Disputatio:Alta definitio

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Definitio alta / Alta definitio[fontem recensere]

Sometimes I have the feeling that we forget that the position of adjectives is truly free in Latin and instead we hypercorrect everything in favour of noun + adjective (often preferred, true, but not mandatory). In this case all Romance languages use a derivation of “Alta definitio”. The Latin page already uses “Alta definitio” in the content but not in the title. Moving the page accordingly. --Grufo (disputatio) 11:36, 27 Martii 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wasn't there once a consensus that, while texts might freely vary the word order, lemmata should follow expected canonical norms? So a text might speak of the generalis Canadae gubernator or the generalis gubernator Canadiensis, but the lemma would be Gubernator Generalis Canadae. Likewise, not the Foederatae Americae Civitates or the Foederatae Civitates Americanae, but the Civitates Foederatae Americae. @Neander may have said something about it somewhere. IacobusAmor (disputatio) 11:55, 27 Martii 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am not sure it is possible to talk about canonical norms in this case. What would you say about Sacrum Romanum Imperium, written that way already back then and not latinized today (see also Italian: Sacro Romano Impero)? The way I see it, Latin has a slight preference for noun + adjective, but things can easily get crystallized the other way around if other reasons push in that direction. Also I believe that the position of adjectives is one of the things that Romance languages preserved almost intact from Latin, so, generally speaking, we could just look at what Romance languages do. But I would be happy to learn more about the general consensus here. --Grufo (disputatio) 12:40, 27 Martii 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sacrum Romanum Imperium seems bizarre for two reasons: the adjectives being first, and two nonrestrictive adjectives butting each other (not separated by a conjunction). This book (1758) attests Imperium Sacrum Romanum, as does this one (1874, p. 428), quoting a document from 1396, as does this one (2011, p. 32), citing the Latin term in an English context. IacobusAmor (disputatio) 14:38, 27 Martii 2023 (UTC) IacobusAmor (disputatio) 14:24, 27 Martii 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It originated in a German-speaking territory, so the word order might be due to German influence. But the fact that Latin Europe did not correct it back then (except in some sources, as you pointed out), and actually accepted the name even in Romance languages, gives you the feeling that once a word order gets crystallized in Latin/Romance-speaking areas, people stick to that word order even if it is less usual. Magna carta, Magna Graecia, Dura lex, etc. are other examples of terms crystallized the other way around, for a reason or another. My two cents. --Grufo (disputatio) 14:58, 27 Martii 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Adjectives of size or quantity (magnus, multus), demonstratives (hic, haec, hoc), and emphatic adjectives usually precede nouns, so your examples are classically regular and "canonical." IacobusAmor (disputatio) 17:11, 27 Martii 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fair enough, these do follow a pattern. But I am not trying to show the existence of non-classical word orders, I am rather trying to show that irregularity can be classical (as you are well aware). And so you can find “Res publica” on one side, but “Publica lex” on the other – as in Persius' “publica lex hominum naturaque continet hoc fas”). “Adjectives of size or quantity (magnus, multus)”: That might well apply to “alta” in our case though. --Grufo (disputatio) 18:06, 27 Martii 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A general thought. As in other languages, the grammar of titles may differ from the grammar of text: as in other encyclopaedias, when choosing a title, or pattern of titles, we should give some thought to what will come first into a reader's mind. Since no one has ever written a grammar of Latin titles (or even noticed the need for it) we have to think it through for ourselves ... but we are enjoined to work from reliable sources! Well, then other Latin encyclopaedic works, Latin book titles, Latin book indexes, etc., are our best sources. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 13:21, 27 Martii 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How about when absolutely no source is available? Would it sound like a reasonable general solution to you, or at least like a good rule of thumb, that of imitating Romance languages when these show consensus and the outcome seems acceptable? --Grufo (disputatio) 13:25, 27 Martii 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was about to add that, coming back to the specific, I don't think my ruminations help much here. I feel perfectly comfortable with the title as it is now "Alta definitio". As far as I'm concerned, let it stand.
I notice that the French article title supports our "alta definitio" unambiguously. The other Romance examples support this word order as a phrase but not as an article title, as clicking will show. I don't see Romance languages as a reliable guide, though probably better overall than English. A lot has changed between classical Latin and modern Romance. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 13:47, 27 Martii 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps a recent computer-related Latin glossary would have the term. IacobusAmor (disputatio) 14:24, 27 Martii 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]