Wiktionary talk:About Latin/Archive 1

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Latin in uppercase[edit]

This topic was discussed on the Index talk:Latin page.

Macrons on the inflection line[edit]

This discussion copied from Wiktionary talk:Entry layout explained/POS headers#X Form

English has Category:English verbs and Category:Verb forms.

Other languages usually have both if applicable; this of course varies with language. Robert Ullmann 09:31, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

I oppose these forms, I prefer simple "noun" and "verb" type headings, even for declensions and conjugations. - TheDaveRoss 18:37, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
I support using X form for non-lemma entries from inflected languages, but have no strong opinion one way of the other for English and languages inflected to a similar degree. For inflected languages, using X form helps guide users to lemma forms. Consider that using only Verb would mean that the Spanish verb nadar would have 62 additional entries listed in the Verb category just from the simple tenses alone. Separating them puts the lemma in the Verb Category and all the others in the Verb form category. This also assists when editing or visually inspecting an article. There are some languages for which it will not be clear which form is the lemma. Latin is one such case. We seem to be using the infinite as the lemma form most often, but every Latin dictionary I've ever seen uses the first person singular present active indicative form as the lemma. By using "Verb form", we clue in later editors that the page should not be expanded because the page in question is a non-lemma. --EncycloPetey 22:23, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
I think you missed one of my points above: the categorization is separable from the POS header. Just as we use Noun for both singular and plural forms, but then cat in Category:English nouns and Category:English plurals we can use Verb and cat in (language) verbs, verb forms, and various specific verb forms. As to identifying the non-lemmata more clearly, I have an idea based on something that has been bugging me since I first started seriously working on the wikt. I'll expand on it infra a bit later today ... Robert Ullmann 13:44, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
As I have said elsewhere, but perhaps was not clear on, I too oppose any inclusion of " form" in headings, for English or for other languages. --Connel MacKenzie 22:28, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
In principle I am against the " form" POS headings, in English and other languages. For reason of simplicity! (By the way, we should try not to distinguish between English and other languages, also to not complicate matters.) The form vs form discussion should be linked with the corresponding templates. The lemma and non-lemma could both have the heading Adjective, Noun or Verb, but the distinction should be made by the added template. The lemma must be accompanied by the default template en-adj, en-noun or en-verb. The non-lemma must not be accompanied by one of these templates (for which they do not fit at the moment!), but one of the non-lemma templates like plural of| or past of|. After the creation of the needed templates, this distinction could be used for Latin and similar languages.
That's the theory. But look at a few (difficult) cases: stadia (various Noun headings under various etymologies?) and sheep (what about the singular and the plural under the same heading? and what about the appropriate template (for both?) ?). --Jan, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
Connel, have you taken a look at what will be required to have templates for all the Latin inflectional forms? A partial list includes (names of templates not decided):
* la-adj : (for the positive masculine or positive common or positive all genders)
* la-adj-pos-f : (positive feminine)
* la-adj-pos-n : (positive neuter)
* la-adj-comp-m : (comparative masculine)
* la-adj-comp-f : (comparative feminine)
* la-adj-comp-c : (comparative common)
* la-adj-comp-n : (comparative neuter)
* la-adj-sup-m : (superlative masculine)
*:...and this continues but only gets us the nominative singular forms of adjectives!.
We then still have to note genitive, accusative, dative, vocative (and some locative) for all of the above, just to finish the singular forms. Then everything is doubled to accomodate the plurals. It then proceeds to pos/comp/sup forms of adverbs, nouns in the singular and plural of the nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative, (and locative for some). It includes inflected forms of all the pronouns, and we still haven't mentioned verbs or irregulars. And then there's Greek...
Either the system you propose will generate mountains of work for template writers, or we need to rethink it for simplicity. --EncycloPetey 14:53, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
Parameters, Sir, Parameters! {{la-adj-form|pos|f}} etc. Robert Ullmann 15:22, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
But that still requires a mountain of work for template writers who have to contend with all of this. Could we see a sample such template done for Spanish verb forms (and perhaps one for Latin nouns), in order to see how this will work? Remember that Latin nouns have both a display form with macrons and an entry form that lacks them. --EncycloPetey 15:26, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
Oh dear. The entry must always be as written. The display must always be as written. If these are different you are in a world of hurt, and will be there until someone cleans up the mess ... If Latin is written with the macrons the entry form is wrong. If it isn't, the display form is wrong (it belongs in pronunciation) Robert Ullmann 12:48, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
No, neither form is wrong. The macrons do not belong in the pronunciation section; they are present because (1) all textbooks and dictionaries use them as standard for entry header forms, but they are not used in the entry page name because (2) the Romans and medieval writers didn't use them. See About Latin, where I've started collecting information about Latin entries for a draft. Yes, the templates get fussy over the macrons, which is why RodASmith has submitted additional code (to wherever such proposals go) in order to make his draft {la-noun} template work. RodASmith understands the issue, as he knows a bit of Latin himself. We will have a similar issue with Ancient Greek, because of similar conventions regarding the differences between ancient texts and modern editions. --EncycloPetey 00:24, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
Is Modern Latin written with macrons? (Textbooks and dictionaries don't count. They are mention not use). As you say, the use of Latin does not use macrons. The Random House Unabridged lists dictionary as dic-tion-ar-y (with centered dots), but it isn't written that way. My Swahili dictionary capitalizes all the headwords. So what? If Latin isn't written with macrons, they should not be in entry names, headwords, or forms. Robert Ullmann 18:30, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
The readings in many books are, but in others they're not. This is very, very different from the cases you've mentioned. The written passages themselves contain the macrons, not just headwords. --EncycloPetey 19:18, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
That is still textbook mention, not how Latin is written in modern use.
Do you consider all the quotations from literature on Wiktionary to be mention or examples of use? The textbooks quote passages from Classical Latin authors, but modern editorial conventions add the macrons, just as modern editions of Shakespeare modernize and normalize the punctuation and spelling. This is use, not mention. --EncycloPetey 22:48, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Nope. If a textbook quotes from literature, that is mention. Use would be a book written in Latin. Similarily, quotes in the wikt are mention. Robert Ullmann 23:49, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Pardon? In what sense are you distinguishing use-mention? Granted, quoting a passage in a textbook would be indirect, but it's still use of the word. DAVilla 06:31, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
No, if you look at the original, which is use, there are no macrons, look at the quotation, and the textbook has add macrons that are not used to "help" the reader. Robert Ullmann
"Mention" as it applies to the quote perhaps, but not to the word itself. I'm not arguing against your point, I just think you're using the wrong language. The w:use-mention distinction does not capture the concept you're thinking of. DAVilla 08:13, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. Robert, you seem to be making your distinction based on length of the passage. Would it help to point out that Wheelock's (the people who publish one of the major Latin textbooks) publish the accompanying Reader (collection of sample passages in Latin) as a separate volume? --EncycloPetey 17:49, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
Has nothing to do with length. Has to do with whether someone is writing in Latin, or quoting written Latin with "helpful" pronunciation hints. The Reader is not a work in Latin, it is a collection with "helpful" macrons added that simply do not appear in actual written Latin!! Robert Ullmann 18:00, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
Are the people at Victiōnārium writing in Latin? The main page uses macrons on the name of the site. For entries, the inflection line immediately under each POS header uses macrons. If the people writing the Latin edition of Wiktionary are using macrons in their inflection lines and inflection tables, then why are you against using them on our Latin inflection lines and inflection tables here? --EncycloPetey 01:08, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Macrons serve as more than mere pronunciation aids, however. For example, victum and vīctum are both past participles (of vincere and vīvere, respectively), yet without the macron on the latter one would not know if the meaning were conquered or lived. In such an instance, how are we to proceed without the use of the macron? Furthermore, Romans, unlike the Greeks, had no orthographical conventions for denoting long versus short vowels, but we do and should thus take advantage of this fact. As far as in practice, I'm not sure if Wheelock's Latin Reader is the best example. (I own a copy of the second edition in which macrons are not used.) In my experience, all of my Latin courses have been taught using books with macrons as the primary reference for the class, with the exception of my Vergil class (as the professor emphasized being able to understand meter using scansion rules as opposed to relying on macrons). Even in that class, however, the book used at home was the fairly standard Clyde Pharr version in which macrons are in fact used. Etymologically speaking, macrons can here too be helpful. For instance, in examples of compensatory lengthening, it makes sense to represent the lengthened form as having a long vowel in order to reflect this shift. (And as a newcomer, I apologize if I am stepping on any toes and for being generally long-winded.) Medellia 18:13, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Lemmata for verbs[edit]

