Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Latin Cases and other Language Related on Quora

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The Italian and Latin word for “Rome” is “Roma”. In Latin, there’s the word “Romae” which is basically Roma+E. Did the Ancient Romans use Romae? And if so when did they use Romae in a sentence?

Answer requested by
Harry Mackenzie

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
Roma urbs est (Rome is a [ceremonially founded] city).
Romae domus quondam ligneae, post autem marmoraeae erant (Rome’s houses were once of wood but later of marble).
Romae aspirant multi poetae et duces (many poets and generals aspire to Rome).
Romam fundaverunt Romulus et Remus (R’n’R founded Rome).
Roma, salve loce martyrii Petri! (Rome, hail place of martyrdom of Peter)!
Roma factum est imperium (with Rome, an empire was founded).

You have Roma with short a in 1st and 5th (Nominative and Vocative), you have Romae with ae in 2nd and 3rd (Genitive and Dative), you have Romam with am in 4th (Accusative) and you have Roma with long a in 6th (Ablative), and each is here exemplified with an appropriate sentence.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
1m ago
I omitted some facts.
When it comes to place names of cities and minor islands, there are three more cases.

Romae non sum, sed Lutetiae (I’m not in Rome, but in Paris).
Romam ii cum classi latinitatis (I went to Rome with the Latin class)
Gregorius misit Augustinum Roma in Britanniam inter Anglo-Saxones (Gregory sent Augustin from Rome to Britain among Anglo-Saxons).

Is there a quick way I can learn Latin?

Answer requested by
Lewie Fei

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
I am not sure if it is quick or slow for you, but:

  • learn Latin declinsions and uses of cases, conjugations and uses of tenses and moods;
  • learn Latin words, with prepositions learn what cases they govern;
  • learn how to use the former to use the latter to make Latin sentences.

Part of the process is reading texts in Latin and translating to your language, and also translating from your language to Latin.

Was Celtic substratum one of the causes of the loss of cases in Romance languages?

Answer requested by
Joaquín Galindo

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters in Latin (language) & Greek (language), Lund University
Probably not, since Continental Celtic seems to have had cases.

Like, texts have been found in Greek letters, not many, but sufficient to show Gaulish had a case system not very unlike that of Classic Latin and Greek.

Other reason : Latin had some tendencies in itself to eliminate cases. I Decl. had in the singular same endings for Genitive and Dative, -ae, and as for Nominative / Vocative, short a, Accusative, nasal a, spelled am, and Ablative, long a, they coincided phonetically before Rome lost the Imperial seat in 476. II Decl. tended to a two case system : -os for Nominative / Vocative singular, -o for other cases singular.

There is a Latin inscription for the “vicairie” Espagnac, which involves “Spaniaco” (Ablative) for Classic “Spaniaci” (Locative, coincides with Genitive). This means the process was ongoing.

What's the most popular theory about a language's origin? Where do our (in general) languages come from?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Let’s distinguish three questions:

  • why do we speak at all?
  • how do similar dialects become dissimilar languages?
  • was there any other split among languages?

Let’s also distinguish what is popular in the general public right now and what has been so over Christian centuries.

The popular (and wrong on two out of three) right now theory is:

  • apes developing into men developed a language capacity (wrong)
  • when speakers in different places have no direct contact, they change subtly in each generation in different ways and not the same one, and over centuries this adds up to a language
  • difference (right : Danish and Icelandic were same language in 900 and are very different ones in 1900 and now 120 years later); either men became able to speak in more than one place, or the original language having changed as per above can no longer be traced back to from daughter languages as different as Chinese and Indo-European (wrong again).

A man from Christian centuries would instead say, if updating with modern linguistic knowledge:

  • God gave Adam speech (not just capacity, but developed into language competence in the same day or moment);
  • when speakers in different places etc … (above was after all right);
  • there was a very different type of split, when God confused languages at Babel (which is why Basque and Spanish, English and Chinese, cannot be traced back to any common proto-language).

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