"Beware of Neo Latin"

alfie1888

Senior Member
English - England
Salvete omnes!

I have just been doing some research and looking up terms for modern items in Latin after having purchased Eurotalk's "Talk Now! Latin" CDROM. I nearly worked with this company a few years ago and when I met with the heads there they told me about the awful arguments that were had amongst the Latinists they employed to do the recordings over translations of essentially modern terms. On another forum, where the contributors where giving Latin translations for everyday phrases (e.g. Good morning!, etc.), someone said "be careful of neo-latin" when some variants were given. I wanted to ask here what is your general opinion / feeling on using new Latin words as it were in everyday situations among other enthusiasts? For example, I've been using the Latin Wikipedia to look up words for "car" (autocinetum), "bus" (leophorium) and I'm quite happy knowing these have been taken from Modern Greek and will just as happily use them when speaking Latin to friends since the ancient Romans certainly didn't have these!

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
 
  • Tulliola

    Member
    English - England
    Salvete

    Not a great fan of "new Latin" myself - and as for bus we already have a Latin word for it - omnibus - from where it gets its name!
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    Salvete

    Not a great fan of "new Latin" myself - and as for bus we already have a Latin word for it - omnibus - from where it gets its name!
    Strictly speaking, the word 'bus' is derived from the French 'voiture omnibus', which means 'a carriage for all'. Omnibus has never been used in Latin as a standalone noun, it is a common word and might be a tad confusing.

    Anyhow, I personally don't think there's much point in inventing new words for a language that is no longer used, especially when many modern languages don't even bother, and just use English loanwords. If you're going to use new words, use the ones used by the Vatican, the only country with Latin as one of its official languages. If we went back in time and brought Julius Caesar for a visit to the 21st Century, then maybe we would have a good reason to use Latin or Greek neologisms, but otherwise Latin should be treated like any other language with zero monolingual speakers, and use loanwords from the predominant lingua franca.
     
    Last edited:

    alfie1888

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Strictly speaking, the word 'bus' is derived from the French 'voiture omnibus', which means 'a carriage for all'. Omnibus has never been used in Latin as a standalone noun, it is a common word and might be a tad confusing.

    Anyhow, I personally don't think there's much point in inventing new words for a language that is no longer used, especially when many modern languages don't even bother, and just use English loanwords. If you're going to use new words, use the ones used by the Vatican, the only country with Latin as one of its official languages. If we went back in time and brought Julius Caesar for a visit to the 21st Century, then maybe we would have a good reason to use Latin or Greek neologisms, but otherwise Latin should be treated like any other language with zero monolingual speakers, and use loanwords the predominant lingua franca.
    But where, then, might one find the words the Vatican use? I know from a textbook of mine that it was the Vatican that decided on 'autocineticum' so I'd be very interested to see what else they use.
     

    Tulliola

    Member
    English - England
    Salvete!

    I'm no expert, but isn't autocineticum actually a mixture of Latin and Greek? I can't imagine wanting to talk about a car in Latin, but if I did, surely autovehiculum would be purer?
     

    Stoggler

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Salvete!

    I'm no expert, but isn't autocineticum actually a mixture of Latin and Greek? I can't imagine wanting to talk about a car in Latin, but if I did, surely autovehiculum would be purer?
    Was linguistic purity something that the Romans worried about? There are plenty of Greek loans (and loans from elsewhere) in Classical Latin.
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    Salvete!

    I'm no expert, but isn't autocineticum actually a mixture of Latin and Greek? I can't imagine wanting to talk about a car in Latin, but if I did, surely autovehiculum would be purer?
    It would be slightly 'purer', but 'auto-' is still a decidedly Greek prefix.
     

    Scholiast

    Senior Member
    salvete omnes!
    surely autovehiculum would be purer?
    On the contrary: like "television" and "sociology", *autovehiculum would mix Greek and Latin stems (αὐτο- & veh(icul-) respectively - as indeed does "automobile"), whereas autocineticum has at least purity of Greek lineage, albeit in a Latin transliteration.
    Σ
     

    Tulliola

    Member
    English - England
    Sticking strictly to Latin, cars were originally called "horseless carriages" - so sineequocurrus? ;)
     

    exgerman

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    Autocineticum is pure Greek, with the standard changes for Greek words borrowed into Latin: c replaces kappa and the Greek 2nd declension endings replaced by Latin 2nd declension ones
     
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