I've been dreading opening this can of worms. On the English Wiktionary, we currently use the infinitive form of Latin verbs as the lemma (main entry). Presumably this decision was made because that is how most dictionaries for most European languages select their headwords for verbs, and in particular the dictionaries for Romance langauges do this (esp. Spanish, French, and Italian). However, Latin (and Greek) dictionaries do not use the infinitive as the headword; they instead use the first person singular present active indicative (first principal part) as the headword. Part of the reason for this is that it is the first form of any verb that is memorized by students learning conjugation tables. It is also due in part to the fact that the infinitive in Latin often does not behave like a verb at all, but as a verbal noun.

So, should we switch to using the first principal part as the lemma form of Latin verbs (and possibly Ancient Greek)? There's an added reason to do this, and it is the reason I've finally breached the topic. I've just checked Victiōnārium and discovered that they're using the first principal part as the lemma form for their verbs. That means that since we currently use the infinitive as the lemma, we can't cross-link lemma forms between the two Wiktionary projects. Most of their entries don't even have the infinitive form entered yet. Even when they are entered, it will mean that lemmata between the two projects will each be connected to non-lemmata on the other edition.

Since the Latin Wiktionary and all major dictionaries and textbooks use the first principal parts of Latin verbs as the lemma form, I propose that we switch to doing the same. --EncycloPetey 01:27, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

