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Proposal: Latin Language

Right now (21-Jan-2015), most of the example questions are of the “frequently asked” variety. For example, “What conventions exist for using loanwords to describe things that did not exist until after Latin became a dead language?” is an important question that the site should answer, but it’s also many people’s first question about Latin.

The FAQ says:

Ask real, expert questions

We want you to capture the moment that plumbers feel when they look at Plumber Overflow and say, "Whoa! That's my kinda site!" On a site about plumbing, there are 200 easy plumbing questions, and they've all been asked 100 times on other sites. Don't suggest questions like "How do I unclog a drain?" Instead ask, "If you run 2.5 GPM through 50 feet of 1/2" galv pipe, how many psi will be lost to friction loss?" Remember, pro sites WILL attract the enthusiasts, but not the other way around!

What are some typical questions that call upon expertise in Latin and attract knowledgeable contributors? If there aren’t a lot of these, then it’s hard to make a case for the site. However, I think there must be thousands. I just tried posting a couple. This one seems like a typical student’s question. (I just asked it of a classics professor myself yesterday.) This one stumped a professor who knows medieval logic and Medieval Latin very well. I still haven’t tracked down the answer. Those are the kinds of questions that make me want this site up and running quam prīmum!

I’d love to see more questions posted that you don’t know the answer to.

  • I just posted a question about verb prefixes here. I happen to know at least something of the answer to this particular question, but I know I have a lot to learn in that area. It's definitely the sort of question that requires a bit of expertise and will really help people get a deeper feel for the nuances of the language. Also, it's the sort of question that could be helpful both to beginners and to the more advanced. – SAG May 31 '15 at 22:43
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I've posted an answer to a question on Christianity.SE that brought up the question of whether the Catholic Church routinely distinguished between profusus and effusus, with one meaning "to shed one's own blood" and one meaning "to shed the blood of another". I can certainly look up in Lewis & Short, but that's focused primarily on classical and immediately post-classical Latin, and it won't tell me whether there's a regular or standard practice of a particular author or translator. I think that'd be the sort of question that I'd want Latin.SE to be good at untangling.

  • Now that is what I'd call a great example question! – Ben Kovitz Jan 19 '16 at 17:48

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