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Yet another translation question

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Yet another translation question

Postby Rhuiden » Fri Aug 12, 2005 3:50 am

Practice and Review page 59, # 8.

NULLI MAGISTRI, TAMEN, SUB ISTO VERA DOCERE AUDEBANT.

My question is about "SUB ISTO VERA". At first glance this looks like it might all be part of the same clause with ISTO & VERA both taking the ablative singular ending but the translation does not make sense if that were true.

I then started looking for another noun for VERA to modify but no luck. The only noun is MAGISTRI and it is masculine plural so that doesn't work.

At this point I decided to consult the answer key and I see that there are two implied words in the sentence: VERA = true things, SUB ISTO = under that man. I know Wheelock touched on these implied words but I don't remember a rule to help know when to use them. Is there such a rule?

Thanks for any help you can give,

Rhuiden
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Postby bellum paxque » Fri Aug 12, 2005 11:25 am

I know Wheelock touched on these implied words but I don't remember a rule to help know when to use them. Is there such a rule?


There's not any rule really. From my reading and studying - not comprehensive, to be sure! - I have found that context is key in determining when adjectives are being used substantively (as nouns). Let's look at the sentence for some clues.

NULLI MAGISTRI, TAMEN, SUB ISTO VERA DOCERE AUDEBANT.


First, everything is pretty clear in the sentence except for sub isto vera. Nulli Magistri will probably be nominative since audebant is a plural verb, tamen is a sentence modifier, etc.

Now, docere, as you know, is a transitive verb - it's usually going to take an object, implied or stated. So you want to look for a noun in accusative case. Any possibilities?

Secondly, you note correctly that sub governs isto in the ablative case. Can vera and isto really agree, though? Were vera modifiying isto, it would not have an a, indicating ablative singular feminine. (sub isto vero, however, might mean "under that true man [of yours/d*mn].")

What other options are there for vera? Quite a few, unfortunately - nominative singular feminine, nominative plural neuter, accusative plural neuter. Now, though, the presence of docere suggests accusative neuter. Also, I don't remember clearly whether Wheelock's did this, but Moreland & Fleischer started throwing in substantive adjectives like vera very early, so I gained familiarity with them soon.

As you can see, the only rule is to infer through context.

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