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Gerundive and Gerundive

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Gerundive and Gerundive

Postby pmda » Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:38 pm

I need some guidance on Orberg's LLPSI Capitulum XXXIII Exercitium 4.

A series of questions are preceeded with the following 'exempla':

paratus ad scribendum: paratus ad epistulam scribendam

cupidus scribendi: cupidus epistulae scribendae (= cupidus epistulam scribendi)

fessus scribendo: fessus epistula scribenda (= fessus epistulam scribendo)


Now tell me if I have this right:

1. He is explaining the difference between the gerund and gerundive.... the point of this exercise.

2. The examples given before the colons (:) are gerunds - e.g. paratus ad scribendum

3. The examples given after the colonss are gerundives

4. What I'm not clear about are his explanations in brackets - e.g. = cupidus epistulam scribendi

- these are also gerunds (in this case genetive case), and it shows that a gerund will take an accusative as an object.

Do I have all of this right?
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Re: Gerundive and Gerundive

Postby adrianus » Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:39 pm

You're right. Plus the gerund is a verbal noun; gerundive a verbal adjective.
Ita est. Etiam nomen verbale est gerundium; adjectivum verbale gerundivum.
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: Gerundive and Gerundive

Postby pmda » Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:21 pm

Gratias tibi ago.
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Re: Gerundive and Gerundive

Postby thesaurus » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:38 pm

With the parenthetical remarks, Orberg is also illustrating something called "gerundive attraction," which happens when a gerund takes a direct object. That is, when you'd expect to see "cupidus epistulam scribendi" you will probably see "cupidus epistulae scribendae" in Latin texts.

The meaning is the same, but for some reason the grammar goes through a few twists and turns when a gerund takes an object (as one of my Latin professors explained, this happens because the Romans were all deviants and "attracted" to everything :) ). While a gerund could theoretically be used (and it does show up from time to time), Latin prefers to use a gerundive. However, changing from gerund to gerundive requires a few changes.

Two things happen in "gerundive attraction":

1. The gerund takes the gender of the noun it modifies. Hence, epistulam (f) + scribendi = scribendae (f). (This makes sense because a gerundive is an adjective and needs to agree with its noun.)

2. The noun (object of the gerund) adopts the case of the gerund! So while we'd expect epistulam to stay in the accusative case as the object, it changes to the genitive case to match the genitive of "scribendi." Hence, epistulam (acc) + scribendi (gen) = epistulae (gen).

Thus you have two different ways of saying the same thing. Cupidus epistulam scribendi / cupidus epistulae scribendae. Desirous of writing a letter.

When just translating literally from English to Latin, we'd probably default to the gerund (as literally matches our mode of expression), but Latin doesn't like it that way.
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: Gerundive and Gerundive

Postby pmda » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:42 am

Thesaurus, many thanks for this. It's very clear.
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