Talk:Latin/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

How would be the idea to include a map, showing the places were latin was\is spoken. We can also do the same about all the other languages.


Latin language

Why is this article at Latin instead of at Latin language like all the other language articles? It seems a bit inconsistent... —Tkinias 03:11, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)

there is a phrase and the english translation is "of liking there is no dispute" i think in Latin it is something to the effect of "di gust tubus non is pertanto" i don't know though Brianboru

Sorry, Mr. Boru, you lost me there...  :/ —Tkinias 16:38, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I think he's looking for de gustibus non est disputandum - i.e. "there's no point arguing about tastes." -- Smerdis of Tlön 17:24, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Ahhhh... Right. OK, I'm less interested de gustibus and more interested de integritate. I would consider the question of "X" or "X language" to be a matter of gustus but consistency to be a matter of integritas.Tkinias 20:03, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)
We had this quarrel some time ago concerning various programming languages, as many were unaware that convention is to only disambiguate where necessary. A language whose name is adjectival, such as Spanish, needs the "language" qualifier in its article title to distinguish it from, say, Spanish cuisine. Languages with their own names, such as Ladino or Quechua, or for that matter this one, have no such requirement and should be titled accordingly. A. D. Hair 02:28, Dec 18, 2004 (UTC)
The existance of Latin (disambiguation) suggests that this could stand disambiguation... —Tkinias 03:04, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
But because none of these uses refers to the same concept, the term "Latin language" would be a fallacious similitude. Even if Latin were the language spoken by Latin Americans, none of the alternate uses trumps what is far and away the principal use of the term (cf. London). A. D. Hair 04:17, Dec 18, 2004 (UTC)
A "fallacious similitude"? *scratches head* I haven't the foggiest idea what you're getting at, to be quite honest. —Tkinias 10:29, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I should say "the title," sorry. A. D. Hair 10:39, Dec 18, 2004 (UTC)
I'm still not sure what your argument is. Latin language is fallaciously similar to what? Latin, in the sense of Latin America or the old French concept of the Latin races, refers to a cultural area which traces its ancestry to Rome. Latin, in the sense of the Latin Church, refers to the Patriarchate of Rome. Latin, in the sense of the Latin alphabet, refers to the writing system developed in Rome. These are all connected, just as much as sauerkraut and Hochdeutsch are connected. Latin, as an unqualified noun or adjective, is just as ambiguous as German, even if some of the uses are less familiar to contemporary Brits or USians. —Tkinias 11:12, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
These are related, but not identical, concepts. The German language is the language of GermanyGerman is being used as adjectivally, just as it is with German music. Latin music, however, has nothing whatsoever to do with the pre-Roman inhabitants of Latium, save the millennia-old cultural and linguistic ties common to all of Europe. Thus it is hardly accurate to describe a "Latin language" (Latin is not an adjective except as derived from the language, not the people) in the same way, and neither do we write of an "Esperanto language" or a "Lepontic language." (We do, analogously, have "Esperanto speakers," the adjective being derived from the language itself.)
Believe it or not, the article's been moved before. Every time this is patiently explained, and every time it's moved back. A. D. Hair 11:47, Dec 18, 2004 (UTC)
(Latin is not an adjective except as derived from the language, not the people)Somewhere, an etymologist is crying.
Linking modern Latin music to pre-Roman Latins is comparable to linking modern German music to the Germanic tribes of the first millennium. The word "German" has remained since then, and is now being used for inhabitants of Germany, just as "Latin (adjective)" has remained since then and is now being used for people of Iberian descent. You're right in that Esperanto doesn't have an ethnos, so "Esperanto language" is redundant, however there was a Lepontic people, the Lepontii of which indeed the proper ethnonym is "Lepontic".
[Anyway, being as 1) all the ancillary uses of "Latin" are adjectival (except "inhabitant of Latium" which doesn't even have an article yet), and 2) page titles are supposed to be nouns, I don't have any trouble with this page being at Latin.] —Muke Tever 15:13, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
You're absolutely correct on all counts. Point 1 was actually the argument I started off with, you'll find above, before I started trying to be an ass. The "except as derived ..." statement was rather stupid of me, and in my defense I can only say that it was very late and I was very drunk. Swap "derived from" with "refers to" and qualify it with "common use," and then you'll have the gist of the point I was making. My apologies to the grief-stricken etymologist. A. D. Hair 00:43, Dec 19, 2004 (UTC)

I think Tkinias has this one. Consistency is a strong (but not unbeatable) argument. More importantly, Austin Hair’s arguments fall apart. There is a disambiguation page for ‘Latin’. ‘Latin’ is an adjective. In fact, it has the form of an English adjective, not a Latin word at all, and when used to describe the language is actually a substantive, with the word ‘language’ being understood. And just because the modern adjective does not refer back to LATIVM directly does not make it spurious (or a “fallacious similitude”, thank you kindly); you could say the same thing about ‘Romance’ — what does that have to do with Rome? And if ‘Latin’ as a noun is the most common use, it is not “far and away the principal use”. I am sure we all appreciate the condescending patience in your explanation, AD. But do you have any convincing arguments that you can patiently offer?

And why has the talk page not been moved with the article?
Ford 12:18, 2004 Dec 18 (UTC)

I would indeed protest calling Spanish a "Roman language," the proper analogy, but as it is we term it a Romance language, which is quite another thing. Nobody is lobbying for deletion of Latin (disambiguation), but you're free to disagree with my justifications just the same. A. D. Hair 13:01, Dec 18, 2004 (UTC)

It seems to me that A. D. Hair's main point of pedantry is that he believes the word "Latin" to be non-adjectival. Perhaps he is not aware that many English words have both nominal and adjectival uses. Or perhaps he has not heard that English nouns may be used attributively. Or maybe the fact that the word "Latin" is used as to qualify other nouns, whether as adjective or attributive noun is new to him. Then again he may not have noticed his own use of "Latin" this way as he typed "Latin American" above. Of course this is the same A. D. Hair whose pedantry does seem to permit the use of the noun "article" as an adjective in his term "article title". I'm also confused by his illustration of the adjectival quality of the word "Spanish" in his turn of speech "such as Spanish" above.

It could be that I'm completely off-track on what bothers him about standardising this article's title. I wonder if the article will find itself patiently and passively moved back once more? — Hippietrail 13:18, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I think you've had a few too many of those "special" brownies. Your confusion, no doubt, stems from the fact that you're reading into my comments an argument I'm not making. Try again. A. D. Hair 00:43, Dec 19, 2004 (UTC)
Hair, if you would be so kind as to stop being insulting and antagonistic and discuss this like an adult, we would be most appreciative. There is no need for this. There are three editors giving arguments why the move would be appropriate, and you are not giving any clear counterargument, just being arrogant and abusive. —Tkinias 02:11, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Hippie is neither advocating the move nor addressing any point I've made to date. If you'd like to do so, please speak of specifics. A. D. Hair 06:30, Dec 19, 2004 (UTC)
It's true I'm neither advocating "Latin" nor "Latin language" but I do think consistency would be beneficial. We can consistently make the "Titles as nouns, only disambiguate when necessary" rule the more important, or we can make the "All language articles have the word 'language' in their title" rule the more important. If the former rule comes out on top then articles such as "Esperanto language" should all be moved on the same basis. — Hippietrail 11:32, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I'm just a guy who was looking for an article on Latin, and got confused. I'd like to say that "Latin" shouldn't be an article in the category "Latin Language"; it should be the other way around. -Daniel Demski

The Latins were called the Romans. Talking about pre-Roman Latins is nonsense. The Roman empire was built as a result of the pan-Latin movement and overthrow of the Etruscan king who ruled over their land. Therefore, it is best referred to as the Latin Empire and "the Roman Empire" should refer to the empire established during the crusades. A Latin now a days solely refers to one of Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese ancestry because they desended from the Latins and share common cultural traditions. However because of invasions, their skin complexions range from dark to light. -Mohammad al-Assad

WP:RM discussion

It was requested that this article be renamed but there was no consensus for it to be moved.

LatinLatin language

  • Most languages are under "X language", except when the language name is not also an ethnonym. "Latin" (as the existance of Latin (disambiguation) illustrates) is not unambiguous, and can refer as a noun to a member of the ancient Latin people, to a Roman Catholic or Protestant (in Orthodox Christian usage), to a member of the "Latin race" (i.e., Iberian/French/Italian, in 19th century parlance), etc. The talk page is getting nowhere, so I think this needs input from the broader community. —Tkinias 22:05, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • Oppose. According to the disambiguation policy, primary meaning should not be disambiguated. Primary meaning of Latin is the language. -- Naive cynic 22:39, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
      • The primary meaning of "French" as a noun is French language, much as the primary meaning of "Spanish" as a noun is Spanish language, yet those are at "X lanaguage". Indeed, I am aware of no other uses of "French" or "Spanish" as nouns. On the other hand, "Latin" is used as a noun to refer to people in addition to the language. —Tkinias 02:15, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
        • I would have thought that "the French" was more likely to refer to the people of France rather than the French language (ditto "the Spanish", the people of Spain, Spanish language), no? -- ALoan (Talk) 03:23, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
          • I should have clarified that I was referring to singular nouns. There is no other meaning I can think of for "French" or "Spanish" as singular nouns. OTOH, "the French" or "the Spanish" is the rather archaic but formally correct way to refer to the languages (as in the ossified expression "translated from the French by..."); my 100-year-old Latin grammar always refers to the language as "the Latin". The fact remains that these are no more ambiguous than "Latin", which as a singular noun refers both to a person and to the language. —Tkinias 03:30, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • Oppose as Naive cynic. Dan | Talk 02:18, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • Support. Consistency is important for users and editors alike; the argument about disambiguation, as Tkinias says, could be applied to most language names and yet is not, when ‘Latin’ is actually in greater need of disambiguation. We can speak of “the French” and “the Latins”; but while we can speak of “a Latin”, we cannot speak of “a French”.
      Ford 02:47, 2004 Dec 19 (UTC)
      • Consistency is a nice thing, but we don't have it anyway - there are several other languages whose articles are not under the "X language". -- Naive cynic 11:09, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
        • Just because we are not yet consistent does not mean we cannot move in that direction.
          Ford 12:14, 2004 Dec 19 (UTC)
          • It depends on whether we want to move all language articles to "X language". -- Naive cynic 12:53, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • Oppose. Seems rather redundant. "Latin" is incredibly more likely to be referring to the language than anything else. SECProto 04:38, Dec 19, 2004 (UTC)
    • Support. I've discovered I don't like the entire "X language" convention. The argument about "primary meaning" holds for basically all languages — my naïve expectation is that a person coming to an encyclopedia and typing "french" in the "go" box is looking for French language, not French people. As for what articles link to, less than 80 pages link to French people (Special:Whatlinkshere/French people) while more pages link to French language than the software will display (Special:Whatlinkshere/French language). So why shouldnt it be at French? If we're going to apply mysterious article naming logic, we could at least be consistent about it. (And if not liking that drives us on to change our standard for the better, then so be it.) BTW, there are two disambiguation pages for Latin: Latin (disambiguation) and Latin (adjective)) —Muke Tever 07:36, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose primary meaning is the language and I think a special case should be made for something as widely used as the Latin language anyway. It is probably spoken by more people than any other tongue, whether they know it or not. adamsan 12:36, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose primary meaning is the language. olderwiser 12:49, Dec 19, 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose - primary meaning is the language. And if Muke Tever is correct (if the language links dominate that much), we should seriously consider moving all languages in the opposite direction. Rd232 18:32, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • I would support moving all languages this way. Currently, one cannot be sure (without checking) where a link like French, German, or Latin will wind up, so I always disambiguate—[[France|French]] or [[French language|French]]. As I mentioned on my original post on Talk:Latin, I frankly care not whether it's at Latin or Latin language, so long as all languages are treated consistently, and I can predict when I'm writing an article where the link will end up. (I can't imagine why treating languages consistently gets so much opposition...) —Tkinias 18:51, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If I type "Latin" in the Go box, I expect to read about the Latin language. However, in the case of French language, etc., I would oppose moving them to French; the current disambiguation pages there are excellent, and are quite practical when someone writes something like "is a French poet," rather than the more standard "is a [[France|French]] poet." The difference is that it is extremely rare for English speakers to refer to Latin culture, Latin cuisine, etc.; and if one talks about Latin literature, then one is talking about literature written in Latin. I think that the status quo is quite acceptable. --LostLeviathan 22:13, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • Sorry, LostLeviathan. Usually when we refer to Latin literature we call it by what it has been known as for centuries...Classics.—ExplorerCDT 15:53, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • I'm not sure where you live, but in my part of the States there is a lot of Latin culture. It is more PC today to use the untranslated Latina/-o, but the traditional English term is Latin—hence Latin America. Indeed, one is far more likely to be referring to Hispanics than anything pertaining to ancient Rome or the Latin language when one says Latin around here. —Tkinias 09:39, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • Support. If I type "Latin" in the Go Box, I'd rather expect to read about the music genre rather than the language of Juvenal, Cato, and Livy which is generally more interesting. Latin should be a disambiguation page, leading to Latin language, Latin (music), perhaps something referring to the Latins both the ancient tribe that lived near Etruria and became the progenitors of the Kingdom of Rome, before the Republic, and the people that today are grouped as Latin—hispanics, spanish, portuguese, &c. We really need a disambiguation at this page. As for the language page, Latin language gets my support. Consistency demands it—above personal preferences.—ExplorerCDT 06:44, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
      • Out of curiosity, what do you expect to read about when you type in the Go box, say, "Acid", "Club", "Dance", "Gospel", "Jungle", "Metal", or "Soul"? -- Naive cynic 00:26, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
        • Nice of you to read and comment on only one line without reading what I mentioned in the rest of the paragraph. Obviously you are blind because any fool would have noticed that one line was meant to be tete-a-tete rhetoric directed towards LostLeviathan concerning his subjective statement that after having typed Latin into the Go box he expected to be led to the language article. I guess some people either don't read, or—because of some deficiency in comprehension—need more-than-obvious rhetorical flourishes explained to them. —ExplorerCDT 15:53, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
      • Consistency, apparently, is not a priority... —Tkinias 09:42, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose. If I type Latin, I expect Latin. --[[User:Tony Sidaway|Tony Sidaway|Talk]] 12:47, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This is a heavily linked-to article; moving will occasion a major fuss. "Latin" is originally and ordinarily the name of a language. Most other uses are abbreviations for Latin American, and this probably should be spelled out the first time it's used in that context in any case. -- Smerdis of Tlön 19:50, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • Ordinarily maybe, but originally no: Latin is originally an ethnonym, regularly formed (Latium : Latin  :: Rome : Roman). Not its fault that the region ended up severely outclassed by its capital. ;) (—Muke Tever 02:17, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose Guettarda 19:59, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Suppport. While the language is the primary meaning, "X_language" is the standard article naming for language articles. If we are to leave this, we should move all "X_language" articles to "X", and deal with the mess that creates. - UtherSRG 12:57, Dec 21, 2004 (UTC)
If that's the best thing in the long run (is it?) then maybe we should bite the bullet. (And it needn't be done overnight.) Rd232 01:03, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Support. Obviously. [[User:Neutrality|Neutrality/talk]] 00:06, Dec 23, 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This discussion was already held a few years ago. The language is the primary use of Latin, thus according to Wikipedia disambiguation policy, the current situation should stand. RedWolf 08:01, Dec 23, 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose, once again. I suppose I should now expect a vote every few months for all eternity, here and for a dozen similarly named pages. A. D. Hair (t&m) 14:05, dec 23, 2004 (UTC)
  • Support English language, Italian language, German language, French language, Spanish language, Korean language... 02:47, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  • Strong Support. People who are used to putting Greek language, Spanish language etc. put Latin language. Pace Smerdis of Tlön, but "Latin" was not originally simply the name of a language (others have already pointed this out above); and, I think, one of the reasons so many articles link here is that many authors carelessly fail to disambiguate. The community should recognize this and have "Latin" redirect to Latin (disambiguation) just as Greek (disambiguation) does. We are doing readers a disservice when people who are reading articles about anti-Latin riots in Constantinople, the stock "Latin Lover" character on soap operas etc. are being brought here instead of to a disambiguation page. --Jpbrenna 22:42, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This would turn a huge number of links into redirects and there really isn't a compelling reason to move that I can see. Jonathunder 21:23, 2005 Jun 19 (UTC)
  • Oppose. And all the other languages should ideally be at "French", "Spanish", etc too. — Chameleon 21:45, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Whoa. This is a vote that was on WP:RM and archived here 23 Dec 2004. Is it normal procedure to go on adding votes to it as if it were still live? —Muke Tever talk (la.wiktionary) 23:24, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

