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How many verbs change meaning in the passive voice?

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How many verbs change meaning in the passive voice?

Postby Quis ut Deus » Sun Dec 27, 2009 11:41 pm

Salvete omnes!

For example, I have seen that 'videre' in the passive voice means 'seems.'

Can you guys give me some more examples of verbs that have a different meaning in the passive voice?

Gratias vobis ago!
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Re: How many verbs change meaning in the passive voice?

Postby Quis ut Deus » Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:20 pm

For example, when I see "habebatur," I translate "He/she/it was had," but it sounds kind of strange.
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Re: How many verbs change meaning in the passive voice?

Postby thesaurus » Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:39 pm

I typed this up yesterday, although I couldn't post it because Texkit seemed inoperable...

I've been trying to think of some, but I haven't been able to come up with many. I can think of "fertur" and "dicitur" I'm sure others will have suggestions. Generally, I think the meaning of most Latin verbs should be clear in the passive. In Greek, verbs will often have different meanings in the middle voice, but I don't think the same phenomenon is common in Latin (which lacks a middle voice--or rather deponent verbs are sort of a hang-on of the middle voice)

Habebatur might mean "it was held [that]," as something analogous to "dicitur" or "fertur." Googling, I find in Tacitus's annals, "Mos habebatur principum liberos cum ceteris idem aetatis nobilibus sedentes vesci in adspectu propinquorum propria et parciore mensa." Which literally means "A custom was held that the sons of the princes sitting with with other nobles of the same age ate in sight of their relatives at their own and more frugal table." You can see that the rest of the sentence is indirect discourse with "liberos" as the accusative subject and "vesci" as the infinitive verb. In English, we would say "it was the custom of the sons of princes" or "it was customary" etc. using the impersonal construction.

You can figure out the meaning of the passives "fertur" and "dicitur," but they are somewhat tricky if you don't know them. They mean "[it] is said/related/told/reputed that." As in the example of habebatur, the thing that is being said is in the nominative ("mos"), while the rest is in indirect speech. "Homerus fertur/dicitur multa carmina scripsisse" "Homer is said to have written many poems." It is possible to encounter fertur/dicitur without a subject, and then you'll assume an impersonal "it," as in "fertur multos homines hic perivisse," "it is said that many men died here." (However, I've read that it's better Latin to put the subject in the nominative, as in "multi homines feruntur hic perivisse").

Here are some examples I found in the Historia Augusta:

Pescennius ergo Niger, ut alii tradunt, modicis parentibus, ut alii, nobilibus fuisse dicitur, patre Annio Fusco, matre Lampridia, avo curatore Aquini, ex quo2 familia originem ducebat; quod quidem dubium etiam nunc habetur
In habetur here, its object is also in the nominative because it's operating as a kind of copulative ("is") verb: "which is certainly held as/to be a doubt."
2 cum quidem Iulianus dixisse fertur neque sibi neque Pescennio longum imperium deberi
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: How many verbs change meaning in the passive voice?

Postby Quis ut Deus » Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:14 pm

Salve Thesaure!

Gratias tibi ob auxilium!

Yeah, some of the verbs in the passive voice throw me for a loop, but your explanation is very clear and will give me something to chew on for the new year.

So, thanks again, to you and to all the others who have helped me in my quest to learn Latin!

Vale, Thesaure!
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Re: How many verbs change meaning in the passive voice?

Postby thesaurus » Thu Dec 31, 2009 7:17 pm

Rest assured that the things that throw you through a loop do the same to everybody. When answering your question, I just try to think about what confused me when I was in your shoes (I recall "fertur" making a fool of me in class once).

Noli sollicitari, ut tibi, sic omnibus accidit haec res difficiles esse. Cum tibi respondere pararem, de eis rebus quae mihi linguam latinam pedetemptim discenti olim vexaverunt cogitare conor (memini scholae "fertur" me lusit).
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: How many verbs change meaning in the passive voice?

Postby Quis ut Deus » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:50 pm

Salve Thesaure!

What did you think "fertur" meant?

Vale!
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Re: How many verbs change meaning in the passive voice?

Postby thesaurus » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:20 pm

Quis ut Deus wrote:What did you think "fertur" meant?


"Is carried/brought." It was only embarrassing because everyone else seemed to know it.
Cum omnes condiscipuli sententiam verbi scire mihi visi sint erubui.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: How many verbs change meaning in the passive voice?

Postby adrianus » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:21 pm

The third-person singular impersonal passive of intransitive verbs is difficult to get used to, I think.
De verbis intransitivis, vox passiva tertiae personae singularis et impersonalis peregrinior quidem est.
A&G §208d wrote:ventum est, they came (there was coming). 
pugnatur, there is fighting (it is fought). 
itur, some one goes (it is gone). 
parcitur mihi, I am spared (it is spared to me, see § 372).
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: How many verbs change meaning in the passive voice?

Postby Quis ut Deus » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:05 pm

Salvete!

Oh, I can see that.

Well thanks again! Gratias vobis!
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