Disputatio:Telavivum

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Latin name of Tel Aviv[fontem recensere]

As I have argued elsewhere, there are three possible ways to name Tel Aviv in good Latin:

  1. Ancient-style transliteration: if Tel Aviv had existed in ancient times, the Greeks and Romans would have spelled it Thelabib. Granted, Hebrew is pronounced quite differently now, but Modern Latin has always been conservative in such matters.
  2. Biblical translation: a colony by the same name (but not the same place: in the Babylonian Exile) is mentioned in Ezechiel 3:15. The Vulgate here actually translates the name, giving it as Acervus Novarum Frugum. Tel Aviv is now usually understood to mean "Tel of Spring," but the ancients seem to have understood in in a slightly transfered sense as "Mound of new grain."
  3. Eggerian translation: Egger, as he often does, tries to translate the name as Vernicollis. I wouldn't call the city that, but I guarantee you that if Egger suggested it, people use it.

Do we have any serious attestations for Telavivum or was that just a guess? --Iustinus 17:54, 15 Ianuarii 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Because I put in Telavivum, I think, I read that word in one of the recent "Vox Latina" perhaps besides Vernicollis. The problem with publications like Vox Latine might be, that they have sometimes quick inventions which then do not hold very long. --Alex1011 19:11, 15 Ianuarii 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Exactly. I have never voiced this, but generally I consider the modern periodicals to be of a lower status than most other sources, for pricisely the reasons you give. But they are still useful sources, and so if Telavivum really occurs in Vox Latina then it should appear in the article. But do others agree with me that Tel Aviv is, as the Brittish say, right out? My preferred location for this article would be at Telabib: while it is unattested, it's linguistically sound. Following that, I guess Vernicollis or Telavivum. --Iustinus 19:38, 15 Ianuarii 2007 (UTC)[reply]
It is my general policy to not Latinize cities or place names if the place does not have different names in different languages. Tel Aviv being a modern city is known as "Tel Aviv" in every major language of the world (with the exception of slight alterations when a certain sound does not exist in a certain language). Therefore, it would not be reasonable to alter its name in Latin. Also, the city's name would not have been pronounced as "Thelabib" in Hebrew in Greco-Roman times. It would have in fact been pronounced almost identical to today's pronounciation of "Tel Aviv" (I am a native speaker of Hebrew so I know this). Since classical Greek and Latin did not have the modern "v" sound, and the classical Hebrew sound was likely more similar to the "bh" found in Sanskrit and other languages, Greek and Latin transliterated the Hebrew "v" into a "b" (Hebrew "Ya'aqov" became Latin "Iacobus"). Therefore, if the city would have existed in ancient times it would have been known in Latin (and much of the western world) as "Telabib". However, Tel Aviv did not exist in ancient times and was founded at a time in which the modern Hebrew pronounciations were used, so all of this assuming of what Tel Aviv would have been known as to the ancient Romans is irrelevant. Furthermore, there is a fish that's endemic to the waters off the coast of Tel Aviv whose species name is "Telavivensis", thereby confirming that the Latin form of the city's name is indeed "Tel Aviv", or something along that order. I would suggest to just keep the city's common name in Latin, but if the moderators of Vicipaedia insist on Latinizing it, the best forms would be "Telavivum" or "Telavivium". -Kedemus 08:56, 11 Novembris 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Re: "Tel Aviv is known as Tel Aviv in every major language of the world" - in Arabic, of course, it is known as تل أبيب Tel Abīb.--Ceylon 21:44, 26 Martii 2008 (UTC)[reply]
A quibus antiquâ Latinae pronuntiatione utuntur, Telavivum enunciatur /telawiwum/. IacobusAmor 12:34, 11 Novembris 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Verus, but for 1500 years of Latin's history, the "v" was pronounced as a modern "v". The letter "v" in Latin can represent both the "v" and the "w" sound, and depending on which era's pronounciation you choose it can be pronounced like either one of these sounds. No other letter in Latin matches the modern "v" sound, so even if you usually use the classical pronounciations, "v" is still the best letter to represent that sound. -Kedemus 06:15, 12 Novembris 2007 (UTC)[reply]
It might be argued that, instead, another labiodental fricative, "f," would be "the best letter to represent that sound"; however, according to Iustinus above, the old Romans actually used "b," so, in turn, to them, that must have been "the best letter to represent that sound." IacobusAmor 13:42, 13 Novembris 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Surely the best representation is the source itself! Why can't this just be Vernicollis? Does it matter if Egger has some dodgy etymologies? At least it is declinable, "Tel Aviv" and "Telabib" just being different translitterations from a non I-E language. Ullus fons est melior quam nullus fons. Harrissimo.
The Romans did not literally translate city names, so why should we? The Romans called the city associated with Jesus "Bethlehem"- an indeclinable name from the Hebrew- and not "Casa Panis" or "Panicasa". If we really want a declineable name, we should use "Telavivum". -Kedemus 07:04, 13 Novembris 2007 (UTC)[reply]

