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Question re gerantur.

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Question re gerantur.

Postby Rufus Coppertop » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:30 am

Caesar's Gallic War. II.2

Dat negotium Senonibus reliquisque Gallis qui finitimi Belgis erant, uti ea quae apud eos gerantur cognoscant seque de his rebus certiorem faciant.

Would a decent translation be, "that they should get to know those things which are carried among them, and make him more certain about these matters?"

Should I think of ea as a neuter plural accusative and the object of cognoscant?
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby Damoetas » Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:09 am

Rufus Coppertop wrote:Caesar's Gallic War. II.2

Dat negotium Senonibus reliquisque Gallis qui finitimi Belgis erant, uti ea quae apud eos gerantur cognoscant seque de his rebus certiorem faciant.

Would a decent translation be, "that they should get to know those things which are carried among them, and make him more certain about these matters?"

Should I think of ea as a neuter plural accusative and the object of cognoscant?


Looks like your understanding is essentially correct. Some of the words could be rendered more idiomatically: cognoscant, 'find out, investigate'; gerantur, 'going on, happening'; certiorem facere is 'inform him, report to him,' etc. Also, this sentence uses historic presents but it's really talking about the past, so you could make it past tense in English.

There are two different ways of understanding ea and cognoscant. Traditional grammars will say that ea is the direct object, and that the relative clause quae apud eos gerantur is modifying it. A newer linguistic analysis says that quae apud eos gerantur is actually the direct object, and that ea is modifying it. The main reason for this is that it's very common in Latin to find relative clauses which have no antecedent like is or ea; instead, they serve as the subject or object of the main clause. Examples:

imperaret {quod vellet}.
'Let him command {what he wished},' (Caesar, Civil War 3.1)

Tu velim {quae nostrae Academiae parasti} quam primum mittas.
'I'd like you to send {what you prepared for my Academy} as soon as possible,' (Cicero, To Atticus 1.11.3)

Instead of saying "id/ea must be supplied or understood," it makes just as much sense to say "Latin relative clauses do not require an antecedent." In any case, if this is confusing, don't worry about it too much; it doesn't affect the meaning, only how you describe the structure linguistically.
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby Rufus Coppertop » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:40 pm

Thank you for that. I've printed your reply. It makes me feel as if I've turned a corner in my understanding of Latin.
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby Nooj » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:47 am

Hi Damoetas.
Damoetas wrote: A newer linguistic analysis says that quae apud eos gerantur is actually the direct object, and that ea is modifying it.
Grammatically speaking, just how is ea modifying the relative clause? In an appositive sense?
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby Damoetas » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:35 pm

The claim is that it's a determiner modifying the relative clause, just as it could modify a noun. So for instance, to take the original Caesar sentence as a starting point:
uti ea quae apud eos gerantur cognoscant

The relative clause could have been replaced by a noun, such as res:
uti eas res cognoscant

... and the function of ea/eas would have been the same. In both cases, res and quae apud eos gerantur are the head, and ea/eas is the determiner that modifies it.
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby adrianus » Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:08 pm

Sounds interesting. Do you have cross references for that, Damoetas?
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby ptolemyauletes » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:42 pm

Yes, it can certainly be thought of this way. Whether it IS this way or not cannot be proven, nor, ultimately, does it matter. The Romans just spoke that way, and whether we say 'supply id or ea as an antecedent noun so we can call this a standard relative clause' or we say 'the relative clause is the object' it makes no real difference for meaning. Certainly in trying to understand it from a grammatical point of view it is interesting, but I am not sure which method is simpler for teaching it to beginners. I think this may just be grammarians trying to keep themselves employed by proving they can be innovative! :)
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby Kynetus Valesius » Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:28 pm

though necessary my mind easily becomes fogged by grammar's abstractions. in this case through a combination of reading experience and formal study, i was able to understand the sentence at sight without a lot of analysis . once the understanding is there, the goal should be smooth idiomatic English (like something you would expect from an accomplished writer).

Dat negotium Senonibus reliquisque Gallis qui finitimi Belgis erant, uti ea quae apud eos gerantur cognoscant seque de his rebus certiorem faciant

He gave the job to the senones (?) and the other gauls neighboring the belgi : to find out what was happening among them and report back to him.

I view (could easily be wrong) the whole uti clause as being in apposition with "negotium" : that (uti) they should find out those things which (cognoscant ea quae) were taking place gerantur ...etc

C: vos principes senonum, velim vobis dare magni momenti negotium

SS: libenter quodcumque a nobis petas perficiemus nam tibi pignori nostrae fidei multum obsidem dedimus . attamen quo de negotio loqueris caesar?

C: negotium est hoc : ut quam primum belgos visatis ut cognoscam quae res apud eos gerantur. si videritis eos insidias conjurare, eos quid malum molire, properate huc ut accipiam omnia ea quae aperueritis.

