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RfV failed August 2013[edit]

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Is there any evidence that this was used in Latin? DCDuring TALK 01:07, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Excellent catch! A quick survey of the literature and the couple of Latin dictionaries within three feet of me does not reveal a single non-capitalized example. I believe that this is just an error for Āfer. A note to whomever closes this RFV: if this fails, all the inflected forms should be deleted as well. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:16, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
It is used in species names. Therefore it should not be deleted, but rather moved to Translingual, where it will be welcome. DCDuring TALK 02:45, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Latin originally had no letter case, so should case matter? —CodeCat 03:24, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
When did Latin sprout macrons? DCDuring TALK 04:35, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
@CodeCat: Yes, because we can't have multiple copies of every entry. Latin works that differentiate (like all modern copies of Cicero, for example), seem to use the capitalized form. Dictionaries and grammars do as well.
@DCDuring: In the postclassical era. Traditionally, long vowels were not marked, although some writers and inscriptions used apices and other odd orthographic measures to try to make the vowel length clear. The vowel length itself was present as far back as Latin phonology can be ascertained with any certainty. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:54, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Whereas the macron matter is discussed in WT:ALA, what is not discussed is the question of the distinction we attempt to impose on Latin between initial-upper-case and initial-lower-case forms of Latin words. Perhaps it is a tiny measure of revenge against the imposition of Latin grammatical concepts on English grammar books from the 17th century. DCDuring TALK 13:13, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Ancient language was inherently irregular, and dictionaries need citation forms and such. Bear in mind that even our declension tables are pretty fiction. The first sentence of the Aeneid, the standard of Latin literature, uses virum as a genitive plural when our table says one ought to use virorum. That said, we can't go repeating content, and this capitalization follows precedent. There are still zero cites. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:49, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
What? Virum in Arma virumque cano is accusative singular. I know that isn't your main point, but still... —Angr 02:08, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Oops, thank you for catching me... I remembered a case with virum, remembered that virum came up early on in the Aeneid, and evidently mistakenly connected the two. I just checked L&S, who list a few examples, but none in something I remember reading... —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:17, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Many Latin-English dictionaries habitually capitalize the first letter of proper nouns and of words derived from proper nouns. This norm is followed by some modern English editors and publishers of Classical texts, but typically not followed by Spanish, French, and German publishers. Demonstrating this is difficult because searches are confounded by capitalization in titles, and by the fact that many of these words have use as a noun as well (Afer can mean "a Carthaginian"). This normalization, as has been pointed out, is artificial in Classical Latin. However, in later forms of Latin and in Romance languages derived from Latin, the norm is to use lower case for everything except proper nouns. I have been following this principle, as it matches the source documents for Medieval and Renaissance Latin. Providing quotation evidence for terms individually would be an ernomously arduous task, and, as with capitalization in English, there will likely be exceptions from time to time. So, in short, my standard has been to follow the capitalization norms used later forms of Latin and in Romance languages, since Classical Latin followed no such regular distinctions. --EncycloPetey (talk) 05:02, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
That's not a bad practice, if it can be backed up with citations. As it is, I reviewed not a few books but to find once more the state of affairs I expected: namely, that they use the capitalised form. Quite possibly this is citable, but not via the books I own or can easily find on BGC. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:10, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
You looked at books (dictionaries), books (edited modern copies of texts), books (primary source documents), or what? BGC is excruciatingly difficult to use for these kinds of searches, as you get titles of works, edited works, noun usages, and all manner of confounding results. The easiest argument to be made is that of parsimony (Occam's razor), in that the modern Romance languages (Spanish, French, Italian, and even Romanian) do not capitalize adjectives, so it's most reasonable to assume this fact was inherited from the parent language. It's not the most rigorous argument, but it's the easiest one. --EncycloPetey (talk) 05:13, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Two dictionaries, one grammar, a couple modern edited copies of classical works, and a few postclassical books on BGC. BGC isn't really that bad if you use Advanced Search and search for inflected forms. And we don't use parsimony in RFV, we use cites. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:25, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Modern dictionaries and modern edited copies of works can't be trusted not to normalize. This varies of course, but I've seen some horrendous cases, such as with almost any medieval Czech document, where spelling is silently modernized as a matter of course in every Czech-published medieval text I've ever seen. Medieval Polish and German texts are far less susceptible to such normalization. And yes, I know about searching BGC using inflected forms or the advenced search tool, but in situations like this one I find that it's not any more helpful. I tried several searches on afri, afrae, and some others earlier this evening. Mostly I got works with those words in the title, dictionaries, works in other languages, catalogs of Latin works (again using it in a title), and uses that were of the noun rather than the adjective. --EncycloPetey (talk) 05:42, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
RfV failed DCDuring TALK 00:34, 2 August 2013 (UTC)