Posts Tagged ‘latin’


Resource Review: Comparative Grammars

October 11, 2010

Jenkins notes on p. 179 that “there is no compelling linguistic reason for the comparative study of Greek and Latin.”  Nevertheless:

The 20th century standard was Buck’s Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin (Main Library 3rd Floor PA111 .B922C – currently checked out!); Jenkins (no. 528) notes it is “now badly dated” (it was originally published in 1933.)

The new standard is Sihler’s New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin (1995), (Main Library 3rd floor PA111 .S54 1995 – also checked out, yay!)  Jenkins (no. 540) describes it as “valuable” and notes in detail the differences between this work and Buck – of which this was originally intended to be a revision.

Searches of UGA’s GIL catalog for the subjects “Latin language – Grammar – Comparative Greek” and “Greek language – Grammar – Comparative Latin” have, as one would hope, a nearly 100% overlap.

I also want to mention a new work, Michael Weiss’ Outline of the Historical and Comparative Grammar of Latin (2009), which was recently reviewed by James Clackson at BMCR.  Clackson describes it as “by far the most comprehensive and reliable compendium of the historical and comparative grammar of Latin available in English, and even gives the monumental work of Leumann (1977) [Lateinische Laut- und Formenlehre (Man Library 3rd Floor PA25 .H24 Ser. 2, Sect. 2, v. 1, rev. 1977)] a close run for its money in terms of scope and coverage.”


The Best Greek and Latin Grammars (are in German)

October 7, 2010


Previous posts have covered the best and/or commonly used Greek and Latin grammars available in English. In both languages, the standard grammars are in German, however, so serious researchers will want to consult the following.


Lateinische Grammatik (Main Library 3rd floor PA25 .H24 Ser. 2, Sect. 2, v. 1, etc.) by Leumann, Hofmann, and Szantyr, is described by Jenkins (no. 536) as “the best available comprehensive latin grammar.”  Kühner-Stegmann (see below) is a better descriptive grammar, but this work surpasses it in all other areas.

Ausführliche Grammatik der lateinischen Sprache, vol. 2, also known as ‘Kühner-Stegmann,’ is described by Jenkins (no. 534) as “the best descriptive latin grammar available.”   Jenkins also includes information about the index, separately published (Index Locorum zu Kühner-Stegmann “Satzlehre,” Jenkins no. 535).  At UGA we only seem to have the 1912 edition, although Jenkins implies the text has been revised further since then.  Our copy is located at the Repository (off campus storage); we do not appear to own the Index Locorum.


Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache (Main Library 3rd Floor PA255 .K95a 1898; also available online through Perseus) falls into two parts: volume 1, ‘Kühner-Blass,’ which covers phonology and morphology and which Jenkins (no. 532) describes as “still useful [but] somewhat dated” (he prefers Schwyzer, see below); and volume 2, ‘Kühner-Gerth,’ which covers syntax, and is described by Jenkins as “sound and detailed.” We had a chase after the Kühner-Blass volumes last year and discovered them missing, so we are in the process of acquiring new copies. There is an Index Locorum zu Kühner-Gerth (Main Library 3rd Floor PA254 .K72 C3; discussed by Jenkins as no. 533).

Schwyzer’s Griechische Grammatik: Auf der Grundlage von Karl Brugmanns Griechischer Grammatik (Main Library 3rd Floor PA25 .H24 Ser. 2, Sect. 1, v. 1, etc.) is in four volumes: the first is preferable to Kühner-Blass for morphology and phonology, and the second is described as “offer[ing] extensive illustrative examples from greek literature” but sometimes inferior to Kühner-Gerth for descriptive grammar. The final two volumes contain indexes.


Resource Review: Greek and Latin Syntax

September 27, 2010

Jenkins discusses two essential works on syntax, one each for Greek and Latin.  There are also recent essays on syntax available at Perseus.  I have also listed a new work on syntax which has appeared since Jenkins was published in 2006.


One of the advantages of UGA’s new GIL-Find online catalog is it allows the creation of stable urls with search results.  So if you’re interested in the list of all 95 works on latin syntax at the UGA Libraries, look here (the search is a subject search on the Library of Congress subject heading Latin Language – Syntax).


  • Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek VerbMain 3rd Floor PA369 .G657s 1876 and Alexander Room; available online at Perseus.  This work, finalized in 1890, remains  “the most comprehensive and reliable handbook in English on Greek verbs,” according to Jenkins (no. 530).  Note that Goodwin is also the co-author of one of the standard Greek grammars.
  • Jeffrey A. Rydberg-Cox, Overview of Greek Syntax (2000).  Available online at Perseus.

All works at the UGA Libraries with the Library of Congress subject heading “Greek Language – Syntax”.


Resource Review: Latin Grammars

August 30, 2010

On to latin grammars, a subject I know very little about indeed.  Thank heavens for Jenkins, who rounds up the top choices very neatly.  This post covers the most popular latin grammars for English-speakers; others will follow with more specialized works.  Most grammars are kept in the stacks at the UGA library; many also live in the Alexander Room in Park Hall.

The newest, and most elementary, is James Moorwood, A Latin Grammar (1999), which is at Main 3rd Floor PA2087.5 .M67 1999.  Jenkins (no. 537) describes it as “relatively abbreviated” but “easy to navigate and more comprehensible [than others] to contemporary students.”   It is widely available in paperback from under $20, so probably many students purchase this.  Although an Oxford publication, it is not available through Oxford Reference Online.

The traditional standby is Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges, which we have at UGA (Main 3rd Floor PA2087 .A525 1983 and Alexander Room ) and is also available online at Perseus.  The 2001 reprint includes Anne Mahoney, Overview of Latin Syntax (2000), which is also available online at Perseus.  Jenkins (no. 526) has faint praise, but praise nonetheless: “a quite reliable descriptive grammar of latin, possibly the best available in English.”  This too is available in print relatively cheaply (lists at $38, but Amazon currently has it for $26).

Less preferred, according to Jenkins (no. 531) is Hale and Buck, A Latin Grammar, at Main 3rd Floor PA2087 .H168 1966 and the Alexander Room. While this is  “a reliable and readily available descriptive grammar of latin,”  its unusual arrangement and poor indexing means many people choose Allen and Greenough.  It is also in (re)print and lists at $34, available for $26 at Amazon.


Resource Review: More Latin Dictionaries

May 26, 2010

This post is a bit of a catch-all, following the more detailed discussions of TLL and the standard latin dictionaries, dealing with what Jenkins recommends and what we own at UGA, especially in Main Reference.

Egidio Forcellini wins the prize for Best Name of the Day! (Egidio is derived from the Greek and the etymologically minded will see the connection to the word “goat”; it’s also the name Giles, in English.)  Forcellini’s 18th century Totius Latinitatis Lexicon is in Main Reference at UGA (in the 1965 reprint).  Jenkins (no. 506) describes it as “long the fullest and most complete latin dictionary,” but now superseded by the TLL.  It should be consulted for words not yet reached in the TLL, as it has more examples than the Oxford Latin Dictionary.

Jenkins includes two etymological dictionaries of latin: Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue latine, histoire des mots by Ernout and Meillet (no. 504; at the Repository, our offsite storage facility, which seems unfortunate to me) and Lateinisches etymologisches worterbuch by Walde and Hoffman (no. 521, also at the Repository.)  Both of these are described as commendable works, with the former stronger on the latin and the latter covering Indo-European roots in greater detail, and having longer entries in general.

English-latin dictionaries are not heavily used since the decline of  latin prose composition as a part of the curriculum, so it is not a surprise to find UGA’s copy of the standard work discussed by Jenkins (no. 515), Copious and Critical English-Latin Dictionary, at the Repository. (I must say I love the specificity of the title – it’s not just any old English-Latin Dictionary; it’s both Copious AND Critical!)

The only remaining latin dictionary discussed by Jenkins covers the late period (200-600CE), and I will discuss it in a future post with medieval latin dictionaries, of which we have several on the Reference shelves.

A fun work we have in Main Reference and the stacks is Orbis Pictus Latinus, an illustrated dictionary of latin, that seems like it would be both a lot of fun and a good teaching tool for beginners, at both the secondary and undergraduate levels.  The entire book (even the introduction) is in latin, requiring the student to use her existing latin skills to decipher the definitions of new words.  It’s a charming book, and still in print in Germany and available used in this country.


