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  1. I was translating sentences on Google translate just for fun, and then I typed this sentence: " I went across the swamp and found a cigarette. " When it translated to Latin, it gave words that sounded familiar but funny when you think about their English equivalents. Considering the English equivalent of the words translated, the translation sounded something like: " I a bit trans-ported through stagnant water and invented a joint. "
  2. I am aware that a lot of people use Google translate simply because it is the most convenient translator found online and definitely the most known one: everyone knows about Google translate. Today, it is even available as an App. So, is Google translate good for Latin? Can it pass some basic checks? I say, yes. We all know that typing in the sentences will never get you the correct translation. It will always be a rudimentary translation in the Neanderthal-like speech. However, when it comes to translating words by themselves, Google translate is quick and efficient and fairly accurate. I have tested it out and I say that the results are good so far. When I typed in "see" I received a whole range of synonyms from video to specto and what I liked was the fact that each of these had at least five or six translations. This means that you at least know what the word roughly means, i.e. "see in what way" or "when to use which "see" verb" They usually come in the first person, which is also good, considering that the dictionary entries are always in the first person, so you can always go somewhere else for more information. Same was with the nouns. I tested it with "sea" and just like in the previous example, I received a lot of synonyms. Google Translate Latin However, you have to be aware of one great disadvantage: Google translate doesn't tell you the grammatical specifications!! For example, when it comes to the verb, Google translate only gives you the first person form. You don't know to which verb class the given verb belongs, which limits your usage maximally - you have to go somewhere else to find out that fact. Same is with nouns. You only get the nominative form, nothing else. This is why you don't know the basic information about the noun: not its gender and certainly not its class. So, is Google translate good? Yes, it's good. It can be used as a quick-access tool which can give you the rudimentary information about the word you type in. However, it is not perfect. When it comes to grammar, you're on your own. This is why it might be a better option to use some other translator, which does give you this information. I believe that I have already written about them in one of my previous posts, so if you're interested, go back and check it out. Google translator is the most widely used translator online. But it is not the best. This is especially true for languages such as Latin.
  3. Well, some of you have noted that you would like to know some of the Latin sayings and I have chosen a few of my favourites. The translations I have provided for these sayings are not the official translations. If you want those, you can easily find them by typing in the proverb in Latin. The translations are accurate, though. I was careful to capture the essence of what had been said in the proverb. So, without any further ado: Dicta et sententiae 1. O tempora, o mores! Oh what times, oh what customs! (or Alas ...!) 2. Post nubila Phoebus. After the clouds comes Phoebus (Sun). 3. Bis dat, qui cito dat. He who gives fast, gives twice. 4. Licentia poetica. The freedom of the poet. 5. Amor magister est optimus. Love is the best teacher. 6. Aurora musis amica. The dawn is the friend of the muses. 7. Gloria discipuli, gloria magistri. The glory of the student is the glory of the teacher. 8. Periculum in mora. There is a danger in delay. 9. Fama volat. Lit. The tale flies. i.e. The rumours circulate fast. 10. Ab ovo. From the egg. 11. Repetitio est mater studiorum. Repetition is the mother of knowledge. 12. Sapienti sat. To the wise man, it is enough. 13. Omnia vincit amor. Love conquers all. 14. Omnia praeclara rara. Everything rare is amazing. 15. Mens sana in corpore sano. Sane mind in the sane body. 16. Usus magister egregius. Experience is the best teacher. 17. Res, non verba. Act, don’t say. 18. Aquila non capit muscas. The eagle doesn’t hunt flies. 19. Festina lente! Make haste slowly. 20. Divide et impera! Divide and conquer. 21. Parce tempori! Save time! 22. Cave canem! Beware the dog! 23. Carpe diem! Seize the day! 24. Vade mecum! Come with me! 25. Servus meus liber esto! Let my slave be free! 26. Omnia mea mecum porto. Lit. I carry everything that’s mine with me. 27. Sapiens omnia sua secum portat. Lit. The wise carries everything that’s his with him. 28. Quod nocet, saepe docet. That which harms will often teach. 29. Margaritas ante porcos. (Throw) Pearls in front of pigs. 30. Inter nos. Between us. 31. Pars pro toto. Part for whole. 32. In memoriam. In the memory. 33. In melius. In peius. In good. In evil /bad. 34. In spe. In hope.
