When asked to translate into Latin an English word that had different Latin equiva‑lents at different periods, a well‑trained Classicist normally produces the Ciceronian term; coming up with a Plautine word that was superseded or even largely super‑seded by the first century B.c. is the mark of a specialist in early Latin.
But the word ‘please’ is different: when asked to give the Latin for ‘please’, Classicists have a tendency to think first of the Plautine terms sis and amabo, both of which are rare in the works of Cicero and indeed everywhere except in early Latin. This tendency has several causes…
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