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Six questions about LLPSI Cap. XIX

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Six questions about LLPSI Cap. XIX

Postby pmda » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:47 pm

I have just read this chapter and there are a number of items which are neither adequately explained (at least not to me!) by Orberg in the margins nor by him in the student's manual 'Latine Disco'.

1) Mater familias

This is like 'Pater familias' - presumably. Nominative 'Pater' and Accusative Plural of 'Familia'? I know it's idiomatic but why is acc. pl. used to describe the mother or father (pater) of the family? It does seem very strange.


2) On page 149 he has Iulius saying to his wife Aemilia: 'Tempus amorem meum non minuit, immo vero auget!"

I may have missed something obvious that was explained earlier here but isn't 'Amor' the subject? Afterall 'minuit' is in 3rd person singular and 'amorem' is the thing that is not diminishing. - and if so why is it in the accusative 'amorem'? Do intransitive verbs behave just like ordinary verbs with respect to subjects and objects? I'd be grateful for an explanation of what's going on in this sentence.


3) Iulius tells Aemilia that a man she used to like wasn't (if I'm not mistaken) good enough for her. I'm confused about the grammar.

Iulius: "Ille vir pessimus te dignus non erat!" Orberg explains in the margin as follows: dignus, -a, -um (+abl: te/amore tuo d.)

(???) I'm a bit lost here. What does the Latin say and what does Orberg's explanation mean?


4) Aemilia tells Iulius: "Id quod nunc edo nec melius nec peius est quam quod apud parentes meos edebam." This is clear. She is referring to a neuter 'it' in 'Id' and qualifying that 'Id' with neuter comparative adjectives 'melius' and 'peius'. But then Iulius tells Aemilia that her appetite has increased since they were first married: "Ergo plus es quam tunc, Aemilia."

What is the gender of 'plus' here? Why the switch away from neuter? Does 'plus' qualify 'Aemilia'? It would seem to qualify an imputed thing that is eaten - ergo - food or the neuter 'id' mentioned above?


5) Aemilia tells Iulius: "...etiam familiam tempore augeri? Why is 'augeri' in passive voice? Is 'Augere' transitive? Given that it is passive voice then why is 'familiam' in accusative and not in nominative.....'


6) This next question is related to 4). Aemilia tells Iulius - to end the coversation - "Num opus est me plus discere?" What governs the gender of 'plus'. It's either masculine or reminine and definitely not neuter.
Last edited by pmda on Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Six questions about LLPSI Cap. XIX

Postby spiphany » Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:15 pm

Nominative 'Pater' and Accusative Plural of 'Familia'? I know it's idiomatic but why is acc. pl. used to describe the mother or father (pater) of the family? It does seem very strange.

Check Lewis & Short at Perseus: at the beginning of the entry there is the note that: gen. sing. is usually in the archaic form familias. (By the way, "familia" seems to mean something closer to "household" than "family" in the sense of a kin group)

On page 149 he has Iulius saying to his wife Aemilia: 'Tempus amorem meum non minuit, immo vero auget!"

"Tempus" is the subject. "minuit" is being used transitively here.

Iulius: "Ille vir pessimus te dignus non erat!" Orberg explains in the margin as follows: dignus, -a, -um (+abl: te/amore tuo d.)

You're correct about the meaning. Some adjectives can take a noun complement in a different case. Orberg's note indicates that "dignus" is followed by a noun or pronoun in the ablative. We do the same thing in English: we say someone is "worthy of something/someone"

Iulius tells Aemilia that her appetite has increased since they were first married: "Ergo plus es quam tunc, Aemilia."

What is the gender of 'plus' here? Why the switch away from neuter? Does 'plus' qualify 'Aemilia'? It would seem to qualify an imputed thing that is eaten - ergo - food or the neuter 'id' mentioned above?

"plus" is an adjective of the third declension. I would read it as neuter here.

Aemilia tells Iulius: "...etiam familiam tempore augeri? Why is 'augeri' in passive voice? Is 'Augere' transitive? Given that it is passive voice then why is 'familiam' in accusative and not in nominative.....'

Because it's the subject of an indirect statement (which take the form acc + inf): "Nonne intellegis familiam tempore augeri?" "amorem" earlier in the sentence is accusative for the same reason.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Six questions about LLPSI Cap. XIX

Postby ptolemyauletes » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:46 pm

A quick note on plus.

plus is actually treated as a noun in the singular.
In the plural it reverts to being a proper adjective, but in the singular it is treated as an indeclinable noun taking the genitive in the manner of satis. The genitive so used is partitive in nature.
plus vini = more of the wine, more wine
satis vini = enough of the wine, enough wine.

The key in your phrase is again what isn't being said.
I suspect the full phrase would be 'plus feminae es quam tunc.'
Spiphany, if plus were simply acting as an adjective, then it would be unsatisfactory to read it as neuter, for the verb is 'es', which clearly impies he is addressing his wife, a woman.
Why then is it ok to use plus as a neuter noun? Because while complementary adjectives must normally match their complement in gender, complementary nouns need not.
For example, If I were to call you a Temple, I would say 'es (masculine or feminine) templum (neuter)'. Clearly the person I am addressing is a male or female, but a temple is neuter, and must stick with its gender.
Plus is neuter and must remain so, even though describing a woman. I suspect the auther who wrote this exercise was having a bit of fun. A more normal phrasing might have been 'es maior quam tunc', which uses an adjective.

The same is true of your final question, "Num opus est me plus discere?"
plus IS neuter, with an omitted neuter thing as its understood genitive attachment, or perhaps simply acting on its own. 'There is no need to say more of the thing, is there?' Usually in Latin we see the substantive adjective plura, more things.

Lastly, Spipahny, I don't think your answer to question 5 really got to exactly what PMDA was asking. You are certainly correct to explain why familiam is accusative, because it is an acc. inf. construction.
But why is augeri passive? Yes, PMDA, augere is transitive. It means to 'cause something to increase', to augment, to enlarge. 'augeri' therefore means to be increased.
Hope this helps.
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Re: Six questions about LLPSI Cap. XIX

Postby pmda » Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:07 pm

I haven't read these responses in enough detail but some things occur to me.

Is the neuter of Plus - comparative adjective the same as the M/F ? If so that's news to me. Where is the partitive genitive of which you speak in the sentence? As I understand it he's telling her You eat more than you used to. 'more' is a comparative adjective qualifying the unnamed thing - cibus (m) ...so perhaps it's masculine...

You say: 'I suspect the full phrase would be 'plus feminae es quam tunc.'

But surely 'es' here is 2nd person singular of the verb edo, edere - to eat and and not 2nd person singular of Sum, Esse, the verb to be and he's telling her that she eats more now than she used to??!!
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Re: Six questions about LLPSI Cap. XIX

Postby spiphany » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:16 pm

pmda wrote:Surely 'es' here is 2nd person singular of the verb edo, edere - to eat and and not 2nd person singular of Sum, Esse, the verb to be and he's telling her that she eats more now than she used to??!!

That's how I read it, too.

"quam" can be used instead of a genitive in comparisons. This is handy when -- as here -- you're not following it with a noun but with a clause.
And, yes, I do think that "plus" is acting as a substantive here -- sorry if I wasn't clear.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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