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Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

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Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Lumen_et_umbra » Fri Aug 15, 2003 8:02 pm

Let me start by saying that the Romans used the subjunctive atrociously, promiscuously, and atrociously promiscously. Now, with that having been said, why in the trash is the subjunctive used in the second clause of the following sentence?<br /><br />Si cvi libri Ciceronis placent, ille sciat se profecisse.<br />-Marcus Fabius Quintilianus <br /><br />That man knows himself to have progressed, if to whom the books of Cicero are a delight.<br /><br /> :P :-X :-\ :P<br />Mine faces of inappropriate levity (signs of nascent insanity and of an incipient, more vehement insanity) have been engendered by a non-sensical facet of Latin grammar. <br /><br />I have never been taught a form of conditional sentence that has the present indicative in the first clause and the present subjunctive in the second! Nuts to you, Latin! Neither Italian, nor English (particularly not English - since, in English, the subjunctive mood has all but disappeared), nor Spanish use the subjunctive in such a vagarious and ambiguous manner. Please, help me, someone. ???
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Episcopus » Fri Aug 15, 2003 8:13 pm

Personally, in English writing a sentence like that I would have used the subjunctive (well in the "if" clause). <br /><br />Read Page 140 onwards, of the subjunctive, in the book of D'Ooge. It may help you. <br /><br />Ouch nice sentence ;)<br /><br />
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Milito » Fri Aug 15, 2003 8:18 pm

I would hazard that in this case, the subjunctive is being used because the situation isn't a statement of fact. The subjunctive is a mood of possibilities, and there's no guarantee that someone would find Cicero's books pleasing. (Odd concept that, but apparently not everyone likes Cicero...... ::))<br /><br />Kilmeny
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby benissimus » Fri Aug 15, 2003 8:19 pm

I would translate it as:<br />If Cicero's books are to his liking, then he may/would know that he has made progress.<br /><br />What is this, some sort of premonition for Latin learners of today? ;o
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby benissimus » Fri Aug 15, 2003 8:20 pm

Not a strict translation, by the way. ;)
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Episcopus » Fri Aug 15, 2003 8:35 pm

Someone please explain each word! :'(
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby benissimus » Fri Aug 15, 2003 8:43 pm

<br />Well, this type of writing is more figuring out how the words fit together than what they individually mean. I will give you the pieces, but you have to put them together (not easy) 8)<br /><br />Si cvi libri Ciceronis placent, ille sciat se profecisse.<br /><br />Si- if<br />cvi- to whom<br />libri- books<br />Ciceronis- Cicero's/of Cicero<br />placent- they please/are pleasing to +DAT.<br />ille- that man/he<br />sciat- he may know<br />se- himself<br />profecisse- to have advanced/progressed<br /><br />Put it all together and you get:<br />"If to whom Cicero's books are pleasing, he may know himself to have progressed."
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Episcopus » Fri Aug 15, 2003 8:50 pm

Ah, I wondered...so sciat is a verb. <br /><br />I would have used subjunctive in the if clause :(<br /><br />So if the books of Cicero are pleasing to him, it's possible that he may know himself to have progressed...<br /><br /> :o<br /><br />The doubt/imagination/possibility would have been for me in the "if"; I interpret this - it is not certain even if the books of cicero please him that he feel himself to have progressed. <br />he may just enjoy them and not laugh at his progress :o<br /><br />Lumen I share your bewilderment >:(
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Lumen_et_umbra » Fri Aug 15, 2003 9:05 pm

In response to Espiscopus' first response -<br /><br />English really only has the imperfect subjunctive. In the simple fact present constructions and in the contrary to fact present constructions, English wouldn't use the subjunctive tense (if it does, it has been rendered indistinguisable over the centuries; and, thus, it no longer exists, in my opinion).<br /><br />If I were an idiot, I would do this.<br />Si fuera idiota, lo haria.<br />Si stultus sim, id faciat<br />Se fossi idiota, lo farei<br /><br />This is one of the few constructions in which English uses the subjunctive - as far as I am aware. Interestingly, this construction is ubiquitous to many languages (at least romance languages anyway).
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Lumen_et_umbra » Fri Aug 15, 2003 9:19 pm

