The Black Desert

paulmoore

Member
This will be a location in my novel. It is home to the bad guy, and the place has been around for centuries...

The Black Desert
 

Akela

sum
Staff member
There are so many words for desert, it is hard to choose...

What exactly is this desert, you are describing? Is it just a desolated place or is there actual sand? If so, is it sand that is black?
 

paulmoore

Member
Yes, it will be a desert with sand, however, the dark taint of evil magic has turned every grain of sand to black, kind of a symbolic spreading of evil thing. The main protagonist's castle will be in this desert as well. The only thing in the desert is his castle. What I found funny is that I also created a section called The Dunes of Desolation, something that one must cross over in order to get to the main portion of the desert, so in that respect, you nailed it! I did some researching and came up with both incultus and derelinquo for desert, and the words niger, nigra, and nigrum for black. I can only assume that they are the masculine, femenine and neuter forms of the word black? I have tried to put those words together and the best sounding one to me would be Incultus Nigrum, however, I still don't think that to be an accurate translation.
 

scrabulista

Consul
Staff member
You may be disappointed but the most common Latin word for "desert" on old maps appears to be deserta. Deserta Libyae (Interioris). Arabia Deserta..
I also found Desertum Magnum for "Sahara Desert." Arabia Deserta would appear to be singular; so I think this is a case of indefinite gender.

Another thing I found on an old map at davidrumsey.com was Solitudines Libyae. WORDS gives one meaning of solitudo (feminine) as "wilderness." So possibly "Wildernesses of Libya" is meant, because Arabia Deserta was on the same map.
If you like this one you could do: Solitudines Nigrae or Solitudines Atrae.

Libya refers to a much larger area than the modern nation-state of Libya.
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
Ater, -tra, -trum seems to give off a gloomy vibe, so that might be the "black" you are looking for.
 

Akela

sum
Staff member
WORDS translates "deserta" as "abandoned/deserted wife" :hysteric:

"Desertum" is the only word with "desert-" root that WORDS has meaning "desert"...

Maybe "deserta" in the maps you saw isn't singular but a neuter plural?



Now regarding the other words for "desert":
[h]eremus, [h]eremi, m - wilderness, wasteland, desert
avium, avii, n - pathless region, wild waste, wilderness, desert
[h]arena, [h]arenae, f - sand, sandy land or desert
desolatio, desolationis, f - desolation, desert

My personal preference is for "harena".

If I am not mistaken, "niger, nigra, nigrum" refers to shiny black. Since we are describing sand here, I think Nikolaos' suggestion "ater, atra, atrum" will work best.

If we settle on "harena", then Black Desert would be "Harena Atra".
If - on "deserta", then - "Deserta Atra".
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
According to my dictionary, deserta, meaning desert, is plurale tantum - WORDS must have it registered as a regular noun.
 

Akela

sum
Staff member
Ah, that would explain it. Grains of sand - plural only.
 

paulmoore

Member
Well, I am kinda leaning towards the Harena Atra as well. I think that out of all of the other possibilities, it has the best flowing sound. I do have another quick question though. With the denotions ater, atra, and atrum, would that break down into...
ater=masculine
atra=femenine
and atrum=neuter/no gender

If that is the case, then would Harena Atrum work? In my opinion(but what do I know, I don't speak Latin, lol!) that sounds the best to me. And is the at of atrum pronounced like o is ostrich?
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
Every Latin noun has a gender, but the gender isn't always obvious. As you guessed, ater is maculine, atra is feminine and atrum is neuter. Harena is feminine, so you would use atra.

The "a" is pronounced somewhere between the A in "what" and the A in "father" - it seems to be the most variably pronounced of the nouns in the recordings I hear, though.
 

scrabulista

Consul
Staff member
Paul,

I don't want to hijack your thread. This week's new thread will be "Latin in Geography" though.

So then what is Arabia in Arabia Deserta?

Is it Arabius, -a, -um (I-II)?
WORDS has a noun, Arabs, -is. Could there be an adjective with a neuter plural i-stem?

