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Question about indirect statements.

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Question about indirect statements.

Postby Thersites » Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:29 pm

Recently I've been learning from Latin Sentence and Idiom by R. Colebourne and have come across a couple of questions in an exercise that have perplexed me.

The exercises concern indirect statements (or reported speech, as Colebourne calls it), and are as follows:

1. It is related that Homer was blind.
(The answer to which Colebourne provides as Narratur Homerus caecus fuisse)

2. It is said that Catiline threatened to overwhelm the state.
(Colebourne: Dicitur Catilina minatus esse se rem publicam eversurum esse

Now, why are 'Homerus' and 'caecus', and 'Catilina' and 'minatus' respectively in the nominative case? All the other exercises follow the usual accusative + infinative format, so why are these different? Does the fact the verbs are being used impersonally and the subject of both the primary and subordinate clauses are the same mean a different rule applies? If so, Colebourne doesn't enunciate it.

Or am I just being stupid and not seeing the obvious?


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Re: Question about indirect statements.

Postby spiphany » Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:33 pm

"Dicitur" and "narratur" are passive with "Catilina" and "Homer" functioning as their subject -- although we would tend to translate these sentences impersonally in English, the Latin parses as "Homer is said to have been blind" etc.
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: Question about indirect statements.

Postby thesaurus » Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:46 pm

I have, however, seen the impersonal construction in Latin (I don't remember where), although I think that it is not the preferred usage.

Edit: here is a full discussion of personal vs. impersonal uses of indirect speech (section 528): http://books.google.com/books?id=qngXAA ... &q&f=false
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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