  4. Culture: The Cities of Ashes Part 3: Pompeii & Heculaneum - The Cities That Vanished It is August 24, 79 AD. People of Pompeii and Herculaneum are doing their usual routine. The rich are coming to Pompeii, this major resort city and port. It is busy and bustling, with traders from everywhere and people visiting the temples of Venus, Jupiter and Apollo, all of which are near the forum. The land is rich and the area is known for its grapes and olive trees. There were several smaller earth tremors in the previous few days, but nothing alarming. Just yesterday, there was a great celebration in the name of Vulcan. And then, the disaster strikes. ___________________________ Mount Vesuvius had erupted and the two cities were buried under 20 feet of ash and debris in the matter of just a few days. It is estimated that about 16000 people died. The pyroclastic surge had been devastating. Unlike Pompeii, the deep pyroclastic material which covered Herculaneum preserved many objects which were based on organic material, primarily roofs, beds, doors and food. It goes without saying that the same was for some 300 skeletons which had been found in the city. Since Herculaneum lay to the west of Vesuvius, unlike Pompeii, which was in the direct path, it was only mildly affected by the first phase of the eruption. This was not the case with Pompeii where the roofs collapsed under the weight of falling debris and ash. The recent studies have shown that the lethal effects of the pyroclastic surges were primarily due to the heat. The heat was the main cause of the death of people not suffocation. The people were dead long before the ash even touched them. They were dead the moment that the wave of heat enveloped the city. The city of Pompeii continues to attract visitors due to its unusually cruel fate. It is ironic that prior to the eruption of a volcano, just a day before in fact, the people of Ancient Rome were celebrating Vulcan, the god of fire. What a twist of fate indeed!
  5. Culture: Mythology Themes - Gods in Ancient Rome Part 2: The Cult of Mithras When I was studying the history of Ancient Britain, I found it curious that there was a cult of Mithras which had been brought to Britain sometime in the late Pre-Christian era. The Romans were responsible for this new exotic cult. I say exotic because Mithras is a Persian deity and it is curious that he also appears in Roman mythology. Here are some interesting facts about it: Mithras as a Roman deity appeared somewhere in the Anno Domini era, from 1st century to 4th century, when it completely disappeared. Though there are few mythological sources about it, there are many depictions in caves. They mostly illustrate Mithras as a “bull-slayer.” In antiquity, the text usually refer to the “mysteries of Mithras” and it is often linked with the Persian deity. Many do not believe this, but we still have to note that sometimes Mithras appears with another figure, a mysterious lion-headed figure, who may have been the Arimanius (Avestan god of Zoroastrism, the evil spirit) himself. The temples for Mithras were often built in caves (this is why the depictions are found in caves as well). These underground temples have been built in the 1st century AD when the cult of Mithras is believed to have appeared in Ancient Rome. This cult, though not very long lasting, was still influential, considering that it had gone as far as Ancient Britain (which was, at that point in history, a part of the Roman empire). This is why it should be mentioned, considering that it is a part of the Ancient Roman pantheon.
  6. Culture: Mythology Themes - Gods in Ancient Rome Part 1: Basic Outline & Dii Consentes It is important to mention that Ancient Romans were polytheists, i.e. they believed in many gods. In the beginning, these Roman gods were considered as faceless and extremely powerful. It is only later on that they became anthropomorphised beings, i.e. Ancient Romans started imagining them as humans. These beliefs primarily came from Ancient Greece. This is also why many of Roman gods have their corresponding Greek counterpart. The entire collection of all these gods is called Pantheon. Although there are far too many gods to be listed, we still have to note the magnificent twelve: the twelve great gods and goddesses also known as “Dii Consentes” (this is the name that Varro gave to these deities) whose statues stand in the Forum. There are six gods and six goddesses, namely: Roman Greek Apollo Apollo Ceres Demeter Diana Artemis Juno Hera Jupiter Zeus Mars Ares Mercury Hermes Minerva Athena Neptune Poseidon Venus Aphrodite Vesta Hestia Vulcan Hephaestus Other notable gods are: Roman Greek Bacchus Dionysus Cupid Eros Pluto Hades Proserpina Persephone Saturn Cronus You will note that many of these Roman gods are actually the names of the planets. This is because our culture had always had access to the Roman culture. However, this was unfortunately not the case with the Greek culture, primarily because of the alphabet. Thus, for many years, the influence of the Greek culture could only be felt through Latin translations of Greek works.
  7. We all know that grammar usually isn't the favourite topic and so far, I'd mostly written about grammar. This is why I am asking you this: if you were learning Latin, what would you like to learn about? Phrases and sentences? Vocabulary? Proverbs? Idioms? Customs? The origin of the words we now have (such as cease and import)? Books and literature? Prosody? I will be bringing this section back to life, slowly. It would be good if I knew what to write about. Latin has many interesting topics that could be touched upon. Sometimes it's really difficult to pick one. If I knew what you wanted to read about when it comes to Latin, I might get more efficient in sharing my knowledge about it. Of course, I will not forget about grammar, I will still write about it from time to time, but it is not a problem writing about other things as well.So, help me pick! Think about it and let me know.