I support the use of the first principal part. I agree with the points raised by EncycloPetey; furthermore, the infinitive is not among the Greek principal parts. For greater parity between the two (and also keeping in accordance with reference works and the like), I feel it would be in the best interest of users to present this form.
Ancient Greek has been using the first principal part for verbal citation as far as I can tell. Out of curiosity, how many entries will have to be moved or fixed to reflect the new format? Medellia 02:50, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I've no idea. I don't think anyone has used a 'bot yet to locate all the Latin verb entries (which could be a little tricky given the similarity of some Italian verbs), and they've never all been tagged for categories. I'm also not sure that past editors have consistently used the infinitive. There may be some lemma-style Latin entries under the first principal part. However, I'd be surprised if we had more than 400 Latin verbs -- there are about 300 listed in Category:Latin verbs. --EncycloPetey 02:54, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Permaxime amici vobis consentio. Meditor tamen...audemusne titulos scribere forma "xxo, xxare" apud victionarium... Redirectiones quippe teneamus faciamusque ad omnia verba latina in casu infinitivo.--Ioshus (talk) 06:43, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I followed this link from my victionarii account...didn't realize I was at the english one. What I'm saying is, it's standard dictionary practice to least both two principal parts. Would that be over the top? It would solve the problem raised by Kipmaster below...because rightly we are bound to translate the first person singular properly as latin allows, but the english practice is to use a (supine) infinitive in its dictionaries. If we are proposing to change all lemnata, why not do it properly? I am a relative nexcomer, here, though...so take my propositions more as questions.--Ioshus (talk) 17:05, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Support. --Ptcamn 10:32, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Sounds like a sensible idea, though obviously in an ideal world there will be decent entries for the infinitive forms as well. Widsith 11:40, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Support. --Enginear 13:30, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Support (latin) I don't know about Greek, but I agree that, for Latin, the first principal part should be used for the main entry. I'm wondering, though, how the entry will look like. Will we define "video" as "I see" or as "to see"? Another similar question goes for translations. In the article for the verb "to see", should we put "video" or "videre" as a translation? Kipmaster 13:53, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Other languages here have entries for each form of a word. Having crazy redirects means that multiple languages that share occasional spellings present unworkable problems. Having one of the 'bot operators assist could greatly reduce the confusion, by helping create those entries (each form) rather than creating an onerous policy that eliminates valid entries before they are even entered. I do not see a compelling reason to force only one type of entry. --Connel MacKenzie 03:45, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
I thnk you've misunderstood, since I agree with what you're saying and don't see it being at odds with the discussion. No one is arguing against having all forms of the verb. We're simply deciding which entry form will carry the weight of being the primary entry. Consider that English verbs typically have four inflected forms. We've chosen the infinitive as the lemma (primary form), and the other forms (3PS, PresP, PastP) identify that they are forms of the lemma with a link back. In English, the infinitive usually matches the 1st person singular prsent form, so there's no confusion. In many inflected languages, however, the two forms differ. Some languages have print dictionaries that use the infinitive form as the header, but Classical Latin and Greek typically uses the 1st person singular present active indicative as the main header form. We'd still want to have the infinitives as entries (they're important entries!), but they wouldn't be the primary entry for those verbs. --EncycloPetey 18:39, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
I think you are correct. What I thought I read above was an intent to move entries (leaving redirects,) but if the goal is to have separate entries, then I think all is good. --Connel MacKenzie 18:43, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
This can be a problem in several languages. Latin, certainly, should have the 1st-person-sg-present as its main citation form, but, since it is often significantly different from the Latin infinitive, the infinitive should always needs its own entry as well. Several of the languages in the Balkan Union, including Greek and Bulgarian, virtually never use the infinitive form. Some people claim that the infinitive does not even exist in some languages such as Arabic ... Arabic does have an infinitive, but it is used only as a verbal noun, much like an English gerund. In Arabic, most dictionaries take the 3rd-masculine-singular perfective (past tense) as the citation form, because this is the very simplest form and the form on which all the other persons, numbers, moods, and tenses are built. However, a fair number of dictionaries use the 3rd-masculine-singular IMperfective (present tense) as the citation form. On Wiktionary, we are using the past-tense form as the citation form, but eventually the present-tense 3rd-person needs to be included as well.
With Finnish nouns, the nominative singular, although the usual choice as a citation form, is very frequently different from the stem, and most of the other cases are built on the stem, not on the nominative. For example, the word for man in the nominative is mies, but the stem is mieh-. Most of the oblique cases are built on the stem mieh-:
Singular Plural
Nominative mies miehet
Genitive miehen miesten
Partitive miestä miehiä
Accusative miehen, mies miehet
Inessive miehessä miehissä
Elative miehestä miehistä
Illative mieheen miehiin
Adessive miehellä miehillä
Ablative mieheltä miehiltä
Allative miehelle miehille
Abessive miehettä miehittä
Essive miehenä miehinä
Translative mieheksi miehiksi
Comitative miehine
Instructive miehen miehin
The noun stem is an important feature in Finnish grammar, and beginning students often cannot guess the nominative form when presented with an oblique case. For this reason, the Finnish stems should have their own separate entries. Other languages are regularly written in different alphabets, and have several to many ways of writing most words. This is something that the editors of each language will be (or should be) aware of, editors must take this into account and design systems that permit easy and logical access for native speakers of English. —Stephen 18:18, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Stephen on this. Different languages operate under different rules. Wiktionary editors need to have the flexibility to set different standards for different languages, otherwise certain languages will simply become unwieldy. To be sure, there needs to be as much standardization as possible, so that people can go through different languages within Wiktionary without too much adjustment. I don't think it would be too confusing for readers/editors to have the lema take different forms in different languages, perhaps the infinitive for English, 1st singular present active for Greek & Latin, 3rd singular for Arabic (I think Hebrew as well). And while it sounds nice on paper to say we're going to have big robust articles for each form of a word, that simply isn't feasible. There needs to one place where people can make additions to, say, λύω and all of its 85 forms (or however many there are). Otherwise, we will end up with different forms carrying different info, and it will be too much to consistently integrate and spread out. Cerealkiller13 16:10, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

It sounds then as if everyone active in this discussion is supportive of the general notion. Is there someone willing to tackle writing some basic draft policy, or at least enough that we might hammer out potential pitfalls? For instance, I wouldn't want to see two or three different lemma concepts going on all at once in a single language, as that would break the consistency issue raised above. Perhaps we can state a set of default lemma forms for each part of speech in the WT:ELE, with provision that the About Language page for a particular language could prescribe a different set of lemma forms. Any takers on writing a draft paragraph that includes the core ideas everyone contributed above? --EncycloPetey 23:20, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

