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A beginners (dumb) question

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A beginners (dumb) question

Postby dlb » Tue May 27, 2008 1:52 am

If I have the sentence,
"Without a few friends life is not strong."
I would like to know what questions I ask in order to begin to analyze it.
Basically, I do not know which case the Latin nouns and adjectives fall into. I know that this problem is due to a lack of understanding the English language. For example, are the nouns and adjectives in the datative case? Are the in the accusative case? What clues can one look for which will reveal the case?
Sorry for the pedantic question but I have no where else to turn for information.
Thanks,
dlb
.
dlb
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Re: A beginners (dumb) question

Postby thesaurus » Tue May 27, 2008 3:10 pm

To translate into Latin you need to know the various case functions and their English correspondents. I believe Wheelock explains these in the first chapters of his textbook. So examine "Nauta rosam puellae dat" = "The sailor gives a/the rose to the girl" (I think Wheelock uses this example). The nominative form marks the subject of the sentence. Nauta is in the nominative form for this type of noun (-a), so it is the subject, i.e., the sailor is the one who performs the action in the sentence.

Next, notice that "rosam," the rose, is in the accusative form (-am), which means that it is the direct object of the sentence. In other words, the direct object is that which the subject acts upon. In English this will translate as "the rose".

Third, the word "puellae" could either be in the dative or genitive form, because these are identicle in this group (-ae). However, in this instance it is dative, which means it is the indirect object of the sentence. The indirect object receives the direct object/is the benefit of the action. You can often translate this with to/for, so "to the girl"

Lastly, we have the verb "dat," which is the singular, present, indicative form of the verb "dare," "to give." What you need to know is that this means that someone "gives."

Combine all this together, and you have the sailor (the sailor) giving a rose (the direct object) to the girl (the indirect object). As you may know, the word order is not important here, but only the forms of the words.

dlb wrote:If I have the sentence,
"Without a few friends life is not strong."
I would like to know what questions I ask in order to begin to analyze it.
Basically, I do not know which case the Latin nouns and adjectives fall into. I know that this problem is due to a lack of understanding the English language. For example, are the nouns and adjectives in the datative case? Are the in the accusative case? What clues can one look for which will reveal the case?


What is the subject of your sentence? Life, which is not strong without a few friends. So life is the nominative case, "vita."

Next we have the verb "is," which in the singular present is "est." So "Vita est..."

For "not strong" you'll also use the nominative case. This is because "not strong" is an adjective modifying "life," and adjectives will be the same case and number as the noun the modify (here, nominative singular). The word for strong is "validus," and since "vita" is a feminine noun, the adjective matches it in gender, "valida."

For the "not," just put in the word "non" by the verb, like you would in english "Vita non est valida."

To finish this sentence, we need to add "without a few friends." "Sine" means "without," and as a preposition forces the nouns it modifies to take a certain case, which here is the ablative. "A few" is "paucus" and "friend" is "amicus." A "few friends" in the nominative plural is "pauci amici." But since "sine" makes nouns take the ablative, in the ablative case it changes to "sine paucis amicis."

Therefore:
"Sine paucis amicis vita non est valida."

I'm sorry if this was long winded, but I hope once you get on your feet with these basics things will be easier for you!
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Re: A beginners (dumb) question

Postby dlb » Wed May 28, 2008 12:20 am

[quote="thesaurus"]What is the subject of your sentence? Life, which is not strong without a few friends. So life is the nominative case, "vita."

Next we have the verb "is," which in the singular present is "est." So "Vita est..."

For "not strong" you'll also use the nominative case. This is because "not strong" is an adjective modifying "life," and adjectives will be the same case and number as the noun the modify (here, nominative singular). The word for strong is "validus," and since "vita" is a feminine noun, the adjective matches it in gender, "valida."

For the "not," just put in the word "non" by the verb, like you would in english "Vita non est valida."

To finish this sentence, we need to add "without a few friends." "Sine" means "without," and as a preposition forces the nouns it modifies to take a certain case, which here is the ablative. "A few" is "paucus" and "friend" is "amicus." A "few friends" in the nominative plural is "pauci amici." But since "sine" makes nouns take the ablative, in the ablative case it changes to "sine paucis amicis."

Therefore:
"Sine paucis amicis vita non est valida."

quote]
Thanks for the reply. Now for some analysis of your response, please.
-->So life is the nominative case, "vita."
I know that this sounds foolish but what I hear you saying is that there will always be at least one word in the nomative case; that is the subject, correct?

Next,
--> Next we have the verb "is," which in the singular present is "est."
Understood, because Wheelocks' has only taught me the present tense thus far.

