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An issue with indirect discourse

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An issue with indirect discourse

Postby Vitance » Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:25 pm

The sentence I'm struggling with is in chapter LXIV of Jenney's First Year Latin. It asks for a Latin translation of:

A certain messenger reported to the chief that he had seen an ambush behind the camp.

Judging by the vocabulary of the chapter, I know he wants you to use either "adfero" or "refero" for "report", but I'm a little at a loss for how to compose the sentence as a whole in an elegant way. The problem I'm having is mostly with word order, so I was hoping someone could check for me what I think at least conveys the meaning:

Quidam nuntius se principi attulit vidisse post castra insidias.

Thanks for any corrections or advice you can give. All the best.
This thing which they call love, O Cupid,
Unite or else dissolve entire:
Inspire both with equal passion,
Or else inspire neither.
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Re: An issue with indirect discourse

Postby Sinister Petrus » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:18 pm

I'd be tempted to say (using the same words):

Quidam nuntius principi attulit se insidias post castra vidisse.

The biggie here (in my head, though I've seen it done other ways) is that the indirect speech is all grouped together somehow. I'd also try to avoid "post castra" directly in front of "insidias".
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Re: An issue with indirect discourse

Postby thesaurus » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:45 pm

Sinister Petrus wrote:I'd be tempted to say (using the same words):

Quidam nuntius principi attulit se insidias post castra vidisse.

The biggie here (in my head, though I've seen it done other ways) is that the indirect speech is all grouped together somehow. I'd also try to avoid "post castra" directly in front of "insidias".


Yes. And note that Sinister Petrus placed the reported verb at the end of the sentence. This isn't a deal breaker, but it's fairly common practice in both direct and indirect speech unless there is some need to highlight the verb.

To expand upon Sinister Petrus's comment, the accusative (reflexive) subject of the reported clause, "se", should follow the verb of reporting, or at least fall within the reported speech clause (before the direct object). Having it in front of "attulit" causes it to be read as something like "A certain messenger conveyed himself." You usually expect to be thrown into a reported clause after you encounter a verb of saying, thinking, etc. somewhere in the middle of a sentence.
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: An issue with indirect discourse

Postby Vitance » Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:21 am

Thanks, that helps a lot. I'll study your responses more thoroughly to gain a better understanding.

The reason I was confused (especially about the placement of se) is because I've often read "se dixit" when studying indirect discourse. It made sense in that context, but using it with "report" I couldn't think of a place to put it.
This thing which they call love, O Cupid,
Unite or else dissolve entire:
Inspire both with equal passion,
Or else inspire neither.
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Re: An issue with indirect discourse

Postby Sinister Petrus » Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:21 am

Vitance wrote:Quidam nuntius se principi attulit vidisse post castra insidias.


Though on reflection, I wonder if something like this might not be better (of course it is outside of the assignment):

Quidam nuntius principi attulit insidias post castra (oculis suis/a se) visas esse.

Shifting to passive eliminates the potential for ambiguity. I dimly recall a comp book suggesting this, but I can't tell you which one.
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Re: An issue with indirect discourse

Postby cb » Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:49 pm

hi, i would be more tempted to say NVNTIVS QVIDAM DVCEM CERTIOREM FECIT SE INSIDIAS POST CASTRA POSITAS VIDISSE.

- QVIDAM tends to go after the noun, not before it: bennett's new latin gr s350(5)(c): http://books.google.fr/books?id=38XVRyhHbYEC&pg=PA229

- the pronoun SE tends to go right at the beginning of the indirect infinitive phrase: see rule 2 in my earlier post on latin word order of 5 oct 2008 here: viewtopic.php?t=8738

- i used the CERTIOREM FACERE construction just because it is used often in caesar, eg. BG 1.11: TEMPORE QVO HAEDVI AMBARRI, NECESSARII ET CONSANGVINEI HAEDVORVM, CAESAREM CERTIOREM FACIVNT SESE DEPOPVLATIS AGRIS NON FACILE AB OPPIDIS VIM HOSTIVM PROHIBERE

- i put in POSITAS because it feels less right to me in latin to see a noun like INSIDIAS qualified by a prepositional phrase like POST CASTRA without putting in the implied participle - although i don't have a ref for this now, I may be wrong, just a gut feeling…

cheers, chad :)
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Re: An issue with indirect discourse

Postby adrianus » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:14 pm

cb wrote:the pronoun SE tends to go right at the beginning of the indirect infinitive phrase: see rule 2 in my earlier post on latin word order of 5 oct 2008