I just noticed this conversation. I haven't done much Latin work here, but I was shocked not to see Wiktionary:About Latin specify the form of the lemma. Should I assume that the above conversation is concluded, and that there is general support to locate the lemma entry at the normal location (i.e. the first person singular present tense indicative)? Could somebody more involved with Latin entries than I please note the proper lemma form in Wiktionary:About Latin? Thanks in advance. Rod (A. Smith) 01:18, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Non-classical spellings[edit]

Wiktionary:About Latin currently says things like "Even though the spelling equus never occurred in Latin", which simply isn't true. It never occurred in Classical Latin (but then, lowercase never occured in Classical Latin). Latin was in use in writing for a very long time, and has been written using a number of different orthographic conventions. I agree with obeying the current rules for the main article, but IVPPITER, Juppiter, Jupiter should still be listed as alternative spellings of Iuppiter, ideally with a note about which time period they were primarily used in. --Ptcamn 10:41, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Quite right; I'll modify the text accordingly. This is a work in progress (hence the disclaimer at the top of the page), and I'm very glad to see people starting to comment on the content. Thanks. --EncycloPetey 20:31, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Verb Templates[edit]

I'm not sure this is the right place to say this, but I couldn't find anywhere else.

The Latin Templates at the moment seem to be different from the other languages. Looking at the Verb templates for French, Italian and Spanish etc., they are both similar large tables that include all the participles and infinitives. Would anyone object if I replaced the current la-conj-* templates with a similar format to the others. It would mean that we need to replace references to la-inflec-* to la-conj-*.

See: Template:es-conj-ir, Template:fr-conj-er, Template:it-conj-are, Template:la-conj-are, Template:la-inflec-are

Conrad.Irwin 13:39, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

I think part of these reason the template differ is that they were created so long ago. If you want to tidy the current verb conjugation tables, then by all means go ahead. All the templates should be listed at Category:Latin inflection templates. Two points though: (1) The infinitives and participles should remain separate. Unlike modern Romance lanugages, Latin had multiple infinitives, and this would be tricky to incorporate into a structure that would parallel what the other languages are using. The infinitive in Latin also serves a different grammatical function that may require an infinitive table be included where a full conjugation table is not needed. The same is true of participles. The participle is a grmmatical verb part, but a functional adjective. Pages about the participle should have a participle table and the principal parts, but need not list the entire conjugation table. So infinitives and participles should probably remain separate in terms of tables. (2) There already is a set of la-conj-* templates. I'm not entirely sure why we have two complete sets of verb inflection templates, but we do. You should have fun consolidating them.
One final note. Recent discussion has decided that the lemma (main entry form) for Latin verbs should be the first principal part (1st person singular present active indicative), just as it is for most Latin dictionaries. This means that at some point, when all the necessary templates and such are avaialable, we'll need to do a massive restructuring of all the Latin verbs, so I'd make the new templates, keep information posted here, but wouldn't recommend making lots of article edits until everything is set to go. It would be easier to make all the changes as a coordinated group than in a piecemeal fashion individually. --EncycloPetey 22:52, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
Hi, I have redone the template la-conj-1st, and have added it to amo. At the moment it takes three arguments am|amāv|amāt, but it could be easily changed just to take am. What does anyone think? Conrad.Irwin 17:56, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
Since Latin uses the first principal part as the lemma (instead of the infinitive as most modern languages), I think it would be better to have the participles and infinitives listed at the end of the table. This would leave the first principle part in the upper left corner and make it easier to connect the lemma form with the table. --EncycloPetey 12:55, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't know if this will be of any use, but Medellia wrote a pretty nice conjugation template for Ancient Greek, which is a bit more similar to Latin. Template:grc-conj-έω. Cerealkiller13 19:50, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
By the way, it's hidden, press show. Cerealkiller13 19:51, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
FWIW, Greek has more principal parts and more tenses than Latin does. --EncycloPetey 01:00, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
Certainly it does, but it also has a whole bunch of infinitives and participles, as well as having PAI1S as the lemma form. 01:30, 4 January 2007 (UTC)


From the page:

However, if the long vowels are marked, it is unnecessary to mark the short ones since any unmarked vowel will be short. On Wiktionary, breves should not be used either in the names of pages for Latin words, nor in any of the text associated with Latin entries.

This is silly for two reasons:

  1. The length of one vowel might be known, while the others are unknown.
    • This is especially likely in rare or mediaeval words, where it's possible only the length of the penult—i.e. the position of the accent—is known, if that. Causing any unmarked vowel to be interpreted as short can thus lead to error; the alternative is omission of known quantities, which is inadvisable.
  2. All vowels might be short.
    • In this case it is impossible to tell whether the vowels are null-marked as "short", or whether no vowel quantities have been given at all.