No, it's not, but I thought it was still live. There wasn't a tag here that said it had survived a vote. The vote was very close, so I assumed that it had been left open past the normal 5 day window. Adding notmoved tag below. --Jpbrenna 23:54, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

It was requested that this article be renamed but there was no consensus for it to be moved.


Does Ecclesiastical Latin fit in anywhere?

Why not add a new heading/list ? Classical Latin, Vulgar Latin, Neo (New) Latin, Ecclesiastical(Church) Latin, Latin as Pronounced in England, France, Itallian, etc.. Jondel

Featured Article criteria?

I think this is a pretty decent composition. How do we put it though the nomination process to make it a featured article? 19:11, May 16, 2005 (UTC)

Merging Latin grammar

We should merge the Latin grammar page into the Latin declension and Latin conjugation page. Most of the elements which are in the grammar page are already on the other two; namely, the charts. Or, just remove the grammar page all together, and focus on the grammar of nouns and verbs on the subsequent other two pages. good, bad, mediocre idea? Christopher 20:46, Mar 9, 2005 (UTC)


Some schools, (versions depending on the country, age of the language etc. ) dispute that 'v' is should not be in Latin but should be replaced with 'u'. Some in some books/schools, the pronounciation of 'v' is w. I read that v was a latter addition. Also it is said that Church Latin is based on Itallian. e.g. ng -> ny, c-> ch. etc.. Is there a final, authorative reference Comments, anyone ? Jondel

  • Yes, just read a book on the history of the Romance languages and you'll get details on what Latin was like as a real language. As for "v", there is no such letter in Latin — it was invented in the Middle Ages. Julius Caesar said and wrote "ueni, uidi, uici." —Chameleon 22:21, 7 May 2004 (UTC)
    • Technically, "u" is the newcomer; the Romans wrote in ALL CAPS and their letter form was always V; in uppercase U is the innovation. "u" was the shape it took in Carolignian miniscule, and "v" was added to the repertoire of letter shapes once a difference between the two began to be drawn. The way English was routinely printed in the first third of the seventeenth century, the letter "v" stood at the beginning of a word for u or v, and the letter "u" elsewhere for either letter as well. There may be more information at Latin alphabet, V, or U. Smerdis of Tlön 00:25, 8 May 2004 (UTC)
      • In churches in Madrid I would see IVAN (yes Madrid not Russia). I knew then that this is how John (English), Juan(Spanish), and IVAN (Russian )were derived and how I and V changed. Thanks on the above info. Will look into phonemes.Jondel
  • Just to clarify, neither u nor v is the newcomer; they were originally two graphical variants of the same letter; the same was true for i and j. For a while in English, v was just the word-initial form of the letter, while u was medial or terminal; this is analogous to modern Greek's preservation of two miniscule sigma forms (initial/medial and terminal), or the old distinction between s forms (the f-shaped long form and the short form we still use). Neither veni nor ueni is more correct; however, strict usage would, I suppose, never write vacuum—it would be either vacvvm or uacuum, since classical Latin did not distinguish v-as-consonant from u-as-vowel. —Tkinias 10:39, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Latin is merely shorthand for Italian

Notice how Latin takes up about half the space of any other romance language? Also Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian and the others are all much more like each other than they are to Latin, so why should they have come from Latin?

it just don't add up!

What are you blathering on about, anonymous? —Chameleon 13:25, 19 May 2004 (UTC)
because there was two latin languages. The Latin without name (the people's), evolved and was renamed as the language of each descendant latin country. That happened in Portugal. King Dinis of Portugal, especifically, said that the vulgar ( that means people) language will be renamed Portuguese. It was the language of the Roman settlers and soldiers, but it was undervaluated, thus without name. Possibly similar to the creoles in the past (Vulgar Latin is not a creole, but the history of it is the same - lack of prestige and without name, and a very different grammar). Latin is not so different from today's Romance languages it has many similarities, especially in lexicon, and that's why many confuse it to be the past of today's latin Languages. (they are all latin because they came from the surrounding region of Rome.)-Pedro 12:46, 31 May 2004 (UTC)
You're just saying in an incoherent way what everyone already knows. Chameleon 22:09, 31 May 2004 (UTC)
Nope... people don't know that. Chameleon, translate the latin of Ophiussa, if you know good Classical latin. Thx. -Pedro 18:15, 1 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Thank you,Pedro, you expressed in a very understandable way (for me at least) something which I hadn't previously understood explicitly. Things that 'everyone

knows' sometimes need to be restated, in order for everybody to know them. Personally it was of some help. I don't know much about Latin more than the meaning of a few hundred words, that's why I'm reading the 'discuss page' first. Often the discussion has much more information than the article itself. I got some benefit from your paragraph. ThanksPedant 19:13, 2004 Oct 24 (UTC)

Latin is not italian. It has nothing to do with Italy. Italy was the first area that the Romans conquered. Latin is the Language of Latium. (Area of Rome).Pedro 12:48, 31 May 2004 (UTC)
Latin has nothing to do with Italy? What????? SγωΩηΣ tαlk 18:12, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
On this subject, I actually think it's pretty clear that Sardinian, not Italian, is the closest living language to Latin. (Romanian is also eerily similar at times, but I'm sure it doesn't beat out Sardinian.) QuartierLatin1968 04:58, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Sardinian is not a commonly spoken language (as the article that says the closest living common language to Latin is Italian). Romanian definately isn't the closest to Latin, because of its heavy Slavic influence. Andros 1337 02:54, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • According to what definition (I assume of "commonly"), are you asserting that "Sardinian is not a commonly spoken language"? I see nothing in Sardinian language to indicate that it is not commonly spoken. Should that article be changed? Tomer TALK July 1, 2005 03:32 (UTC)
Actually, Romanian is the closest in some aspects, most notably the inflection of nouns. It retains the three grammatical genders and five cases of Latin, even for imported Slavic and Greek words, which it adapts to its Latinate inflectional system. --Jpbrenna 19:38, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Actually, Romanian is not closest in "some" aspects, it is closest only inasmuch as it has inflected nouns. This is far more likely a result of the fact that Romanian is surrounded by other languages which are even more highly inflected, than as a result of a retention of Latinness. Sorry to be a toad. Tomer TALK July 1, 2005 03:32 (UTC)

There is no objective way to measure how "close" any daughter language is to its parent language, so the question is moot. --Angr/tɔk tə mi 3 July 2005 10:50 (UTC)

Latin Scholar Needed!

See: Talk:Greek numerical prefixes Leonard G. 04:51, 20 May 2004 (UTC)

Greek to the ancient Romans?

does anyone know if it is true that most ancient Romans actually spoke Greek more often than Latin? mnemonic 08:45, 2004 Jul 5 (UTC)

I suspect that the answer depends upon your definition of "ancient Roman" and the timing. Probably more subjects of the Roman empire spoke Greek than Latin because the eastern parts of the empire were the most populous and had long been Hellenized. A large percentage of the upper class Romans, especially those with intellectual pretensions, would also speak Greek.
However, the majority of the Roman citizens-in-the-street probably only spoke Latin. GreatWhiteNortherner 09:19, 5 Jul 2004 (UTC)
The élite preferred Greek. Greek was also spoken by the numerous foreign slaves, by merchants, and by others who might need it. Plus of course, Greeks, when they were in the Empire. Otherwise, the language used was Latin, in either vulgar or classical form. — Chameleon My page/My talk 09:35, 5 Jul 2004 (UTC)

God knows if anyone is going to read this comment five months after the comment by Chameleon, but I would dispute that the elite actually 'preferred' Greek. I think a more nuanced view would be to claim that the elite 'expected' members (members being my own loose term, to describe those who passed in and out of the upper echelons of any major urban social centres in the Empire) to be fluent and indeed, if possible, eloquent, in Greek -- typically Attic dialect. HOWEVER, the elite of the late Republican and early Imperial period (Gold/Silver Age we're talking about here) were lovers of their own native tongue, as much as they complained about its limitations (although, perhaps the most beautiful and brilliant of the Romans, Cicero, sought to dispell this mythos -- I tend to agree with him. Read the Disputations in forma vera and try to disagree). Furthermore, they were masters of their own native tongue -- very little of pure Greek written by "Romans" (even Greek Romans) survives today -- and survival is highly correlated with acclaim within the first few centuries of a text being issued forth. But Latin is, relatively speaking, plentiful. In short, I think it is best to fix in one's head the idea that the elite PREFERRED that they and those around them knew Greek, were able to use it effectively in writing, were able to debate in it, etc. But this is different from saying that they outright PREFERRED Greek. The Romans, like any great people, were a proud people across the whole ranks of their societies. For as much as they sometimes poo-pooed Latin (yes, I did just say poo poo) they preferred their mother tongue, and poured their brillance into it. User:

That's a good clarification, thanks. — Chameleon 19:48, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Come one now, all of Cicero's speeches are in Latin! How can he have preferred Greek? And wasn't he member of the élite and weren't speeches like these quite formal? Caesarion 08:49, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

Extinct, Yet Spoken

Hi. I find it somewhat confusing that the offical language of Vatican City is considered extinct. I understand that there is the notion of a living language as one that is passed down from parents to children, but surely the fact that tens of thousands (or more) of ecclesiasticals and scholars around the world speak some form of Latin as a second language should be recorded in the article's table-listing. In other language articles, I am left with the impression that the Total speakers field includes those who speak it as a second language. func(talk) 17:53, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

You are completely right, but linguists are in denial about these facts and the biased nature of their interpretations (see below 19 Latin, an endangered and/or extinct language and 20 Latin: Living, Dead, Extinct, Endangered), so any attempts at providing the real, fuller picture on the Latin article page are censored. In an encyclopedia like this, where the majority crushes minorities, there is nothing we can do. Cura ut valeas optime! Avitus.
As I've already said, it's dead, not extinct. Tomer TALK 01:19, Jun 21, 2005 (UTC)
Absurdum est appellare mortuam linguam qua homines utuntur in cottidiana conversatione vivi viva. Cura ut valeas optime! Avitus
Instead of making statements that seem to indicate that you believe you're somehow a wounded party by the characterization of Latin as a dead language, I recommend that you assist in obtaining the opinion of disinterested and qualified linguists to render an opinion on the status of Latin, as well as to review the article at Extinct language. Tomer TALK 15:39, Jun 22, 2005 (UTC)
You misunderstand my language. It doesn't matter. Dead words in a dead language ... surely written by a corpse. Cura ut valeas optime! Avitus.
You seem to misunderstand my statement. I am commenting on your overall approach to this subject. Have you drummed up any support from qualified disinterested linguists yet? Tomer TALK 23:48, Jun 23, 2005 (UTC)
I've answered elsewhere about the problems to find objective, 'disinterested' approaches with regard to questions that affect long disregarded minorities and in the context of strongly established prejudice. Yet, I have been able to put forward one name of a qualified philologists with no interest in Latin (nor Sanskrit for that matter) revival. Did you read that? I can't keep repeating myself. Or is it your idea that no philologist can be disinterested? Or that a philologist is not a linguist? Cura ut valeas optime. Avitus.

Nope. It's just my opinion that people who learn to speak Latin are no more of a "disregarded minorit[y]" than people who learn to speak Polish or people who learn to play Chinese Checkers, and that there is no strongly established prejudice with regard to any of those three choices, except apparently in your mind. On the subject of disinterested linguists or philologists, since I was apparently insufficiently specific, let me clarify: find one who classifies Latin, Sanskrit, Demotic, Biblical Hebrew, Gothic, Ge'ez, and Old Church Slavonic in some way other than "dead", and cite such a classification. Tomer TALK 17:56, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)

Uh, just to quibble... Language death says so :-) but I see it's just been added an "accuracy" tag... LjL 19:54, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Sure it's your opinion, and the opinion of many others, I very well know that; only such OPINION, in my EXPERIENCE and that of many others, happens to be wrong (i.e. contrary to fact). In any case, that, and the other issues, I have addressed and answered to elsewhere, and I can't just keep repeating myself ad nauseam. Curate ut valeatis optime! Avitus.
I don't know if this is very relevant to this discussion, but I am almost sure there are at least a few native speakers right now! There seems to be several hundreds of Native Esperanto speakers, several thousands of native Sanskrit speakers and even one child half-native in Klingon. These all have been raised or are raised by their parents in full linguistic isolation, just because they like these languages so much (or, in the Esperanto case, because they met each other in that language), so it seems quite likely that at least a few freaks raised their children in Latin. Caesarion 09:00, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

I'd like to add my opinion if I may. I don't actually think that the clergy speaks Latin per se. While they may read it from books and such, I would be willing to wager that they would not be able to actually have an intelligent conversation with a Roman.