[quote author=Milito link=board=3;threadid=482;start=0#4011 date=1060978692]<br />I would hazard that in this case, the subjunctive is being used because the situation isn't a statement of fact. The subjunctive is a mood of possibilities, and there's no guarantee that someone would find Cicero's books pleasing. (Odd concept that, but apparently not everyone likes Cicero...... ::))<br /><br />Kilmeny<br />[/quote]<br /><br />But, in that case, shouldn't both clauses be in the subjunctive mood?<br /><br />e.g. If Cicero's books should truly please him, he would know himself to have progressed. (Perhaps he doesn't know himself to have progressed, and, thus, Quintilian wonders if the person has truly found Cicero's books to be a pleasure?)<br /><br />These subtle nuances of meaning are difficult because I have never seen anyone define them aptly. This makes it difficult to know when exactly to use the subjunctive, being that I am not entirely sure what a sentence employing the subjunctive means precisely (I already know it often translates as should, might, could, would, etc..).
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Milito » Fri Aug 15, 2003 9:20 pm

[quote author=Episcopus link=board=3;threadid=482;start=0#4028 date=1060980650]<br />Ah, I wondered...so sciat is a verb. <br />[/quote]<br /><br />Yes - the verb is a 3rd (oops.... brain melted or something.... thanks for the correction, Benissimus) 4th conjugation, scio. Useful little beast.<br /><br />[quote author=Episcopus link=board=3;threadid=482;start=0#4028 date=1060980650]<br /><br />The doubt/imagination/possibility would have been for me in the "if"; I interpret this - it is not certain even if the books of cicero please him that he feel himself to have progressed. <br />he may just enjoy them and not laugh at his progress :o<br />[/quote]<br /><br />That's the whole thing about the subjunctive - any part of a sentence could be in doubt! But in this case, because placeo is not subjunctive, I would interpret it to mean that "he" (whoever "he" is) has already observed that he enjoys Cicero's books. Therefore this is a statement of fact, and the "si" almost reaches the sense of a "since". The doubt is whether or not he actually considers himself to have progressed (and, I suppose, what he's progressed from!) It's possible that he knows he's progressed, but he hasn't mentioned it. It's possible that he doesn't realize that he's progressed. It's possible that he always liked the books of Cicero, so doesn't think that he's progressed anywhere at all, relative to where he started. <br /><br />Kilmeny
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Episcopus » Fri Aug 15, 2003 9:34 pm

There is for me a want of "if I be" in English. <br /><br />With doubt. If one were to say to me "It is possible that you (may) be an idiot", I would reply "If I be an idiot, I'll kill myself". One could insert "If I (ever) be an idiot" even, to make the meaning clearer. This 'be' implies great doubt and shows the person calling me an idiot that my supposed being an idiot is all in his/her imagination and not a fact, which is the fundamental difference between indicative and subjunctive. The "if I (ever) be an idiot..." shows that it is quite possible that I may be an idiot in the future, quite a different implication from that below ("If I were").<br /><br />"If I were an idiot, I would kill myself" just show that it is completely in the other speaker's imagination that I may be an idiot. <br /><br />"It is possible that you are an idiot" to me, is wrong; however in English it is accepted and implies much less doubt than "(may) be". <br />My reply to this indicative with it is possible makes me angry, so "If I am an idiot, you're a double idiot". This sentence assumes that the situation described by the other speaker (my being an idiot) to be true. Thus no doubt, however it is sardonic :)<br /> <br />For me it is a weakness in English. Set phrases to use a mood is not right. It's either use it not, or use it. In french if clauses indicative is used; in German conditionals the subjunctive. <br />There are slight differences, as I have attempted to explain, in the meanings (including the present subjunctive English :o ) that I see, however slight. I am longe not an expert, this is merely how I see it :) <br />I can not wait until I may study the Latin subjunctive in order that I may actually gain a clue ;)<br /><br />I likes the subjunctive and Episcopus chaque fois gives his full opinion on the matter in question. <br /><br />If I were an idiot, I would do this.<br />Si fuera idiota, lo haria.<br />Si stultus sim, id faciat<br />Se fossi idiota, lo farei<br /><br />Why is the present subjunctive used in the 2nd? What is the third?
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Episcopus » Fri Aug 15, 2003 9:36 pm

