the plur. dat. & abl. of the declensions were "-abus, -obus, -ibus, -ubus, -ebus"? Is there any Roman author that explains the cases and declensions, and why were they like this in 1 C.E.?

3- some say the ligatures "ae" and "oe" can be found in Roman papyri. Is this true? Who has written like that? Where can I see it?

4- whatever happened to "uis" (power, force)?

5- whatever happened to future indicative of the 3rd and 4th conjugations?

6- how many vowel lengths are there in Latin? I've seen dictionaries that marks every vowel with a macron or a breve (suggesting that there are only 2 vowel lengths) and I've seen books that write pure vowels, macron'd vowels and breve'd vowels (suggesting 3 vowel lengths). My guess is there are only 2, but that would mean there is no difference between "rosa" sing. nom. and "rosa" sing. abl.. On the other hand, 3 vowel lengths would seem too artificial to say. Back-up's from Roman authors are welcome.
Last edited by Cyborg on Tue May 03, 2005 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cweb255
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Re: big doubts

Post by cweb255 » Mon May 02, 2005 7:25 pm

3. I thought it was only a medieval invention, but I could be wrong. Note that I've seen many inscriptions without the ligature...

4. What do you mean what happened to "vis"?

5. They're still there.

6. Two: long and short. The /a in rosa (n.s.) is short and in rosa (ab.s.) is long.
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whiteoctave
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Post by whiteoctave » Mon May 02, 2005 7:35 pm

a veritable cornucopia of questions, for which here are some brief responses:

(1) We know that poena and poeta have a dipthongal and dissyllabic -oe- respectively for a few reasons (compare Grk. ποινή and ποιητη&ς for one). Verse scansion is a surefire way of proving that this is so.

(2) filiabus is classical (and of obvious pragmatic value, to distinguish genders of sons and daughters in the ablative). quercubus is non-classical
(at least, unattested), lacubus is classical (Ov.met for one), portubus is also classical (Ov., Liv. etc.); the forms in -ibus are of course better attested. -obus is, I think, exclusively in the relics of the dual, i.e. duobus and ambobus. I cannot think of any -abus other than filia nor any -ebus at all. There is no good Ancient testimony (in any scientific sense) about the myriad problems of declension etc.

(3) I do not know much about this, but such ligatures are attested in MSS of the Mediaeval age, at any rate.

(4) uis, like many nouns of exceptionally short form, disappeared. this is seen in many Romance languages, for instance soleil and oiseau stem from the diminutives of sol and auis, which were themselves somewhat difficult for the man on the street to decline. so it is with heavily irregular verbs like edo (i eat), which was either compounded to comedo (cf. Spanish) or replaced by manduco (cf. French). this must have happened with uis (fortis and friends replaced it). I think I would be correct in saying that no direct descendant survived, though derivatives like Eng. violent etc.

(5) the third and fourth conj. futures reflect the formation of the future, which was a post-I.E. formulation. the forms are very close morphologically to the present subjunctive, for that is its origin. (cf. semantics of English 'will', i.e. desiderative sense correlating with future action). although we see the 1st pers sg. forms both in -am, the rest of the future paradigm was artificially altered to have the thematic vowel -e- purely to distinguish it from the pres subj., once it attained its own semantic value. the first and second conj. exhibit a periphrastic form with the subjunctive of the root *bhu appended.

(6) there are two vowel lengths. rosa has short a, as found in at or satis.

apologies for the haste.

~D
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Post by edonnelly » Mon May 02, 2005 10:22 pm

whiteoctave wrote:I cannot think of any -abus other than filia
I believe that deabus is also used (again, to distinguish masc. vs. fem.) I have always assumed this convention to be classical, but I honestly don't know that for sure.

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benissimus
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Post by benissimus » Tue May 03, 2005 5:47 am

edonnelly wrote:
whiteoctave wrote:I cannot think of any -abus other than filia
I believe that deabus is also used (again, to distinguish masc. vs. fem.) I have always assumed this convention to be classical, but I honestly don't know that for sure.
A&G states that a few others occasionally exhibit the -abus dat/abl plur, e.g. serva, libera; dea and filia are certainly the only common ones. I am sure when he mentioned the -ebus ending, he was referring to the 5th declension.

To expand on #6, it is the policy of many books and (I hope) every textbook to only mark long vowels, making the unmarked vowels short. Still other books only mark vowels of which the length is not obvious, leaving vowels (both long and short) whose length is obvious unmarked, meaning that you will have vowels marked with macrons or breves or not marked at all. You can find some vowels with both marks because the length of that vowel is variable in that word. Lastly, there are some words having a vowel or more whose length is unknown, often because its length cannot be determined metrically or because the word does not occur in poetry at all.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae

whiteoctave
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Post by whiteoctave » Tue May 03, 2005 7:09 am

seruabus and liberabus are not classical. yes, deabus is perfectly classical and accordingly a disappointing omission of mine.

~D
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Cyborg
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Post by Cyborg » Tue May 03, 2005 4:36 pm

(1) Oh, I see. :) That makes perfect sense.

(2)
whiteoctave wrote:There is no good Ancient testimony (in any scientific sense) about the myriad problems of declension etc.
That saddens me verily. Are you 100% sure about this (please say "no" ;))?


(3) So ligatures are medieval? There's no classical ligature? I thought so... But I felt like asking because I've seen* that they wrote "LL" differently than just one L after another - and as I understand, they had to save papyrus, so I would understand the need to create ligatures.

