1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Latin
  4. >
  5. "Novum Eboracum est urbs Amer…

"Novum Eboracum est urbs Americana."

Translation:New York is an American city.

August 27, 2019



Can't wait for more cities' names in latin


I live in the oldest town in Wales. In English it is Carmarthen. In Welsh it is Caerfyrddin. In Latin it is Moridunum.

When you come here, you will find all three names on signs around town. All mean Sea Castle.


This city could have a name derived from "Merlin" (Myrddin), wow, great.
But wikipedia says that it's not true, and that the name comes from Moridunum (mori-dunon (fortress), the sea fortress ).
Is it in Latin? I didn't find this meaning of fortress. and sea in the Latin dictionary. Fortress isn't Castellum?


Moridunum was here before the Romans arrived. They probably adopted or adapted the name that the local tribe (the Demetae) gave to it. British cities that were the sites of Roman fortresses often have "Car", "Caer", "Chester", or "Caister" in them. I do not have a Latin dictionary any more. I think mine included "Dunum" but I cannot remember what it means.

I hope you will visit Wales. Carmarthen is Merlin's town. It has a small amphitheatre. Newcastle Emlyn is the place where the last dragon was shot. Caerleon has a legion museum.


You don't need a paper-made Latin dictionary, use this one for instance:


I've found "dumum" a bush in the dictionary, but no "dunum".


"Dunum" is a loanword from Celtic/Germanic, related to English "dune" and "down". I don't think it's commonly used in Latin, but is used in some place-names.


I used to live, briefly, in Laugharne which is near Carmarthen. How lovely to know the background and that Carmarthen is the oldest town in Wales.


I have been to Laugharne. Everyone should go to Laugharne. Dylan Thomas and Richard Hughes lived there. There is a pub where Thomas drank. I have heard there is a pub in Wales where Dylan Thomas did not drink. You can see Thomas's writing shed and the boathouse. Hughes wrote "A High Wind In Jamaica."


This course is really awesome, but I wish they used place names from antiquity rather than all of these contemporary American examples... I just feel that it'd be better preparation for eventually moving on to authentic Latin texts like Caesar's Gallic War.


Indeed, it would have been nice to interpret Germania as ancient Germania without being corrected. It's an actual book by Tacitus, after all.

And yep, place names from De Bello Gallico would have been very nice indeed.


Urbs -> Nominative (subject of a sentence) and Vocative (addressing a city) singular

Urbe -> Ablative singular (from/with a city, among other uses)


Okay... but how do I call it "New Amsterdam" in Latin?


Novum Amstelodamum (We will not add it as an alternative translation though :P)


Then maybe Nova Eboraca (like Bostonia), 'cause it isn't a Roman castrum, but "urbs"? :)


I believe that scholars have agreed that it was actually pronounced ur"ps" despite how it's written? b gets devoiced and assimulated by s in these words.


Yes, /ʊrps/ is the agreed upon pronunciation for Classical Latin, with a short u.


Why isn't it pronounced "urbz" tho?


In the reconstructed Classical pronunciation there is no z sound. We can be pretty certain from the evidence that it would be pronounced urps.


Urbs. cognate: urbane


Why do some cities end in um (Novum eboracum) while others end in ia (Bostonia)? and what does americanus vs americana mean?



Why do some cities end in um

if they are Roman fortresses (castrum, castellum - neuter gender) or very small towns (oppidum - neutral gender) then they end in "-um"

while others end in ia

If they are cities (urbs - feminine) with a community like Roman civitas (feminine) then they end in "-a" or maybe "-s".



americanus = American (masculine)


americana = American (feminine)


americanum = American (neuter)

P.S. And yes, New York is neither fortress nor small town. So Novum Eboracum sounds a little weird :)


It's just a convention. You need to learn it by rote. Don't get bogged down with "logic" or "consistency". Most, if not all, languages are "organic" or "spontaneous" and full of what we might call "inconsistencies". They're not. They make or made perfectly good sense to people who speak or spoke them. You just have to wrap your mind around a different way of speaking/thinking.


It is very hard to understand him


why is 'urbs' in the nominative? the grammar of this example is needlessly confusing. 'New York is a city in America' would be easier.


In Latin, the complement of the finite copula is always in the nominative case. This is also the case in many other Indo-European languages like German (thus, "Ich bin ein Arzt", not "Ich bin einen Arzt".), Greek, Russian, etc. English is infinitely more ambiguous on this matter however and there were numerous attempts to standardize. We can not only say "I am him", "he is taller than me", but also "I am he" and "he is taller than I", of which only the latter two would be considered grammatically correct by many scholars (also correct in German, so you would say "Ich bin er" and "Er ist größer als ich").


in my Latin class we called only Rome urbs, other cities were called oppidum. Is that not the case?


