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Postby benissimus » Fri Dec 19, 2003 5:11 am

1. Tell me why you are afraid.
2. We do not know what he is doing.
3. I do not know how many ships there were.

1. Dic mihi cur timeas (verearis, metuas).
2. Nescimus quid faciat.
3. Nescio quot naves (quantum navium) fuerint.


Feel free to discuss, correct, explain, and argue in a scholarly manner :D
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Synopsis of material:

A Subordinate Clause is a Clause (i.e. a pocket of a sentence, or sentence itself which contains a complete or semi-complete thought with a verb) that fits into a main sentence, such as an Indirect Question.

Ia. The sequence of tenses is that with Primary Tenses (Pres. or Fut., sometimes Perf.), and Imperatives, a subordinate clause At the same time or After the main verb is referred to in a Present Subjunctive in the Subordinate Clause. So, if the Main Clause's verb is in a Primary Tense, such as that of Present or Imperative, as in sentence 1 or 2 above, the Subordinate Clause's verb must be in the present subjunctive if we wish to speak at the same time, which we do:

Thus, in #2, nescimus is a translation of the present verb "we do not know". "What he is doing" is to be translated in the present (facit), and since the rule is that a subordinate clause in the present with a main clause in the present becomes a present subjunctive, it becomes faciat.

Ib. If we wish to express time before a Primary Tense Verb, we use the Perfect Subjunctive as in sentence 3 above.

Thus, nescio is a translation of a present verb "I do not know". "How many ships there were" is to be translated in the past (erant or fuerant), and since the rule for past verbs in subordinate clauses with present main clauses is that they are put into the perfect subjunctive, it becomes fuerint.


IIa. The sequence of tenses is that with Historical Tenses (Imperf. or Plup. or Perf.), a subordinate clause At the same time or After the main verb is referred to in an Imperfect Subjunctive in the Subordinate Clause. So, if the Main Clause's verb is in a Historic Tense, such as Pluperfect, the Subordinate clause's verb must be in the Imperfect subjunctive if we wish to speak at the same time. Let's use the example "He had asked what she would wish":

We could translate "He had asked" as rogaverat, a pluperfect verb in the main clause. Then "what she would wish" is a speaking of the future (volet), and since subordinate future clauses with past main clauses are put in the Imperfect subjunctive, it becomes vellet. Thus we should have Rogaverat quid vellet.

IIb. If we wish to express time before a Historic Tense, we use the pluperfect subjunctive. I'll use this sentence... "I know (cognovi) what you had considered":

While cognovit is often translated in the present, it is technically a past tense verb in the perfect, putting the main clause in Historic tense. Therefore, we shall translate "I know" as cognovit. Then "what you had considered" is speaking of the past in relation to the main clause (cogitaveras), but since subordinate past clauses with past main clauses are to be put into the pluperfect subjunctive, we have cogitavisses. So it would read Cognovi quid cogitavisses.
Last edited by benissimus on Thu Feb 05, 2004 9:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Postby whiteoctave » Fri Dec 19, 2003 11:33 am

Not really much to be said on those.
As regards the alternative "quantum navium" suggested in (3), as far as I know quantum followed by a partitive genitive in the plural was only seen in Later Latin, i.e. Tactius and onwards (cf. Tac.I.11 - quantum civium sociorumque), butI have never seen it used in the plural in an indirect question.

~dave
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Postby Episcopus » Fri Dec 19, 2003 2:56 pm

So how, please, is quantum used properly? Should it be straight "quantae naves" or what? Thankyou.
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Postby phil » Sun Dec 21, 2003 6:58 pm

whiteoctave wrote:In terms of the simplicity Classical prose would have favoured, I couldn't improve on the first two sentences of Phil's.

Aw shucks...
whiteoctave wrote:As regards his third, I am sceptical about quantum followed by the ablative. When quantum is used as an interrogative pronoun, it means "how much?" and can be followed by a partitive genitive in the singular. Since we deal with a plural here, one should use "quot" followed by the nominative, i.e.

nescio quot naves fuerint.
~dave

Oh dear, ablative. That was supposed to be genitive - quantum navium - how many (of) ships. And yet that too would be wrong? Wheelock, bless him, doesn't mention that quantum, when used in this construct, only applies to a singular.
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