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Exercise 107, Part II, Question 1

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Exercise 107, Part II, Question 1

Postby jsc01 » Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:10 pm

English: "The sturdy farmers of Italy labor in the field with great diligence".

My translation: Agricolae validi Italiae in agris cum diligentia magna laborant.

The key's translation: Agricolae validi Italiae magna cum diligentia in agris laborant.

I think the basic meaning is the same but I am confused a little on the word ordering. Is my word ordering wrong compared to the key or does it matter?

I also came up with different word orderings than the key in questions 3 and 5.
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Postby Ulpianus » Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:51 pm

I don't personally think there is a difference in meaning, but I think I would find the second version more "Latin" seeming than the first, even if you had not told me which was which. I'm afraid it's beyond me to say exactly why. magna cum diligentia feels idiomatic, I think: it seems to be this rather than the placement of in agris that makes the difference for me.

I suppose in theory your version might lead someone to take Italiae with in agris "in the fields of Italy" (but if one wanted to say that I think one would say "in the Italian fields ...." in agris italicis), or one would expect a genitive (if used) to follow agris. This is all rather far-fetched though, and I think I'd regard your order as "right" or at least "not wrong". Others here with better ears and more experience may disagree.

I would not fret about the word order. The only way to develop any sort of feel for it is to read a lot of Latin; perhaps then you could explain the reasons for preferring one order over the other, though I've never read a really convincing explanation and I believe it is thought to be a "hard problem". If you've got the basic grammar right, and the word order is not screamingly illogical or obviously English (e.g. if you had translated agricolae ... laborant ... in agris cum magna diligentia) I would treat the answer as a complete victory.

The other point worth making is that it might depend on what you wanted to emphasize. The key's version tends to emphasize the fields, I think: where do the farmer's labour with great diligence? The fields! Yours maybe lays more stress on the diligence: How do the farmers labour in the fields? With great diligence!
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Postby ingrid70 » Fri Feb 06, 2004 9:08 pm

D'Ooge gives some explicit notes on word order; I've collected those in my notes:

In a latin sentence the most emphatic place is the first; next in importance is the last; the weakest point is the middle. Generally, the subject is the most important word, and is placed first; usually the verb is the next in importance, and is placed last. The other words of the sentence stand between these two in the order of their importance. Hence the normal order of words – that is, where no unusual emphasis is expressed – is as follows:
subject – modifiers of the subject – indirect object – direct object – adverb – verb
Changes from the normal order are frequent and are due to the desire for throwing emphasis upon some word or phrase.

Possesive pronouns and modifying genetives normally stand after their nouns. When placed before their nouns they are emphatic.

An adjective placed before its noun is more emphatic than when it follows. When great emphasis is desired, the adjective is separated from its noun by other words.
The pronominal adjectives (unus nauta) regularly stand before their nouns.

When a noun is modified by both a genitive and an adjective, a favourite order of words is adjective – genitive – noun.

A modifying genitive or adjective often stands between a preposition and its object.*

Interrogative words usually stand first.

The copula (esse) is of so little importance that it frequently does not stand last, but may be placed wherever it souns well.

*This one contradicts the adjective-preposition-noun word order; however, in the same exercise where he gives this as a note (i.e.118), he also uses 'multis cum lacrimis'.

I've read somewhere that Latin writers sometimes use words as brackets, i.e. putting words that obviously belong together round other words of the same phrase.

Anyway, the exact word order in the key is not that important; make sure that you've got the grammar right, and play around with the word order. I often reread the dialogues and longer pieces, looking especially at the phrases and order.

Hope this helps.

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Postby Ulpianus » Fri Feb 06, 2004 10:36 pm

And of course once one gets into rhetorical effects, all sorts of games can be played with word order. I'm particularly fond of chiasmus, where the order reverses around a central pivot. I can't think of a Latin example, but Milton does it nicely in English:

Me miserable! Which way shall I fly?
Infinite wrath and infinite despair.
Which way I fly is hell. Myself am Hell!

Me miserable! --- --- Myself am hell!
Which way shall I fly? --- --- Which way I fly is hell.
Infinite wrath --- --- infinite despair.

This kind of neat effect is quite hard in English, but relatively easier in Latin, precisely because Latin word order is relatively flexible.
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