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Latin required....

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Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
A friend of mine is (or was) pretty good at French. He got me a copy of "Pythons on Pythons" (Monty Python members basically dissing each other) in Russian (which I can barely read anymore because the vocabulary is gone). He thought the title had two separate words, because he was completely unfamiliar with cases. It kind of shocked me. Anyway, once can ask whether there was "standard" Latin (nothing like Oxford English Dictionary) or whether we are stuck with haughty ancient sophisticates who could read and write just making a lot up as they went along. With all the subjunctive rules (in ancient Greek as well, which lacks punctuation and therefore requires all kinds of weird connector words) and such, one wonders whether people actually talked like that. The grammar is clearly a compendium of what ancient authors used--you don't know whether it's standard or whether some clown was in a completely separate tree. Also, the literature spans many centuries, and things change in that time (as English did).
To understand sciences like biology you need a lot of knowledge of in-jokes (Gary Larson, the "Far Side" cartoonist now retired, has a "sucking louse" named after him with his name Latinized, and many genes are named after what the fruit flies look like) as well as Latin and Greek, and for physics and engineering you need mathematics. High mathematics is very abstract, and most scientists can't do it. I have a book on the interface between mathematics and mathematical physics, which makes the claim it is a bridge between the mathematics mathematicians do and the mathematics mathematical physicists do, which are to an extent mutually unintelligible. I recall a math professor saying "you don't know what it is"--meaning it's mathematically unsupported--when physicists do integrals. In other words, "nobody talks like that", like what the mathematician does. In the preface to his books on quantum field theory, Steve Weinberg of noble prize fame claims the mathematics in it is "deplorable".
A lot of learned points, but WTF are you talking about?
 

cruxlover

Tribune
[QUOTE="If you knew Latin, you could, but the bartender probably wouldn't understand your order...[/QUOTE]

My point exactly, whether I don't understand what I ask or whether the other does not understand what I want - the outcome is the same _A big fat Nothing.
After all we don't need fancy old languages to understand the Diesel engine, and I doubt if Latin would have helped James Watt devise the separate condensor or the parallel motion either.
 

Eulalia

Poet Laureate
Staff member
Anyway, once can ask whether there was "standard" Latin (nothing like Oxford English Dictionary) or whether we are stuck with haughty ancient sophisticates who could read and write just making a lot up as they went along. With all the subjunctive rules (in ancient Greek as well, which lacks punctuation and therefore requires all kinds of weird connector words) and such, one wonders whether people actually talked like that. The grammar is clearly a compendium of what ancient authors used--you don't know whether it's standard or whether some clown was in a completely separate tree. Also, the literature spans many centuries, and things change in that time (as English did).

You're quite right, Classical Latin represents only a 'slice' through the history of the language, though it was indeed regarded as 'standard' for several centuries, and was resurrected as such in the renaissance. While Classical Latin is what I was lucky to learn at school, at university and since I've specialised in historical linguistics, including medieval Latin. We can trace the development of the language, the ways it changed into proto-Romance and eventually emerged as Italian, Spanish, Portuguese etc. provide evidence for the vernacular dialects, along with a surprising amount of 'non-prestige' written evidence like graffiti, private letters, notes on wax tablets, etc. Historical linguistics, tracing and reconstructing earlier stages of languages, is just as scientific a discipline as evolutionary biology, tracing and reconstructing earlier forms of organisms.

Incidentally, Latin 'lacked punctuation' too, it was mainly written in scriptio continua without even spaces between words, as writing materials were costly. Punctuation as we know it developed mainly as Latin came to be read and (especially) chanted in the church, especially by monks etc. who weren't used to speaking the language. Compare the marks used to guide readers of the Torah and the Quran even today.
 

Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
You're quite right, Classical Latin represents only a 'slice' through the history of the language, though it was indeed regarded as 'standard' for several centuries, and was resurrected as such in the renaissance. While Classical Latin is what I was lucky to learn at school, at university and since I've specialised in historical linguistics, including medieval Latin. We can trace the development of the language, the ways it changed into proto-Romance and eventually emerged as Italian, Spanish, Portuguese etc. provide evidence for the vernacular dialects, along with a surprising amount of 'non-prestige' written evidence like graffiti, private letters, notes on wax tablets, etc. Historical linguistics, tracing and reconstructing earlier stages of languages, is just as scientific a discipline as evolutionary biology, tracing and reconstructing earlier forms of organisms.

Incidentally, Latin 'lacked punctuation' too, it was mainly written in scriptio continua without even spaces between words, as writing materials were costly. Punctuation as we know it developed mainly as Latin came to be read and (especially) chanted in the church, especially by monks etc. who weren't used to speaking the language. Compare the marks used to guide readers of the Torah and the Quran even today.

"I've specialised in historical linguistics"

I love women who specialise in linguistics. They do incredible things with their tongues!
 

Eulalia

Poet Laureate
Staff member
[QUOTE="If you knew Latin, you could, but the bartender probably wouldn't understand your order...

My point exactly, whether I don't understand what I ask or whether the other does not understand what I want - the outcome is the same _A big fat Nothing.
After all we don't need fancy old languages to understand the Diesel engine, and I doubt if Latin would have helped James Watt devise the separate condensor or the parallel motion either.[/QUOTE]
We don't need the Parthenon, the Sistine Chapel, Beethoven's symphonies. We don't even need diesel engines. We could live in caves and spend all our waking hours scrabbling for food or copulating. But for some strange reason, humans have these urges to know, to understand, to create beyond what is strictly 'necessary' or even 'useful'.
 

Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
My point exactly, whether I don't understand what I ask or whether the other does not understand what I want - the outcome is the same _A big fat Nothing.
After all we don't need fancy old languages to understand the Diesel engine, and I doubt if Latin would have helped James Watt devise the separate condensor or the parallel motion either.
We don't need the Parthenon, the Sistine Chapel, Beethoven's symphonies. We don't even need diesel engines. We could live in caves and spend all our waking hours scrabbling for food or copulating. But for some strange reason, humans have these urges to know, to understand, to create beyond what is strictly 'necessary' or even 'useful'.[/QUOTE]

You tell 'em, Eulalia.
BTW, what exactly can you do with that linguistic tongue??:razz:
 

Frank Petrexa

Governor
You're quite right, Classical Latin represents only a 'slice' through the history of the language, though it was indeed regarded as 'standard' for several centuries, and was resurrected as such in the renaissance. While Classical Latin is what I was lucky to learn at school, at university and since I've specialised in historical linguistics, including medieval Latin. We can trace the development of the language, the ways it changed into proto-Romance and eventually emerged as Italian, Spanish, Portuguese etc. provide evidence for the vernacular dialects, along with a surprising amount of 'non-prestige' written evidence like graffiti, private letters, notes on wax tablets, etc. Historical linguistics, tracing and reconstructing earlier stages of languages, is just as scientific a discipline as evolutionary biology, tracing and reconstructing earlier forms of organisms.

Incidentally, Latin 'lacked punctuation' too, it was mainly written in scriptio continua without even spaces between words, as writing materials were costly. Punctuation as we know it developed mainly as Latin came to be read and (especially) chanted in the church, especially by monks etc. who weren't used to speaking the language. Compare the marks used to guide readers of the Torah and the Quran even today.
Gunnicus in Spartacus War of the Damned addresses a benefactor as "Dominus", not "Domine". Thessela about to be crucified uses "Domina" correctly, but probably only because it's the same as the nominative and the writers were still clueless. There is a story about young Churchill and his Latin tutor. "What does 'O, table!' mean." "It is what you would say if you were addressing a table." "But I never do." This stuff is pretty arcane, but you are right, it is great fun. Years ago I saw a book reviewed in the Economist which tried to translate modern terms into Latin (the Vatican supposedly has people whose job this is). I wish I had bought it, or at least remembered the title.
 

Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
Gunnicus in Spartacus War of the Damned addresses a benefactor as "Dominus", not "Domine". Thessela about to be crucified uses "Domina" correctly, but probably only because it's the same as the nominative and the writers were still clueless. There is a story about young Churchill and his Latin tutor. "What does 'O, table!' mean." "It is what you would say if you were addressing a table." "But I never do." This stuff is pretty arcane, but you are right, it is great fun. Years ago I saw a book reviewed in the Economist which tried to translate modern terms into Latin (the Vatican supposedly has people whose job this is). I wish I had bought it, or at least remembered the title.
I remember that Churchill story - very funny! There is always the childrens' classic Winnie Ille Pu
51cpKdji+iL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
 

Naraku

Draconarius
You're quite right, Classical Latin represents only a 'slice' through the history of the language, though it was indeed regarded as 'standard' for several centuries, and was resurrected as such in the renaissance. While Classical Latin is what I was lucky to learn at school, at university and since I've specialised in historical linguistics, including medieval Latin. We can trace the development of the language, the ways it changed into proto-Romance and eventually emerged as Italian, Spanish, Portuguese etc. provide evidence for the vernacular dialects, along with a surprising amount of 'non-prestige' written evidence like graffiti, private letters, notes on wax tablets, etc. Historical linguistics, tracing and reconstructing earlier stages of languages, is just as scientific a discipline as evolutionary biology, tracing and reconstructing earlier forms of organisms.

Incidentally, Latin 'lacked punctuation' too, it was mainly written in scriptio continua without even spaces between words, as writing materials were costly. Punctuation as we know it developed mainly as Latin came to be read and (especially) chanted in the church, especially by monks etc. who weren't used to speaking the language. Compare the marks used to guide readers of the Torah and the Quran even today.
In "Passion of the Christ" many of the characters, mostly Roman soldiers, make mistakes when speaking Latin. Although I'm sure this wasn't intentional, it might not be inaccurate. The Army drew from all over the Empire and only a small portion of the soldiers would speak Latin as their first language. I'm not even sure that Latin, or at least Roman Latin, was the common language of Italy at the time.

Of course, this does not excuse the thousand other mistakes in the film. The Aramaic used is the Medieval Syrian form. No one speaks any Greek. When Pilote meets with the Jewish leaders they converse in Latin. Greek would more likely be the only language an educated Jew and Roman would have in common.
 

Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
When Pilote meets with the Jewish leaders they converse in Latin. Greek would more likely be the only language an educated Jew and Roman would have in common.
Excellent point. the Septuagint or LXX translated the Hebrew scriptures into Greek beginning in the mid 3rd century B.C.E and was substantially done by the end of the 2nd century B.C.E. LXX was mostly intended for Jews in the pre-Jewish War diaspora (Hebrew wasn't taught in those remote communities because the doctrine was that all Jews would return to the Promised Land when the Messiah came and would be re-taught the scriptures). But the LXX was surely known well by the scholars on Jeresalem
 

Marcius

Governor
Gunnicus in Spartacus War of the Damned addresses a benefactor as "Dominus", not "Domine". Thessela about to be crucified uses "Domina" correctly, but probably only because it's the same as the nominative and the writers were still clueless.
To be honest, I'm on the fence here -- not sure one can expect words thrown in for authenticity correctly declined, surely 'Crasse' would've been over the top? :lily: They did have 'doctore' though.
 

Marcius

Governor
In "Passion of the Christ" many of the characters, mostly Roman soldiers, make mistakes when speaking Latin. Although I'm sure this wasn't intentional, it might not be inaccurate. The Army drew from all over the Empire and only a small portion of the soldiers would speak Latin as their first language. I'm not even sure that Latin, or at least Roman Latin, was the common language of Italy at the time.
Circa AD 30 the legions were predominantly Italian, but Judaea was garrisoned by auxiliaries (their commanders would've been Italians, of course; perhaps an enfranchised Greek or Gaul sometimes). Pilate's staff -- which had to put the governor's sentences into, ahem, execution -- would've been drawn from one of the Syrian legions, so Italians or colonists from Berytus or Pisidian Antioch. Given that Italy had been united for little longer than a century, the Social War and all that, I guess their Latin was far from Ciceronian.
 