Adjective Labelling[edit]

I'm not sure if this is the proper place for this issue to be raised, and if not: my apologies. The "Latin adjectives" category is in dire need of clean-up as well as standardization. While I'm willing to take this on, I do have a minor policy-type question. How will pages on feminine/neuter forms (i.e. magna off of the magnus page) be categorized? It seems as if "Latin adjective forms" isn't really being used. Is there then some categorization that I neglected to notice, or does a decision need to be made? Medellia 15:58, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Welcome back! Adjectives in Latin haven't had their standrad format decided. I had a go at albus, but it still lacks a table of comparative and superlative forms. I really haven't decided how the various other (sub-lemma and non-lemma) forms ought to be tagged, as there will be a lot of them. And since I am de facto the person assembling information on Latin entry style, the style guide section on adjectives has yet to be written. Have you seen what is being done at Wiktionary:About Greek and Wiktionary:About Ancient Greek? Since you were last here a lot of good ideas were assembled and collated into these two style guides. I haven't checked adjective style in these articles yet, but there might be enough information that we wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel, merely adapt it. --EncycloPetey 18:20, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
Thank you! Ancient Greek seems to be using "Ancient Greek adjective forms," albeit sparingly. If there is no opposition, I propose we follow in suit with Latin. Medellia 18:37, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree. For categorization, the only question in my mind is whether we want separate Category:Latin comparative forms and Category:Latin superlative forms as subcategories of Category:Latin adjectives. By the way, I'm not happy with the way the entries for alba and album are done. I'm not sure I made it clear that only the lemma form albus was what I had edited. Why don't we use albus (and forms) as the test model for regular first/second declension adjectives? We can make changes until we've worked out all the obvious issues. That way we'll have a pattern to work from for the other entries. --EncycloPetey 19:08, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
Prior to now, I'd been doing a little something like this:
  1. neuter singular of albus
  2. accusative singular of albus m, n
  3. vocative singular of albus n
But it does seem rather silly to have the nominative form simply listed by its gender. Perhaps some sort of template ought to be made such that the entry would instead look like this:
  1. Neuter nominative form of albus
  2. Masculine accusative form of albus
  3. Neuter accusative form of albus
  4. Neuter vocative form of albus
Or, such that fewer modifications would have to be made, the nominative could simply be listed as:
  1. Nominative form of albus n
I assumed that you hadn't done those forms as they clearly aren't in line with what we're working towards! On a related note, are we still attempting to provide pages for non-lemma forms such as albārum? I would support separating comparative and superlative forms from the mix. The question, however, arises as to where to present that information as the presentation of such forms in English clearly won't work for Latin. Medellia 00:01, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
Its the differences from English that make the other language entries more difficult to work out. Based on what's happeneing in Greek and Spanish entries, we need something like the second block of "definitions" you gave above. However, the comparatives would have "comparative" added to the mix and ditto for superlatives. And yes, we do eventually want entries for all the various inflected forms. I think they'd be easier to do in bulk rather than individually.
I'm also uncertain how best to deal with substantive uses of adjectives. Clearly its important to have the substantive meanings in here; the problem is that our current POS header scheme doesn't really work for this. I don't want to use a ===Noun=== header in these cases because they're not really nouns, even though they may function that way. I've been thinking that a ===Substantive=== header or subheader might be used, but would like another opinion. --EncycloPetey 00:14, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
As I recall, the issue of substantives was brought up when I was still actively editing, but never concluded satisfactorily. I would completely support its usage, though it would probably be best not to elevate it to a POS.
We also may want to consider situations in which the superlative takes on certain meanings (I'm unable to come up with an instance in Latin, but in Greek, for instance, the superlative of ἀγαθός changes depending on the situation); does the superlative then become some sort of a lemma? Medellia 01:30, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
Sort of. We have cases like this in English, when the "plural" also functions with a new meaning. In those cases, we get a sort of hybrid page that includes a "form of" link as well as a proper definition line. Offhand I can't think of any Latin examples of this.
Do you think an inline (substantive) at the head of a substantive definition would work? We could set the template to automatically categorize the entry as a Category:Latin substantives or Category:Latin substantive adjective. --EncycloPetey 01:41, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
That seems to be sufficient. I say give it a go and see what happens; if it seems to be working well, it can be added to the policy. Medellia 02:48, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
Something minor to be considered: will we be putting inflection tables on comparative/superlative pages? Given that comparatives are second declension, I could see an inflection table being appreciated. Any thoughts? It would be good to get albior and albissimus, at the very least, completed for reference purposes. Medellia 00:16, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm beginning to think that highly inflected languages like Greek and Latin need to consider allowing for a sort of sub-lemma entry between lemma and non-lemma. I imagine that albus would be the lemma form with all the information about the positive forms, and links to comparative and superlative form sub-lemmata pages. These sub-lemmata would have a basic definition (rather than just "form of" listings), a full inflection table for comparative (or superlative), and a link back to the lemma. I can see the same sort of thing happening for verbs (with sub-lemmata pages for the 2nd-4th principal parts), though I'm less certain as to how that might work for verbs. --EncycloPetey 01:53, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I've set up a sample page for albior, but did not create the Category:Latin adjective comparatives until we've decided what category name to use. I can see using Category:Latin adjective comparatives for the masc/fem nominative singular sub-lemma, and using Category:Latin adjective comparative forms for the other inflected forms of the comparative. Thoughts? --EncycloPetey 02:17, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree completely about the idea of a sub-lemma and am glad that you've chosen to go that route. While I agree that the m/f comp. nom. sing. forms should serve as the sub-lemma, it does seem a bit awkward to see comparative after adjective as I suppose I would be accustomed to seeing something the vein of Category:Latin comparative adjectives. Regardless of the actual name, it does seem that the m/f does need to be granted more gravity than albius. (On that note, my grammars have always listed the neuter comparative on the entry line. Any thoughts on following in suit?) Also, in regards to the declension business, it seems a bit misleading to call it second, though I understand that the positive form is first/second... hmm... Medellia 02:35, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
That category name sounds more natural to me as well. The confounding issue is that we have Category:English adjective comparative forms. Ideally, category names should be parallel across languages, but this might be a case where they won't be so tidy. I'm loathe to do that, since it probably means people will get confused and we'll end up with both categories existing. Maybe we should get the Greek editors to weigh in, as this would affect them too. --EncycloPetey 02:40, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I've tweaked the inflection line template to note that the lemma is m/f singular. As for including the neuter singular in the inflection line, I'm surprised that your grammars give an entry to the comparative form at all. My dictionaries only do so for highly irregular comparatives. Personally, I don't think it's necessary to inlcude given (a) the sub-lemma nature of the page and (b) the extreme regularly of almost all comparative adjectives. --EncycloPetey 02:52, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
That's fine by me; the subject line is not exactly wieldy to begin with. As for the category forms, I'm a bit shocked on the English. It just sounds wrong. Parallelism, however, does seem to be the best option. Medellia 03:08, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Ok folks, I've got a sort of almost nearly working model of how I was thinking of doing things with Ancient Greek. Please take a look at ἴδιος, ἰδίως, ἰδιώτερος, and ἰδιώτατος. Bear in mind that ἰδιώτερος and ἰδιώτατος should have inflection tables, but I don't know how to do the inflection. I suppose that ἰδίως should possibly also have a comparative and a superlative, but.........man, I am just not up to this task (which is partially why I had put it off). What d'ya think? Atelaes 06:26, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