[quote author=Milito link=board=3;threadid=482;start=0#4041 date=1060982434]<br />[quote author=Episcopus link=board=3;threadid=482;start=0#4028 date=1060980650]<br />Ah, I wondered...so sciat is a verb. <br />[/quote]<br /><br />Yes - the verb is a 3rd conjugation, scio. Useful little beast.<br />That's the whole thing about the subjunctive - any part of a sentence could be in doubt! But in this case, because placeo is not subjunctive, I would interpret it to mean that "he" (whoever "he" is) has already observed that he enjoys Cicero's books. Therefore this is a statement of fact, and the "si" almost reaches the sense of a "since". The doubt is whether or not he actually considers himself to have progressed (and, I suppose, what he's progressed from!) It's possible that he knows he's progressed, but he hasn't mentioned it. It's possible that he doesn't realize that he's progressed. It's possible that he always liked the books of Cicero, so doesn't think that he's progressed anywhere at all, relative to where he started. <br /><br />Kilmeny <br />[/quote]<br /><br /><br />Quotes all of it! And claps! <br /><br />That's what I meant yay ;D (look at my post)<br /><br />[quote author=Episcopus link=board=3;threadid=482;start=0#4028 date=1060980650]<br /><br />The doubt/imagination/possibility would have been for me in the "if"; I interpret this - it is not certain even if the books of cicero please him that he feel himself to have progressed. <br />he may just enjoy them and not laugh at his progress :o<br />[/quote]<br />
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Lumen_et_umbra » Fri Aug 15, 2003 9:37 pm

Episcopus - <br />The second sentence employs the imperfect subjunctive, just as all the other sentences employ the imperfect subjunctive.<br /><br />Also, Episcopus -<br />Thank you, but I already know all of this. It is my fault that I didn't phrase my sentence clearly enough to give you that impression. (I am not trying to be rude here.)<br /><br />Anyway, thank all of you for you help.
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Episcopus » Fri Aug 15, 2003 9:38 pm

(Exclaims obscenely) Latin is so awesome. Look at all of that from one sentence!
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Lumen_et_umbra » Fri Aug 15, 2003 9:42 pm

It is hard to keep up with your postings! I have had to edit my replies a number of times already! :)
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Lumen_et_umbra » Fri Aug 15, 2003 9:46 pm

If I were an idiot, I would do this.<br />Si fuera idiota, lo haria.<br />Si stultus sim, id faciat<br />Se fossi idiota, lo farei<br /><br />A further breakdown of these sentences.<br /><br />Each of these sentences (except the one in Latin) uses the imperfect subjunctive in the first clause and the potencial simple in the second. The fourth sentence is Italian; third Latin; second Spanish. I am sure you already knew this - I am merely reiterating obvious information.
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Episcopus » Fri Aug 15, 2003 9:48 pm

[quote author=Lumen_et_umbra link=board=3;threadid=482;start=0#4047 date=1060983432]<br /><br />Also, Episcopus -<br />Thank you, but I already know all of this. It is my fault that I didn't phrase my sentence clearly enough to give you that impression. <br />[/quote]<br /><br />Sorry it's my fault I am known to ramble when someone says the english subjunctive to be even slightly dead; or even moribund ;D
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Keesa » Sat Aug 16, 2003 12:11 am

You have been known to ramble many times, Episcopus, and over many things, but they're always interesting rambles (to me, at least) so I wouldn't worry about it, if I were you. ;)<br /><br />Keesa
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby adz000 » Sat Aug 16, 2003 6:10 am