  8. Colours in Latin Well, now that I've done a section on adjectives, I wish to add colours as well. As in any other language, colours in Latin can be very useful and good for practice. Colours are adjectives, so they act like them - they follow the pattern of bonus, bona, bonum explained in the previous post. Here is a list of Latin colours: flavus, flava, flavum - blue albus, alba, album - white aureus, aurea, aureum - golden purpureus, purpurea, purpureum - purple caeruleus, caerulea, caeruleum - sky-blue roseus, rosea, roseum - rose There are some which follow the pattern of miser, misera, miserum: niger, nigra, nigrum - black ater, atra, atrum - dark ruber, rubra, rubrum Enjoy playing with colours!
  9. Latin and Roman Literature Well, as the title says, I wish to say something about the importance of the Roman literature. Many experts have claimed that it's not really a literature, merely a copy of the Greek original, but it's more than that. Yes, Romans kept most of the Greek forms, but they also added some of their own ideas and changed many of the forms. Then, there's the difference in values. Greeks loved philosophy, Romans loved law. Their works show these two affinities. When it comes to Roman poetry, it's very important, and it's significance isn't only with Virgil, Horace and Ovid, though these three were the greatest Roman poets. There were also other notable poets such as Catullus and Martial who were excellent at what they were doing. Drama is also very vital. I won't even talk about the value of Plautus and many others - the list would be too long. Reading poetry and drama, though, is a little tricky as you must be familiar with the metrics system. They're still beautiful in translation, though. Roman prose is very varied. It goes from historic books and philosophy to orations on various topics. Cicero is excellent at prose. So is Caesar (though I dislike him) and Augustus. And they're not that difficult to read for beginners, though of course, it's better to get acquainted with them through translations for the time being. What I wished to point out with this is that there are so many excellent works written in Latin. Some of them are elegies, some romantic poems, some orations held at court. Latin texts are very diverse. The theme varies so much that there will always be something you like. You just have to be patient enough to look.
  10. Specificity in Gender There are some rules which can help you determine the gender of the noun and it will be useful knowing them. Nouns which are masculine in gender are: names of men (Lucius), nations, rivers (Tiberis, Sequana), winds (aquilo), months (Aprilis) Feminine in gender are: names of women (Cornelia), lands (Aegyptus, Gallia), islands (Delus), cities (Ephesus, Athenae), trees (malus - apple) Additional notes: Whereas the trees are feminine, the fruits are neutral in gender. So if you're referring to an apple tree, you'd say malus, and it would be feminine, but if you're referring to just an apple, it would be malum and neutral in gender. Whereas most cities are feminine in gender, some are not such as Praeneste (neutral). Same is with some lands. There are also rivers which are feminine in gender: Allia, Matrona (river Marne), Lethe, Styx I hope this list is helpful. Sometimes it can help you determine the gender. It's very good to know the difference in between the gender of trees and their fruits, for example, as there are no exceptions there. It also doesn't hurt if you know the general gender the islands, rivers and cities follow, as most of the Latin texts mention them.
  11. Latin Declensions I have enclosed a chart of Latin declensions in this topic. There are five of them - five types of declensions in Latin. The first one is called the ae-declension and it consists of mostly femininum nouns (there's a small number of masculinum nouns as well in this declension, but they all act like femininum nouns, so there's no change). The second one mostly consists of masculinum nouns (endings -us, -er), but also has a large number of neutrum nouns (ending -um). The third one is mixed. More about this later. The fourth one is mostly masculinum as well (-us), but also has a small number of femininum nouns which follow the same pattern as masculinum,so there's no change in the endings. The fifth one consists of femininum nouns. There are only a few of them, though. Only a small number of them have the full declension, most are partial. There are three genders in Latin - masculinum, femininum and neutrum, i.e. masculine, feminine and neutral gender. Where possible they follow the natural genders, but it doesn't have to be. What is most important is to know which noun belongs to which declension as that determines its usage. So, when you're learning new vocabulary, always learn all three columns or else you will always have a lot of questions: aqua, ae, f - water bellum, i, n - war Aqua is the nominative case, aquae is genitive. If you wish to get the base form of this noun, you subtract the genitive suffix ae and get the stem aqu-. That's the stem onto which you add suffix endings. So, to conclude: Stem + Suffix = Noun Stem in Latin usually can't stand alone. Just to introduce the terminology: Stem is the root or main part of a word, to which inflections or formative elements are added. This will help you a lot, especially as some cases of various declensions look the same, so if you know to which declension a noun belongs, there will be no confusion about this.