I'll take care of the inflection tables tomorrow morning if you'd like, as I'm about to head off to bed. My suggestions would be to put links to the -τερος, -τατος forms somewhere on the page for the positive form and to make the bottom forms on the template (adv, comp, sup) not look as if they're in the sing/dual/plur columns. Other than that, looks good to me! Medellia 06:33, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I'd really like to keep them on the inflection template, as they're a normal component of most adjectives. Perhaps there is a way to set them off from the rest a bit better (I attempted to do so with the different coloring, but I can certainly see how confusion could arise from the current setup). As for the inflection tables on the comparative & superlative, I'd greatly appreciate it. The cause of my confusion is that Smyth says that the feminine nominative singular is -τερα (the terminal alpha is long, but I don't know how to put a makron over it). But, I thought that accentuation rules didn't allow an accent on the antepenult with a long ultima. Perhaps there is simply an exception here, or maybe I got the rules wrong, or perhaps there's an acute on the penult (making it τέρα) and Smyth is simply not showing it.......or perhaps fifty other possibilities. So, yeah, if you know how to do it, please feel free. Out of curiousity, may I ask what was so repulsive about Homer? Don't tell anyone, but I've never even read an English translation of his works, much less the original Greek. Shhhh! I really need to rectify that. Atelaes 07:21, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Take a look at what we do in Latin for verbs like labōrō. Those three "separate" conjugation tables you see are all done with a single template call. (The intervening section headers are also from the template, but this is a Bad Idea that will need to be fixed.) Something similar could be done on the Greek adjective template to link in the adverb, comparative, and superlative below the main table.
Also, does Greek have the same flexibility of meaning as Latin in the comparative? The Latin adjective albus "white" has comparative albior, but this word doesn't simply mean "whiter". If you want to say "That wall is rather white," you would use the comparative. I'm of the inclination therefore of having a translation on the page for Latin comparative adjectives of the sort: "whiter, rather white", rather tahn simply calling it the comparative form. Does Greek have this samme issue? --EncycloPetey 15:13, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Before I forget, Latin also has a nasty habit of using the superlative as follows: "summus mons" doesn't mean "the highest mountain" but rather "the top of the mountain" (i.e. "the highest part of the mountain"). And of course, for its part, Greek has the "rather" "most" thing going on too. Medellia 17:10, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
I have the feeling that I was still in complete finals stupor when I wrote that comment. I probably shouldn't say this, but I've been neglecting to insert macrons even when I know that a Greek vowel is long because they look so ugly. I want to say that the alpha is short, contrary to Smyth, as a long alpha in theory should have assimiliated to an eta in Attic. I don't have any text near me, but will check sometime after the sun rises. Just to double check with the new templates, we'll be using them on "sub-lemma" pages, right?
On the same note, there have been Latin words with long "y"s, but I refuse to use that letter as it looks hideous. And I suppose it's unfair to blame my issues with the epics on Homer... the biggest problem is that the stupid thing had so many weird dialects mashed into it by the time it was written down that I felt as if I were relearning Greek from scratch at times. That in conjunction with the facts that it was an impossible jump from Lysias and that I love the Aeneid for its complexity meant that it was a very frustrating read. Such is school. Medellia 10:07, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I can imagine. Nearly every word I look at includes a section about "Homer uses such and such wacky form". I may have to stick to the gospels until my abilities are a bit more advanced. Any recommendations on good Classical works for beginners (sorry, I realize this isn't really "About Latin")? Atelaes 09:22, 18 May 2007 (UTC)


Just to be clear, I'm not intending to open up the same can of worms as in the Beer Parlour (though I've been meaning to add my two cents to that discussion...). I have a minor question of preference. When Latin words actually descend from Greek, I'm inclined to list the etymology as "Transliterated form of x," whereas others have used "Romanized form." Is there a strong inclination either way? Medellia 07:00, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

I would prefer to say "Romanized" because it's a more specific term than "transliterated"; however, I don't see a problem with either term. --EncycloPetey 19:45, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
Fine by me! Thanks. Medellia 06:42, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Participle entries[edit]

