Stlitibus?

Callaina

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Hi! I'm looking at some Latin inscriptions for a paper I'm writing and a weird word keeps popping up: stlitibus. I've never heard of such a thing and have absolutely no clue what it means or how such a word could even exist in Latin. Can anyone enlighten me on this?
 

Callaina

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Thanks!! I was pretty baffled. I wonder why they spelled it that odd way; it seems to break the rules for Latin phonetics to ram together three consonants like that.
 

Pacifica

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The rules were probably different in archaic times.
 

Callaina

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Still, it's quite anomalous. I can't think of another Latin word (archaic or not) that does anything like that.
 

Pacifica

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Locus used to be stlocus.
 

Bestiola

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There's also stlatta, and its derivative stlataria/stlattaria; then stloppus, stlembus etc.
 

Callaina

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:eek: I had never heard of any of those!! I wonder if proto-Latin used to be more Greek-like in its handling of consonants.
 

Pacifica

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Of course, a number of "normal" Latin words do start with three consonants: str, spr, spl come to mind. Stl just seems more anomalous to us because, well, it was no longer normal in classical Latin. And perhaps also because it would be anomalous in our own languages (at least as far as Callaina and I are concerned—I don't know about Polish and Croatian).
 
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Matthaeus

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We have plenty examples of all three sound consonant clusters at the beginnings of words (Slavs are infamous for that), lol. e.g. strata (noun, "loss"), sprytny (adjective, "cunning, wily"), spluwa (noun, "gun", but rather colloquial).
 

Matthaeus

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The all-time famous consonant-cluster phrase from literature comes to mind, chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie, (a beetle is resounding in the reeds) which I think I've recorded on here a while back. @Adrian
 

Bestiola

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Yeah, we have words starting with str as well: strašno "horrible", spr: spremati "putting things in order", we have also smrt - in smrt - "death". Speaking of tongue twisters, Slovacs and Czechs are famous for their tongue twister as well: Strč prst skrz krk.
.

Or even: Škrt plch z mlh Brd pln skvrn z mrv prv hrd scvrnkl z brzd skrz trs chrp v krs vrb mls mrch srn čtvrthrst zrn.

And Slovenians can shamelessly get away with 6 consecutive consonants in a row: ministrstvo for "ministry". But here "r" is some kind of semivocal so we survive these tongue twisting words without serious consequences for our laryngeal health.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member

Thanks!! I was pretty baffled. I wonder why they spelled it that odd way; it seems to break the rules for Latin phonetics to ram together three consonants like that.
Unlike all those Slavic tongue twisters resulting from vowel loss, stl- is at first blush no different from str-. But somehow both Latin and Germanic allow the latter while disallowing the former. In Slavic stl- also seems to only result from vowel loss, so the reason for the difference could be that str- was much more frequent in Proto Indo European. Many languages don't distinguish between L and R, and str- is clearly the easier one to pronounce - just flick your tongue - so maybe this difference in distribution goes way back. Still, from PIE down to Latin stl- was evidently allowed and maybe not even that rare. They must have started having trouble with it after all the consonant assimilations forced -tl- to be replaced with -cl- inside the word so as not to end up assimilated to -ll-; word-initially it became a single l- (tollere > lātus). The initial s- probably prevented this in stl- at least in some varieties, and there was also scl- as a non-standard treatment.
 
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Bestiola

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And/or perhaps that "t" is a sort of epenthetic consonant since according to some etymological dictionaries (Vaan's) proto-Italic word was "sli-ti". Perhaps they liked tongue twisters in those days even more than the modern Slavs.


Vaan offers similar possibility for stlocus, saying that slocus may have been the earlier variant. (Although there are other opinions with regard to stlocus).
 
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Bestiola

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What sort of sentence from the black lagoon is that?!??????!?!??!?? :eek:
The meaning of it is even more interesting lol: Stingy dormouse from Brdy mountains fogs full of manure spots firstly proudly shrank a quarter of handful seeds, a delicacy for mean does, from brakes through bunch of Centaurea flowers into scrub of willows. o_O
 
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