Quis umquam audivit de lingua vere mortua? Semper quidem possunt referri! Jason

Not that anyone cares but I fully classify myself as being completely fluent in Latin. I believe that if there were any Native speakers around now that I would of course be able to have a intelligent conversation with them. It seems to me to be a NPOV issue to say that Latin has no fluent speakers now. This would be like saying that there are no Fluent speakers of French in Louisiana when that is just not true. I have no "Roman" as you put it to speak with but I would not find myself wanting to converse with them in the first place should we find one that was frozen or teleported to the present day by some other means. I do however have many friends, and family members that I do converse with in Latin as well as several people who do not speak English but do understand Latin. I know of no "freaks" that teach Latin as a first language to their children but I do know of seveal very fine and upstanding families that have their children learn to be fluent in Latin. --Billiot 07:50, 21 March 2007 (UTC)


  • can anyone translate this - In umbra, igitur, pugnabimus? --Larsie 18:26, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    • "Therefore we will fight in the shadows." I think that is from an account of the Battle of Thermopylae, or some battle from the Persian Wars, where the Persians have so many arrows that they boast they will block out the sun. This is the answer the Spartans give. Adam Bishop 19:16, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)
      • This quote is concerning Thermopylae, but probably incomplete... The full translation should read something like this: "Good. Then we'll have some shade to fight the battle." This was inresponse to the warning that the Persian archers were so numerous they could block out the sun with their arrows.
-- Praetorbrutus

        • what meaning does the 'suffix' abimus convey? thanks.Pedant 19:32, 2004 Oct 24 (UTC)
          • It's the first person plural future indicative active ending. HTH —No-One Jones (m) 19:35, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)
            • first person plural future, meaning we will (fight- pugnabimus)--Jondel 06:48, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

can anyone translate this: tuum cranium est poma ex terra farragata!!!!--Divya da animal lvr 20:32, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Latin scholar needed for another article

Over at Hairshirt#History is something I wrote. I took the Latin from the Catholic Encyclopedia, but the translation doesn't make sense. Can someone knowledgeable of Latin help here? Here, I'll repeat the paragraph:

The Latin word is cilicium, and the reputed first Scriptural use of the word hairshirt in the Latin scriptures is in the Vulgate of Psalm 34:13, "Ego autem, cum mihi molesti essent, induebar cilicio." ("Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile" in the King James Bible — this is from The Catholic Encyclopedia referenced below). This is translated as hair-cloth in the Douay Bible, and as sackcloth in the Anglican Authorized Version and the Book of Common Prayer.

dino 02:11, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The Vulgate followed the Septuagint rather than the Tanakh and misnumbers a bunch of Psalms, and as a result many of the numbers differ from the KJV through large passages of the book by one. What you want is Psalm 35:13: "But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth." Smerdis of Tlön 04:35, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Closest language...

"The closest living common language to Latin is Italian." Is this correct? I also read that the closest language is Romanian, but i doubt this.

Well Romanian is the only romance language to still have a case system. That's a pretty major similarity - of course the case system is different but not as different as Italian which has no cases at all.
I'm not sure but I think I've also heard either Latvian or Lithuanian mentioned as being very similar to Latin - but then again they're not even romance languages... — Hippietrail 11:04, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It all depends on what your measure of "close" is, really. Romanian still has cases, but it has accreted Slavic grammatical features. Italian also is close, retaining vowels lost in much of Western Romance, and not voicing intervocalic stops. Sardinian I understand is particularly conservative [though its article is seriously in need of cleanup...]. —Muke Tever 12:25, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Firstly I goofed regarding the Baltics - they're supposed to be the closest to Proto Indo European! From what I've read Romanian linguists will not agree with what you say about Slavic features though that is the common belief in the west. Romanian does have non-romance, non-slavic features such as suffixed articles though, and it does have some slavic vocabulary. That all aside, I think you're quite right about Sardinian - I would like to know more about that language. — Hippietrail 14:57, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Of the Romance languages, Romanian is in truth the closest to Latin, because of its case-systems, its three gender nouns (as in Latin, lost in other Romance languages), and even its vocabulary. For instance, Romanian is the only Romance language to preserve classical Latin Caput (the head in the anatomical sense) as Cap ( the head in the anatomical sense). In other Romance languages, Vulgar Latin Testa replaced 'caput'. Here are two sentences in Romanian: " In California, viaţa este buna. Se castiga ceva mai mult decat la vecinii din Arizona sau Oregon, chiar daca preţurile sunt cu puţin sarite faţa de celealte state din Uniunea Americana, din care California face parte." ---There are no Slavic words in these sentences, and that is many times the case: see a full Romanian paragraph below. About 75% of Romanian words are Latin (almost all basic words), and Slavic words are present indeed, just as many Germanic words are present in French and many Arabic words in Spanish. Romanian may have a number of Slavic words, but in no way is it close to the Slavic or Baltic languages, and they are mutually incomprehensible to each other, very incomprehensible to each other in fact. Romanian is the closest living language to Latin. (Decius)

See [, a non-Romanian site devoted to the ancient Roman Empire, where it is said that Romanian is the closest living language to Latin, and this is said in all unpartisan linguistic references. Italian is the second closest, not Sardinian: both Romanian and Italian are East Romance languages, and the East Romance languages are the more conservative.(Decius)

Here is a long paragraph of the Romanian language taken from a newspaper, with no Slavic words in the entire paragraph:

"Desi alegerile au trecut, santajul cu dosarele fostei Securitaţi ramane. Intensificarea bataliei electorale a determinat, luna trecuta, si o reluare a santajul cu dosarele fostei Securitaţi. Primul vizat: Traian Basescu. Lider in sondajele pe Bucuresti si cam greu de combatut in emisiunile televizate, marinarul a fost infruntat si infierat pe seama presupusei sale colaborari cu Securitatea. Ca a semnat "camioane de rapoarte" la intoarcerea din curse, in calitatea sa de comandant de nava, a reconoscut-o singur. Asta era procedura. Nu semnai, nu mai plecai--in cel mai bun caz. Nu se stie, insa, daca in informarile sale pot fi identificate elemente de poliţie politica (mai pe faţa spus: turnatorii meschine care sa fi facut rau cuiva). Arhivele raman inchise, iar CNSAS nu are acces decat la ceea ce doreste SRI sa-i livreze. Curios este faptul ca principalul atacant al lui Basescu era Mugur Ciuvica, tot din opoziţie (Acţiunea Populara), nu cineva din PSD. Care sa fi fost jocurile, e greu de presupus."

<There are no Slavic words and no Slavic grammatical features in the above paragraph. (Decius) 08:03, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

As for "Slavic grammatical" features in Romanian, that is not quite the case: the article at the end of words (head: cap>capul; wolf: lup>lupul) is not found in any Slavic language (though it is found in North Germanic languages, but that is a coincidence). Other features that appear "slavic" are in fact Balkan linguistic features, found in Romanian, Greek, Albanian, and only in SOUTH Slavic languages like bulgarian, and here Romanian may have influenced Bulgarian, not vice versa. The Slavic influence extends mostly to loanwords.(Decius)

I notice that when it comes to Romanian lots of people like to open their mouths and make statements about it (based on preconceptions) even though they know nothing about the language. Because of its geographical position (bordering on Ukraine) and recent past (under Soviet influence, yet remember that Ceaucescu's regime was quite independent from Moscow, and many stand-offs resulted), many people assume many things. Other confusions arise from a whole other angle: because gypsies in recent decades have begun to refer to themselves officially as "rom" (instead of gypsies or tsigan), some people are under the impression that Romanians are somehow linked to gypsies: nope. Gypsies migrated from India sometime during the 13th-14th centuries into the Balkans, and before they entered the Eastern Roman empire (the Byzantine empire, as we call it now, though the Byzantines themselves called it the Roman empire) the gypsies were known as "dom", as they are still known in the middleast and in India. When they entered the eastern Roman empire, they began to call themselves "rom", for obvious reasons. The Romanians, on the other hand, who are descended in part from the Roman colonists (and in part from Dacians, etc.), were of course already long established in Europe and were already known as Romanians (Romani,Rumani, etc. from Latin romanus, 'Roman') before the gypsies ever heard of Europe. So now we have two totally different groups, Romanians and "rom", living adjacent to each other, not always peacefully. Gypsies are found in large numbers in Hungary, Spain, Romania, Portugal, et cetera. Most Romanians view gypsies in a very unfavorable manner, and when Romanians want to make fun of someone they say "you are behaving like a gypsy (tsigan)". Many Romanians despise gypsies, and this fact came to the surface during World War II, when the fascist Romanian Iron Guard rounded up Gypsies and either deported them or murdered them in large numbers (the gypsy population was greatly reduced, but has since climbed again). So let's keep that in mind. As for Russia, many Romanians harbor ill-sentiments towards Russia (which invaded Romania with tanks after WWII), and the country has moved away from the Russian swamp, and is looking towards the west. (Decius) 02:28, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

er, it is common said that italian is the most similiar language to latin because of it's grammar and vucabulary, 80 % of italian words are "directly" derivated from latin, and the grammar is the same of italian. An example, the consecutio temporum is found in none of the romance language except that in italian. --Philx 02:21, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Ehm, Decius you have written: Romanian is the only Romance language to preserve classical Latin Caput (the head in the anatomical sense) as Cap ( the head in the anatomical sense). In other Romance languages, Vulgar Latin Testa replaced 'caput'. I'm sorry but italian commonly uses "capo" for head. Ciao, Dedo (18 gennaio 2006)

Spanish and Gallego both have "cabeza" for head, and Portuguese has "cabeça". Italian uses capo but also has "testa", and French has tête. No need to be sorry, the claim is just plain silly. Tomertalk 07:33, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

It's french. Trust me. I've asked two latin teachers who have been teaching for over 20 years and who also have taken french and spanish. END O' STORY, GOODBYE, SEEYALATER.--Divya da animal lvr 22:17, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure what that last comment about the 20 yr. teachers means, but I can also attest to Catalan's use of "cap" meaning "head."

Joshua Crowgey 07:04, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Split infinitive

Does anyone have any evidence that the prohibition on the split infinitive was an attempt to make English resemble Latin? I took out "contrived" because I really doubt that it was contrived, but I also doubt that the split infinitive should even be mentioned in this article. The prohibition on ending sentences with prepositions might be a better choice--if someone will check what John Dryden said about it. —JerryFriedman 20:33, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I'll make this a neutral statement for you to intuit what you will: the origin of the prohibition against the split infinitive came from the fact that many of the English grammarians of the ... ?19th century? had extensive cross-training in the Latin language.

I think "19th century" is right, and I agree that those grammarians were trained in Latin. My question is whether that had anything to do with the prohibition on the split infinitive.

The movement as a whole to give a greater degree of order to the English language was propelled, in part, by Latinists who imposed linguistic conventions which they were familiar and comfortable with. I don't think they were trying to make English "resemble" Latin, but it might have been a mark of their own chauvinism (i.e. 'improving' upon the newer language by giving it structures from the 'classical' one). Attempts to Latinize the English language really are more centrally arrayed around the comingled periods of the Rennisance and the Humanistic revival, with the full blossoms of this coming about in the 18th and 18th centuries (great examples of Latinaic diction and syntax in the English language are to be found in Milton's writings -- this is a hallmark of his work, as any first year English degree student is trained to know ;))

Okay, Milton often used Latinate syntax in the 17th century (though I don't know whether he split any infinitives) and Bentley "corrected" him on explicitly Latinizing grounds. How is that connected with the prohibition on split infinitives in the 19th century?
Maybe according to this post in alt.usage.english by David C. Wood, which I mark with apostrophes:
'Burchfield writes about the split infinitive:
'a. It did not occur in the Old English period when _to_-infinitives were rare, and when in any case such infinitives were inflected as if they were nouns.
'b. There are recorded instances, with the frequency increasing all the time, from the thirteenth century to the fifteenth century.
'c. It was avoided between 1500 and 1800. No examples have been found in the works of Shakespeare, Spencer, Pope, or Dryden, for example.
'd. From the time of Byron onwards the construction has reappeared and has been used with increasing frequency despite the hostility of prescriptive grammarians.
'The first major grammarian to oppose the use of split infinitives

was Henry Alford in his usage manual called _The Queen's English_ (1864).

'[end of quotation]
'I should perhaps have written "re-invented", but the previous

incarnation of the split infinitive had been dead for so long in Lowth's time that it's surely irrelevant. He probably never met one.

'It is interesting to note that Alford's objection is "descripivist"; that "there seems no good reason for flying in the face of common


That was from [1]. Nothing there about Latin. I haven't read Burchfield, much less Alford, but I find it hard to believe the assertion that the ban on split infinitives came from the influence of Latin, and I don't think it should be in Wikipedia without evidence.
(By the way, there is a split infinitive in Shakespeare, in Sonnet 142. There are other from the period from 1500 to 1800, when it was rare but not totally avoided.)
JerryFriedman 19:42, 24 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Latin itself doesn't have split infinitives. However, it may be appropriate to split an infinitive in idiomatic English translation.

Also, If we are the sticklers for NPOV that we purport to be, it might not be prudent to openly antagonize those writers of English who prefer not to split infinitives by using the phrase "to split occassionally" rather than "to occassionally split." I will adjust the article accordingly. ~~

Great, that bothered me too... —Ogdred 03:12, 13 September 2006 (UTC)


Can anyone help me translate into latin 'Kick them when they're down'. Eōs ferī pede ubi cubant. has been suggested. Bush Me Up 00:48, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Possibly like this: Calcitra eos cum decadant. Literally, "Kick them when they fall down." Christopher 05:10, Feb 16, 2005 (UTC)
Eos feri pede ubi cubant is "give them the foot where they lie", calcitra eos cum decadant is "Kick them while they're falling". What you're looking for is "Calcitra eos quoad cubati sunt", I think. Tomertalk 07:45, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Calcitra eos quoad cubati sunt = kick them as long as they have been reclined? - Christopher 07:56, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Trying to add new links

I've been trying to add new links to the page, but next time I check (after a few seconds) they are all gone and the page looks again as it was before. I always click on 'save page' though after the changes. Can anyone help?