But it doesn't have to, so until you can say when and why it goes there or what the stats are, your rule is just is the neutral word order, S-V.
Aliter scribere licet, quâ re nisi dicas quando sic scribas vel quâ ratione vel quotiens in corpora scriptum, regula simplex est: subjectum ante verbum

Ciceronis Tusculanarum disputationis libro primo, capitulo tricesimo tertio. http://books.google.com/books?id=Gg7gAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA271&lpg=PA271&dq=%22omittere+se%22&source=bl&ots=EgK_tVGb3m&sig=eF-yIV-Dec_cFDpn_s6YkKVt1Jo&hl=en&ei=c9hwTuu_IsqW8QO1vIT_CQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=%22omittere%20se%22&f=false wrote:Ergo subtilissime sane fortissimeque disputat, qui id, quo as adversariis urgetur, non refutare, sed omittere se profitetur.


Livius, Ab urbe condita, libro tricesimo tertio, capitulo duodecimo, http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/livy/liv.33.shtml wrote:omittere se Carthaginienses: cum Philippo ipso quotiens uentum in conloquium?


http://www.tyrannus.com/pliny_let.html wrote:Propositus est libellus sine auctore multorum nomina continens. qui negabant esse se Christianos aut fuisse...
Alii ab indice nominati esse se Christianos dixerunt et mox negaverunt


http://www.forumromanum.org/literature/gellius16.html wrote:Nam si non habere se negaverit, quod non perdidit, colligetur oculos eum non habere, quos non perdidit; sin vero habere se dixerit, colligetur habere eum cornua, quae non perdidit.


http://www2.cnr.edu/home/araia/MacrobiusJulia.html wrote:Itaque inter amicos dixit duas habere se filias delicatas, quas necesse haberet ferre, rem publicam et Iuliam.
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: An issue with indirect discourse

Postby cb » Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:39 am

hi adrian, you're right that the rule 2 i mentioned is a tendency not a rule. second, it's not a rule i generated myself from my own statistics, it was just a summary of what i read in one of the most recent books on latin word order – a book that i referred to in that 2008 post, and i scanned and put online the relevant chapter so everyone else could check/dispute my summary and form their own conclusions (see pg 284 on this link: http://www.freewebs.com/mhninaeide/dsprons1of2.pdf ). i don't have stats backing up that assertion on pg 284 just as I don't have stats backing up the reference I gave in bennett's grammar above on the usual (but not universal) position of QVIDAM – i just cited their assertions as authorities in the area. i would like to have the time to go through cicero and caesar myself and look at the position of pronouns one by one in indirect infinitival phrases to put together my own stats on this, just as you suggested, to see whether these authorities are correct or not – but as victor hugo mentions near the start of les misérables, d’ailleurs qui est-ce qui atteint son idéal ? cheers, chad :)
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Re: An issue with indirect discourse

Postby Sinister Petrus » Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:23 am

cb wrote:hi, i would be more tempted to say NVNTIVS QVIDAM DVCEM CERTIOREM FECIT SE INSIDIAS POST CASTRA POSITAS VIDISSE.

- QVIDAM tends to go after the noun, not before it: bennett's new latin gr s350(5)(c): http://books.google.fr/books?id=38XVRyhHbYEC&pg=PA229

- the pronoun SE tends to go right at the beginning of the indirect infinitive phrase: see rule 2 in my earlier post on latin word order of 5 oct 2008 here: viewtopic.php?t=8738

- i used the CERTIOREM FACERE construction just because it is used often in caesar, eg. BG 1.11: TEMPORE QVO HAEDVI AMBARRI, NECESSARII ET CONSANGVINEI HAEDVORVM, CAESAREM CERTIOREM FACIVNT SESE DEPOPVLATIS AGRIS NON FACILE AB OPPIDIS VIM HOSTIVM PROHIBERE

- i put in POSITAS because it feels less right to me in latin to see a noun like INSIDIAS qualified by a prepositional phrase like POST CASTRA without putting in the implied participle - although i don't have a ref for this now, I may be wrong, just a gut feeling…

cheers, chad :)


Certiorem facere. Yes, that sounds much better. Bringing it up, you're feeling about POSITAS is probably right. I guess the passive bit I used was to eliminate the Accusative subject/Accusative direct object ambiguity, but really only one of those can see anything.

(You're right about quidam. That is actually a word I put in active use at conventiculum, so finer points of usage weren't rulebooked to me. Now I'm going to have to work on making my speech confirm, but that's another trick for another thread.)
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