There are two possible explanations I would hazard (and likely there are more, which I ask that you'll inform me of, lumen, when you soon outstrip me in knowledge of Latin!). First a general point about grammar that I hope will lubricate your thinking about language. Skip to the bottom for easy answers.<br /><br />The subjunctive is probably the hardest part of Latin to learn -- and I should warn you that people generally say Latin becomes harder the more you know -- because it fits so awkwardly into grammatical rules. There is no way one can sum up the subjunctive and give it a root meaning, a "Grundbedeutung", like "doubt, imagination, possibility". I don't mean to discourage that as a rough-and-ready rule -- yes that will "explain" the subjunctive in about 80% of the cases; there will still remain 20% that falls weakly, if at all, beneath the rubric. We can make our method more sophisticated by adding more rules that account for our observations: perhaps we see a certain set of verbs always causing a subjunctive or other constructions supplying that mood. Perhaps we can account for 99%; we will never account for 100% because the problem is like trying to solve for pi by calculating the areas of polygons with successively more sides (Antiphon's method, I think?). That was probably a poor metaphor, I admit. In essence language is a phenomenon that, from the outside, we can at best approximate by rules.<br /><br />Yes but what does this all mean for me? The coverage of the best Latin grammar book about the subjunctive will always be inadequate compared to a native speaker's command of the language, and perhaps even compared to a sensitive reader's who has spent years with Latin. There will be instances where the subjunctive is obviously right, then some where it's obviously wrong, and gray areas where exposure to lots of usage is the only way to catch the appropriateness of the subjunctive, and its particular meaning in that context. <br /><br />This ambiguity and resistance to strict pigeon-holing applies very well to conditional sentences. We know fully the regular divisions into more vivid or less vivid, etc. But there are fairly common sentences by respectable Latin stylists which break these rules:<br /><br />Si reviviscant et tecum loquantur, quid talibus viris responderes? Cicero, Fin., IV. 22, 61<br /><br />I don't think this sentence is all that hard to hear, even though the tenses don't make strict sense. One could think of it as switching the tone of the sentence halfway through, a possibility becoming more contrary to fact. This is truly illogical, but perfectly expressive. In this case the rules about conditionals are exposed for what they are: guidelines.<br /><br />

<br /><br />So, after that extensive and I'm not sure strictly necessary preamble, my first possible answer is that Quintilian is beginning a simple or Logical condition (terminology differs; I mean a conditional that takes the indicative across protasis to apodosis) and subsequently shifts conditions to dramatically emphasize the generality of the condition. This has basically been the direction of some good explanations so far attempted. <br /><br />Another, and I think slightly closer, take on the sentence is that the sentence is entirely a Logical condition. That is, the sentence expresses a factual condition in no uncertain terms: if this, then definitely that. Only, what must be converted into the apodosis is a jussive/hortatory subjunctive (a command, almost a wish "let him know...!"). In these instances one does not level off the subjunctive into an indicative, but keeps it subjunctive for the sake of vividness.<br /><br />Since the subjunctive is so hard to "get", it often comes down to hearing it as Latin and then deciding based on context what tone the sentence is getting at. This takes exposure. When someone says that subjunctive often expresses doubt, imagination, or possibility he is suggesting good ways that often describe the tone of the subjunctive (which is not the same as giving sufficient, grammatical cause!). One fact which may help us catch the tone of Quintilian's sentence. Quintilian was rabidly pro-Cicero, so there's very little chance that this is spoken ironically, sarcastically, or with doubt in mind. Hope is close but insufficient (as it's been observed the hope is slightly misplaced, since the hope is probably that the student enjoy cicero, not that he know he has advanced); something like vividness or a tinge of more intense emotion perhaps. The sense of future is also slightly involved. In my opinion it would be rendered best into English if one used the future and added an exclamation point:<br /><br />If anyone likes Cicero's books, he'll know that he's advanced!<br /><br />My suggestions are convoluted, I know, and are phrased in terms of the grammatical rules that I just criticized. But it's all worth it if by using these cudgel-like grammatical categories we can get closer to the meaning of Quintilian.
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby benissimus » Sat Aug 16, 2003 10:40 am