Resource Review: Basic Latin Dictionaries

May 5, 2010

I spent some time discussing the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae the other week; now I want to cover the most commonly used latin dictionaries, the ones that undergraduate students are likely to own personally or consult online.

The standard latin dictionary for 100 years was Lewis and Short, A Latin Dictionary (Oxford 1879).  (My mother has a copy that was her grandfather’s when he was in graduate school; he had a PhD in philosophy from Chicago and taught at St. John’s College in Annapolis.  My family history is littered with Classics scholars.  But I digress.)  Jenkins (no. 510) says it “is based on antiquated principles and obsolete editions; it also contains many errors.”  It is, as Jenkins notes, still widely used, and its availability online at Perseus must make its use extra tempting for many students!  The UGA Library owns it in print and there are several copies of various printings in the Alexander Room in Classics.

The completion of the Oxford Latin Dictionary in 1982 (discussed in Jenkins as no. 508) meant there was a new standard dictionary of Latin.  As Jenkins notes, this dictionary was modeled in form on the Oxford English Dictionary and like the OED contains numerous examples illustrating usage.  It covers down to the 2nd century CE, with some coverage to the 3rd century but “Christian Latin is out of scope.”  There are print copies in Main Reference and the stacks, and three in the Alexander Room.  There is a pocket edition available, which I imagine is what undergraduates are recommended to purchase.  The pocket edition is available digitally as one of the titles in the Premium Collection of Oxford Reference Online but is not a part of  Oxford Language Dictionaries Online.  (UGA does not subscribe to either.)

As usual with my posts, I welcome any comments, especially those that correct any errors I may make!


Resource Reviews: Thesaurus Linguae Latinae

April 23, 2010

This week I’m starting a regular series of  reviews of useful reference works – in print and online – in classics.  My main guides for what I review will be resources we own at UGA, and the recent (2006) handbook by Fred W. Jenkins, Classical Studies: A Guide to the Reference Literature.  (I bought my own copy, since my office is in a branch building, and it’s a steep hike to the copy on the shelf in the Main Library!)  My goal is to have a post a week, probably usually on Fridays, and work my way through the topics.  Jenkins covers areas of Classics I know very well indeed (art and archaeology) and areas where I might as well be an undergraduate (ancient philosophy, latin literature).

So I’ll start with one of the basic resources for latin language: the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae.  This is item 520 in Jenkins, described by him as “the best and fullest source available for the study of Latin lexicography.”  It is an exhaustive dictionary of latin, with definitions and attestations of each word.  It was begun in 1894, and has, as of 2009, completed the letter “P”, and covers all words in Latin from the earliest attestations down to about 600CE.  More details about the ongoing work (conducted by about 20 scholars based at the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften) are available at the project’s web site.

UGA has the print volumes in the Main Library Reference Area.  I don’t believe the library ever purchased the CD-Rom version; there was an extensive review of it by Peter Heslin in BMCR in 2006. TLL is now available for purchase in an online interface from De Gruyter (also available in a package with the Bibliotheca Teubneriana Latina (BTL)); the cost is  not within UGA’s straitened budget at the moment.  I evaluated a trial version and found that the content was identical to the print volumes, and it is both browseable by volume and fascicle and searchable.  Cross-references are hotlinked, and if one purchases the TLL and the BTL together they mesh well. The interface is not especially attractive or clean-looking but it is fairly straightforward to use. Help documentation is available as a downloadable .pdf file, and the site suggests installing a special TLL font (although it seemed to work just fine without it).

The TLL is not for most undergraduates – it uses specialized vocabulary, is entirely in Latin (well, there is some Greek in the etymologies!), and would be more perplexing than useful for students simply looking for translations or definitions of words.  For the scholar interested in usage, whether honors thesis writer, graduate student, or faculty member, it is essential.  I had a phone call last fall from a graduate student at the Main library, in distress that TLL ended at P, and asking what he should do, since the word he wanted to look up started with S!  Short of waiting some 30 years until TLL gets to S, Jenkins suggests the Oxford Latin Dictionary.