Writing Latin – With Diactritics?

Here you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get help with a difficult passage of Latin, and more.
Post Reply
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:15 am

Writing Latin – With Diactritics?

Post by citizen » Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:05 pm

Sometimes I see Latin written with macrons, like latīna, but it wasn't until I started studying Latin that I noticed it. How important are these diacritics and is it considered wrong to omit them? I quite like them and I happily add them – I'm Swedish, so I know how frustrating it can be when people omit diacritics (it can mean two different words).

Textkit Fan
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:10 pm

Re: Writing Latin – With Diactritics?

Post by Nesrad » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm

The Roman alphabet didn't have any accents, and it doesn't have any today either. Macrons are just an aid for beginners, almost like the vowel dots in Hebrew.

Textkit Zealot
Posts: 2090
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: Writing Latin – With Diactritics?

Post by Qimmik » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:23 am

Some ancient Latin texts used an acute accent to indicate vowel length, but normally Latin texts didn't and don't do so. (In antiquity, words weren't divided by spaces, either.) Today, the macron is frequently used in beginner texts to help students learn vowel quantities, which are often important for resolving ambiguities and very important for reading Latin poetry.

Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:24 pm

Re: Writing Latin – With Diactritics?

Post by boyter » Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:57 pm

In the early 1960's macrons were the death of me. I couldn't remember more than a few of them, and really didn't consider them very important since they weren't present in the original texts, However I lost a mark for every missing macron. Nowadays, except for Wheelock which is a very old text, macrons don't seem to be such an issue, and when I came to brush up on my Latin, no marks were deducted for missing macrons. By and large I'd say don't sweat it, but do read the text aloud to yourself to get a feeling for the rhythm indicated by the stress marks. IMO, that will stand you in good stead. I can still hack out Latin after a fashion, and translate monuments.

Post Reply