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Necessity of participle?

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Necessity of participle?

Postby Scarlatti » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:24 am

Hello all,

This is about an exercise from D'Ooge's Latin for Beginners, but since it pertains to larger issues, I'm asking it here. We were asked to translate the following: "The few, terrified by the reports that they heard, preferred to remain at home."

Once corrected for mistakes, my translation read: "Pauci, famis quas audiverant terrebant, domi manere maluerunt."

The key has it as: "Pauci, rumoribus quos audierant territi, domi manere maluerunt."

They use "rumor" while I used "fama," just a choice. I don't know why the third-person pluperfect active of "audio" is sometimes written as audierant and sometimes audiverant. None of this is what concerns me however.

I thought "famis" or "rumoribus" is an ablative of cause. Is it still an ablative of cause with the perfect passive participle?

If both translations are acceptable, is one preferable to another, and if so, why?
Scarlatti
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Re: Necessity of participle?

Postby thesaurus » Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:27 pm

Scarlatti wrote:Hello all,

This is about an exercise from D'Ooge's Latin for Beginners, but since it pertains to larger issues, I'm asking it here. We were asked to translate the following: "The few, terrified by the reports that they heard, preferred to remain at home."

Once corrected for mistakes, my translation read: "Pauci, famis quas audiverant terrebant, domi manere maluerunt."

The key has it as: "Pauci, rumoribus quos audierant territi, domi manere maluerunt."

They use "rumor" while I used "fama," just a choice. I don't know why the third-person pluperfect active of "audio" is sometimes written as audierant and sometimes audiverant. None of this is what concerns me however.

I thought "famis" or "rumoribus" is an ablative of cause. Is it still an ablative of cause with the perfect passive participle?

If both translations are acceptable, is one preferable to another, and if so, why?


"Terrebant" is in the active voice, so you're saying that "they were terrifying (something else)."

The particle "territi" is needed because it is passive and thus captures the meaning of "terrified/having been terrified." The subject is receiving the action, and is thus passive voice.

Famis/rumoribus is definitely ablative, and it's needed with the participle equally, because it specifies that they were terrified "by" something (this is a common use of the ablative, showing that it's the cause). Rumoribus territi = scared (past particle) by reports/rumors.

Sometimes in the perfect tense the "v" will be dropped. I don't know if there is any rule for this, but it's just an alternate version. Think of it as being like the contraction "don't" for "do not" and so forth.
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: Necessity of participle?

Postby Scarlatti » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:29 pm

Thank you. Of course you're right about terrebant, I meant to say terrebantur. But even that would be wrong since it is imperfect.

I don't know why this one is making my head spin. I was trying to find a way to say it without the perfect passive participle, just to see how flexible the language was in this case, but each time I try, it brings up new problems.
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