The English word arena is derived from harena. The sand mopped up the blood of the gladiators.
 

Akela

sum
Staff member
Is there a chance that "Arabia" is being treated as an adjective in that expression?..
 

paulmoore

Member
Nikolaos dixit:
Every Latin noun has a gender, but the gender isn't always obvious. As you guessed, ater is maculine, atra is feminine and atrum is neuter. Harena is feminine, so you would use atra.

The "a" is pronounced somewhere between the A in "what" and the A in "father" - it seems to be the most variably pronounced of the nouns in the recordings I hear, though.
So if I wanted to use an all neutered phrase it would end up being, avium atrum/avii atrum(would I be correct in assuming avii is plural?)
And an all masculine phrase would be, Heremus Ater/Heremi Ater(Once again would the Heremi be the plural?)
For some reason, if the above two statements are in fact true, I don't think that I would like to use two adjoining words with the same suffix ending ie -um. For instance, Avium Atrum sounds too 'clunky' to me. Am I understanding this right? Sorry for being a total noob.
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
paulmoore dixit:
So if I wanted to use an all neutered phrase it would end up being, avium atrum/avii atrum(would I be correct in assuming avii is plural?)
Actually, avii is the genitive (possessive) form - the plural is avia. However, the adjective has to match the noun in case - meaning that if the noun is plural (avia), the adjective also has to be plural (atra).

And an all masculine phrase would be, Heremus Ater/Heremi Ater(Once again would the Heremi be the plural?)
In this case, heremi actually is the plural - but it is also the possessive, which is why it's listed. Again, the adjective has to match the noun in case, making the phrase Heremi Atri in the plural.

For some reason, if the above two statements are in fact true, I don't think that I would like to use two adjoining words with the same suffix ending ie -um. For instance, Avium Atrum sounds too 'clunky' to me. Am I understanding this right? Sorry for being a total noob.
It might seem like that, but it is perfectly natural. If you want two different endings, though, you can use desolatio for desert, which takes different endings, as in desolatio atra.

Here is my recording of the "clunky" avium atrum (by the way, I didn't realize that the "a" in atrum is long - it's pronounced as in "father"):
 

Attachments

scrabulista

Consul
Staff member
@ Paul:

Of the choices presented so far, the only ones where you wouldn't have to match the endings are
Solitudines Atrae and Desolationes Atrae.

@Akela

Lewis and Short have Arabius, -a, -um as well as Arabs, -is adj. I forget those i-stem rules; would (or could) the nominative plural of Arabs be Arabia?
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Akela dixit:
Ah, that would explain it. Grains of sand - plural only.
in such cases, usually something like loca is implied

scrabulista dixit:
So then what is Arabia in Arabia Deserta?
a noun/proper name. it becomes a bit clearer that deserta is an adjective here if you look at the names of the other Arabic regions Arabia felix/beata and Arabia Petraea. Arabia is also a proper name in the Greek expressions: ἡ ερημος Ἀραβία, ἡ ευδαίμων Ἀραβία, ἡ κατὰ τών Πέτραν Ἀραβία.

scrabulista dixit:
Lewis and Short have Arabius, -a, -um as well as Arabs, -is adj. I forget those i-stem rules; would (or could) the nominative plural of Arabs be Arabia?
yes, the neuter plural would be Arabia. Arabs is the most common, Arabius is rare.
 

paulmoore

Member
Nikolaos dixit:
Here is my recording of the "clunky" avium atrum (by the way, I didn't realize that the "a" in atrum is long - it's pronounced as in "father"):
My sincerest apologies, I did not mean any offense. After hearing your attached mp3 it suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks. My normal English speaking brain sees the word avium and tries to pronounce it as I see it, ie. not pronouncing the v as a w. Hearing you pronounce it sounds much better to me, kinda like if it were written down as awe-wee-um. But thanks for taking the time to put up the sound bit, it was most helpful, and will probably be the wording I will end up using.
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
No offense taken - I don't take offense over things like that ; )

I do realize, though, that the way readers will see something is important to consider - pick what you think is best.
 
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