[quote author=Lumen_et_umbra link=board=3;threadid=482;start=0#4038 date=1060981540]<br />In response to Espiscopus' first response -<br /><br />English really only has the imperfect subjunctive. In the simple fact present constructions and in the contrary to fact present constructions, English wouldn't use the subjunctive tense (if it does, it has been rendered indistinguisable over the centuries; and, thus, it no longer exists, in my opinion).<br /><br />I have to disagree. While English rarely uses the subjunctive beyond the present and perfect tense, there are still a reasonable number of appllications:<br /><br />*If I were you...<br />*Be the flowers red or grey, I would love them just the same.<br /><br /><br />There are also a few that are rightfully past forms but are now used to represent the present:<br /><br />*I would (have) do(ne) this.<br />*I should (have) do(ne) this.<br />*I could (have) do(ne) this.<br />*I might (have) do(ne) this.<br />*I may (have) do(ne) this.<br /><br />Then of course the Jussive via an assistive verb:<br /><br />*May we succeed<br />*Let us win.<br />*My will be done.<br /><br />Interestingly, the words "will," "shall," "should," and "would" were originally all subjunctive forms, and English was truly without any future tense whatsoever....<br /><br /><br />If I were an idiot, I would do this.<br />Si fuera idiota, lo haria.<br />Si stultus sim, id faciat<br />Se fossi idiota, lo farei<br /><br />This is one of the few constructions in which English uses the subjunctive - as far as I am aware. Interestingly, this construction is ubiquitous to many languages (at least romance languages anyway).<br />[/quote]<br /><br />On a final note... scio. scire, scivi, scitum is a 4th conjugation verb! :o
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Skylax » Sat Aug 16, 2003 1:34 pm

[quote author=Lumen_et_umbra link=board=3;threadid=482;start=0#4005 date=1060977774]<br /><br />Si cvi libri Ciceronis placent, ille sciat se profecisse.<br />-Marcus Fabius Quintilianus <br /><br />That man knows himself to have progressed, if to whom the books of Cicero are a delight.<br /><br />[/quote]<br /><br />sciat is a jussive subjunctive meaning "let him know". It makes up for a 3rd pers. sing. present imperative. (Bennett, § 275)
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Episcopus » Sat Aug 16, 2003 2:27 pm

Ah jussive :D <br /><br />Finally we have lift off! <br /><br />Thankyou SkylaX
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Skylax » Sat Aug 16, 2003 6:19 pm

Si cvi libri Ciceronis placent, ille sciat se profecisse.<br />-Marcus Fabius Quintilianus <br /><br />Moreover, the CVI isn't a relative pronoun, it stands here for ALICVI ("to someone"). So :<br /><br />"If someone enjoys Cicero's works, let know to this man that he has progressed."<br /><br />("Si les oeuvres de Cicéron plaisent à quelqu'un, que celui-là sache qu'il a fait des progrès")
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Episcopus » Sat Aug 16, 2003 7:35 pm

[quote author=Skylax link=board=3;threadid=482;start=15#4108 date=1061057990]<br />Moreover, the CVI isn't a relative pronoun, it stands here for ALICVI ("to someone"). So :<br /><br />("Si les oeuvres de Cicéron plaisent à quelqu'un, que celui-là sache qu'il a fait des progrès")<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Cet évêque il est tout à fait d'accord avec cela <br />Tu peux toujours avoir raision même aux situations assez compliquées ;)<br /><br />If the books of Cicero please someone, may that man know that he has progressed.<br /><br />
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Skylax » Sat Aug 16, 2003 7:41 pm

Merci, Monseigneur.
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Lumen_et_umbra » Sun Aug 17, 2003 12:22 am