You did add one link, but you also reshuffled the existing links in a fashion that made no sense, and deleted the infobox. When I saw that last edit, which appeared to be simple vandalism, I hit the sysop rollback button, which undid all of your edits. You then added the erroneous category:Endangered languages, and I reverted that too, which overwrote your readdition of the link. I then restored it, and it is now in place. —Charles P. (Mirv) 02:07, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

It is true that I tried to improve the grammar/legibility of the existing links, and that I changed the position of one of them (yours?) because it carried very little information in comparison with the ones immediately below (hardly much more than that Latin is still the official Language of the Vatican City, as opposed to scores of sources, etc.). Even I didn't put my link on top of all others. I think I was improving the arrangement of the links.

Secondly, I didn't delete the infobox voluntarily. I just wanted to add information, but the html format proved too complicated for me to modify and I didn't know how to proceed. It is not my intention to delete the infobox, but some of the information there is obviously incomplete. For instance, two different boxes: 'spoken in' and 'official in' have the same information: Vatican City. It is true that Latin is official in the Vatican City, but it is not true that it is spoken only there. On the one hand, in the Vatican City hardly anyone speaks it anymore (at least during the last long papacy); on the other, there are hundreds of Latin speakers all over the world (equidem non habito in Civitate Vaticana et Latine loquor saepe), not only in the Vatican City. So whereas the information in the 'official in' box is completely correct, that in the 'spoken in' one is incomplete under any standards.

Thirdly, an endangered language is defined in many places (this is just an example) as following (my capitals, with no editing):

       An endangered language is a language with so few surviving SPEAKERS that it is in danger of falling out of USE.

       While there is no definite threshold for identifying a language as endangered, three main criteria are used as guidelines: 
       1.    The number of SPEAKERS currently living. 
       2.    The mean age of native and/or FLUENT speakers. 
       3.    The percentage of the youngest generation acquiring FLUENCY with the language in question. 

Latin complies with this to perfection and is therefore an endangered language that needs to be helped. If you think of the church, very few priests of even cardinals speak the language anymore as Reginald Foster, official translator at the Vatican has often pointed out. If you think about university, the majority of Latin scholars are not speakers of the language: they can not speak it, and do not attempt or wish to use it as it was once extensively used for academic communication. There are surviving speakers of Latin, but they are so few (probably not more than a thousand worldwide) that the language is in grave danger of completely falling out of USE, according to the definition. There are very few SPEAKERS currently living, most FLUENT speakers are old, and the percentage of the youngest generation acquiring FLUENCY with the language in question is extremely very limited. Latin is an endangered language, and the category I added was not erroneous.

Thank you for the explanation, and I'm sorry I reverted your work so hastily; the deletion of the infobox looked like classic vandalism or newbie testing, but I see now that it was just a mistake. As to the extinct/endangered distinction: the definition you are using comes from the Wikipedia article endangered language, which says in its introduction "A dead language (or extinct language) is one which has no native speakers."—that seems to apply to Latin. Despite its use in the Vatican, and despite a few who have learned to speak it, there are no native speakers and have not been for some time. I suppose it's something of a special case, for which I would use the term undead language if I hadn't just made it up on the spot. :) —Charles P. (Mirv) 13:22, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

I thank you for your understanding. I also saw what you say about the 'native' criterion; but other classifications, like the one I use as an example above don't consider this essential ('native and/or fluent' they say). Of course, in an endangered language, the existence of native speakers is bound to be precarious. Many people who consider themselves as belonging to a cultural and historical community won't speak the language as natives since their parents and even grandparents adopted the majority language (that's, by definition, the reason for many languages becoming endangered). These people will have to revive the language in themselves by learning it as a second language. Such process is essential to endangered language survival. This is the case, for instance, with Aragonese, a language spoken in the area where I was born and which seems to be mentioned in all endangered languages lists. Many Aragonese people are learning the language and adopting it as their own, even though their ancestors for several generations hadn't spoken it. This is the case with many Catalan or Welsh speakers also. These people feel that they belong to a historical and cultural community, and adopt the language that best conveys it, even if they are not native speakers. The same is the case with Latin among Latin speakers. That's why, due to its endangered status, I know of no Latin-only native speakers, unfortunately; although there certainly are bilingual native speakers, that is people who have been educated in a household where Latin and another language was used, as is the case with many other endangered languages.

Regarding the language infobox, I think it's a bit of a waste to have two different boxes with the same information. This adds nothing to knowledge. I agree that the box 'official in' should have: Vatican City; but the box about 'spoken in' should inform about the fact that there are many people all around the world that speak this language (in fact, unfortunately, in the Vatican it is hardly ever spoken anymore, although this may change). I tried to write in the 'spoken in' box 'There are many dispersed speakers of the language all over the world'. This is fact; but either I didn't do this properly or someone has reversed it. I don't think giving Vatican City in both boxes does justice to the picture of where Latin is spoken. What do you think? I won't touch the infobox again because I don't want to damage it, but maybe you could help me provide the larger picture.

17th c. caption presents obstacles to un-Latined user

The caustic caption of the engraving at Image:Shah Abbas I engraving by Dominicus Custos - Antwerp artist printer and engraver.jpg may contain useful information for the article, but unfortunately this user can't decipher most of it. Any help with an English rendition would be welcomed. A possible transcription would be: Oderat ut Smerdin Cambyses, mnemona Cyrus; Sic Hameses frater nec, tibi charus erat: Auctor laudato, factis ingentibus illi; Dicere, si vera est fama, fuisse necis. Non satus in Turcas qui te patremque fouebat Mars, dare Bactra tibi terga coëgit, Abas. And further, Massagetae Cyro nocuere, Scythaeque Dareio; Turca tibi nocuit, sed Scytha cessit, ABAS. Haiduc 20:42, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

Here's a rough attempt:

As Cambyses hated Smerdis and Mnemon hated Cyrus, so your brother Hameses [don't know who this is: probably the Turks] was not beloved to you. The historian will praise his mighty deeds; you are said, if rumor is truth, to have been the cause of his death [or murder]. Mars did not favor the Turks [following is a guess:] among whom you and your father were begotten[end guess]; he forced Far Bactria to be surrendered to you, Abbas.
The Massagetae harmed Cyrus and the Scythians Darius; the Turks have harmed you, but the Scythians have yielded, Abbas.

Did the Turks aid Abbas I before he became Shah, perhaps? —Charles P. (Mirv) 21:57, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

He fought against his father, the Turkic Uzbeks, and the Ottoman Turks. The latter two gave him considerable trouble, the Ottomans especially. I think the satus is theppp. of sero, but fig. meaning of "compose, devise, engage in" v. literal "sowing" or "begetting."--Jpbrenna 23:59, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)


Can anyone point me towards a table with the full conjugation of the verb STO, please? — Chameleon 13:56, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Here's a general chart: Sto, Stare, Steti, Status

Present Active

Present Sto Stamus Stas Statis Stat Stant

Imperfect Stabam Stabamus Stabas Stabatis Stabat Stabant

Future Stabo Stabimus Stabis Stabitis Stabit Stabunt

Perfect Steti Stetimus Stetisti Stetistis Stetit Steterunt

Pluperfect Steteram Steteramus Steteras Steteratis Steterat Steterant

Future Perfect Stetero Steterimus Steteris Steteritis Steterit Steterint

Present Passive

Present Star Stamur Staris Stamini Statur Stantur

Imperfect Stabar Stabamur Stabaris Stabamini Stabatur Stabantur

Future Stabor Stabemur Staberis Stabemini Stabetur Stabentur

Perfect Status sum Stati sumus Status es Stati estis Status est Stati sunt

Pluperfect Status eram Stati eramus Status eras Stati eratis Sttatus erat Stati erant

Future Perfect Status ero Stati erimus Status erim Stati eritis Status erit Stati erint

Subjunctive Active

Present Statem Statemus States Statetis Statet Statent

Imperfect Starem Staremus Stares Staretis Staret Starent

Perfect Steterim Steterimus Steteris Steteritis Steterit Steterint

Pluperfect Stetissem Stetissemus Stetisses Stetissetis Stetisset Stetissent

Subjunctive Passive

Present Stater Statemur Stateris Statemini Statetur Stantur

Imperfect Starer Staremur Stareris Staremini Staretur Stantur

Perfect Status sim Stati simus Status sis Stati sitis Status sit Stati sint

Pluperfect Status essem Stati essemus Status esses Stati essetis Status esset Stati essent

Note: Changes in the endings of the 4th principle part (status) are made using 1st and 2nd declension adjectives

-- Praetor Brutus

Sto is a regular verb of the first conjugation in Latin. Latin conjugations should have all the data needed to reconstruct it from the forms given. -- Smerdis of Tlön
Sorry if I'm missing something, but wouldn't the perfect be STAVI, instead of STETI (which I'm pretty sure it is) if it were a regular 1st-conjugation verb?  :-/ — Chameleon 16:50, 23 May 2005 (UTC)
That's just the point: it's not a redular 1st-conjugation verb! Cf also do, dare, dedi, datum rossb 18:33, 23 May 2005 (UTC)
What do you mean that's the point? Ihcoyc said it was a regular 1st-conjugation verb. — Chameleon 18:42, 23 May 2005 (UTC)
It has a separately formed perfect stem, but once you know it, the verb is regular: steti, stetisti, stetit, stetimus, stetistis, steterunt. No irregularity here. Most verbs in Latin have perfect stems that have to be learned separately; the first conjugation is unusual in that many but not all of the verbs in it have perfects in -avi. There are plenty of others: crepo, crepui; domo, domui; explico, explicui; juvo, juvi; lavo, lavi as well as dedi and steti are just a few. In Latin this isn't enough to make them "irregular." -- Smerdis of Tlön 18:44, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

is irregular because its stem has a short vowel: it's not *dō, dāre, it's dō, dăre; the 1st and 2nd person plural present active indicative are dămus, dătis; the imperfect and future are dăbam and dăbō, and so forth. --Angr/tɔk tə mi 3 July 2005 11:08 (UTC)

I believe in future passive of sto, stare it is stabitur, stabimur, stabimini, and stabuntur... --JonWayne 04:30, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Latin, an endangered and/or extinct language

It’s the fourth time I try to add the ‘endangered language’ category at the bottom of the Latin page.

The first person to delete it said:

You added the erroneous category:Endangered languages.

The second person argued:

Rm category. Latin is not endangered. It has no native speakers (no children are brought up in Latin) and is thriving in literature and among second language speakers.)

The third person argued:

It cannot be both extinct and endangered, and it is the former

To all of them I have had to repeat the same in private and they have all immediately seen my points. I’ll put the argument here once more so that I don’t have to keep repeating it, as it seems that all people approached so far have acknowledged that my arguments are sincerely valid and undeniably substantiated by the facts.

An endangered language is defined in many places (this is just an example) as following (my capitals, with no editing):

An endangered language is a language with so few surviving SPEAKERS that it is in danger of falling out of USE.
While there is no definite threshold for identifying a language as endangered, three main criteria are used as guidelines:
1. The number of SPEAKERS currently living.
2. The mean age of native and/or FLUENT speakers.
3. The percentage of the youngest generation acquiring FLUENCY with the language in question.

Latin complies with this to perfection and IS therefore an endangered language that needs to be helped. If you think of the church, very few priests of even cardinals SPEAK the language anymore as Reginald Foster, official translator at the Vatican has often pointed out. If you think about university, the majority of Latin scholars are NOT speakers of the language: basically they cannot SPEAK it, and do not attempt or wish to USE it as it was once extensively used for academic communication. So, it is not thriving among second language SPEAKERS at all; it has in fact practically disappeared from USE. There ARE surviving speakers of Latin, but they are so few (probably NOT MORE than a thousand worldwide) that the language is in grave danger of completely falling out of USE, according to the definition: There are very few SPEAKERS currently living, most FLUENT speakers are old, and the percentage of the youngest generation acquiring FLUENCY with the language in question is extremely very limited. Latin is an endangered language, and the category I added was not erroneous; I beg you not to remove it again when I restore it.

To analyse the claim that Latin is thriving because many people around the world still study it (to what a poor extent, alas), let me put some comparative examples. The pre-Columbian cultures are also widely known and studied from school age all through the American continent and elsewhere, they are even celebrated by the authorities of the respective countries (I know the case of Mexico better) as a core element of national identity and museums are raised to their glorious past ... yet the modern real and living native communities dwelling in the forests ... no one would agree they are not endangered. But let’s discuss the languages themselves. We can still say exactly the same. There are wonderful manuscript codices in Nahuatl which are studied at many universities all over the world, just like the Latin manuscripts from Roman times. Books on Aztec hieroglyphs can even be found in different bookshops here in London, where I live, exactly those few bookshops where books in Latin can also be found. No one will deny that this academic survival of the glorious past of these languages is stably assured in the ‘thriving’ (being extremely optimistic) way that has been mentioned, but does that mean that the living usage of the languages is not endangered? Similarly, Aramaic is studied by many biblical scholars all over the world, yet it is considered an endangered language in most classifications I have seen, as it's surely not the number of people who study it that has to be looked at, but the number of users (speakers). When we consider the status of Latin and the condition of its SPEAKERS, we can’t therefore consider the classical scholars, who are only too happy to see Latin as a dead language for them to dissect in their departments, just as the Maya speakers in Chiapas are not the pre-Columbian scholars who work at the University of Mexico City. Classical scholars, by the way, who are for the most part completely unable to speak the language they claim to love.

I am also aware of what is said about the 'native' criterion; but other classifications, like the one I use as an example above don't consider this essential ('native and/or fluent' they say), so it would be a mere question of personal opinion to say that only the ‘native’ alternative is to be had in mind, and not the ‘fluent’ one. Of course, in an endangered language, the existence of native speakers is bound to be precarious. Many people who consider themselves as belonging to a cultural and historical community won't speak the language as natives since their parents and even grandparents adopted the majority language (that's, by definition, the reason for many languages becoming endangered). These people will have to revive the language in themselves by learning it as a second language. Such process (language revival it's called, if I'm not wrong) is essential to endangered language survival, and has proved extremely beneficial in many cases. This is the case, for instance, with Aragonese, a language spoken in the area where I was born and which seems to be mentioned in all endangered languages lists. Many Aragonese people are learning the language and adopting it as their own, even though their ancestors for several generations hadn't spoken it. This is the case with many Catalan or Welsh speakers also. These people feel that they belong to a historical and cultural community, and adopt the language that best conveys it, even if they are not native speakers. The same is the case with Latin among Latin speakers. That's why, precisely because of its endangered status, I know of no Latin-only native speakers, unfortunately; although there certainly ARE bilingual native speakers, that is people who have been educated in a household where Latin and another language was used, as is the case with many other endangered languages.

