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Confused about perfect passive indicatives

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Confused about perfect passive indicatives

Postby katzenjammer » Sat Oct 01, 2016 2:47 pm

So, in this sentence here:

"Scriptum est in libro veteris testamenti primo quoniam Deus spiritum emisit et vivificavit Adam."

I would take "scriptum est" as a perfect passive indicative compound construction. And, would render it "it was written." But in the answer book (Dunlap answer key for Collins), he has it "It is written."

Now, I supposed with context that the present tense makes more sense. But it seems odd to include a subtle translating issue in an introductory text book?

And, I have noticed this before, and I am beginning to wonder if I'm simply and utterly confused beyond my own knowing.

So then I start to think: perhaps it's not a perfect passive indicative compound construction, but just a Perfect Passive Participle with a present tense "to be"?

How on earth am I supposed to tell the difference?

Any advice? Thanks!
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Re: Confused about perfect passive indicatives

Postby mwh » Sat Oct 01, 2016 3:43 pm

So then I start to think: perhaps it's not a perfect passive indicative compound construction, but just a Perfect Passive Participle with a present tense "to be"?

There’s no real difference. “It is written” is the same as “It has been written.” If someone has written something (perfect active), it’s written, it's been written.

“It was written” would be scriptum erat.
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Re: Confused about perfect passive indicatives

Postby katzenjammer » Sat Oct 01, 2016 3:52 pm

mwh wrote:
So then I start to think: perhaps it's not a perfect passive indicative compound construction, but just a Perfect Passive Participle with a present tense "to be"?

There’s no real difference. “It is written” is the same as “It has been written.” If someone has written something (perfect active), it’s written, it's been written.

“It was written” would be scriptum erat.


Hmmmm....I see. However:

1. I thought the perfect tense is either rendered into the present perfect or the simple past in English, depending on context? (at least in ecclesiastical Latin)?

2. as far as I know, "scriptum erat" is the pluperfect passive indicative -> "it had been written"
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Re: Confused about perfect passive indicatives

Postby mwh » Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:34 pm

1. I thought the perfect tense is either rendered into the present perfect or the simple past in English, depending on context? (at least in ecclesiastical Latin)?
Yes that’s so. scripsi could be either true perfect (I have written) or simple past (I wrote). They’re really two different tenses that have been collapsed into one in Latin (but still function as separate tenses when it comes to sequence of tenses, and still have separate forms in Greek, γέγραφα vs. ἔγραψα). But here the active corresponding to scriptum est would be scripsi representing true perfect (aka present perfect); that’s why I wrote “has written.” That's to say, scriptum est is present perfect, not simple past.

2. as far as I know, "scriptum erat" is the pluperfect passive indicative -> "it had been written"
OK but remember Latin makes no distinction between “it has been written” and “it is written,” as explained. scriptum erat is just the past of scriptum est.

Hope this clears things up.
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Re: Confused about perfect passive indicatives

Postby katzenjammer » Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:59 pm

thanks!

mwh wrote:scriptum erat is just the past of scriptum est.


Okay, so how would you translated "scriptum erat" (pluperfect passive indicative) into English?

I think you're saying that it would be either: "it had been written" or "it is written" - because they are effectively the same locution?

Thanks again.
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Re: Confused about perfect passive indicatives

Postby mwh » Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:17 pm

scriptum est It is written or It has been written.
scriptum erat It was written or It had been written.
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Re: Confused about perfect passive indicatives

Postby katzenjammer » Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:36 pm

mwh wrote:scriptum est It is written or It has been written.
scriptum erat It was written or It had been written.


Thanks so very much mwh. Sorry, I'm a bit thick sometimes, lol :D
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Re: Confused about perfect passive indicatives

Postby mwh » Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:12 pm

I'm glad we got it straightened out.
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Re: Confused about perfect passive indicatives

Postby katzenjammer » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:14 pm

mwh wrote:scriptum est It is written or It has been written.
scriptum erat It was written or It had been written.


So let's take: "Homo factus est."

According to the above: "He is made man" or "he has been made man".

However, NO ONE translates it that way. Obviously, "He was made man."

How should I think about that^?

Thanks! :)
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Re: Confused about perfect passive indicatives

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:44 pm

katzenjammer wrote:
mwh wrote:scriptum est It is written or It has been written.
scriptum erat It was written or It had been written.


So let's take: "Homo factus est."

According to the above: "He is made man" or "he has been made man".

However, NO ONE translates it that way. Obviously, "He was made man."

How should I think about that^?

Thanks! :)


Context. It sounds subjective, but it often works, what sounds best in the context of what is being said? Sometimes the contextual clues are definitive, such as having the appropriate sequence of tenses in certain types of subordinate clauses (don't know if you've gotten that far yet).
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.
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Re: Confused about perfect passive indicatives

Postby katzenjammer » Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:24 pm

That makes sense! Thank you very much! :)
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