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Intransitive Verbs in Passive Form????

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Intransitive Verbs in Passive Form????

Postby Milito » Tue Jul 08, 2003 9:19 pm

I am (again.... still?) a very puzzled camper, as a result of the latest battle with Cicero.... I'm pretty sure I've tripped over this before, but I can't for the life of me figure out where (or if) I found an answer. The problem is that he's put an intransitive verb into a passive form. So if something can't take a direct object, how can it become passive? Or is this one of those cases where a Latin verb is being forced into a Greek "Middle" construction? And if so, how do you tell? (Or is the passive form showing up where it shouldn't a dead give-away, and if so, how do you recognize this phenomenum in a transitive verb?)<br /><br />The phrase that has got me so messed up is pretty short, for Cicero..... It reads, <br /><br />Quo in genere etiam in republica multa peccantur,...<br /><br />The difficulty is that "pecco/peccare/peccavi/peccatum" is intransitive. Therefore it shouldn't be in passive form......<br /><br />He's talking about people interpretting the law so as to create loop-holes for themselves to allow them to get around something (some things just don't change.....) so he's saying something along the lines of, <br /><br />"Also, in which sort (of malicious interpretation of law) in relation to a state, many things ..... ?" What? Are blundered? Are wronged? <br /><br />I tripped over a translation which has this reading "Through such interpretation also a great deal of wrong is committed in transactions between state and state..."<br /><br />I can see fuzzily where the general sense is coming from, but this "illegal" verb form has me very bothered.......<br /><br />Can anyone tell me what's going on here?<br /><br />Greatly appreciate the help.......<br /><br />Kilmeny (the very confused.....)
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Re:Intransitive Verbs in Passive Form????

Postby benissimus » Tue Jul 08, 2003 10:38 pm

I can't give you a correct translation (Cicero is a little out of my jurisdiction for the time being). My dictionary says that the construction "peccare+in" means "to make a mistake, go wrong, err, sin + in relation to". This might just be a typical case of word invention. The poets often made up new words, and Cicero may have done it to be his quirky and cryptic self. Many passive words also mean the same thing as their active counterparts, though I don't see this particular variation anywhere
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Re:Intransitive Verbs in Passive Form????

Postby bingley » Wed Jul 09, 2003 12:35 am

peccantur, wrongs are committed, sounds OK to me. The entry for pecco in the Lewis and Short on Perseus (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0059%3Aentry%3D%2334266) gives examples of pecco being used with an accusative and in the passive. Perhaps pecco is not as strictly intransitive in Latin as do wrong is in English.
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Re:Intransitive Verbs in Passive Form????

Postby Milito » Wed Jul 09, 2003 1:40 pm

Thanks for the suggestions.... my Latin-English dictionary is the one that tells me peccare is intransitive, and when I checked Lewis & Short, although it had all of two examples where a passive form of the verb was used, it didn't explain why. It's the "why" that is bugging me most....<br /><br />Benissimus, my dictionary did not have the peccare + in construction suggested, so I thank you very much for your suggestion! Which dictionary are you using? (Mine's the New Colllege one....)<br /><br />Kilmeny
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Re:Intransitive Verbs in Passive Form????

Postby bingley » Wed Jul 09, 2003 2:55 pm

although it had all of two examples where a passive form of the verb was used, it didn't explain why. It's the "why" that is bugging me most....<br />
<br /><br />I would say don't get too hung up on the rules. In a sense they're not rules that texts in the language have to obey, they're shorthand descriptions of what we can actually see in the texts. If texts have pecco in the passive and you can make sense of it, chuck the rule out if the rule says this cannot be. Unless of course you meet a native speaker of Latin who says this is wrong, I would never say that.
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Re:Intransitive Verbs in Passive Form????

Postby benissimus » Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:56 am

I use Cassel's Latin Dictionary. It's based on a dictionary from the 1800's, so it is somewhat like the texts on this site ;D<br /><br />What I want is a Latin equivalent of an unabridged dictionary. I want to know EVERY word, including the swear words, since some authors use them and then you can't really look them up. Does anyone know of this type of dictionary?
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Re:Intransitive Verbs in Passive Form????