Latin, as a spoken language, is an endangered language, and this in an undeniable fact.

The first person who deleted my link subsequently wrote:

Thank you for the explanation, and I'm sorry I reverted your work so hastily—Charles P. (Mirv) 13:22, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

The second person wrote:

I don't want to continue this discussion. I'm glad that you have noted the 'native' criterion. If you don't feel it is important, I don't feel like removing the category again. Keep it. — mark 06:17, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The third person is still to reply, but I hope he will also respect the link. I can see his point that it looks awkward to have it as both extinct and endangered; but, if so, then the existence of speakers who use it to communicate on a regular basis means that it’s not actually extinct, as it was not throughout the middle ages or the renaissance. Only, during those periods it was not endangered because of the high number of speakers, whereas now it actually is due to the extremely small number of them, as shown above. Please consider my arguments carefully and do not delete the category when I try once more to put it there.

I wish you'd stop adding it. Even if it's not "extinct", it is most certainly "dead", and therefore not "endangered". Your argument is flawed inasmuch as Latin has long since ceased to be a living language, i.e., one learned by children from their parents. If you pick up any reference book on Latin, it will be clearly stated that the language is dead, EVEN IF IT'S A LATIN-TEACHING TEXTBOOK. If you manage to warp Latin to fit into the category of "endangered", then it's the definition of "endangered" that needs to be worded more succinctly. Meanwhile, your efforts to redefine Latin as endangered, although I can't fathom why you should be so passionate about this ridiculous notion, amount to violations of WP:POINT, WP:NOR, and possibly even WP:NPOV. Tomer TALK 16:57, Jun 3, 2005 (UTC)
I agree. Latin is not endangered, it's extinct; and it was during the Middle Ages and Renaissance too. If you want to discuss the decline in the number of second-language speakers, that is better addressed in the article than as a category. - Mustafaa 17:33, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Yes, Tomer, you are right: many people would wish that minorities stopped calling for help and disappeared once and for all from the face of the earth. Only those minorities are determined to put up a fight to survive and to have their rights, their cultural rights, and in particular their linguistic rights, acknowledged, whether you like it or not. I know very well that Latin is not the ‘native’ language of anyone, and that it hasn’t been for centuries (it’s not learned by children from birth, but later on, through education by the cultural community), but it is nevertheless a ‘living’ language, as it does have a community of speakers (who are not at all the thousands of classics academics nor the thousands of christian priests, please see above; but are a few hundreds of people from all walks of life who use it for regular communication, written and oral, as their own cultural language), and therefore it cannot be labelled as extinct. Would you call all this, albeit precarious life (societies, newspapers, radio programmes) death? Sumne ego mortuus? I know very well that many books don’t recognise these facts, but that’s part of the problem: we are a persecuted minority, we have suffered active repression for the last two hundred years, until this very day. There is a whole newly reinvigorated Latin language revival movement, which is well alive, but this is still strenuously opposed by many people. Think about other language revival movements though, about Hebrew, for instance. Once a language revival process starts to affect a language, how can that language continue to be called extinct? Dalmatian may be extinct, or Tocharian, which have no speakers nor language revival movements behind them; but Hebrew, Aragonese, Aramaic, ... they are not extinct, they are endangered. Again, I know I'm challenging prejudices here, but any good linguist should be able to see that my points above cannot be denied. Also, it’s yet another flagrant case of discrimination to say that a scientific definition has to be changed so that we can take exception of one language and continue to disregard it with impunity (that’s in fact what you propose: ‘if you manage to warp Latin to fit into the category of "endangered", then it's the definition of "endangered" that needs to be worded more succinctly’). Further than that, your use of the word ‘ridiculous’ adds insult to your unfairness. But don’t worry, as I said elsewhere, I’ve been made well aware of the No original research guidelines now, and that's why I have now completely given up on my attempt to include the ‘endangered language’ category against the pervading prejudice. You can all rest now and be relieved. But, having said that, you will also realise that it is going to be difficult, under any circumstances, for a group which has been subject to strenuous efforts to be left out of the picture for the last couple of centuries to gain the high road in any way, however legitimate or sensible their plight might be. That's what saddens me: not the No original research guideline, which is very wise in itself, but the complete absence of sympathy from you lot towards the case I was putting forward (independently of whether it could or could not eventually deserve to be published in Wikipedia), simply from an academic/linguistic discussion point of view. None of my points has been rebated, and several of you (see above) did acknowledge that they did have some validity. Yet, you still refuse to let go of the prejudice. That's what saddens me. Now, the No original research guidelines point to some 'peer-reviewed journal or reputable news outlet' to make this sort of challenging claims. The problem is: what is 'reputable'? Surely the authorites who crush all sorts of minorities consider themselves highly reputable. Is this news outlet reputable in your mind? I thought it was, as several other living Latin publications which are decades old now, but yet they don't seem to look reputable enough to others. As I said, a discriminated minority is going to have big trouble, by definition, to look 'reputable' to outsiders and to find a way to be even mentioned by outside 'reputable' publications controlled by majority thinking. As I said, the level of oposition we suffer is beyond belief. Anyway, I think I'll probably end up giving up on Wikipedia altogether. Best of luck with endangered language salvage to all of you. One day Europeans will realise that the wonderful job they are now doing to put right and revert the awful effects of their colonial past by helping other peoples to keep their ancestral languages and cultures alive is something that Europe itself and the Europeans also deserve. One day, indeed, every human being will have a right to cultivate their millenary language and culture in a humane environment. I'm looking forward to that. I wish you all were too.
Thanks also to Mustafaa, but I think a decline in the number of second-language speakers that puts a language at risk from completely disappearing from USE and to end up having no SPEAKERS at all makes a language ‘endangered’ by definition (see above). There must be a way to define and differenciate the status of Latin in the middle ages (how can you possibly call extinct something that is so alive in a society?) as opposed to the status of Tocharian in historic times (really extinct); and, once we've done that, the status of Latin in the middle ages, with thousands of speakers (thriving), and it's status now, with no more than a few hundred (endangered). Also, it’s not even me proposing a different approach to language classification. Michael Coulson, in his well known Sanskrit course, makes this very interesting proposal: dead language v. living language, but also natural (native) language v. cultural language (he proposes the term 'learned' for the latter, but that introduces ambiguities, as people also 'learn' their 'native' tongues). Tocharian is dead, and was natural (I don't think it was ever cultural, meaning 'only spoken by people who didn't have it as native'); Sanskrit in the time of Kalidasa or Latin in the time of Newton, was living, but cultural, not native (or otherwise said, it was cultural, not native, but living, not dead); Aragonese is living and native. Now there are endangered native languages, but there are also endangered cultural languages, both of them risking to fall out of USE and to lose any fluent SPEAKERS. Latin is one of these endangered languages (until, that is, it gains the native status through language revival as Hebrew has done already). Remember that for 'endangered' we use the criteria above (USE, SPEAKERS, FLUENCY). Thanks in any case for your suggestion about an alternative place to present these facts. I'll see what I can do, although I fear the deletion we have suffered for two centuries will continue here too. Curate ut valeatis optime. Avitus.
You are part of a "persecuted" minority community of active Latin speakers? Where, pray tell? Quintusdecimus
OK, maybe I exaggerated by not being strictly accurate. Rather than 'persecuted' community, I should have said 'chased-away' community, but this was less elegant English. What I meant is that academic departments where our language should be cherished, as well as all political and cultural authorities we have approached, send us away, usually without even a word of explanation. As least here you are kind enough to discuss things like adults. I swear to you, this is not the case elsewhere.
I don't agree that Latin is an endangered language in the sense that, say, Aragonese is an endangered language: as others have pointed out, it is already dead, and has not, like Hebrew, been resurrected.
But as I pointed out, there is a whole community of speakers out there, so it has been resurrected, even if it doesn't have (nor is aiming to form) a state like has been the case for Hebrew. There are many languages without a state, and they are the ones that fare worst. Basically, it's not a question of opinion or personal agreement that spoken Latin is alive. Please explore all links to be found here before you affirm things like 'it's already dead and hasn't been resurrected': Vita Latinitatis (societies, newspapers, radio programmes).
I know about modern Latinity, and know several Latinists, and I've written probably about 90% of the Latin Wiktionary so far (which is admittedly not much)... I have a good idea about the current strength of the language. By "dead and unlike Hebrew not resurrected," I mean that it has not reacquired a community of first-language speakers, like Hebrew has, regardless of the size of its community of second-language speakers. Native-language speakers are the measure used when speaking of whether a language is 'living' or not—this is a technical term, separate from those who promote lingua Latina viva. Hebrew had second-language speakers continuously throughout its history as well, but only within the past couple centuries has it acquired native speakers and become a living language again. This has not happened to Latin—secundum Ethnologue, "Second language only.". (It has nothing to do with being a state. The same is happening to Cornish, which is stateless.) —Muke Tever talk (la.wiktionary) 00:32, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I think we are closing a circle here as the answer to your point has been given above. I have (above) acknowledged the fact that Latin has no first-language native speakers, and I have also pointed out (above) why this doesn't mean that the language is dead. Technical terms (your words) are created, defined and redefined by experts. Many modern linguists (and I have known a large sample) fall very short of being good philologists, but a philologist as good as the Sanskritist Michael Coulson (no Latin revivalist) has explained why it is wrong to identify 'non-native' with 'dead' (see above). Endangered language definitions (above) don't seem to require the 'native' status. Basically, Muke, all the arguments to respond to your misgivings have been put forward above and I can't keep repeating the same again and again. Cheers. Avitus.
I haven't had any misgivings. I've been busy agreeing with you that Latin is endangered, but pointing out it's not endangered in the sense that is usual when people talk about "endangered languages", which is the only reason Latin mightnt belong in such a category. Learn to read. —Muke Tever talk (la.wiktionary) 00:01, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I'll try to learn to read. Maybe one day I manage. Cheers. Avitus
However I do agree it is endangered in another sense—it's an endangered literary language. While Latin as a native language died with the Romans, the once-strong literary use of Latin has indeed been declining severely over the past couple of centuries, and should probably be recognized (though I'm not sure placing it in an endangered languages category is the best way of annotating this.) —Muke Tever talk (la.wiktionary) 00:31, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Yes, the decline of Latin as a literary language should be covered, as well as its decline in church use.
Thankyou for your understanding, I agree that this should be evident to anyone. Yet, you don't explain why this decline shouldn't be acknowledge through the 'endangered language' classification. Also, as I said, please note that it's not only the liturgical and/or literary language I'm talking about. Latin was also SPOKEN throught he ages, and this use has also declined. Please explore the links suggested above. Avitus.
Why is because "endangered language" is a technical term, and isn't applied to languages that are endangered in any random sense, only those that are in danger of losing their native speakers. —Muke Tever talk (la.wiktionary) 00:32, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)
It seems to me there are two dichotomies at work here. One is between native languages and learned languages; a language is a native language if it is learned by children in their homes, learned if special instruction is required. Latin is surely a learned language. A language is a living language if people continue to choose to use it to communicate, and a dead language if it is not. Sanskrit is a learned language, but a living language: new works are composed in it. Most Latin literature was composed while Latin was a learned language, but not a native language; therefore Latin was a living language long after it ceased to be a native language.
That said, I have no strong opinion as to whether a learned language can be an endangered language; learned languages are almost by definition written languages, while "endangered language" conjures up the image of a people whose unwritten language is in danger of being abandoned by the people whose ancestors spoke it, and which is therefore in danger of vanishing without a trace. I suppose a learned language might be endangered if it ceased entirely to be studied, and the corpus of works written in it likely to fall victim to the hazards of disinterest. To the extent that Latin ceased to be a living language, it was in part killed by an act of auto-fossilization by the most literate Latin users themselves: they decided that the models of antiquity were vastly superior to the neologisms and grammatical changes that even learned languages can be subject to, and this act of linguistic prescription canonized an antique version of Latin that was much harder to use for contemporary subjects. Smerdis of Tlön 03:58, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)
To Muke above, please see what I already said further up about the technical term 'endangered' not requiring the requisite 'native' according to many definitions, and how it would be biased to change the definition just to keep Latin out. You make me repeat myself.
To Ihcoyc, thanks for reinforcing what I also said about native and learned languages. I won't enter into the debate about the actual reasons for Latin moving from the position of a thriving cultural language to that of an endangered one (see above for definitions). I don't completely share your views in this respect (I think nationalism played an overwhelming part), although you do have a point. In any case, the reasons why Latin has become endangered (falling out of USE, counting few SPEAKERS, etc. - see the definitions above) are not what's under discussion, but rather the fact that it has happened and that therefore the language is now endangered (falling out of USE, counting few SPEAKERS, etc. - again, see the definitions above). In this respect, I can add that your statement that 'learned languages are almost by definition written languages' is wrong. Latin was spoken as much as (I'd say more than, actually) it was written (the amount of teaching and discussion going on at all European universities being surely larger in terms of language production than the amount of books published). To put a similar (not identical) example, classical/standard Arabic, a language which is 'learned', not 'native', in most of the 'Arab world' (I know the case of the Maghrib best) is also mostly spoken (TV and radio, etc.) rather than written. Moving on to another point, I don't know what image the term 'endangered language' conjures up, what I know is what I can read in the definitions of this term, in the declarations of linguistic rights, etc., and all of that applies perfectly to Latin (see above for argumentation). I have nowhere read that the 'non-written' status be a requisite to classify a language as endangered either, as you seem to hint. Also, your idea that a language 'might be endangered if it ceased entirely to be studied', as I pointed out above too, would mean that Aramaic or Nahuatl, languages that are well studied around the world could not be classified as endangered, and they are, because, as I said above, and everyone agrees, what matters is the number of speakers and people who use it for communication, not the number of erudites (of which Aramaic has many, and Nahuatl not a few); so that's an irrelevant issue. As I said to Muke above, I think we are closing a circle here as the answers to your points have been given above. If no-one can put forward any new valid arguments, I'll stop replying, as you can surely all read by yourselves what has already been written above. Cheers. Avitus.

