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Bamboozled by this sentence

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Bamboozled by this sentence

Postby latinconfusion » Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:24 pm

I've been learning Latin bit by bit using Orberg's Lingua Latina. At the end of chapter 6 there's the following sentence:

Verba Medi a Lydia laeta audiuntur

As far as I can understand it concerns Lydia hearing Medus' words and being happy. My confusion however is why Medus ends as Medi (which I think is genitive) but verba ends in 'a' and not verbis. A sentence prior to this one says this:

Lydia verbis Medi delactatur eumque salutat

Which I translated as 'Medus' words delight Lydia and she greets him'. Why is one sentence 'verbis' and the other 'verba'. Am I completely mis-translating it? Can someone shed some light on this?
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Re: Bamboozled by this sentence

Postby thesaurus » Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:59 pm

Laetus,a,um is an adjective, so it will change in form to match the case/number/gender of the noun it goes with. In your first example, it matches with Lydia (and it's not just a coincidence that they're next to eachother). Lydia is ablative because it goes with the preposition "a," so "laeta" is also ablative. Thus, "The words of Medus are heard by a happy Lydia."

Don't rely on resemblence of endings alone. Verba ends with an A because it's a neuter plural (verbum, verbi, n.), and could thus be nom or acc plural. Lydia is feminine, so that long A has nothing in common. Ideally you'd have a macron over that A to help you tell them apart, but macrons are rare.

This should help you figure out the second example. "Lydia is pleased with the words of Medus and [she] greets him." Once you know that "words" here is ablative, you'll have to deduce the reason for this case. Here (as often) it's because the words are instrumental--you are delighted with or by something.
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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