To continue the string of questions: I couldn't find an example of an entry for a supine (aside from a very messy amātus) and was wondering how the Latin editors felt these ought to be approached, mainly in regards to POS headers. For instance, amātum needs to note that this form represents several cases; such information, however, seems completely inappropriate under the header "verb." Would there be trouble were this information to be put under the "adjective" header, or ought we consider adding to the list of POS? Medellia 06:42, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

This is one question I've wrestled with but have not come to a wholly satisfactory answer. My leading inclination right now is to use a POS header of ===Participle=== for these entries. The grammar and function of the participles is not satisfactorily covered either by the term verb or the term adjective. Participles seem to lie in a middle ground between the two. I feel similarly about infinitives, but not so strongly as I do for participles. From my limited experience in Greek, I'd suspect participles are a similar problem in that language. --EncycloPetey 15:24, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

As usual, Greek is equally troublesome. Italian uses "Verb form," but I really don't find that heading effective. I'll bring it up at the AG page, but this may end up heading to the BP just to get some more opinions on the matter. Glad to know we're on the same page! Medellia 17:08, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

OK. FYI, I keep both this page and the corresponding talk page for Ancient Greek on my Watchlist, so I'll see the discussion in either location. --EncycloPetey 17:35, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

{{la-verb}} and {{latinverb}}[edit]

Would anyone object if I changed the {{la-verb}} template to more resemble the {{en-verb}}. An example of what I would use can be found at {{User:Conrad.Irwin/la-verb}}. I would then replace all usage of {{latinverb}} with {{la-verb}}. This would change all of these: amō (present infinitive amāre, perfect active amāvī, supine amātum); first conjugation Into this: present active amō, infinitive amāre, perfect active amāvī,supine amātum.

Conrad.Irwin 20:30, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Changing the style to match the other templates would be great! I notice that the template is designed to collapse if the verb has no supine given. That seems like a good idea to me, though it would be nice if it displayed deponent verb following the parentheses in that case, just so people know it's intentional. Also, there are some preferred style tags normally included so that users can set their own display preferences, but we can worry about those later. --EncycloPetey 20:36, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Is there a Latin portal?[edit]

Is there a kind of Latin portal, a place where to discuss Latin entries that would be watched by those who care about Latin? I couldn't find anything like that.--Imz 22:51, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

This is it, or the closest thing we have here. There are only about four active Latin editors right now, so we tend to just post on each other's pages or come here to discuss issues. --EncycloPetey 01:11, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Fixing Latin links[edit]

From the main page I saw that ligatures, breves, macrons, and 'j's shouldn't show up in page titles or link targets. I scanned the last dump looking for these and came up with this list. I fixed the links w/ macrons or breves, but I'm not confident about how to fix the others. Should I replace all 'j's with 'i's in links/targest (even if the pages exists w/ 'j')? Should I change all ligatures to 'ae'/'oe' simarly? Also when using {{term}} should I put lang=la for all, even those listed as Medieval/Late/Vulgar Latin? Thanks, sorry I don't know much about Latin. --Bequw¢τ 18:07, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the list. All the ligatures should be split, so you can do that. The letter "j" is a little more complicated, because although the letter is not found in Classical Latin, it does appear in Medieval Latin and later forms. I can take care of those myself. --EncycloPetey 18:32, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Great, done. I updated the regexp so it picked up more stuff to correct. --Bequw¢τ 16:49, 29 January 2008 (UTC)


Hi all,

I don't do Latin entries, so while I think we should take la-x-new as a Wiktionary-specific language code meaning "New Latin"/"Neo-Latin", together with template {{la-x-new}} (styled after e.g. {{la}}), I don't want to infringe on the Latin template namespace by doing so without bringing it here first.

So, does anyone have any comments/objections/whatnot?

RuakhTALK 00:31, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

That would strike me as meaning it's the new version of a Latin template, not a template for entries in New Latin. I would rather see us create an internal use "ISO" template (the way we've done for other languages that have no ISO code) and do so in a way that makes other Latin periods possible as they are needed. I'm beginning to think about Medieval Latin and the problems it poses.
That is, I would rather see something like {{la-new-pos}} and {{la-med-pos}}, instead of sticking "new" or whatever at the end of the template name. This would match the file naming method on Commons (la-cls-word for Classical pronunciations; la-ecc-word for Ecclesiastical pronunciations). This might also be worth discussing on MW and possibly Victionarium, since it would establish a code for New Latin. --EncycloPetey 04:27, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
Re: "I would rather see us create an internal use 'ISO' template (the way we've done for other languages that have no ISO code)": Yes, that's what I'm proposing. The relevant standard (BCP 47, currently RFC 4646) specifies that all the private-use stuff should go after an x subcode, such as in x-fr-CH (which means "some language that's privately recognized") or en-x-US (which means "some form of English that's privately recognized"). If you think {{la-x-new}} is misleading, how about we use {{la-x-neo}} instead? (Inflection templates, if needed, would then be {{la-x-neo-noun}} and so on, though I really don't care about that stuff since I don't have the knowledge to help with it. :-P   My interest is mostly for use in {{term}} and {{etyl}} and so on.) —RuakhTALK 13:09, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
P.S. I linked to the RFC, but if you're new to the details of language codes, I'd actually recommend you read W3C i18n article "Language tags in HTML and XML". (After that, if you want to know more, the RFC is a good thing to read next.) —RuakhTALK 13:14, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
Does your lack of reply mean "O.K., I have no more objections", or "Ruakh didn't understand my comment at all, and I'm not sure how to re-explain it", or "I still disagree, but don't want to argue about it", or "I forgot about this", or something else? —RuakhTALK 00:45, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
It means I'm still working to be sure I understand the stated principles behind creating custom language codes. --EncycloPetey 02:19, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Ah, O.K. I'll be patient, then. :-) —RuakhTALK 03:50, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

an etymology, decompostion of a Latin word question[edit]