Latin: Living, Dead, Extinct, Endangered


Latin is unequivocally dead. This is very different from being extinct. Pictish, Old Prussian, Hurrian, Hittite, Sumerian and Tocharian B are extinct. Biblical Hebrew, Mishnaic Aramaic, Classical Greek, Demotic, Sanskrit and Latin are dead. Hulaulá, Breton, Gaelic, Cherokee and Ainu are endangered. Burushaski, Finnish, Marathi, Cebuano and Papiamento are living. That Sanskrit, Biblical Hebrew, Coptic, Latin and Classical Arabic are literary languages does not alter the fact that they are all dead. Even if apostasy and apathy result in their no longer being learned by anyone ever again, the only thing that will ever change their status to extinct is some cataclysm that removes all hope of their ever being learned again. The only thing that will ever change their status to endangered is if some community adopts any one of them as a normal mode of communication, not as a lingua franca, but as their communal language, teaching it as a first language to their children, and if those children or their descendants fall below a threshhold of number-of-speakers, esp. a number-of-children-speakers replacement. This will, of course, remove them from the category of dead to living in the process. At this point, I have to say that the community consensus is strongly against the single POV-pusher who claims that Latin is endangered. That should be sufficient to put an end to the issue. To prevent this issue from cropping up and wasting so much time in the future, however, it might be a good idea to seek authoritative input from non-biased sources to help settle this (in the grand scale of things) petty squabble. Tomer TALK 01:37, Jun 10, 2005 (UTC)

This single POV-pusher (who has given up on improving wikipedia, so you don't need to worry anymore), would only like to add that if things were as clear as you describe, then you should take heed to remove the wrong language category at the bottom of the article which classifies Latin as an extinct language with the same strenuousness with which my endangered language category was removed over and over by everyone, because you agree above that Latin is indeed NOT extinct. You didn't do that, so your apparent aim at consistency seems to me to be only superficial. At this point I would need to repeat my arguments above about what a living language is according not to me, but to mentioned authorities; but, as said, I won't bother you any further. Like languages, I only have so much resilience. I'm only human, and wouldn't like to die in front of my computer. Cura ut valeas optime! Avitus.
No, sorry, it has nothing to do your accusation that I have only a superficial interest in consistency. Instead of making such unfounded assumptions, you should ask. Then I'll respond: I'm very interested in consistency, as well as in a correct encyclopedia. That said, getting involved in revert wars is not the way to do that. I prefer to hash out problems on the TALK page rather than just angrily revert modifications with which I disagree. Thanks for asking, and thanks for taking the time to hear my response. Tomer TALK 01:17, Jun 21, 2005 (UTC)
That I also prefer to hash out problems talking I think should be obvious from the lengthy discussion above, and it's others who have waged a revert war against my additions (I only tried to add other perspectives - I've never actually deleted anything myself, however wrong), upon which I gave up all hopes to improve this wikipedia stuff. Cura ut valeas optime. Avitus.

Sanskrit is not DEAD. How can you say that? There are many people who speak the language. It is truly absurd. Come to India, and you will understand. How can you make such an irresponsible comment without fully understanding the complete concept.

Thank you, my Indian friend. Dhanyavad. Avitus
I don't see why people have such a hard time understanding the distinction between "dead" and "extinct", but I suspect it has a lot to do with the words that were chosen to describe their status. A language is dead when no one speaks it as a native language. That is the case for both Latin and Sanskrit; no one grows up speaking it in their home from infancy. It is extinct when no one speaks it. It would perhaps be better for the egos of Latin and Sanskrit speakers if a different word had been used for that state instead of "dead", but so be it; I haven't heard any of them suggest another one.
Having said that, I think it's perfectly reasonable to keep it listed as "endangered". A language that is dead can still become extinct at a later time, and there is the possibility of that happening with Latin. It's just that there are so few that persist as second languages after they have no native speakers that the issue of extinction of an already-dead language rarely comes up. KarlM 21:02, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Latin is NOT a DEAD language. It would be better to say that LATIN is a timeless language. It isn't going anywhere. I can count over 100 fluent speakers of Latin here in JAPAN of all places. Many students at school pass notes in Latin because they know that the teachers can't read them. If they were to pass notes in English then the teachers would be able to translate it. Did I mention that kids are doing this in Elementary school? Latin a dead language, yah right!--Billiot 08:11, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Legal Latin

What type of Latin does Latin used in the British legal system, most resemble; that of Vulgar Latin or Ecclesiastical Latin?

Legal Latin is not "vulgar Latin," which by definition is a spoken, colloquial language. Tt does share similarities with ecclesiastical Latin, in that like most varieties of medieval Latin it differs from classical Latin, chiefly in vocabulary. There are dozens of words in legal Latin, like seisina (seisin) and quo warranto, that have no counterpart in classical Latin. Smerdis of Tlön 15:59, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Is law kind of like biology in where the international terms are in lantin?Cameron Nedland 20:40, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
I'd say no. Most of the Latin legal terms in use in the US (and UK) come from English law, when official business was conducted in Latin. For example, if the judge wanted to order someone to bring certain evidence to court, he'd issue a document which begins "Sub poena duces tecum..." (Under penalty you are to bring with you...), which is why we call it a subpoena. Other terms for various legal doctrines (res ipsa loquitur, in certain negligence cases, comes to mind) arose because Latin, even as late as a couple hundred years ago, was still, to some degree, used by the highly educated. So it seems different from biology, where the idea is to have a common language and not single out one living language for use. PaulGS 04:13, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
I was just curious to see how important Latin actually is in the world. Thanks for the information.Cameron Nedland 16:46, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Purgatio Paginae?

If they had a cleanup tag for discussion pages, I would slap it here. --Jpbrenna 30 June 2005 04:38 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Naming conventions (languages)

Interesting... --Jpbrenna 1 July 2005 05:39 (UTC)

romanian cases

changed the line about romanian having 5 cases to 3, to better reflect the reality as well as the Romanian entry

Exit 06:26, 11 July 2005 (UTC)


For this page, the tabs ought to read "vide" and "nil vide", or whatever it would be, instead of "watch" and "unwatch". :) Wahkeenah 20:43, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

That would be "vide" and "ne videas", I think. But I don't find it a good idea to change the Wikipedia software just for one page... on the other hand, there is a whole Latin Wikipedia with that and much more! LjL 22:45, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Types of Latin

WHERE does scientific Latin, as used in anatomy and taxonomy, etc. derive from, mainly? 09:25, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

A lot of greek words are incorporated to derive the new scientific latin terms. --Jondel 09:49, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

Does scientific Latin in anatomy mainly borrow from vulgar or classical Latin, and what are scientific Latin's origins and its history? How were anatomical names etymylogically derived from both(whatever type of)? Greek and (whatever type of)? Latin? 15:54, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

It should be derived from classical. See Vulgar Latin. Vulgar latin was more spoken and for the uneducated masses. For example , 'de' started to become more common as case endings were disappearing and use of certain woeds like cavallus(?) instead of equus for horse. A loted of educated Romans spoke Greek. --Jondel 01:55, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
See List of Latin and Greek words commonly used in systematic names and Scientific classification.--Jondel 00:15, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
In structure, Scientific Latin is Classical Latin (or nearly so). In vocabulary, it is very extensible, borrowing widely from many languages. Quintusdecimus 22:44, 17 October 2005 (UTC)


In the sentence Labor mē vocat, what case is "labor"? Mga 21:17, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Labor ,laboris , third declination,is in this sentence nominative,wich means labor is the subject of the sentence Philx 17:57, 22 October 2005 (UTC) Philx Philx 17:57, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Official language of Vatican City

Can someone point me to a primary source (a law or regulation) that says that Latin is an official language of the Vatican City state? I am skeptical that one can be found. The publication of some/many documents in Latin would not make it the official language. Most government documents in the United States are written in English, but English is not the official language of the U.S. --Cam 17:06, 27 November 2005 (UTC)

  • I don't have a primary, but a secondary source, Encyclopedia Britannica Almanac 2004 lists Latin and Italian as the official languages. Keep in mind the whole country is .17 sq miles, so it's not like there are millions of people running around haggling over groceries in a 'dead' language.--Hraefen 21:26, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
    • I've seen it in secondary sources but not in anything primary. It's not in the Lateran Treaty or the Legge Fondamentale. I'm just wondering if secondary sources are using "official language" loosely to mean "a language that official documents are written in" as opposed to the stricter meaning, "a language established by law as an official language". In the looser sense English is the official language of the United States, but not in the stricter sense. The English language table indicates that English is not official in the U.S. Similarly at Swedish language, Swedish is shown as only de facto official in Sweden. --Cam 22:19, 27 November 2005 (UTC)

I added "(used for some official purposes)" after Vatican City since we don't know for sure that it is legally official there. Compare "Sweden (de facto)" at Swedish language and "United States (de facto)" at English language. I didn't put "(de facto)" because that might imply that we know Latin isn't legally official, which we don't. --Cam 12:50, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Liturgiam authenticam (press release) from the Congregation for Divine Worship that was under then Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict). It states that the legal language is Latin. The original document is in Latin Liturgiam authenticam. Is this proof enough? Dominick (TALK) 13:08, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Unfortunately I see nothing there about Latin being the official language of Vatican City. There may be Church canon law and tradition about when Latin is to be used in Church rites and publications, but that does not indicate that the Vatican City, as a state, has Latin as an official language (in the legally-defined way that Wikipedia has been using in its country and language tables). --Cam 13:37, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
I see what you want. Vatican City is a theocracy, so Church law is the law there. Let me look. Dominick (TALK) 13:43, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
It might help to know that the language infobox can be used without the 'official status' section. As the official status of Latin in the Vatican City isn't straightforward, it might be felt better not to have it proclaimed in the infobox. To omit that section, simply remove the parameter nation (and agency if that's there). --Gareth Hughes 17:25, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Yet another translation request

I would appreciate a Latin rendering of "I will enter and leave" in the sense of a person stating an intention such as "I will go into that room and then I will exit it." TIA. < Puck 10:28, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Inibo et exibo would work. -Silence 11:40, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
Thank you. < Puck 11:59, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
or intrabo post quam exibo. Tomertalk 08:07, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
no, because intrabo post quam exibo translates as "I will enter after I will leave."

could someone check my translation?

sorry I know this may get annoying :P anyway, I want to say "Good Person, Bad Society" and I got (using the internet and sort of learning basics of endings and tenses and moods and whatnot) Bonus Homo, Mali Populi. Is this a good translation? Thanks in advance :) --insertwackynamehere 03:28, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

It will be persona bona, societas mala, but of course synonyms could be used. :) Brandmeister 18:37, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
  • I don't like derivation-based translations like that; they're misleading in that the original sense of the word is often significantly different from (though related to) the words it produced. Persona in the classical sense will mean "mask" or refer to a part or character in a drama more often than to "person" in the modern sense; homo is indeed an effective Latin word for the English "person". Likewise, societas in the classical sense meant "partnership, fellowship, alliance, alliance", as in, for example, "secret society", not "American society". Populus, on the other hand, does indeed refer to a "society" or "community", and can be both political ("nation") and social ("people") in meaning. The original "Bonus Homo, Mali Populi" is also correct Latin, with the exception that I don't understand why you pluralized populi (making it "bad peoples" or "bad societies"): bonus homo malus populus would work just fine. Brandmeister's translation is also acceptable, of course, but less literal and classical in its rendering of your idea. If anyone has any other good words to render "society" with, of course, there are always options. -Silence 22:04, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
    • Shouldn't Gens also work? Bonus Homo, Mala Gens.


Does Latin share any joint history with the Sanskrit language of the Indo-European area? It might be interesting to mention the origins of Latin in this article, or any similarities? -- 11:09, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

How do you mean, "joint history"? Except for the common Indo-European origin, I don't think there is any connection. I don't think that Latin and Sanskrit are particularly closely related within the IE group either, and Latin has not borrowed any vocabulary from Sanskrit (as early and classical Latin did from Greek, and Late/Vulgar Latin did from Germanic and Celtic). 惑乱 分からん 21:24, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, there may be one or two appearances of Indic words in Latin... I understand the Romans believed the one in charge of the envoy from Taprobane was named "Rachia(s)" (← rāja-). The Greeks had a few more Indic words, such as ζατρίκιον (← chaturanga) and (σ)μάραγδος (← मरकत (marakata))—the latter early ending up in Latin as well. But these are all isolated cases, and Latin is pretty far from Sanskrit as far as relationships go—Latin's on the centum and Sanskrit the satem side of one of the more fundamental splits in the IE family. —Muke Tever talk
Are these words cognates or long distance-loanwords (likely to have underwent a huge deal of sound shifts and distortions through the travelling process)? Btw, isn't the Centum and Satem thought to be a secondary process not indicating any close relatonship, such as Proto-Germanic [iː] and [uː] sounds turning to [aɪ] and [aʊ], respectively, in both English and German but not in Dutch, although it is genetically somewhere between the middle of them? 惑乱 分からん 00:50, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
They are loanwords, hence the phrase 'Indic words in Latin'. As for centum and satem, that rather depends on your version of the theory (and how you define the centum and satem shift itself). —Muke Tever talk 22:32, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
How did they get all the way into Greek? During Alexander's invasions/travels, or how? It would be interesting to know the story behind the borrowings. There's a long way from Greece to India. 惑乱 分からん 14:24, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Maybe an article of a list of similar or cognative Sanskrit and Latin words would be helpful. I know there are many, eg frater -bhrater (brother), rex/regis -rajah, etc.--Jondel 01:20, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

There is a List of Indo-European roots, giving several examples (of which I have helped contributing a part of). There is some discussion on the talk page, though, since the page isn't that user-friendly and it's at the moment unclear how the page should evolve in the future. 惑乱 分からん 05:04, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
Seesh, I guess there is still a lot more interesting wiki articles that I don't know about. The cognates are amazing. I assume that Nepalese is based on Sanskrit(?) There is a waitress from Nepal where I have my dinner and I was amazed when she would say 'Ke?' for 'What?' which sounds like Spanish 'Que?' also Nepalese 'sabun' for soap ('javon' in Spanish) and 'timi' for you (like latin tibi).--Jondel 07:22, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, but there's not much information about how the cognates have developed, and what they mean nowadays, leaving the average reader trying to somehow find that out for himself. I don't know about Nepalese "Ke" and "Timi". (They could be PIE-derived, though.) "Sabun" is probably a borrowing from a Romance language, possibly French "savon", from Vulgar Latin Sapo, likely a borrowing from a West Germanic source, akin to *saipo-. 惑乱 分からん 08:43, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
This word was probably borrowed from a Southern Italian dialect ("sapune") by the Greeks ("sapuni") and from there, it eventually made its way into Turkish ("sabun"), which propagated it in the east. bogdan 17:39, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
Alright! Interesting. 惑乱 分からん 14:24, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
  • The Nepali language is indeed Indo-European (in the Indo-Aryan branch), so it's to be expected likely that there are numerous cognates with other IE roots. -Silence 23:24, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Yeah, but I'd like to see some comparative linguistic studies, before I'm certain on which words that are cognates, and which words that are something else. 惑乱 分からん 14:24, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Latin terminology; medicine and grammar book

We could use a translation/addition to english medical terminologies in the various wikisites, for instance Anatomy. Also a grammar book about latin could be very useful (at wikibooks).