What is so bad about vernicollis!? It's a sturdy source and I've seen it elsewhere on the internet. Telavivum is only found inside vicipaedia. The other option is Ioppe -es, but that should be used for the old city of Jaffa (or whatever has become of it now). Harrissimo 20:11, 17 Novembris 2007 (UTC).[reply]

No offense Kedemus, but native speakers of Modern Hebrew seem to know nearly as much about the phonetic history of their language as native speakers of Greek. Both Israelis and Greeks are highly offended if you dare to claim there has been any change in how their language was pronounced since the old glory days, Roman transcriptions be damned. The Romans regularly transliterated ב (with or without dagesh) as b, and ו as v. Clearly the two sounds were distinct in antiquity, unlike in Modern Hebrew. The Sanskrit bh sound, sure that's a possibility; but, um, then b is still closer than v. (Interestingly, I've seen at least one Greek transcription of דוד as ΔΑΒΙΔ, which implies that some of the sound changes in one or both languages were more advanced by that point than we tend to think.)
All this is in fact pretty much irrelevant though: I'm pretty much just arguing about it because it's a personal hobby horse. We need to start finding citations. Here's what I'm going to do: I'll move the article to Telavivum, since that seems to be the most popular form, add all the alternates, and start providing footnote citations for each one. Surely someone somewhere has actually used Telavivum; could one of you please find a good citation for it? --Iustinus 17:39, 26 Martii 2008 (UTC)[reply]
I think Kedemus has a strong case on two counts: (i) Hebrew names in both the Septuagint and Vulgate are usually indeclinable transliterations, not translations (these are often added as explanations, as in the case of Golgatha/Calvary). (ii) Tel Aviv was founded long after the last Roman had bitten the dust, so it really does not matter how it would have been pronounced in ancient Hebrew. I also find it hard to accept that Egger can be treated as a source defying all other argument when he openly invents a name. Why not keep the instantly recognisable and pronouncable transliteration Tel Aviv? We are not schoolboys whous havus to latinisus everythingum.--Ceylon 22:50, 26 Martii 2008 (UTC)[reply]
1) Egger wrote a book and got it published. An encyclopedia being a tertiary source, we are bound to at least mention respected secondary sources, and, furthermore, cite other, more respected sources if we plan on differing from them.
2) Of course, for those who use the classical pronunciation, Tel Aviv is not particularly pronounceable; very few Latin words customarily terminate in IV where the V is not vocalic (as it is in diu); the only exception I can think of is cheating: quattuordecim. —Mucius Tever 01:39, 27 Martii 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Good one. But Latin phonotactics only count so far here, because a) what the opposition is basically arguing is that Tel Aviv needs no Latin name to begin with. b) Just what is the classical pronunciation of Vitzliputzli? Schwabe? Mpuzucium? The deeper issue is your number 1. Egger, whatever we may think of him, is an important, published source, so we have to at least give his ideas consideration.
Regarding names like Vernicollis and Telavivum, it is of course a subject of perennial argument to what extent we should Latinize proper nouns, but this is something that has always been done, and still is done in Latin, even as the practice has fallen out of favor in the vernacular languages. Why would we want to reject a viable, declinable Latin name (especially an attested one) in favor of an inert italicized foreign term? It is true that the Vulgate doesn't generally translate names into forms like Vernicollis, but um... there's always Acervus Novarum Frugum.
As for names like Thelabib, I realize that my interest in ancient linguistics may bias me towards that system, but that method does have some distinct advantages. For instance it's all well and good for "instantly recognizable" names like Tel Aviv, but what happens when we deal with lesser known names? Why should תל מלח and תל חרשא beThelmella and Thelarsa but תל אביב have to be Tel Aviv? Why should בת לחם be Bethlehem but בת אלפא Beit-Alfa? Why should כפר נחום be Capharnaum but כפר עציון Kfar Etzion (or Kfar Etsion, or Kefar ‘Ecion or whatever spelling we settle on)? Why should the personal name שלמה be Salomon but שלום Shalom (or, again, Chalom, Schalom, Šalom etc.)? We have a ready-made method of spelling these terms in Hebrew, why not use it?
--Iustinus 05:13, 27 Martii 2008 (UTC)[reply]
I just created a category, calling it "Tel Aviv", because I don't find any source for Telavivum, the current name of our page. However, if we agree with Iustinus that we should use a standard transliteration and write "Thelabib" -- this is after all what we do for Greek -- then I will change the category name and we should now move the page. Any other views? Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 16:21, 11 Martii 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Well, I have now found and cited an online source for Telavivum. Not a good source -- and I am not swearing the author didn't get "Telavivum" and "Beniaminus Netanjahu" from Vicipaedia -- but I don't see any consensus above for alternative choices. Against "Vernicollis", there is no traqdition in other languages of translating this name. Against "Thelabib", it is not really Latin, just a transliteration, and even the one source - Calvin - is not talking about this particular place. For "Telavivum", it is declinable and it is immediately recognisable by any reader. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 19:16, 14 Decembris 2015 (UTC)[reply]