(Ok, if this is the place to discuss questions related to Latin.) What do you think about Talk:patrimony#What_is_the_Latin_word_derived_from.3F?--Imz 12:42, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

I've posted your question to WT:TR#Etymology of "patrimonium" to solicit more feedback. Rod (A. Smith) 17:20, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks!--Imz 22:08, 22 March 2008 (UTC)


I've just found the absens entry in special:UncategorizedPages, but I don't know how to format or even categorise it. The most obvious category Category:Latin participles doesn't exist, and I don't know how to procede from there. Thryduulf 13:27, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Participles are the most difficult issue right now in Latin language entries. I haven't personally decided how I think they should be handled, and the other person I was originally having this conversation with (Medellia) isn't around these days. My inclination is towards having a Category:Latin participles, but even that would still leave open the question of which particple(s) are lemmas and how the entry should be formatted. Maybe mark it with {{attention|la}} for now. --EncycloPetey 00:20, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
I've tagged it as such for now, thanks. Thryduulf 00:56, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
I've set up some Participle templates now. You may refer to amans and amatus and amatum as references of how to use them. --EncycloPetey 16:08, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

The most commonly used Latin in species names[edit]

I've made this list of the most commonly used Latin (or pseudo-Latin) words used in species and genus names:


If anyone's interested in creating the missing entries, that would be wonderful. Pengo 11:26, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Declension headers[edit]

(moved here from User talk:EncycloPetey and User talk:Frous)

By the way, what's the policy: in case of nouns and adjectives, should the header, under which all the forms of the word is given, be Declension or Inflection? -- Frous 18:36, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

The policy on headers varies by language. The ELE notes are there to clarify that "Declension" is a term only used for Nouns and Adjectives, and "Conjugation" is only usable with Verbs. The "Inflection" header is always a possibility, legitimate for either use. And, as ELE notes, there are separate policy pages for languages other than English, and they often have more detailed instructions. In some languages, the variant headers "Declension" and "Conjugation" are routinely used. In others, it's always "Inflection", regardless of the part of speech. For Latin, we've been using "Inflection" only because it reduces the number of different possible headers to worry about. Latin has additional POS headers like "Participle", and for that situation (where it's a verb part, but inflects like an adjective), deciding which header to use will only give you a headache. I don't think I've put that information on the WT:ALA page yet, but then again, there are many pieces of information missing from that page. --EncycloPetey 18:45, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

According to this [1], my edit would be correct, but why should the Latin entries use Inflections [2] instead? Is there any plausible reason? :D -- Frous 18:45, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

That section of ELE is only giving instructions about the sequence for ordering such headers, and is not prescribing which headers to use. It is simply noting that "Declension" or "Conjugation" (when they occur) are equivalent to "Inflection" for purposes of sequence, with a note about where they might appear. --EncycloPetey 18:52, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

<V> & <U>, yet <I> but not <J>…[edit]

It seems inconsistent to use <u> for vocalic <v> but to disallow <j> for consonantal <i>; wouldn’t it be better to make the useful distinction and to allow <j>, or otherwise to use only <v> in place of <u> and <v>, for the sake of keeping the Classical spelling? I don’t really mind which, but what we have now isn’t really ideal IMO.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 14:47, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Headword, descendants and etymology[edit]

The headword of a Latin verb should be the first person singualar ind. act., i.e. sum (not esse), venio (not venire). That's OK. But does this really mean that French venir and Italian venire should be listed in the Descendants section of venio? And Italian futuro or French été would end up as descendants of sum? This might be very misleading for some readers, when they believe that venio and sum are the direct ancestors of venir and été (respectively). Etymologically this is far from correct. --MaEr 13:27, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Did you look at the section "Etymology of non-Latin words"? The etymology section recommendations should counter that misconception.
Descendants sections should link to lemma forms of their respective languages. The lemma form stands in as surrogate for the complete range of conjugations when it appears in Synonyms, Translations, Descendants, etc. No one has ever worried about this problem for any of those sections. That is, English "listen" does not actually translate to French écouter, because "listen" is the present form (except for the 3rd-person singular). The verb écouter means to listen, but we do not include the infinitive particle as a part of English verb page names. --EncycloPetey 17:29, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your answer. To be honest: I did not read the entire text -- I searched for the term Descendants and read the text close to the found occurrences.
The section Romance language verbs below Etymology of non-Latin words describes the path from (for instance) Italian to Latin. But I have a problem with the opposite direction, from Latin to Italian. Example: I have a list of modern Romance infinitives that stem from the Latin infinitive venire. Where should I put them?
  • In the Descendants section of Latin venire? That would be foolproof and intuitive.
  • Or in the Descendants section of venio? This could be misleading.
Modern English listen is an unproblematic example. Please have a look at the Etymology section of am#English and the Descendants section of eom#Old English. eom (not beon-wesan) has the descendant am. This is how I would do it. --MaEr 19:55, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
We have chosen not to do that because it makes it difficult for users to find the information they are looking for, and requires additional clicks and links to find information. Modern Romance verbs that descend from Latin verbs should have their lemma form listed on the Latin lemma form, regardless of which form is the lemma. Doing this by individual verb form would produce needless repetition of content. Forms of the verb "be" are exceptional, not a model for a general case. The verb is highy irregular, just as it is in many IE languages. --EncycloPetey 22:56, 15 August 2009 (UTC)