Vatican City in the infobox

This is the most entertaining talk page I have found since the one for David Icke, reptile-exposer extraordinaire! :-)

I had a query about the infobox: "spoken in" Vatican City seems even odder than "official language of..." - despite the international nature of the Church, isn't most business there is conducted in Italian? In fact, the text says "Official language", so can't it be relabelled as "official language" rather than "spoken in" in the infobox? Or does the lead need to be changed as well? As a compromise, what about using "Official language : Roman Catholic Church"? If it's proving hard to find a citation that it is the Vatican's official language, will that do instead? Although language infoboxes are usually used for countries not organizations, this would appear to be an exceptional case! TheGrappler 02:07, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

i'm new to this site (more new to the talk pages, really), so forgive me if i'm asking this wrong. But does anyone know where i could find a book to learn latin. I have a Russian-English dictionary, and that would be fine to have in latin.


The lead etymology is a bit confusing. I think to put Latium as a source. Brand 23:44, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

The lead etymology isn't "a bit confusing", it's absolute nonsense. Latin comes from Latinus, the adjective (specifically Latina, as in lingua Latina), not directly from the adverb. If we're to list an etymology at all, I'd have expected us to provide the etymology for the adjective Latinus/Latina/Latinum, as that's surely the only useful datum to provide in that respect. As noted, of course, the adjective comes from Latium, and the etymology for Latium itself ('place where Saturn lay in hiding', cf. latent) is controversial and belongs more on Latium than here. -Silence 00:31, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
At least in romance laguages, the starting point for the etymology is the fossilized ablative latine (latine > sp. latín, where the -i- is stressed because it was long in the original word). The problem I see with latinus > latin in English is that latin words are very rarely taken from nominative. Cf. transformatio > ac. tranformationem > en. transformation. Thoughts?--Neigel von Teighen 21:10, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
I did not mean to imply that the form is from the nominative, merely that it's from the adjective in general: entry on "Latin". -Silence 21:38, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
I see... Now, if the etymolgy header is needed, what would you prefer to write? (Be aware that latine is not the ablative if latinus nor latina nr latinum! The original nominative of latine was lost in favor of thse other words, I think). --Neigel von Teighen 21:28, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Well, I don't think any etymology is necessary here; this article is about a language, not a word. Including the etymology of Latin here would be like including the etymology of "English" on English language rather than just doing it on England; Latin is clearly (ultimately) named after Latium, so just note that in the intro and include speculations and hypotheses regarding Latium's original definition there. Adding every single individual stage of the etymological odyssey of each word is unnecessary in most cases. Really, anything more complicated than that is only necessary on Wiktionary, in my view, not Wikipedia: etymologies are not a requirement. Incidentally, agrees with me that "Latin" is derived from Latinus, not Latine, though for all I know that could just be a parroting of the same error (or the same oversimplification, more likely); if you can provide a citation for the Latine derivation, I see no reason not to include it on Wiktionary, and possibly on Wikipedia.
  • By the way, your interpretation of the form latine as an ablative is mistaken. Latine is an adverb. Compare verus/vere, rectus/recte, tardus/tarde, etc. By speculating about "fossilized ablatives" and lost nominatives, you're making the etymological construction rather more complicated than is necessary. :) -Silence 21:50, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
No, 'Latine' and all adverbs in -e are in fact conjectured to be from a fossilized ablative case in -ed—the d attested in Old Latin facilumed ‘facillime’—as opposed to the non-fossilized, i.e. regular, ablatives in -ō or ā of that declension, from earlier -od, (e.g. Old Latin preivatod ‘privatō’). However Andrew Sihler at least suggests that is more likely a survival of the PIE instrumental case, which may have grabbed the ablative -d that was spreading from this declension (where it belonged) to certain others (where it didn't). The ‘lost nominative’ idea, though, is indeed superfluous. —Muke Tever talk 22:06, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Removal of non-factual-seeming statement

I've deleted "Latin itself, being a very old language, is far closer to Proto-Indo-European than are most modern Western European languages; it has, in fact, about the same relationship with PIE as modern Italian or French has to Latin." from Grammar on the grounds that it frankly makes no sense -- part of the reason modern Italian and French are so similar to Latin is because they have a long literary heritage in Latin. In written French, inflectional distinctions (like prince-princes or parler-parlez) are preserved not because they are in spoken French, but in Latin. Furthermore, the time gap from Proto-Indo-European and Latin is larger than that from Latin to today. Without citation of a non-controversial source, this claim does not belong in Wikipedia. UnDeadGoat 20:17, 7 May 2006 (UTC)


Without large amounts of studing, and the loss of quite a few brain cells, about the only simple way to have something translated is to 1) ask somebody who knows latin, or 2) Hire a service. There ARE online translators though, and if someone could find a helpful one, it would definatley be good addition. (Intertran was a link here before the external links clipping, but after you got past very simple scentences, it would only occasionally catch words, and they'd frequently be irrelavant to the rest of the words in the scentence. (ex: anything "by means of", almost all endings that modify other words, etc.)) Vaniyz 13:37, 25 May 2006 (EST)

I was the one who took out a lot of the links, sorry if I got rid of one that should have been kept, but I thought I did a good job of keeping the most valuable ones :P. As for the Intertran translator, yes, I agree, I just looked at it here, and I tried to translate "the dog carries me" (which should become "canis portat me") but I got "the dog having been carried to me" ("canis portatus mihi"), so that's really no good. It must be really hard to program a translator for Latin, because certain translations require assumptions and/or context :\. Aaanyway, I don't think we're going to have much luck finding a good online translator. BTW, off-topic: have you seen the Latin Wikipedia? It's funny because you can tell that it's all very literally translated from English because it closely follows the structure of English sentences and idioms. J. Finkelstein 04:12, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Little Green Men?

Yes, I'm aware this isn't a translation service bu indulge me in something silly here. Little green men...viridis viriculae? Peter1968 00:11, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Viridis viriculae looks more like "of a green she-manling"; I'm not sure where you got the ae ending from. And vir is the version of "man" that emphasizes masculinity, rather than personhood; I'd go with something more like homunculus viridis to mean "little green man" (plural homunculi virides, "little green men") for a similar connotation. Or, if you want a shorter version (same number of syllables as the English version, in fact), simply viriculus (plural viriculi) could work too, though that might be construed to mean "somewhat green men" rather than "little green men". -Silence 00:22, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
Thank you. One thing though; it's stressed that word order isn't important in Latin due to inflection, so why would it be homunculus viridis and not viridis homunculus? Or is that the same thing? Peter1968 11:00, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
Both work, but Latin adjectives generally follow the nouns they agree with (e.g. amicus laetus, "happy friend"), except when they are adjectives of size, beauty, goodness or truth (e.g. bonus amicus, "good friend") or when the speaker is trying to add unusual emphasis to a sentence. Saying that word order "isn't important in Latin" is something of an overgeneralization: Latin word order is certainly more fluid than, say, English word order, but what order you put your words in could still make a big difference to a native Latin speaker, and there were certain conventional word-order patterns that were almost never violated except in poetry. Putting words in a certain order could both change the sentence's emphasis and convey certain expressions: for example, ille Cicero would convey the typical meaning of "that man Cicero", but switching the word order to Cicero ille would change the phrase's connotations and give the implication "that famous man Cicero". This subtle arrangement of word-order implications can be compared to the inflectional differentiation between sentences in English: just as a native Latin speaker would have been able to derive layers of meaning from the precise placement of words in a sentence, so native English speakers can wildly change a sentence's significance based solely on word emphasis (e.g. "I know his name..." implies that the only thing you know about the person in question is his name, whereas "I know his name..." implies that you know one person's name, but not another's). As such, a Latin-speaker would probably use homunculus viridis rather than viridis homunculus, unless he had good reason not to, simply as a matter of convention, not of any hard-and-fast grammatical rules or requirements. So, although ultimately the phrase will make sense either way, noun-then-adjective order is generally preferable. -Silence 11:19, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
Ditto. J. Finkelstein 00:22, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Motto translation

I'm aware this isn't what this page is supposed to be for, but others have certainly received useful help on similar matters so here goes! I've been struggling to come up with a satisfactorily accurate, elegant and succinct translation for the motto of St Bede's College, Manchester, which is Nunquam otio torpebat.

I got as far as:

  • torpebat = he (probably St. Bede, the school's patron) was wasting time/being inactive
  • nunquam = never
  • otio = something to do with leisure or free time.

It's putting the while thing together that I can't manage: "he was never wasting (time) at leisure" or just "he never wasted time" or something?

If you've any ideas please help -- it's a good many years since I briefly studied Latin and have no more knowledge now that can be gleaned from a quick Google!

--Casper Gutman 11:49, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Looks like 'He was never idle in his spare time', or similar. Some pun on schola/σχολή ('school', 'spare time [esp. devoted to education]') may be being hinted at, or it might just be me :p —Muke Tever talk 14:22, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Latin Grammar, Declension, and Conjugation still have a lot of redundant information

Each page to a certain degree overlaps with the other. How can we organize each page so that they each will cover their own separate topics? Should Latin grammar focus on indo European influences on the Latin language? Nouns, adjectives, and adverbs are declined, so the declension page should focus on those. Likewise, verbs are conjugated, so the Conjugation page should focus on verbs. That leaves the Grammar page. What should that focus on, if nouns and verbs are already covered? All of it as of now is terrible unorganized and redundant. Is there any reason why we shouldn't combine all three pages? It seems like that would simplify a great deal of information. Suggestions? - Christopher 16:34, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Terry Pratchett

As some of you may know, Teryy Pratchett uses some Latin in the discworld books. Can someone please translate "omnis qvis corvscat est or" Cheeseman1 20:52, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not and interpreter! Anyway, the translation is "All that glitters is gold". [2] --Donar Reiskoffer 08:40, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Though it should be pointed out that aurum is much better than or for "gold," and that quis is grammatically incorrect -- it should be qui (the relative pronoun) rather than quis (the interrogative pronoun). If I were the one translating "All that glitters is gold" into Latin, I would go for Omnia quae coruscant aurea sunt -- literally "all things that glitter are golden."
'or' is the french for gold isn't it?

A tonal language?

I read that Latin as a tonal language (just like Sanskrit and Ancient Greek) with a pitch accent. Can someone please tell is this certain. (I read that in "The Roman Pronunciation Of Latin" in the Gutenberg Project)

Firstly, please sign your name. Secondly, I would not say Latin is truly "tonal" in the sense that Greek is tonal. I would only agree with that assertion if a broader definition of a "tonal language" were used. --Hansh 13:18, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Phonological constraints

Does anyone know what (if any) constraints Latin had?Cameron Nedland 16:48, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

I think, just one: complexity. Therefore, surely, in the everyday language even the Romans themselves didn't speak academic Latin. I'm probably not qualified to say that, but Latin is one of the most rich and expressive languages in the world. --Stefano 21:10, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks.Cameron Nedland 21:50, 28 December 2006 (UTC)


What did Romans say to each other? What did they say for hi?Cameron Nedland 20:31, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

  • Salvere iubeo, literally "I order (you) to be well" was used. I think this was also shortened to salve.--Hraefen Talk 21:12, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Thank You.Cameron Nedland 01:25, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
The plural of salvē is salvēte. For "goodbye," use valē and valēte. —Blurrzuki t - c 21:53, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Also aue like in Aue Maria works for "hi".
That's "ave", but it was used only with high rank people like the emperor. It was used with Maria because she was gonna be an "empress"... but remember that Gospel wasn't written in Latin and that was just a translation... --Gspinoza 21:05, 10 March 2007 (UTC)


I made the minor addition of pointing out, in the noun section, that the lexical entry for a noun is nominative, genitive. LawrenceTrevallion 18:48, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

I added tables for the third, fourth, and fifth declension nouns into the entry, and added descriptions of the declensions for these nouns also. For the third declension, I did not know which endings to write, so I just used the table for Rex (king), the first third declension noun I ever learnt. Nonagonal Spider 07:02, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

We need Phonology

Latin must have had a phonology. It is a language after all. Any wikipedia page on a language should include a description of the phonology. This page lacks one. I am not qualified to write it. I am requesting that someone who is, to please do so. Thanks. 16:59, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

in Grammar -- Nouns

"...and exceptions. en is the indirect object of the verb..." Please can somebody tell me what this sentence means? I'm having trouble with "en"... The rest of the article is reasonably clear, even to a dunderhead like me. Gordon | Talk, 16 september 2006 @13:15 UTC

It's OK, I found it yesterday. It was a remnant of some vandalism badly reverted some months ago. I fixed it. Gordon | Talk, 2 October 2006 @02:10 UTC

Modern words

When writing in Latin on a subject involving modern terms, how does one know the correct term to use? Does `modern` Latin (ie Latin as used in Ecclestial scripts) loan any of these terms? I'm thinking specifically of those modern words that differ little between European languages, such as television, condom, multiculturalism, communism and so on. Liam Plested 22:12, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

There is a Vatican dictionary of Neo-Latin, but it is currently out of print; you might want to check the nearest university library for a copy. This is highly problematic because of the tendency of moderns to mingle Greek and Latin in ways that the ancients generally wouldn't. "Communism," for instance is a Latin adjective combined with what was originally a Greek nominal suffix. "Television" is, of course, a combination of Greek and Latin, as is "automobile." For television, the Greeks say τηλεώραση (tēleōrasē if it were Ancient Greek, but pronounced tileorasi in Modern); this could also be rendered τηλεώρασις, which would sound more classical. In pure Latin, it would be something like longovisio, but they would probably just import the Greek term (assuming one existed) and analyze it as a third declension feminine noun, teleorasis, -is.--Jpbrenna 17:00, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

About study discipline

Can someone add that Latin is a compulsory discipline in Romanian secondary school cicle?