SS: quae nobis emperas facta esse habeas magne dux . necesse est ut quid aliud agamus ?
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby Damoetas » Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:30 pm

ptolemyauletes wrote:Yes, it can certainly be thought of this way. Whether it IS this way or not cannot be proven, nor, ultimately, does it matter. The Romans just spoke that way, and whether we say 'supply id or ea as an antecedent noun so we can call this a standard relative clause' or we say 'the relative clause is the object' it makes no real difference for meaning. Certainly in trying to understand it from a grammatical point of view it is interesting, but I am not sure which method is simpler for teaching it to beginners. I think this may just be grammarians trying to keep themselves employed by proving they can be innovative! :)


I agree with you up to a point, Ptolemy.... It's true that the analysis on this particular question does not impact the meaning. And it may or may not make the construction easier to teach to beginners. But generally speaking, the goal of linguistic analysis is not to be clever; it's to provide the best possible description of structures that really exist in the language (whether we're describing Latin or any other language). It's worth pointing out that structure exists in language even when native speakers are not aware of it -- in fact, they are usually not aware of it. But that doesn't negate the fact that some groups of words "clump together" in ways that other words do not (we call these "phrases"), and that sentences come in hierarchies where different phrases operate at different levels. We can discover these things by applying various sorts of tests. One of these is the question test: What group of words can be given as the answer to a question? Here's some examples from English:

Speaker A: "I met the man in the gray suit."
Speaker B: "Who did you say you met?"
Speaker A: "The man in the gray suit."

This shows that "The man in the gray suit" is a unit (i.e. a complete noun phrase). In response to that question, you couldn't answer, "*In the gray suit" or "*Gray suit" or even "*The man" (except perhaps in certain unusual contexts). Now consider this example:

Speaker A: "I met the man on a train."
Speaker B: "Who did you say you met?"

Speaker A cannot answer "*The man on a train." The reason is because "the man" and "on a train" do not form a unit. "The man" is the direct object of "met." "On a train" is an adverbial modifier of the entire verb phrase. (Terminology may differ depending on your theoretical framework, but we don't need to be overly precise here.) In order to elicit "On the train" as an answer, you would have to ask a different question:

Speaker B: "Where did you meet the man?"
Speaker A: "On a train."

My point in all this is that, yes, English speakers "just speak this way." They're not doing it because some grammarian or "teacher of rhetoric" tells them to. They're doing it because the English language has internal structure which exists quite apart from native speakers' awareness of it. The same is obviously true with Latin. And in the case of the relative clause problem, I think the reason why some linguists prefer the newer explanation is that it seems to fit the data better. An analysis like the traditional one, where you are having to "supply" things left and right, is perhaps less satisfactory than one that says, "These things never had to be here in the first place." And to move on from there, I think, though this may not be true in every case, that the better the analysis fits the real structure of the language, the more satisfactory it will be for students. All the "omissions" in Latin can seem awfully perverse to students who think those words really "ought" to be there.
Last edited by Damoetas on Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby Damoetas » Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:10 pm

Kynetus Valesius wrote:C: vos principes senonum, velim vobis dare magni momenti negotium
etc.


O Kynete, dialogus tuus mihi valde placuit!
I love the dialogue!
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby ptolemyauletes » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:08 pm

Damoetas Wrote:
Instead of saying "id/ea must be supplied or understood," it makes just as much sense to say "Latin relative clauses do not require an antecedent." In any case, if this is confusing, don't worry about it too much; it doesn't affect the meaning, only how you describe the structure linguistically.


What about saying 'Latin relative clauses can BE their OWN antecedent'?
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby Damoetas » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:30 pm

ptolemyauletes wrote:What about saying 'Latin relative clauses can BE their OWN antecedent'?

I think that's a good statement. Or, it might have been better not to use the word "antecedent" at all, because that still implies that there's something preceding that they're referring back to. The reality seems to be that relative clauses can be "autonomous," or "substantival" -- in fact this usage seems to be comparable to the substantive use of adjectives.
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby adrianus » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:54 pm

Damoetas wrote:A newer linguistic analysis says...

Again, have you a title of a paper or book on this, Damoetas?
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby Damoetas » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:11 pm

adrianus wrote:Again, have you a title of a paper or book on this, Damoetas?
Iterùm, Damoeta, habesne titulum capituli vel libri has res tractantis?


Ah yes, I've been meaning to answer that question. The problem is that I hear it more by "personal communication" from Latinists instead of from books and articles. I know that this is the approach taken by Harm Pinkster in the Oxford Latin Syntax -- that work is still in progress, but there are draft sections and handouts from it on his website: e.g. this one, (Uppsala, 2010) Relative clauses in the Oxford Latin Syntax (http://harmpinkster.nl/index.php?option ... &Itemid=54) This handout takes it more as a "given" instead of specifically arguing for it, but it does contain references for further reading.

Next time I get to the library, I will try to look some of these up and give more specific references.
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby Interaxus » Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:37 am

Damoetas wrote:
Instead of saying "id/ea must be supplied or understood," it makes just as much sense to say "Latin relative clauses do not require an antecedent."


The difference between ‘ea quae’ and ‘quae’ reminds me of the difference between ‘the man that/whom/who I met on the train’ and ‘the man I met on the train’ in English ‘defining relative clauses’. Though some English teachers still speak in terms of ‘omission’, it seems two alternate forms have taken root in our brains.

The thought tool changes, thought remains the same:

Juliet: THAT WHICH we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.
Bernard d'Espagnat: WHAT we call 'reality' is just a state of mind.

Cheers,
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby justerman » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:40 pm

Those interested in a view of Latin grammar written from what purports to be a modern linguistic perspective might like to look at "Latin Grammar" (great title!) by Dirk Panhuis, published by University of Michigan Press.
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby Nataly56 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:17 pm

There are two different ways of understanding ea and cognoscant. Traditional grammars will say that ea is the direct object, and that the relative clause quae apud eos gerantur is modifying it.
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Re: Question re gerantur.

Postby adrianus » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:43 am

Looks like a suspicious (robot-like?) post from Nataly56,—just repeating two lines by Damoetas from eighteen months earlier.

Suspecta illa epistula, id mihi videtur, (robotore scripta?) quae sententias duas à Damoetâ abhinc menses octodecim mittas modò reponit.
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