Proposal: Latin Language

Or in English: Are questions in Latin on topic? Should we encourage that? And how about answers in Latin?

I'm currently imagining latin.stackexchange.com as having a similar vibe to English Language Learners: that is, nearly every question butchers the grammar—as I probably did in the title of this question—but people reply in English, cheerfully correcting the errors, explaining whatever idiom or grammatical nicety the questioner asked about. I think this is wise, because when you're learning another language, it's best to communicate in that language, even if you make a lot of mistakes, and even when asking questions about the language.

The number of people interested in learning Latin seems to be growing, and there seems to be a growing movement to teach Latin by communicating in it rather than by talking about it. This includes people interested only in gaining a reading facility with Latin as well as those interested in contemporary Latin. This site would seem to be an excellent place for these people to help each other out.

Is this compatible with how you would like the Latin Language site to be defined? If you'd prefer that the site be primarily oriented toward English-language questions about Latin, is there a way to define the site to also allow questions in Latin to elicit answers in Latin?

I was surprised to find no sample questions in Latin, so I posted one. (I really would like to know the answer.)

  • 3
    Bona quaestio! At tibi suadeo ut signa diacritica omittas, quae non scriberentur a Romanis. Nec scribebantur hoc modo in medio aevo nec ab humanistis (inveniuntur quondam sed non huius generis). Solum in catalogis inveniuntur ad educandum consulentem.
    – Cerberus
    Jun 2, 2015 at 22:51
  • 1
    @Cerberus: The Romans also didn’t differentiate “u” and “v,” didn’t use upper- and lowercase, and often didn’t use word spaces; still, you use all of these in your post. The current standard does seem to be to not use macrons, to differentiate “v” and “u” but not “j” and “i” (something I’ve always found rather random) and to use cases, word division and punctuation. This standard is a modern creation just like macrons, containing many elements not present in Classical Latin. Anyway, there's a question about this here: discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/questions/20246/…
    – sumelic
    Sep 8, 2015 at 20:36
  • 1
    @sumelic: Right, I should have said: no tradition, neither recent nor ancient, nor anything in between, uses macra in running text. Of course one could try to establish one's own convention, but it just looks odd, and frankly I suspect that this practice, which I have seen a few times, is based on a misunderstanding, either of dictionary head words or of Greek diacritics. By the way, the Oxford Latin Dictionary uses neither v nor j, while Lewis & Short use both. V but not j is what I have seen the most, like you, in recent editions. Previously, it was oftener v and j.
    – Cerberus
    Sep 9, 2015 at 0:22
  • 2
    @Cerberus: that seems like a much stronger argument. Do any educational texts perhaps use macrons in running text? I myself find it useful, regardless of this lack of precedent, because I like to know the proper pronunciation. Without macrons, I need to look up pretty much every word I don't know in the dictionary to find out the vowel quantity, which quickly grows tedious.
    – sumelic
    Sep 9, 2015 at 0:33
  • @Cerberus Gratias tibi ago! Paucas verbas de hoc hic scripsi. Vis aliud responsum ad illam quæstionam scribere?
    – Ben Kovitz
    Jan 26, 2016 at 19:02
  • 2
    @sumelic There seems to be at least a minor tradition of readers for beginners with macrons in running text. Ørberg's Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata has running macrons, in both the introductory stories and the classical excerpts. I've seen a few other 20th-century readers that do the same, such as Ora maritima and the bizarre Cornelia.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Jan 26, 2016 at 19:14

2 Answers 2


It's a de-facto standard for language sites within Stack Exchange network, that they are bilingual and accept questions in both English and the language of the site (it's at least so with the sites I've visited).

It makes perfectly sense to ask questions in Latin. Of course those would be rather expert than beginner questions. But the advantage is, it could allow the involvement of the non-English speaking Latin experts.

  • 3
    Gaudeō situm utrāsque linguās acceptūrus esse! Modo tīrō sum, sed Latīnē petere possum. :)
    – Ben Kovitz
    Jan 19, 2015 at 16:31

The idea of bilingual questions can be confusing for beginners, but I believe that we can have the best of both worlds. When posting a question, there should be a mandatory tag. That tag would indicate what language the question is in. If a beginner is looking for an answer, they might want to make sure the "English Question" tag is used for finding said answer. Likewise, Latin experts might want to answer questions in Latin, and could do so by searching with the "Latin Question" tag. This will separate the questions and allow experts and beginners alike to find the questions they are looking for.

  • 7
    I don't think we'll be overrun with questions and the language of the question would be obvious from the question title, so I don't think there'll be a need for meta tags. In any case, we can discuss this on the meta site once we have our beta site.
    – Earthliŋ
    Jul 6, 2015 at 16:25
  • @Earthliŋ Yes, I am not worried about the site as of now, but I do feel that this could be something we look into later on when the site is close to being completed.
    – Sam K
    Jul 6, 2015 at 18:42

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