Someone would need to source this as a fact first. Peter1968 08:55, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Question on grammatical gender

I just created this sentence in english: I close my eyes and still her face I see. How would I use a possessive adjective to convey the fact that the word "face" in the second clause belongs to a woman? Essentially, how do I say "her" in the accusative singular? I am confused because the word "face" in Latin - vultus (us) m. is a masculine 4th declension noun, so how would someone tell whether or not it was a man or woman's face? I translated it and came up with: Ego oculos meos claudeo et etiam vultus eum video ego. Does that show that the "face" is feminine? THanks

- Christopher 18:40, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Her would be translated as ejus whether it be a man or a woman: it is a possessive pronoun and that implies that the person it refers to has been mentioned; if this is not the case, then I can only recommend that you use feminae, the possessive case of femina, "woman". Grumpy Troll (talk) 19:16, 28 September 2006 (UTC).
If you're looking for an adjective (the pronoun is simply eius, regardless of gender), "her" in the accusative singular would be suam if you use faciem for "face", because facies is feminine; it would be suum if you use os or vultum for "face", because os is neuter and vultus masculine. As with all adjectives, the ending is determined by the noun being described, not by the person being alluded to. Consequently, I'd have to recommend vultum feminae or perhaps, if she's younger or a romantic interest, vultum puellae, unless you're interested in significantly rewriting the sentence to allow for the gender to be otherwise specified (such as by removing "face" altogether). -Silence 19:56, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
You can say eae or illae for her, like this: etiam illae uultum uideo. It's just the genitive of ea or illa (she). You cannot use a possesive adjective in this case, if you want to make clear that the face belongs to a woman, as in Latin, as in Romance, the possesive adjective (as all adjectives) agrees with, and only with, the noun it complements.

T-V distinction

Is Latin a language that makes a T-V distinction? Considering many languages descended from it do, I was wondering. If so, perhaps it'd be pertinent to add something about it, both here and/or on the T-V distinction article page itself. Peter1968 08:45, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Almost for sure, but I don't know Latin and can't prove it.Cameron Nedland 20:15, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
I should learn to read. The T-V distinction article implicitly states that it did. Tu and vos are words cited. Peter1968 12:19, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

I think if you read the T-V distinction article carefully you'll see that no such statement is made. My understanding is that in Latin (unlike its descendants) there is no T-V distinction: tu is always singular and vos is always plural. Intereatingly however there did seem to be a custom of sometimes using the first person plural to mean the first person singular (a bit like the Queen saying "we" meaning "I" although I'm sure that the connotations would have been quite different). --rossb 13:59, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

As far as I know, "Classical" Latin did not have a T-V distinction, but eventually (during the late imperial period, if I remember well) it developed one. That's where the Romance languages got it from. FilipeS 19:17, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I've never seen it used, in either classical or ecclesiastical Latin. The "royal we", though, is used, especially in papal documents, where it's always the plural "Nos", referring, perhaps, to the authority of not just the current pope but to all of them. The T-V distinction article says that it was named for "tu" and "vos", but doesn't say that Latin uses them.

"Mini rfc"

I am putting an informal "mini-rfc" (request for comment" here in hopes of attracting some competent Latin scholars. We need help correctly translating Anno Domini on the article Anno Domini (see Talk:Anno Domini. It all started today when some anon IP (previously known only for vandalism) changed the intro sentence from giving the English translation as "In the Year of the Lord", to instead read "In the Year of Our Lord". I promptly changed it back, because there is no word in Anno Domini corresponding to "Our". Unfortunately the anon continued to edit war, and meanwhile a heated discussion erupted on the talk page when some editors pointed out that they have found several sources, even reputable encyclopedias, claiming that the literal English equivalent is "Year of Our Lord". They don't seem to care that this is actually wrong, and have even changed it to read this, with a citation to one of these incorrect sources. (Of course there are also plenty of sources that provide the correct more literal translation, In the Year of the Lord.) I have run out of reverts for today, and was wondering if anyone who speaks Latin would like to comment over there. Thanks, ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 21:51, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Lower Case Letters

"but in time the romans developed an hand-writing style for non-pormalic writing and from that hand-writing the idea of "small" letters developed in English."

I doubt the veracity of this statement. Can someone provide some sources?

Question about descendants

When did Late Latin end and Old Italian/French/Spanish etc. begin?Cameron Nedland 14:46, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Of course, a language can't disappear in one day. Latin begun its transformation after the fall of the Roman Empire (476 AD). This process - wich has last for centuries (it is still the official language of the Catholic Church) - brought in the XII-XIII century to the formation of Old Italian/French/Spanish. These languages, anyway, derive from the spoken vulgar Latin (which was simplier than the academic one), that already existed during the Empire. The principal differences among Latin and the new languages are:
- a semplification in the verbal sistem which reduced the exprexiveness;

This is wrong. Romance isn't any less expressive than Latin - in fact, there are no known group of natural languages that are "less expressive" than any other. Ask any linguist (in fact, there's no metric for "expressiveness" to start with). And besides, Romance has more verb tenses than Latin.
13:06, 16 January 2007 (CET)

- the loss of the cases to denote the grammatical function and the consequent birth of the prepositions (the modern words usually come from the ablative case).
--Stefano 21:02, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

This isn't correct either. First, the prepositions existed already well before Romance; second, some cases have been preserved in the pronouns in all Romance languages and in normal nouns and adjectives in Romanian (using the two-case system of Old Romance), and third, the "source" from most present day nouns and adjectives in modern Romance is the ACCUSATIVE case, NOT the ablative (for both singular and plural in Western Romance, mostly only the singular for Italian). Note that the accusative and the ablative would be pronounced the same in late vulgar Latin, and that with the dissapearance of the genitive and the dative, the accusative would become the universal oblique case.
13:00, 16 January 2007 (CET)
Thank you.Cameron Nedland 21:49, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
For Cameron: as the original poster said, languages don't appear nor die in a day, and Romance evolved from vulgar Latin (the common speech, rather than the learned litterary language). From about the second century CE there are a number of phonetic changes that would cause further change in the grammar, in a slow but continuing process; the first notice of the common folk not understanding the language of the priests dates from about the seventh century. From that point on we talk of Romance rather than vulgar Latin. You may check for some works about vulgar Latin in your local library (József Herman's book is pretty short and rather easy to read).
13:02, 16 January 2007 (CET)

Translation help

Hello. Could anyone here assist me with a translation? I am aiming for something logically similar to the phrase "What is small is pure." and after doing some translations I came out with this:

"Quis est vegrandis est putus."

Is this correct? And if it matters, "pure" doesn't have much to do with ethnicity. -Cicero IV

Yes, that's correct, assuming you want it to be masculine. If you want it to be neuter, it would be "Quod est vegrande est putum". There are also plenty of other ways to render the same line, like simply purum quod parvum. -Silence 06:34, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. About the gender, though, if I was referring to some sort of state, would it be masculine or neuter?
Depends on what you mean by "state". Sounds like neuter would do the job, though. What does "What" refer to? If it refers to a person, male works. If it refers to a thing, neuter works. -Silence 06:46, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Neuter it is then, considering "what" refers to something. As in - if something is small, than it is pure. Thank you for your help. -Cicero IV


Maybe a dumb question but ...

There are three related articles of interest here:

  • Classical Latin
  • Vulgar Latin
  • Latin

The first two can be considered somewhat defined but separate languages (although in the case of Vulgar Latin the term refers to a wide span in which the language changed significantly). The last, this article, seems be referring to the first two collectively. The way this article is written, however, treats the topic as a well defined language and attributes a lot of things to "Latin" that apply either to Classical Latin or Vulgar Latin but not both (e.g. the Romance languages derive from Vulgar Latin and most of the Renaissance borrowing in English came from Classical Latin). This seems rather like saying that India was an American colony or the New York is British. The U.S. and the U.K. obviously share a recent history but blurring their legacies makes no sense. Similarly it seems more logical to treat the Classical Latin and Vulgar Latin articles as referring to specific languages and perhaps alter this article as discussing a "family" (albeit a small one).

Am I missing something? --Mcorazao 05:40, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Nope. I agree with you.--Atemperman 04:01, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Need "Latinized" Article

I got redirected here from "Latinized".

There should be an article on the subject of the Latinizaton of words into Latin(esque) forms.

Three major concepts:

  • transmission of Ancient Greek words into English via their Latinized forms
  • the Latinization of (scholarly) names in the Middle Ages -- i.e. Copernicus
  • the Latinization of names for modern New Latin scientific classification names —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 08:25, 2 February 2007 (UTC).

Is Veronica a latinisation of the Greek Berenike which does mean true image? 17:01, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Could someone help me with a translation

I know this isn't strictly what this page is for, but since everyone has thus far been helpful to others with similar requests (and I don't know anyone who speaks latin) could someon help me translate this quote:

That is not dead which can eternal lie
And with strange aeons even death may die.

It's a couplet by H. P. Lovecraft which (so the story goes) is meant to originally have been latin. TheDragonMaster 23:52, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

A rough translation:
Illud non mortuum est quod aeterne recumbere potest - novissimis enim aevis etiam mors moriatur. Ggichan 02:38, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for taking the time to translate that for me. TheDragonMaster 19:03, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

How do you say this in Latin?

Just wondering, how do you say "think or die" in Latin? Thanks you. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 08:12, 10 March 2007 (UTC).

More or less it's "Cogita aut occumbe" or "Cogita aut moriere" --Gspinoza 21:19, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
"Think or die", damn, that's good. I like that. It's my moto. Cogita aut occumbe! (hey, how would you pronounce that, anyway?) Nick Warren 05:58, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
Ko-gee-tah out okk-oom-bay. --Gspinoza 16:23, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

What does this quote translate to?

"Tibi Magnum Innominandum, signa stellarum nigrarum et bufaniformis Sadoquae sigillum..." TheDragonMaster 22:50, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Look here: --Gspinoza 17:06, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the link. TheDragonMaster 18:32, 16 March 2007 (UTC)


I would like to pose the question as to regulation. It is clear that as many preist and religous people in union with the Catholic Church that use Latin give deference to what the Latinas Foundation publishes that they can definatly be considered a regulatory body even if it just happens to be for Catholics. However, there are many teachers of Classical Latin that do not go by, or more probably refuse to go by, the publications of the Latinitas Foundation and so they have made their own rules and administer a test based on those rules which do differ a lot from Church Latin. Many teachers teach in a fashion so that their students can pass the National Latin Exam, they teach to the test in a way of speaking, and so since this test is governed by the American Classics League and any alteration by them could produce a lot of alteration in classrooms across America I feel that the issue of naming them as a regulatory body in regards to Classical Latin should be looked into. --Billiot 03:21, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

What countries used Latin?

I see the article fails to name states that have historically used Latin as a form of administrative language. For one the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth used Latin as an official language (although not spoken by the population). I think a mention of such states would further demonstrate this language's influence. JRWalko 22:44, 25 March 2007 (UTC)


This is part of its legacy as the lingua franca of the Western world for over a thousand years. Latin was only replaced in this capacity by English in the 20th century,[citation needed] though Latin continued to be used in some intellectual and political circles.

And in between, did not French ever become a lingua franca? As I remember it, the courtiers of Western Europe did not choose Latin as their preferred language. RedRabbit1983 16:55, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

"Although now widely considered a dead language, with few fluent speakers and no native ones, Latin has had a significant influence on many other languages still thriving today, including English, and continues to be an important source of vocabulary for science, academia, and law; it is also used by the Catholic Church, and still evolving, making it technically still alive." This sentence is ridiculous and there are many more like it in this article. Continuous run-ons make this article much worse than it really is. Just trying to help :) 01:14, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree: it should be broken up. It is best to fix those sentences whenever you see them. RedRabbit1983 18:06, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Borrows from Greek

I read somewhere that the Old Latin endings -os and -om (later Latin -us and -um), as well as the diphthongs such as oi and ei (later Latin ū or oe, and ī) are obvious borrows from Greek. Can anyone give a source on that? Helladios 08:19, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it is true: the Archaic Latin, i.e. the earliest recorded Latin, found in inscriptions from the beginning of the sixth century BC,borrowed some endings from Greek.

See for example the nominative singular -OS , the accusative singular -OM, and the dative singular –OI, which in classical Latin became respectively -US , –UM, -O.

As a source, I can suggest an inscription on a gold brooch,the Fibula Praenestina (ca. 600 BC) discovered in Palestrina (ancient ancient city of Praeneste, east of Rome). It is inscribed with the Archaic Latin text MANIOS MED FHEFHAKED NVMASIOI, which, in Classical Latin, is: MANIVS ME FECIT NVMERIO, i.e "Manius made me for Numerius".

From this source we know for example that –OS became -US and –OI became –O.

Moreover I can mention other sources like the Duenos Vase, discovered near the Quirinal Hill in Rome; the Ficoroni cista, which probably dates back to the 4th.century BC, and two religious documents, i.e. two prayers named the "Carmen Arvale" (chant of the Arval priests) and the "Carmen Saliare" (chant of the Salian priests, i.e. "jumping priests"). Both these prayers seem to date back to the Romulean age, i.e. to the foundation of Rome in 753 BC or to the reign of King Numa Pompilius, who was the second king of Rome, succeeding Romulus.

In short, from all these sources that are generally considered to be the oldest extant examples of the Latin alphabet we know that some archaic endings and diphthongs borrowed from ancient Greek have changed in classical Latin, i.e. beginning from the 3rd.century BC.

Hope all is clear enough. Best regards, Maria (from

The OS and OM that you see in some Latin was not borrowed from Greek but was inheirited by both from a common ansestor language now called Indo-European. Greek did not change the endings but Latin began to pronounce them differently and thus we eventually see a different spelling. If someone were to write an article on single declention theory then this would make it all clear. As it stands now, anyone who knows enough Latin can look at Greek and if they can know the equivalent letter from Roman to Greek letters they can make out the Nouns even if the verbs would be a loss.

Native Speakers?

The article text reads: "Although now widely considered a dead language, with few fluent speakers and no native ones [...]", although the article Vatican City claims that the official languages are Latin and Italian. Are children in V.C. (are there, btw?) raised in Latin or not? Do people usually talk in Latin in V.C.? If so, one should probably change aforementioned "no native ones". --Gulliveig 08:01, 27 June 2007 (UTC)