Compound words in Plautus

By Cinefactus, in 'General Latin Chat (English)', Nov 12, 2018.

  1. Cinefactus Censor

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    I notice that Plautus seems to do this fairly commonly. Is it a practice that went out of fashion, or is he just trying to be ridiculous?
  2. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
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    Canada

    It's also possible he's trying to imitate Greek (since he based many of his plays on Greek models). I don't know, though.
  3. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    Belgium
    Compound words do exist in Latin, but they're just not as common as in Greek.

    Some of Plautus's coinages were obviously meant as humorous (e.g. the brilliant dentilegus, lumbifragium, dentifrangibulus...).
    Cinefactus and Callaina like this.
  4. Cinefactus Censor

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    Just encountered another one, plagigera


    Do you think they are unique to comedy, or was he copying derogatory terms used on the street? furcifer seems to be one which became more widely used.
  5. Cinefactus Censor

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    I guess this deserves its own thread, so I have moved it.
  6. Cinefactus Censor

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    lectisterniator

    Perhaps it is like the way we use derogatory expressions like SOB or MF in English.
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  7. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    I can't know for sure, of course, but I think he invented many of them. He largely (maybe always, but absolute claims are dangerous when you aren't 100% sure of what you're saying) followed the regular Latin word-formation rules, so his coinages aren't "irregular" in that sense, but the ideas that they convey would more often than not have been conveyed with two or more separate words in "normal" speech/non-humorous prose.
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  8. Pacifica grammaticissima

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    Here are a few more favorites of mine. I know I've posted them in other places before, but they will belong well in this thread too.

    Stultiloquium, stultiloquentia, stultiloquus, stultividus, urbicapus.
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  9. Cinefactus Censor

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    vaniloquentia :)
    inanilogistae
    Last edited by Cinefactus, Nov 12, 2018
  10. Cinefactus Censor

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    I found:
    Compound Word Coinages in the Plays of Plautus
    Stein, J. Peter
    Latomus, 1 July 1971, Vol.30(3), pp.598-606

    He notes that most compounds have negative meanings.
    His thoughts are that most of the words have been invented for comic effect.
  11. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

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    I wonder if Shakespeare was inspired by Plautus in his own word/phrase coinages.

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