It appears your Latin class was, rather wisely, set in the Roman world, where other towns were not really comparable with the city. This course appears set in the modern world, where we do indeed have cities comparable to and even surpassing Rome.


This is an excellent explanation, thank you. I wasn't disagreeing with the grammar, which is, i know, correct - i was only meaning to grumble about the choice of the example which felt as a gut instinct needlessly complicating - BUT your explanation is so interesting it really helped me to understand why it felt needlessly complicating :-)


And that's why. Not getting it on the first try isn't a bad thing. You just learned that it doesn't work the way you thought it did. There's learning by rote memorization, and then there's learning the reason and the rules so as to better apply them elsewhere. I fell on my face on this one too, but that's why there's a forum on it: so we can better learn from it. It is, after all, why we're here. . .


I learned the 'is takes the nominative' rule in secondary school, with German, which does the same thing. That one I think also has some other verbs that do it too. 'Become' does it among others, meaning Latin probably does the same thing.


'Urbs' is nominative because 'est' is being used and doesn't take the accusative.


:thumbsup: thank you.


Why is it novum eboracum instead of novi eboraci? And why is it americana instead of americanus?


Novum Eboracum is the nominative form. Novi Eboraci is the locative form. We don't use the locative here, because that is used when were are saying where something is located or happens. We are not saying this happens in the city of New York, so we do not use that form.

Americana is used since adjectives must agree with the noun that they are modifying. Urbs is feminine so we must use the feminine form of Americanus.


I believe the question doesn't have to do with the locative, but with the genitive.


How do we know "Americanus" will change to "Americana" as America was not known about when Latin was spoken ?


While "America" wouldn't have been a word for the ancient Romans, it became apart of more the Latin that was used in the 1500s, 1600s. And the adjectives americanus, americana, and americanum would have just been a logical way to make an adjective to mean "American" or "pertaining to America".


America is the New World in Latin since 1500s. New York is americana indeed because it is in the New World, like Buenos Aires and Havana, but the Latin word for "American" is probably different.


Think of Persea americana, scientific name of avocado. There is a tradition for americanus, -a, but it means "from the Americas" (americano, -a in Spanish and Portuguese), not necessarily "American".


How is there a word for "America" in Latin?


Latin was the main language of the Catholic Church long after 1492 and still is spoken in the Vatican. It's not Roman Latin, it's modern Church Latin.


There is also the Latin of European Academia continuing through 19th Century, before declining further into oblivion.


When do I use "Novum Eboracum" and when "Novi Eboraci"?


Novum Eboracum can be used as the nominative, the accusative, or the vocative case.

Nominative when New York is the subject of the sentence, the thing 'doing the verb' (or used with esse [sum, es, est, etc.]). Example -> Novum Eboracum vias habet -> "New York has streets".

Accusative when New York is the direct object, the thing being directly affected by the action of the verb. Example -> Novum Eboracum videmus -> "We see New York".

Vocative is for directly addressing New York. Example -> Vale Novum Eboracum -> "Goodbye New York".

Novi Eboraci can be used as the genitive and the locative case.

Genitive often is used for 'possession' but has some other uses. Example -> Viae Novi Eboraci can be translated as "The streets of New York" or "New York's streets".

Locative is used to specify location, where something is or occurs. Example -> Novi Eboraci sumus -> "We are in New York".


With this, I noticed urbs is either pronounced "oorbs" or "uh-rbs", why is this difference present? Does it matter?


Not sure where you heard "uh-rbs", but that's wrong. The other, more or less "oorbs", is correct. (Actually, I learned long ago that speakers of ancient Latin didn't vocalize the "b" in "urbs", so it supposedly came out sounding more like "oorps".)


The "uh" sound is said when you click the singular word. In all the full sentences, it's pronounced correctly.


Indeed, it appears to be the natural way.


Now he says oorbs, more or less right (but with too long oo, should be u of E. put); With only the picture, he pronounced it like herbs (with silent h)


What's the difference between Novi eboraci and novum eboracum?


The difference is their grammatical case, the meaning that they give to the sentence. In this sentence, we are using the nominative (explained a little below) case. In this course currently, Novi Eboraci is the locative case which only really gets used for cities, towns, small islands (have one city or town on them), and a few other nouns (like domus).