* here: http://www.und.edu/instruct/cjacobs/Pap ... -main.html
I gather from the warning on that page that those pictures are not from the original papyri. Will I ever catch a glimpse of an actual one?

(4) I read that it misses the genitive and some other case... why isn't it thought to be "uis" again (like "ciuis, ciuis")? I'm sorry if this is a stupid question.

(5)
whiteoctave wrote:the third and fourth conj. futures reflect the formation of the future, which was a post-I.E. formulation.
wow, that's interesting! and I thought 3rd and 4th were the exceptions! :D
I still ask myself why couldn't they come up with better suffixes to the 1st and 2nd. They could be something like "amim, amis, amit, amimus, amitis, amint". I will search for more on this "bhu" suffix.

What does post-I.E. means? I'm not an English native-speaker...

(6) two vowel lengths. this is very comforting.
benissimus wrote:To expand on #6, it is the policy of many books and (I hope) every textbook to only mark long vowels, making the unmarked vowels short.
My book marks longs and shorts randomly (apparently).

I've got to get some very good Classical Latin dictionary, that marks all vowels. I've seen one but it's so heavy I wonder if it's strictly Classical. Thus I query: how many words make up Classical Latin vocabulary?
whiteoctave wrote:seruabus and liberabus are not classical. yes, deabus is perfectly classical and accordingly a disappointing omission of mine.
Thanks! I'm starting to think my book is indeed of Classical Latin.

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Post by edonnelly » Tue May 03, 2005 5:57 pm

Cyborg wrote:Thus I query: how many words make up Classical Latin vocabulary?
I do not know the answer to that question, but I have found a useful resource in which you may be interested. It is the 1939 Doctoral Dissertation of Paul Bernard Diederich entitled The Frequency of Latin Words and Their Endings, which William Whitaker has placed online.

The whole thing is pretty interesting, but the part that is of immediate relevance to this discussion is his Recommended Basic Vocabulary which lists 1,471 words (all of which occur in classical Latin) and which "will enable the reader to recognize directly about 85 per cent (in round numbers) of all the words he will ever read In Latin literature and to deduce the meaning of about 10 per cent more as derivatives or compounds of known words, or as obvious roots of known English derivatives." He has listed the words by category, making them easier to learn.

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Post by whiteoctave » Tue May 03, 2005 6:59 pm

the genitive of uis does occur (as uis, although the quantity of the i is unknown) but is avoided for understandable reasons of confusion. it occurs in Varro, Tacitus, Ulpianus and the libri pandectarum and (presumably) in some other hidden corners. it should of course be avoided by due periphrasis in Classical Latin composition.

post-I.E. was a rushed shorthand way of saying post (i.e. after) Indo-European (the parent language of Lat, Grk, Skt, Hittite etc.) which is reconstructed by comparative linguistics. it didn't have a future tense.

you can see 'real' pictures of papyri and MSS in the various publications of Oxyrhynchnus Papyri and in any good book on ancient palaeography. i am by no means a papyrologist and/or palaeographer so cannot really say any more on the ligature front.

as for ancient testimony on the declensions some wonderful writing exists from the contemporary, though usually later (early to mid first millennium AD), grammarians. indeed, there is a huge volume of material (see for instance Keil's monumental 8-vol Grammatici Latini. my point was more with regard to scientific (i.e. both more accurate -usually - and morpo-/phono-/etymo-logical) linguistics as opposed to ancient theories. if you find time do read some Quintilian or Nigidius Figulus (to name but two). you will find it most enjoyable; but for a well-grounded start in Latin philology consult Palmer's Latin Language and Sihler's New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin.

~D
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Post by ingrid70 » Tue May 03, 2005 9:31 pm

whiteoctave wrote:the genitive of uis does occur (as uis, although the quantity of the i is unknown) but is avoided for understandable reasons of confusion. it occurs in Varro, Tacitus, Ulpianus and the libri pandectarum and (presumably) in some other hidden corners. it should of course be avoided by due periphrasis in Classical Latin composition.
~D
This is something I've been wondering about: how do they know for sure that some words weren't used in certain cases (e.g. no gen. plur. of certain 3rd decl. nouns etc.). Couldn't it be that those words just don't happen to occur in the texts we have, or is there any evidence that the Romans actively avoided using those cases?

Ingrid, busy reading grammars :).

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Post by whiteoctave » Tue May 03, 2005 9:37 pm

Ingrid, your point is certainly valid. infact, i am reminded of a word that occurred in the Vindolanda tablets when they were uncovered, and before their discovery the word was only attested much later in the sixth century A.D., but the word clearly existed on men's lips long before.
surviving texts are, however, a good indicator, especially for words whose semantics would suggest that a given form really should occur. we know with the genitive of uis, for example, that it was generally avoided: it is not really conceivable that at only three or four times in surviving Classical literature someone wanted to say 'of force/power'. indeed many more times will this thought be expressed but by a purposefully different word or phrase.

~D
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Cyborg
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Post by Cyborg » Thu May 05, 2005 5:08 am

whiteoctave wrote:you can see 'real' pictures of papyri and MSS in the various publications of Oxyrhynchnus Papyri and in any good book on ancient palaeography. i am by no means a papyrologist and/or palaeographer so cannot really say any more on the ligature front.
Nothing online, eh? :(

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