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a question about "non"

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a question about "non"

Postby pommefritz » Wed May 19, 2004 5:13 am

Hi everyone,

First, I want to say thanks for the very helpful answers on my last question. I am back with another one, which hopefully will be very simple.

I'm wondering if, when you put non before several adjectives, it only affects the one that it's right next to, or all of them, or does it depend? Here is the sentence I'm wondering about (without the long vowel marks, sorry):

Fluvii Gracia non lati et alti erant.

(in the sentence the "o" of "non" is a long vowel)

Should this be translated as "The rivers of Greece were neither broad nor deep" or "The rivers of Greece were not broad, but they were deep"? Or can it go either way? Thanks for any help on the implications of "non" in this sentence :) and if there is a general rule about which adjectives it affects, could you let me know? I am using the Collar BLB and he introduces "non" without really explaining its use.

Thanks!!
molly
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Postby Kasper » Wed May 19, 2004 5:58 am

The 'non' would apply to both adjectives, so the rivers would be neither wide nor deep. Otherwise it would be:

Fluvii Graeciae non lati erant sed alti.

or something along those lines anyway.
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Postby benissimus » Wed May 19, 2004 6:30 am

I think the sentence itself is not the best Latin. If neither of them were broad or deep, the word nec/necque would probably be used. If one was broad and the other deep, then the construction Kasper offered would be the most likely situation. Gracia should be Graeciae.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Postby Kasper » Wed May 19, 2004 10:36 pm

It depends on what you wish to express:

if you would say: "the river is not wide and deep", this would be a negative statement in regards to the simultaneous presence of these two qualities.

if you would say: "the river is neither wide nor deep", this would be a negative statement in regards to the seperate presence of these qualities.

Althought the practical difference may often be neglectable, there is a difference nevertheless.
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Postby Mongoose42 » Fri May 21, 2004 12:26 pm

In this case would non modify erant so as to negate the sentance "the rivers were wide and deep" to "it is false that the rivers were wide and deep"?
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