Disputatio:Fons Argenteus (Terra Mariae)

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Scatur...quid?[fontem recensere]

Traupman has in the English section, spring = scaturgo, -inis. In the Latin section, he doesn't have scaturgo. Instead he has scatur(r)igio, -inis. Neander has scaturigo, -inis. All of these have hits in Google Books. Which do we prefer, and why? --Robert.Baruch 00:51, 1 Maii 2011 (UTC)

Cassell's has scaturrīgo. Since it comes from the verb scaturrire, I'd go with the double-R, which has a pertinent bubbly sound. But how do we know that the Silver Spring in question isn't a fons instead? IacobusAmor 02:35, 1 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Scaturio / scaturrio and scaturigo / scaturrigo are variant readings, respectively, in medieval manuscripts. Almost 100 years ago, it was suggested by Antoine Meillet that mss often preserve ancient sociolinguistic variants. If this is true, as I'm inclined to think, both readings are correct. But I tend to agree with Iacobus that -rr- has more descriptive force in it. § BTW, all other iw links have Silver Spring. If there's no Latin source, why should Vicipaedia force out a translation? °°°Neander 17:50, 1 Maii 2011 (UTC)
VP:TNP actually does call for a translation here, since the original English is ordinary English words. —Mucius Tever 23:12, 1 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Are you sure? The instructions seem rather ambiguous. "Nomina composita autem numquam vertenda sunt . . ." (I'm quoting only the beginning, because I'm not sure how the rest is to be interpreted). In my opinion Silver spring is a nomen compositum. It's a matter of orthographic convention that this compound isn't written "Silver-spring" or "Silverspring" (in Swedish it would be "Silverkälla"). Besides, doesn't the Latinisation involve a case of "noli fingere"? °°°Neander 00:25, 2 Maii 2011 (UTC)
No, I've been checking very carefully the origin of town names to make sure that the name actually is formed of translatable words, as opposed to a name that just happens to look and sound like a translatable word. In this case, Silver Spring was named after a spring that had mica flakes in it, looking silvery. The name is not compounded: it is a spring of silver. The origin is well-attested. --Robert.Baruch 01:06, 2 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Indeed, the intent of the VP:TNP rule is orthographic compounds—'separated' compounds are normally indistinguishable from phrases, but connected compounds invite connected-compound translations ("Argentifons" would be against noli fingere), and separating the connected compounds would be against NOR (we don't have the authority to separate compound words). —Mucius Tever 13:47, 2 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Could it be, then, that those VP:TNP instructions concerning compounds slant to English POV? °°°Neander 20:41, 2 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Hmm, would probably need an explanation of why one would think so. Latin was not a language inclined to compounds itself, preferring adjectives or apposition; it just happens to be the case that English tends to be similar in this respect. The Swedish pattern would be more appropriate in Greek, say (Αργυροπηγη?). —Mucius Tever 03:13, 3 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Lewis and Short have scaturigines (apparently as pl. tant.). If 'scaturio' is from 'scateo' with the same -urio as in other verbs, the -rr- form is probably less legitimate. I agree with Iacobus though — why use an obscure word, especially when it isn't an obscure word in the original? Is there a fons for fons not being used, or something? —Mucius Tever 23:12, 1 Maii 2011 (UTC)
It's not certain that scaturio really belongs to the verbs in -urio semantically or formally. No other verb in -urio appears to exhibit manuscript variants in -rr-. °°°Neander 00:25, 2 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Looking closer, I see it doesn't go with the desiderative verbs in -(t/s)ŭrio with a short U, but verbs in -ūrio with a long U like ligurio 'lick' and perhaps minurio 'tweet' which do have -urrio variants. (I suspect the length of the U may have something to do with the -rr- variation, as both suggest a heavy syllable.) —Mucius Tever 13:47, 2 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Now we're talkin' ! :-) A good find, indeed, which brings us to onomatopoetic-descriptive vocabulary. °°°Neander 20:41, 2 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I used scaturgo because it was listed first in Traupman. Fons was second. I suppose given the uncertainties surrounding scaturgo, I may as well go with fons. --Robert.Baruch 20:16, 2 Maii 2011 (UTC)
"Fons" is certainly the common word for the concept and is the one that was used in Roman place-names for "spring". "Scaturigo" is a rare and specialised word.
Yes, the rule on place names does tell us to do this. I sometimes wish it didn't, but it does. But the general rule for us is "Noli fingere", and I think we owe it to our readers, when we allow ourselves to break the general rule, to say that we are doing so. If there's no source for the Latin name, we should annotate it e.g. "Neologismus Vicipaediae". Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 20:28, 2 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Neander is right, I think, both that the grammatical status of this name is doubtful and that the relevant part of VP:TNP isn't clear. None of the three examples given there truly covers this case: Turris Eiffel is the name of a tower, but Silver Spring as here described is not the name of a spring, it's the name of a town. Some linguists would indeed class this name as a compound, even though written as two words. Maybe we need to discuss the rule? Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 20:50, 2 Maii 2011 (UTC)