Thank you, adz, and skylax. <br /><br />Adz -<br /><br /> I didn't find your explination convoluted; I found it informative and helpful! Thank you. Also, thank you for what you said about my progression through Latin (even if your prognostications aren't realized... ever ;) )<br /><br /><br />Skylax -<br /><br /> The first form of the subjunctive, across which I came in Wheelock's, was the jussive. I am horrified that I was not able to recognize that in the sentence in question immediately after having seen it. The reason for which others veered off into attempts of fitting the setence within the context of a conditional sentence had been because I introduced this thread with the conjecture of the sentence being a conditional one.<br /><br /><br />Benissimus -<br /><br /> The phrase "If I were" does employ the imperfect subjunctive. Although, what I had meant to say, in the thread to which you have responded, had been that the imperfect subjunctive seems to be the only form of the subjuntive in colloquial use in contemporary English.
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Episcopus » Sun Aug 17, 2003 10:43 am

[quote author=Lumen_et_umbra link=board=3;threadid=482;start=15#4148 date=1061079773]<br />the imperfect subjunctive seems to be the only form of the subjuntive in colloquial use in contemporary English.<br />[/quote]<br />Unfourtunately
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Ptolemaios » Mon Aug 25, 2003 3:01 pm

There's a terrible rhyme in Dutch to remember when forms of quis represent forms of aliquis. Translated, it means so much as:<br />'After si, nisi, num and ne, can't ali come along with quis'<br /><br />Or: Na si, nisi, num en ne, mag ali niet met quisje mee.<br /><br />Ptolemaios
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby ingrid70 » Tue Aug 26, 2003 12:26 pm

[quote author=Ptolemaios link=board=3;threadid=482;start=15#4857 date=1061823690]<br />There's a terrible rhyme in Dutch to remember when forms of quis represent forms of aliquis. Translated, it means so much as:<br />'After si, nisi, num and ne, can't ali come along with quis'<br /><br />Or: Na si, nisi, num en ne, mag ali niet met quisje mee.<br /><br />Ptolemaios<br />[/quote]<br /><br />oh my, now you mention it, I know that one. Thanks for reminding me.<br /><br />Ingrid
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby euphues » Tue Aug 26, 2003 7:37 pm

Si cvi libri Ciceronis placent, ille sciat se profecisse.<br />-Marcus Fabius Quintilianus <br /><br />It is a mixed condition, presumably from Book X of Quintilian.<br /><br />The protasis in the indicative is a straight forward open condition making no assertion as to the outcome of the condition. <br /><br />The apodosis in the subjunctive may be understood in either of two ways:<br /><br />sciat may be a subjunctive in virtual oratio obliqua expressing either the viewpoint of someone other than the writer or an understood parenthetical assertion by the writer: (as they say) or (as I say) - if Cicero's books please him, that man (they say) or (I say) may know that he has progressed. More idiomatically: Whomsoever Cicero's books please, may know that he has progressed.<br /><br />The apopdosis of a conditional sentence need not be a statement. It can be an interrogative, an imperative, a jussive or hortatory subjunctive. E.g., If Cicero's books please him, let him know that he has progressed.<br /><br />The forms of conditions are admirably treated in both Gildersleeve and North and Hillard. Gildersleeve has an excellent treatment of virtual oratio obliqua.<br /><br />It should be noted that cui and ille here are counterpoised to one another. Cui has more the force of "someone" or "whoever", while ille means that man or that one or he, referring back to cui.<br /><br />A boy named Euphues.
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Re:Why is the subjunctive present in the second clause?

Postby Lumen_et_umbra » Tue Aug 26, 2003 8:12 pm

Thank you for the help. Though, I must say, this thread found its resolution weeks ago; from its perpetual doom, by Ptolemaios ;) , it had been revived. <br /><br />Since having orginally posted my question, I have learned much about Latin grammar (thankfully!). That is not to say that I do not appreciate your view on the matter - I do very much. ;)<br /><br />Thanks again.
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