  12. Latin Cases One of the major differences in between Latin and English are the declension cases. English has none when it comes to nouns. There are actually four cases (according to some grammars, even three) in English but they're only noticeable in the possessive form of the pronouns (he - him). The cases in English are very simplified and sometimes aren't even expressed through suffix (genitive). Example: I am here - subject; nominative case. One of us is missing. - genitive case expressed with ''of'' - phrase: genitive mostly means possession and belonging I am approaching him. - dative case: goal, indirect object I caught a fish. - accusative: direct object The cases in Latin are as follows, in this order: Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Vocative, and Ablative. In Latin, these rules for cases remain the same: nominative is used for subject, genitive usually means possession and belonging, dative is either a goal or the case of indirect object whereas accusative is reserved for direct object only. However, Latin also has two more cases: vocative (which is in most cases equivalent in form to nominative), which is used for emphasis (in English, it would be, John, hand me the bag; Mary, stop that, Helen, go away) and ablative. Ablative case is very tricky. It has a lot of meanings. It most commonly means place, though. It can also be used to express a temporal relative clause (similar meaning to after/while/during/when), and a variety of other meanings, most of which are connected to English adverbials (of time, manner, means...). I guess you could call it the case of adverbials.
  13. Syllables and Accent in Latin It seemed to me that I would overwhelm you if I added this in my previous topic with pronunciation, so I decided to give this a special attention, just a little bit about syllables and accents in Latin. Syllables Latin vowels can be both long and short. Latin diphthongs are always long. This helps determine the length of the syllables. Latin syllables can be long: - by nature/naturally if they contain a long vowel or diphthong, e.g. flos (flower) vita (life), Caesar, aurum (gold) - most good dictionaries actually tell you whether the syllable is long or short by nature - by position if they contain a short vowel which is followed by two or more consonants, e.g. arbor, dux (x is actually ks, so that counts as two). It may seem that the length of a syllable is not really important, but it actually is. It can change the meaning of the word, take for example liber - with short i, liber means book and it's a noun; with long i, it means free and is an adjective. Another example could be malum - with short a, it means evil, with long apple. Accent in Latin The first and foremost rule: Latin words are accentuated from the end, not the beginning. The accent can be on the last syllable, the penultimate syllable and the third from the back (which are, actually, in Latin the first, the second and the third). The similar system is in Ancient Greek as well - the syllables are counted from the end of the word to the beginning, and they too can be only on the last three (from our perspective, from their perspective, it's actually the first three). If a word has only two syllables, the accent is on the penultimate one (that is on the ''second'' as would be more proper to say), e.g. vita, pater, mater, terra If a word has three or more syllables, the accent is on the third from the back (or simply, ''third'', if you adopt the Latin way of counting them) if the syllable is short, e.g. Cicero (-ce- is short), populus (both po- and -pu- are short here) and on the penultimate (or the ''second'', really) if the syllable is long, e.g. natura (-tu- is long here). I know that this sounds very abstract and technical, but we have to start from somewhere, don't we? These are the very basic things and they are actually very important. You can't read Latin without them (not properly, at least). But, if it makes it any easier, I didn't like this part of the grammar either.