Eulalia

Poet Laureate
Staff member
LXX was mostly intended for Jews in the pre-Jewish War diaspora
Specifically, the (very substantial) community in Alexandria. According to the 'Letter of Aristeas', written about a century later and probably giving a rather embroidered version of the history, the Septuagint was commissioned by Ptolemy II Philadelphus for the magnificent library he was assembling in that city. But undoubtedly it was also for literate and scholarly Jews of the Diaspora (and some were very high-powered scholars indeed) who had adopted Greek in place of Aramaic - though in the synagogues the Torah was always read in Hebrew (as it is in most synagogues today, I believe), then 'explained' in the vernacular (it would have been pretty opaque even to Aramaic speaking Jews in Judaea, never mind the Greek speakers).

When Pilote meets with the Jewish leaders they converse in Latin. Greek would more likely be the only language an educated Jew and Roman would have in common.
I agree too - Greek was the lingua franca of the Eastern Empire, whether the 'Roman Romans' liked it or not.
 

Naraku

Draconarius
Specifically, the (very substantial) community in Alexandria. According to the 'Letter of Aristeas', written about a century later and probably giving a rather embroidered version of the history, the Septuagint was commissioned by Ptolemy II Philadelphus for the magnificent library he was assembling in that city. But undoubtedly it was also for literate and scholarly Jews of the Diaspora (and some were very high-powered scholars indeed) who had adopted Greek in place of Aramaic - though in the synagogues the Torah was always read in Hebrew (as it is in most synagogues today, I believe), then 'explained' in the vernacular (it would have been pretty opaque even to Aramaic speaking Jews in Judaea, never mind the Greek speakers).


I agree too - Greek was the lingua franca of the Eastern Empire, whether the 'Roman Romans' liked it or not.
The story about the 70 (or 72) scholars and the connection to Ptolemy is probably bogus.
But, when the writers of the New Testament quote from the Hebrew bible, they are quoting the Septuagint.
 

Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
[QUOTE="If you knew Latin, you could, but the bartender probably wouldn't understand your order...

My point exactly, whether I don't understand what I ask or whether the other does not understand what I want - the outcome is the same _A big fat Nothing.
After all we don't need fancy old languages to understand the Diesel engine, and I doubt if Latin would have helped James Watt devise the separate condensor or the parallel motion either.[/QUOTE]
My dear Cruxlover, (What a great salutation! From Latin of course),
In 1961, I entered the Second Form at Prep School and was required to take Latin. My consciousness of English grammar was still spotty, and so memorizing the First Declension and First Conjugation was very tedious for a 13-year-old boy whose body was interested in other declensions and conjugations. I had just discovered and wonderful and evil pulp magazine about a spy with a girl in danger in Cuba.

Then, and many times since, I have heard your argument that Latin is a dead language. I have never known a honest argument that totally refutes your position. Having, over the following five years, come to love Latin literature (I never truly masterd the study, but I had a very quick mind and could translate anything damn well on the fly with my Cassells Latin English Dictionary [now sadly decayed to dust], while being much weaker at Latin composition [my knuckles remember the pain]), I must defend the affection that some of us have for the "dead" languages (in recent years I've brushed up on my ancient Greek).

The point is, you are right from your side to hate Latin. But this thread is titled "Latin Required," It started with a simple question question about translation. It has continued due the the interest of a few in ancient language. With all due courtesy and politeness, if you don't like Latin and the discussion here, go to other threads and forums. Let us enjoy our "dead" languages
 

Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
For the sober one's here and those interested in Latin, here was a homework translation problem from the second week of my First Year Latin. See who can translate first.

puellae et pueri amant picum nicum.
 
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