As I responded above:

Novum Eboracum can be used as the nominative, the accusative, or the vocative case.

Nominative when New York is the subject of the sentence, the thing 'doing the verb' (or used in place of the accusative with esse [sum, es, est, etc.]). Example -> Novum Eboracum vias habet -> "New York has streets".

Accusative when New York is the direct object, the thing being directly affected by the action of the verb. Example -> Novum Eboracum videmus -> "We see New York".

Vocative is for directly addressing New York. Example -> Vale Novum Eboracum -> "Goodbye New York".

Novi Eboraci can be used as the genitive and the locative case.

Genitive often is used for 'possession' but has some other uses. Example -> Viae Novi Eboraci can be translated as "The streets of New York" or "New York's streets".

Locative is used to specify location, where something is or occurs. Example -> Novi Eboraci sumus -> "We are in New York".


Whats the difference between novi, novum, and nova? For new york


The ending changes based on the noun case (which will be used in different ways). Adjectives also always match in case with the noun they modify.

You will not see Nova Eboraca, since Novum Eboracum is a 2nd declension and the -a ending would only appear in plural forms (so if you were talking about multiple places called New York then maybe it could appear).

As for novi and novum, this is already discussed in this forum on when they can be used, and currently these are the only two forms you will see here on Duo. The only other form you will may see is Novo Eboraco which can be dative or ablative.


Could it be: Novum Eboracum Americana urbs est. ?


I am confused, when it's used Novum Eboracum and when Novi Evoraci? I have seen boths in this course, one after the other.


Novum Eboracum is the Nominative, the basic case. "New York is a City." Novi Eboraci is the Locative, the case used when talking about locations - "I am in New York"


There's a very specific explanation in the Tips. In different cases "um" will be converted to "i"


Okay so when to use Americana and when to use Americanum? Also, what's the difference between urbs and urbe?


Adjectives agree in number, gender, and case.

Since Novum Eboracum is a neuter gendered noun we would have to use a neuter version of the adjective Novum Eboracum Americanum ('American New York', I am not sure that you would say this but it is an example). But urbs is a feminine gendered noun so it requires a feminine form of the adjective, hence the urbs Americana.

The difference between urbs and urbe is the case. urbs is nominative singular (used for the subject of the sentence) or the vocative singular (direct address to the city, 'Oh City!'). urbe is ablative singular, a case that gets used with many prepositions and used in several different ways.


Why is URBS used instead of URB


urbs here is the nominative singular form. It can also be used as the vocative singular.

urb is not a form of the noun.


Because urbs is singular per se. Its plural would be urbes or urbis, nominatively. Remember, Latin is a different language. Do what Romans do in Rome, barbarians (^ρ^)/


Careful, urbis is the Genitive singular (city's)


The place name "Eboracum" for "York" is apparently derived from "place abounding in hogweed", perhaps from British Celtic. Hogweed is actually "evor" in Cornish, "efwr" in Welsh http://termau.cymru/#hogweed, and "evorek" would be used to indicate a place where it is growing.


What's the difference between urbs and urbe?


Urbs is the singular nomitive form, you would you in it as the subject.

"Urbs Novum Eboracum in Californiā nōn est"

Urbe is the singular ablative form. You would use it to mean that something is in that location Edit: Or from that location(that might not be the complete explanation of the ablative, I'm still learning myself afterall)

"Forum in urbe est"

"Ego in urbe habitō"


Is the 'b' in 'urbs' pronounced as a voiced stop 'b' or voiceless stop 'p'. The audio sounds like the latter.


I was always taught that the Latin bs will sound like a ps to English speakers.


I would like an explaination on the inflection of city names. For example, when to use Novi Eboraci or Novum Eboracum. Thanks!


Novi Eboraci is the locative case and is used to specify where something is located or occurs.

Novum Eboracum is the nominative here, the subject of the sentence.

Name of cities, towns, small islands, and a handful of other nouns like domus can use the locative. All other nouns do not.


What the helluva difference is in between American and Northamerican for a city in North America??? It need to be reported...


It doesn't say North American, just American. You added a word that isn't part of the sentence.


Novum eboracum "urbs americana est" : is that coorrect, too?


very difficult to hear woman


New York is a proper noun, why is it being translated?


Why do any city names get translated between languages?

Novum Eboracum is the Latin name of the city, as found on the city crest.


Novum Eboracum urbs Americana est ... would be the better word order


Better? No.

Esse is often in the middle of the subject and it's complement.

Learn Latin in just 5 minutes a day. For free.