Next,
-->For "not strong" you'll also use the nominative case. This is because "not strong" is an adjective modifying "life," and adjectives will be the same case and number as the noun the modify (here, nominative singular). The word for strong is "validus," and since "vita" is a feminine noun, the adjective matches it in gender, "valida."
Again, understood mostly. "... not strong ..." I guess would really be an adjectival phrase, correct? I looked at this just a little bit differently, as in the following: 'not' modifies 'strong' which modifies 'life'. We arrive at the same conclusion I believe.

Next,
-->For the "not," just put in the word "non" by the verb, like you would in english "Vita non est valida."
Understood.

Next,
-->To finish this sentence, we need to add "without a few friends." "Sine" means "without," and as a preposition forces the nouns it modifies to take a certain case, which here is the ablative. "A few" is "paucus" and "friend" is "amicus." A "few friends" in the nominative plural is "pauci amici." But since "sine" makes nouns take the ablative, in the ablative case it changes to "sine paucis amicis."

The immediately above statement is to me the key to my initial question. After spending most of the working day pondering this situation here is my logic on how to approach a translation from English to Latin (and please feel free to correct or amend any of the following:

0) Diagram the English sentence. Once completed I must ask several questions:
1) What is the verb and is it singular, plural, male or female?
2) What is the subject and is it singular, plural, male or female?
3) Is there a direct object? It's case would then be accusative.
4) Is there an indirect object? It's case would then be datative.
5) Is there a preposition and what follows it? A preposition puts
the following adjectives and nouns into the ablative case. (For that
prepositional phrase.)
6) What are the nouns? Are they singular, plural, male, female?
7) Are the nouns modified by any adjectives? If so, are they singular, plural, male, female? Keep gender, number, case in mind.
8) Is the verb modified by an adverb? Again, singular, plural, male or female? Conjugate it correctly.
9) Write the stem/base of each of the sentences' words.
10) Ask, "To which case does this word belong?"
11) Next ask, "To which declension do the nouns and adjectives belong?
12) Complete the sentence.
13) All of the above is subject to change at any time as I learn more.

** A bug in the language prohibits the number 8 to be proceded by a close parenthesis - it reflects a graphic

I am not necessarily looking for a 'template' thru which to filter a sentence but I just need a few handles to grab a hold of.

What was throwing me was that even though I understood 'without' to be a preposition, it was not in Wheelocks listing of 'ablative prepositions'; hense I could not get a handle on how to form the cases of the words.

Now it is my time to applogize for the one being long winded. I am indebted for the time you took and if you are ever in Lilburn, Ga. look me up and I will take you out to dinner!
Thanks again,
dlb
.
Last edited by dlb on Fri May 30, 2008 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
dlb
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Posts: 139
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 1:43 am
Location: Lilburn, Ga.

Re: A beginners (dumb) question

Postby thesaurus » Thu May 29, 2008 1:35 pm

Thanks for the reply. Now for some analysis of your response, please.
-->So life is the nominative case, "vita."
I know that this sounds foolish but what I hear you saying is that there will always be at least one word in the nomative case; that is the subject, correct?


Correct. The nominative case is simply another name for the subject. The only time you might see two nouns in this case is when one is considered the "predicate nominative." However, don't worry about this terminology. The construction is the same in English, namely, two things are equated with the verb "is": "A dog is an animal" = "Canis est animal."

Next,
-->For "not strong" you'll also use the nominative case. This is because "not strong" is an adjective modifying "life," and adjectives will be the same case and number as the noun the modify (here, nominative singular). The word for strong is "validus," and since "vita" is a feminine noun, the adjective matches it in gender, "valida."
Again, understood mostly. "... not strong ..." I guess would really be an adjectival phrase, correct? I looked at this just a little bit differently, as in the following: 'not' modifies 'strong' which modifies 'life'. We arrive at the same conclusion I believe.


Correct. I should have specified adjectival phrase. Perhaps think of "non" as negating a whole phrase rather than a single word. If you add in "non" the meaning of the phrase becomes negative.

What was throwing me was that even though I understood 'without' to be a preposition, it was not in Wheelocks listing of 'ablative prepositions'; hense I could not get a handle on how to form the cases of the words.


Don't fear, because your method is sound. You'll find that this will get much easier the more you do it. Not long ago when I started Wheelock's I was struggling to compose single sentences, but now it's automatic. All the strange terminology and grammar may be killing you now, but--queing cliche--it's like riding a bike. Later on you'll be worrying about whether your sequence of tenses is correct, or why a certain phrase is in the subjunctive mood, and you won't even have to think about this earlier stuff.

Now it is my time to applogize for the one being long winded. I am indebted for the time you took and if you are ever in Lilburn, Ga. look me up and I will take you out to dinner!


Anytime!
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