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How are latin words for modern things created?

For example, latin fell out of widespread use long before the advent of television. So how would one say television in latin?

August 9, 2020



You have to invent a word for those. Usually you do that by translating the ethimological root of the word in Latin. Example:
Television -> "tele" comes from ancient Greek, meaning "from afar/from a distance", and "visio, visionis" comes from Latin, meaning "vision". Since Latin frequently adopted Greek terms, one could just translate it as "televisionis" or something like that.
You can use this trick for other things like "computer" and "telephone" (even "mobile phone" if you want). In fact one could argue that we invented new words in English from Latin rather than having to invent new words in Latin from English ones :P


Since english is both gernamic and latin i never thought about that... Well done


Creating neo-Latin words is only for those, who already have a very high skill in the language. In my copy of a neo-Latin lexicon, the word for television is a well established one as 'televisio'. But the word for television channel is 'canalis televisificus' - a bit more advanced construction.


Just remembered it. A hundred years ago, airfield was called 'aerodrome'. Forming new words was much easier and more common in the days when students regularly learned Classical Greek for 6-9 hours weekly and Latin about the same time. Maybe it was a bit elitist, but at least they seem to have mastered the language too.


A thought about finding words for new things. I've used this method with other languages and it should work fine for Latin. Wikipedea has vesions in many different languages - they arn't usually direct translations, but the key thing is that articals on a perticular topic are linked across languages. When on a wikipeadea page you can find a section on the bar on the left headed 'Langages'. Each laguage is listed by its name in that language, eg Latin shows as Latina. Clicking of the language name gives the corisponding page in that langauge - including the heading which is usually the word(s) you want. It's a usefull work aroud if you don't have a dictionary, or at least not a comprahensive enough one.


I believe the Vatican creates Latin words for modern things and last year they published a new Latin dictionary for this reason. Students of classical Latin are more interested in studying Roman history and literature and have little need for invented modern words.

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