But the town is named after a spring. Just as asteroids are named after people, towns (or a cat in one case), just as towns are named after people and after other towns. There must be some rule which handles things named after other things? --Robert.Baruch 00:28, 3 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Yes, and this makes Silver Spring a bahuvrīhi or exocentric compound (logically, "silver-spring town"; cf. "white-collar worker" => "white-collar"). Given the fact that Silver Spring involves a compound (consisting of a noun phrase), and given that "Nomina composita autem numquam vertenda sunt ...", the obvious conclusion is that Silver Spring ought not to be Latinised. I fail to understand why an orthographic word space (or wordspace?) should be the difference that makes a difference. Why stick to an English-specific surface phenomenon which, as far as I can see, lacks linguistic grounds (in the sense that, linguistically, a compound is a compound, whatever its orthographic representation)? °°°Neander 17:13, 3 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Neander is quite right: in English, any noun+noun construction can be thought of as a compound, and whether it's spelled open (health care) or hyphenated, or solid (healthcare) makes no difference in its interpretation; however, that doesn't mean that VP:TNP is the best policy. One is tempted to agree to the suggestion that a footnote-formula be invented to announce that, though no attestation has been found, the Latin form is believed to be "correct" (for some value of "correct"). IacobusAmor 17:59, 3 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Of course Neander is reading the rule in an unusual sense; it should be clear that the intent was to refer to compound words, not compound lexemes—otherwise it'd be silly for the rule to have a clause about translating multi-word names ("quae constant e verbis cottidianis atque intelligibilibus"). 'New Jersey' and 'Eiffel Tower', the canonical examples, are also compounds in the wider sense (compare the Swedish treatment of Eiffeltornet) and any other multi-word place name would be as well, if it were a name at all; 'Silver Spring' is not a special or unusual case. (Again, obviously the rule can be changed, but this reading of it is untenable.) As for why one should "stick to an English-specific surface phenomenon" — the only reason is because these are English words. The only languages that should be involved in the translations (at least, keeping to NPOV) are Latin and the native language of the name, and the native language of this name just happens to be English. Linguistically, a compound may be a compound, but there is a difference between "Silver Spring" and "Silverspring" and that difference is exactly the point of referring to multi-word names. Certainly there is nothing magical about the space itself; I believe this sort of distinction exists even in languages written without spaces, such as Japanese (though it might only be discernible on phonological or grammatical grounds, or in conventional transliterations). —Mucius Tever 20:52, 3 Maii 2011 (UTC)
So are you saying, Myces, that we should translate "Silver Spring" but we shouldn't translate "Silverspring" and that this was the intention of the rule? That is certainly a clear rule, and easy to explain to non-linguists, which is a Very Good Thing. Questions may well arise from linguists, as we see, because the definition of "word" is not so universal and transferable as we English speakers think! I recall the famous Whorf observation, "Chinese has no word for word". But, yes, it's possible to stick at the rule and interpret it language-by-language.
We should change the example "New Jersey", though. It's confusing because the "Jersey" element has been translated, but the translation is not permitted by this rule. (I suspect that Nova Caesarea is fine for Vicipaedia because others have used the same translation before us, but there's currently no citation on the page to demonstrate that.)
Moreover the complete term Nova Caesarea is attested as the latin term since tthe 17th century. Someone should find a citation for that and add it.-- 09:26, 4 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Turris Eiffel really is a different case from Silver Spring. If we are sure that Fons Argenteus is the way to go, we should insert a parallel example in the rule: maybe "Fons Argenteus". Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 09:05, 4 Maii 2011 (UTC)
So some people are arguing that we may have ancient attestations of a Latin word for silver, and we may have ancient attestations of a Latin word for spring, but since we don't have an ancient attestation of a Latin phrase for silver spring, we must refrain from forming the obvious compound? That seems gratuitously restrictive. Besides, in the present case, we do have an ancient attestation of a Latin phrase for silver spring. It's in Ovid: "Fons erat illimis, nitidus argenteus undis." And if that's unpersuasive, marginalia anno 1815 paraphrase it, point-blank, as "Erat illimis fons argenteus nitidis undis." So there! IacobusAmor 02:44, 3 Maii 2011 (UTC)
[edit conflicted with above] I can tell you the intent of the rule was that it should be translated; the three examples are meant to be 1) a name with no translatable parts (Pocatello), 2) a partially translatable name (Turris Eiffel), and 3) a fully translatable name (Nova Caesarea) — this last is the most applicable here (though I guess it isn't the best example for the current wording of the rule, as 'Caesarea'/'Jersey' doesn't really qualify as a 'verbum cottidianum'). By all means, though, I would support adjusting the rule so fewer translations are invented—but it will need to be done with some thought, as some place names don't work very well untranslated (would we say "Tour Eiffel" and "Zijing Cheng"?), and referring to the example of languages outside of Latin or the native language of the place will be arbitrary—I seem to remember, but can't find offhand, a long discussion about whether 'British Museum' or something similar was supposed to be translated or not based on it being, in its official materials, translated in some languages and left English in other languages: who decides which languages to follow for Latin? There are even variations within Romance languages (compare Spanish Nueva York with French New York.) —Mucius Tever 03:13, 3 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Mucius, for explaining how the rule and the examples were chosen: it was before my time. I agree with your current view that "Nova Caesarea" is not an apposite example because "Jersey" is not a common noun.
This rule makes me a bit uncomfortable -- just as newly-formed institutional names made Mucius uncomfortable [if I remember correctly]. But my main feeling is not so much that we shouldn't form the phrase -- it's a nice phrase, and nice to see that Ovid thought so too -- but that we shouldn't claim or imply it's an established name for this place if in fact we just made it up. We should admit to that openly. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 06:05, 3 Maii 2011 (UTC)
So something more obvious than the lack of a footnote next to the name. Maybe a formula that would generate a footnote explaining that the name is translated but not attested? --Robert.Baruch 14:05, 3 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that would be my view. If such a formula materialises, I shall add it to some of those institutional names that I have blithely created ... Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 17:43, 3 Maii 2011 (UTC)
Vide {{convertimus}} and modify as desired! --Robert.Baruch 18:30, 3 Maii 2011 (UTC)