together / by Anthony Gibbins

Writing the English translation for today’s page, I noticed that it included the word ‘together’ twice, yet each time representing a very different Latin usage. I thought this worthy of comment, especially as it involves two of my favourite Latin words.

The first use was in the third sentence, ‘they speak together’. The Verb ‘they speak’ is loquuntur. It is a Deponent Verb (it looks Passive but has an Active meaning) and it is beautiful to say aloud. Try it. Make sure the second and third u’s are pronounced more like put than cup. lo-kwuntur. Roll the r, if you are able.

The prefix col- can be added to loquuntur to make colloquuntur. The col- prefix is a form of the preposition cum, meaning with. Indeed, the word even has an alternate spelling, conloquuntur. It means ‘they speak together’. One excellent use of the con/col- prefix is found in conspirare, ‘to blow or breathe together, to agree, to harmonise, to conspire, to form a plot’. English has borrowed the co- prefix, even attaching it where it is already found; for example, co-conspirator.

The other word translated as ‘together’ is una. una is an Adverb formed from the number one; unus, una, unum (to give the Masculine, Feminine and Neuter forms). una has the properties of a grammatical construction known as the Ablative of Manner. So, to do something una is literally to do it ‘as though you are one’. How cool is that? And what makes it even better; this is the standard Latin way to say ‘together’.

Now Claudia is sitting in the seat. Alan is carefully cutting her hair. They speak together happily.  Soon they are laughing together about the verse of the sailor. In truth (re vera), it was delightful (iucundus)