  14. Latin Alphabet, Spelling and Pronunciation The Romans had taken the letters from the Greeks (via the Etruscans). In the beginning, there were only capital letters. In Cicero's time, there were only 21 letters of the alphabet (it ended with X). Y and Z were added later because of the borrowed Greek words such as Byzantium. Capitalisation in Latin: - proper names, their adjectives and adverbs: Latium (the area), Latinus (of Latium, belonging to), Latine (adv.) -first word in a sentence and usually first word in a verse (though in many Latin texts, this isn't observed) Alphabet and Pronunciation For the sake of easier understanding and different phonetic chart, I am going to give examples in English, where possible, and bold the letter pronounced. Only bear in mind that Latin consonants are more frontal than English ones - meaning that English alveolar t and d sound more dental in Latin and so on. A a car B b brother C c key (classical pronunciation) and German Zeit (traditional pronunciation - though only when c is found in combination with e (cena) and i (Cicero), otherwise, it's like in key) D d dark E e let F f foreign G g Greek H h head (again, more frontal than the English guttural h) I i feed K k key L l light (Latin also has the so called dark and clear l) M m mother N n nephew O o lot P p pay Q q key (in combination qu- quote) R r rot (without the English alveolar sound - Latin r is more like Italian) S s soft (classical pronunciation), both soft and zealous (traditional pronunciation) T t toy U u soot V v what (classical pronunciation), vigorous (traditional pronunciation) X x fix Y y lit Z z zealous Latin also has a very developed system of diphthongi, which are as follows: ae fight (classical pronunciation), let (traditional pronunciation - only longer) oe loiter (classical pronunication) red (traditional pronunciation - only longer) au loud ei fate eu let and soot together (sorry, I can't think of an example in English as it doesn't allow this combination, like many other languages) ui Louis (French pronunciation) Another remark: Combinations -ch-, -ph-, -th- were pronounced differently in these two standards. The classical pronunciation would be kh, ph, th, whereas the traditional would be h, f, t e.g. pulcher is pulkher (or trad. pulher), schola is skhola (or trad. shola), theatrum is theatrum (trad. teatrum) I know that at this point, it must sound obscure, but I wrote this hoping that eve nthose who don't know how to read Latin words can start somewhere. Those of you who speak Slavic languages will find this very easy as Slavic pronunciation of vowels and consonants is very similar to that in Latin. For the rest, try to think about either Russian or German consonants and Spanish vowels. It's best to choose one pronunciation. Traditional is used seldom. Still, I wished to tell you that there were more ways of reading Latin. Most countries have adopted the classical pronunciation, so that is what I would advise you to do. Here are some Latin words for you to practice pronunciation with using the ''chart'' above (I have used only nouns): mater, pater, frater, terra (land), stella (star), populus (people), liber (book), labor (work), acus (needle), bellum (war), ars (art), domus (home), Roma, Athenae
  15. A little history is always good, isn't it? This is just a little bit about the Latin language, its origin and relation to other languages of the Indo-European family. Latin was, primarily, the language of the city of Rome and its vicinity, named after the tribe which lived in Latium. As the Roman state grew, so did its influence on other, smaller areas which soon started to adopt and favour Latin over other languages, some of which were Umbrian (spoken by Umbri of Umbria) and Oscan (the language of southern Italy). When the Roman Republic conquered the whole peninsula, Latin became the official language. As Rome expanded further to other areas such as Europe, northern Africa and western Asia, Latin became one of the world's languages. Latin is one of the Indo-European languages, among which are also Sanskrit (Old Indian language), Greek, the Slavic languages and Germanic languages (and many more). Latin shares a lot of the common things with these languages (e.g. lat. mater, si. matar, gr. meter, ger. Mutter, slav. mati, eng. mother). Romance languages developed from common Latin (spoken by common people). After the fall of Rome, Latin was used in science and literature throughout history mostly by scholars, historians and poets. Latin is no longer spoken but is still used for the purposes of sciences, especially in the terminology. There are also a lot of international words of Latin origin.
  16. I've noticed that there are people interested in studying Latin, however, there isn't much material to help them get started. I wish to change that. There are many reasons why one should study this language and I believe it's a shame we don't anymore. Schools no longer offer Latin for more than a few years in high school - which isn't enough. In two years of ''school learning'', the best you can manage is get to know a certain language. I am currently studying Latin as my major, and I've noticed how little my school had taught me. My true learning had begun in college. I would like to ''liven up'' this topic and get in touch with other students, potential students and enthusiasts of Latin. I'd like to share study tips, have us discuss grammar problems, texts, dictionaries or even history and culture. The ancient Romans had certainly left us enough to last for a lifetime - we can't possibly ''exhaust'' the topic. They say, you can't speak Latin. It's only spoken in Vatican. Yes, true. But the whole history of science is based on Latin. Latin had mediated everything. It was the lingua franca of the Academeia in the past. If nothing, by learning Latin you're honouring the past. But then again, learning all other Romance languages becomes easier after you know the Latin root - even English. There are so many words in English which had been taken from Latin, and I'm not taking about words like transmit and internal, but more obscure ones - such as sinister. This word had me confused for so long - it's most common meaning is ''left'', so why does it mean ''dark and foreboding'' in English? This was a mystery until I finally took the dictionary and checked it's meaning in Latin. It doesn't only mean ''left'' it also means ''foreboding'' in augury (bird watching). So there is a connection, even though we may not be aware of it. All topics are welcome. It would be amazing if we could liven this up. Let us bring back to life the language which many believe is dead for centuries. Latin is beautiful. Challenging, yes, but beautiful. Let us discover its beauty.
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