Postby bingley » Thu Jul 10, 2003 3:18 am

I've got a paperback Latin-English English-Latin dictionary from the 1960s which I got second hand (how it arrived in Bali I have no idea), then for anything which isn't in there or which doesn't make sense, I use the Lewis and Short dictionary on Perseus.<br /><br />Both Lewis and Short, and LSJ (for Greek) were first produced at a time when even scholarly translations were routinely bowdlerised, and their definitions can be vague where a more modern dictionary might be more explicit. On the other hand perhaps the Latin or Greek words were vague and euphemistic as well -- is there any way of knowing how explicit, euphemistic or derogatory a Greek or Latin word is?
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Re:Intransitive Verbs in Passive Form????

Postby Milito » Thu Jul 10, 2003 4:02 pm

[quote author=bingley link=board=3;threadid=227;start=0#1134 date=1057762509]<br />
although it had all of two examples where a passive form of the verb was used, it didn't explain why. It's the "why" that is bugging me most....<br />
<br /><br />I would say don't get too hung up on the rules. [/quote]<br /><br />Ah, but it's in my nature to get hung up on rules!! I find I'm more comfortable with something, particularly exceptions to the "normal" if I understand why the exception happened. Since this is a form that "shouldn't" be happening, then there must be a reason for using it, whether there's a rule I don't know involved, or a point that an author is trying to make involved. I went through high school just learning the "how" and not caring at all about the "why" and really paid for it later, so I find I'm now very concerned about the "why". Besides, knowing "why" is a large part of the enjoyment for me.....<br /><br />Much thanks to both of you on dictionary comments - and yes, Benissimus, I most thoroughly agree with you that the Latin equivalent of an unabridged dictionary is a wonderful thought!! (I have a Cassel's, too, but it's bigger - in print, which leads to page size/number increases, too - than the other one I use, so it isn't as portable. It's also beginning to lose pages on me.....)<br /><br />Kilmeny
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Re:Intransitive Verbs in Passive Form????

Postby Milito » Fri Jul 11, 2003 8:49 pm

Okay, I finally found an answer.... Bennett, pg 167, article 256.3... "Intransitive verbs may be used impersonally in the passive; as - curritur people run (literally - it is run)"<br /><br />So I guess that answers my question - I just have to remember it!!<br /><br />Kilmeny
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Re:Intransitive Verbs in Passive Form????

Postby Alundis » Fri Jul 11, 2003 11:54 pm

Can impersonal forms be plural?
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Re:Intransitive Verbs in Passive Form????

Postby annis » Sat Jul 12, 2003 2:09 am

[quote author=Alundis link=board=3;threadid=227;start=0#1229 date=1057967654]<br />Can impersonal forms be plural?<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Oh, yes.<br /><br />This reminds me of a time, long ago, in my intensive Latin, when we got to these sorts of strange, super-intransitive impersonals. We were supposed to put "There was a great running into the countryside" or something like that into Latin. There was some confusion. Said the instructor, "We had a great many great running things in the countryside, monstrous, deformed things, but little great running the countryside."<br /><br />This was the same instructor who scolded someone trying to treat the supine like an adjective. "No, no. This is a noun. You can't change the gender of a noun. That's a very nasty operation."<br /><br />
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Re:Intransitive Verbs in Passive Form????

Postby Lumen_et_umbra » Tue Aug 19, 2003 7:35 pm

You all know of deponent verbs don't you? Deponent verbs are those that lack the active tenses, and, yet, have active tense-meanings in their passive tense forms. Perhaps, occaisonally, people made regular verbs into deponent verbs for some kind of litterary flare, or ostentation.<br /><br />Here is a quote from Hamlet, in which Shakespeare uses the equivalent of a deponent verb in English:<br /><br />..yet I am still possessed of that for which I committed the crime..."approximate)<br /><br />Shakespeare uses a passive form of "to possess" in a context in which it has an essentially active meaning.<br />It is quite common to see such constructions in older literature, in my experience. (This may not be so compelling, however, because Shakespeare spoke Latin, and he did so with such fluency that he could have written any of his plays in Latin. Moreover, having spoken Latin, he probably borrowed this construction from the language.)
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Re:Intransitive Verbs in Passive Form????

Postby Skylax » Tue Aug 19, 2003 8:00 pm

I think we can consider that as an extension of the so called cognate accusative (Bennett § 176, 4). One finds :<br />Empedocles... multa alia peccans "... making many other mistakes...", Xenophon... eadem peccat "Xenophon makes the same mistakes". So we can understand that such a plural neuter can become the subject of the verb in the passive voice.<br /><br />Valete socii.
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