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Question about answer key...

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Question about answer key...

Postby chris07119 » Mon Oct 16, 2006 1:08 am

This is a really basic question, ive been taking latin for about two years and I was really trying to remember everything so ive been reading this book. I came upon something that doesnt really make sense, and I was hoping you could help me out.

The question reads:

agricola cum filia in casa habitat

I translated as:

the farmer lives with the daughter in the house

The answer key reads:

the farmer lives with his daughter in the cottage


Shouldnt agricola be in the singular genitive if he is living with his daughter, or am I forgetting something?
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Postby Silenus » Mon Oct 16, 2006 1:52 am

Context makes it pretty clear that it is the farmer's daughter being spoken about. Latin frequently leaves out the "his/her/its" that is usually explicit in English. This is just one of many words that you will need to insert when translating into English.

If you wanted to make the "his" explicit, "agricola" would still be nominative because it is the subject of the sentence, but there would be an "eius" (genitive singular masculine of "is, ea, id") before "filia".

To some extent which way of translating you choose is a matter of taste, but I tend to prefer the way the key gives it, as it makes the English more fluid, and in some ways is closer to the intention of the original.
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Postby bellum paxque » Mon Oct 16, 2006 3:44 am

If you wanted to make the "his" explicit, "agricola" would still be nominative because it is the subject of the sentence, but there would be an "eius" (genitive singular masculine of "is, ea, id") before "filia".


Using eius in this sentence suggests that the farmer lives with someone ELSE'S daughter. What you need is the 3rd person reflexive pronoun, namely, suus-a-um. So, agricola cum sua filia in casa habitat. The reflexive pronoun makes it clear that it's the daughter of the subject of the sentence (agricola) and not someone else.

But Silenus is completely right about the tendency of Latin to omit the possessive pronouns (his/her/its, etc). English tends to express a lot of things explicitly, where Latin is content with leaving them implied.

-David
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Postby Silenus » Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:17 am

bellum paxque wrote:Using eius in this sentence suggests that the farmer lives with someone ELSE'S daughter. What you need is the 3rd person reflexive pronoun, namely, suus-a-um. So, agricola cum sua filia in casa habitat.


Ah, you're right! More than just suggesting, I can't think of any case where it wouldn't mean that.
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Postby bellum paxque » Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:26 pm

I can't think of any case where it wouldn't mean that.


Neither can I, but there are always exceptions ;)

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