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Some questions from Unit I

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Some questions from Unit I

Postby meka_ » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:17 pm

Hello there! I've just completed Unit I, and some of my translations have me a little puzzled. Might anyone be able to offer some insight on these?

From Exercises, Section I (pg. 28 in my edition):
9. Est cūra dē peonā poētae.
Est = 3rd person singular indicative present active
cūra = nominative singular
dē = preposition + ablative
peonā = ablative singular
poētae = nominative plural, genitive singular, or dative singular (In this sentence, genitive singular seems to me to be the most likely.)

Therefore, I translated this sentence as, "The concern is about the punishment of the poets," but that sounds a little odd to me. Do you think that's correct, or is there a better way I could translate this?

22. Rēgīnae dē patriā cūram habent.
Rēgīnae = nominative plural, genitive singular, or dative singular (Here, nom. plur., I think.)
dē = prep. + abl.
patriā = abl. sg.
cūram = acc. sg.
habent = 3rd p. plur. present ind. act.

I translated this sentence as, "Queens have anxiety about [their] homeland." My only concern here is that it seems to me that patriā would need to be plural in order for this to make sense. Wouldn't each queen be anxious about her own homeland, or are we to imagine several queens with the same homeland?

From Exercises, Section III, Reading (pg. 29 in my edition):
I'm a bit perplexed, here, about what I think is a sort of inexplicable tense change. The first and second sentences of the reading are in the present tense, but then the third is in the past, and the fourth resumes the present. Have I misread something, or is that accurate? Here is the passage:

(1) Poēta fābulam nārrat dē rēgīnā et nautā. (2) Rēgīna cum turbā incolārum ē patriā exit et ad Africam appropinquat. (3) Ibi novam patriam aedificābat sed nōn timēbat. (4) Subitō nauta cum turbā et incolārum et fēminārum ē patriā Troiā ad rēgīnae patriam appropinquat. (5) In Africā diū manent.

How could aedificābat and timēbat be anything but imperfect, with that -ba- stem in there? But if they are in the imperfect, then why are all of the other sentences in the present tense? When I translated those sentences, the tense switch also sounded strange in English:
(1) The poet tells a story about a queen and a sailor. (2) The queen goes out from her homeland with the crowd of inhabitants and approaches toward Africa. (3) There she built a new country but she did not fear (i.e., was not afraid?). (4) Suddenly a sailor approaches toward the country of the queen with a crowd of both inhabitants and women from the country Troy. (5) They remain in Africa for a long time.

The same thing happens to the tenses between sentences 6, 7, and 8:
(6) Amāre est rēgīnae nautaeque. (7) Fāma enim rēgīnae nōn erat cūra. (8) Postrēmō nauta rēgīnam relinquit et rēgīna vītam.

(6) To love is for the queen and for the sailor. (I feel like this also sounds odd, tense issues aside.)
(7) Indeed, [her] reputation was not the concern of the queen.
(8) Finally, the sailor abandons the queen, and the queen [abandons] her life.

Does anyone have any idea why the tenses change this way? Have I made a mistake, or do the tenses just vary in order to keep the student on their toes?

Thanks very much to anyone who answers any of my questions. I sincerely appreciate it. :)
meka_
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Re: Some questions from Unit I

Postby Qimmik » Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:41 am

Keep in mind that these are the sort of artificial sentences that language textbooks sometimes construct for students who don't yet have a lot of vocabulary and grammar.

9. This could be translated "There is concern about the punishment of the poet," as well as the way you've translated it except that poeta is singular. And it's poena, not poena.

22. Latin isn't as strict about this as careful English might be.

Reading exercises:

(3) Yes, aedificābat and timēbat are imperfect. But I think this is just to give you practice in the different tenses. However, it is true that Latin does frequently resort to the historical present in narratives, and often switches between the historical present and a past tense.

(6) sounds very odd to me, too, and I can't imagine a context where this would work. Again, it's a sentence designed to illustrate grammar for students who still don't have adequate vocabulary for real Latin sentences. You need to bear with this for a while.

Incidentally, this is a very crude summary of the fourth book of Vergil's Aeneid.

Just as you think, (7) and (8) are designed to keep you on your toes.
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Re: Some questions from Unit I

Postby meka_ » Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:38 pm

Thanks very much for your help, Qimmik. I was concerned that I might have made a mistake when the tenses in the reading and the number in 22 were not consistent; it is helpful to know that I can expect that sort of variation, at least in the beginning of the textbook. I'll try to be more patient with the curiously-constructed practice sentences.

And yes, I was amused when I noticed that the reading was a simplified retelling of part of the Aeneid. I look forward to being able to read the real thing.
meka_
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Re: Some questions from Unit I

Postby Qimmik » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:08 pm

Qimmik
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Re: Some questions from Unit I

Postby meka_ » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:21 pm

That's pretty delightful. Come to think of it, I've seen some rather tortured sentences in language textbooks before, but I suppose it's been a while. Thanks again!
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