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Problem with participles

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Problem with participles

Postby Matthaeus » Tue May 25, 2004 8:25 am

Salvete omnes!

I found in N&H a sentence I would like to have more information about:
"They left the sick and pursued the foe". The translation uses an ablative absolute: "Aegrotis relictis...". Is it because relinquere is non-deponent? If it had been for instance "They pursued the sick and left the foe" (which makes not a lot of sense, I admit :D ), would the participle agree with the subject "Aegrotos secuti hostem relinquerunt"?
And does this apply only to the past participle? Or am I completely wrong? :?

Gratias ago vobis,
Matthaeus
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Re: Problem with participles

Postby benissimus » Tue May 25, 2004 9:02 am

Matthaeus wrote:Salvete omnes!

I found in N&H a sentence I would like to have more information about:
"They left the sick and pursued the foe". The translation uses an ablative absolute: "Aegrotis relictis...". Is it because relinquere is non-deponent? If it had been for instance "They pursued the sick and left the foe" (which makes not a lot of sense, I admit :D ), would the participle agree with the subject "Aegrotos secuti hostem relinquerunt"?
And does this apply only to the past participle? Or am I completely wrong? :?

Gratias ago vobis,
Matthaeus

In your sentence Aegrotos secuti hostem relinquerunt, the action of "they left" would be occurring after "they pursued", since the participle is in the past, relative to the verb. There is also an unnecessary ambiguity as to which direct object goes with which verb; it seems it could just as easily be translated "They left the enemy after they pursued the sick".

You are onto something with the ablative absolute though. We are limited to "The sick having been left behind, they pursued the foe", because there is no way of saying "Having left behind the sick, they pursued the foe", an active perfect participle, unless the verb is a deponent.

And yes, the participle would agree with the subject, but the verb which occurs in the past will be the one in the form of a past participle.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Postby Matthaeus » Tue May 25, 2004 10:55 am

Thanks for your explanation.
Let me see if I got it right. If the vb in the past (the one that has to be put in the participle) is non-deponent, then we rather use abl. abs. If it is deponent, we use the perfect participle active conjugated according to the subject.
If this is correct, under what circumstances do we use the abl. abs. with a deponent verb? Why is it correct to say "Equo lapso captus sum"? "Labor" being deponent, shouldn't the form be "lapsus"?

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Postby benissimus » Tue May 25, 2004 11:25 am

Matthaeus wrote:Thanks for your explanation.
Let me see if I got it right. If the vb in the past (the one that has to be put in the participle) is non-deponent, then we rather use abl. abs. If it is deponent, we use the perfect participle active conjugated according to the subject.
If this is correct, under what circumstances do we use the abl. abs. with a deponent verb? Why is it correct to say "Equo lapso captus sum"? "Labor" being deponent, shouldn't the form be "lapsus"?

Matthaeus

If it said Equus lapsus captus sum that would mean that you are the horse: "I was a captured horse when I slipped" :lol: The intended meaning of course is "With my horse having slipped, I was captured" which is an overly literal translation.

The ablative absolute is used when you want to comment on something other than the subject that is related to the sentence conceptually, but grammatically distinct. Since the thing that slipped is not the subject of the sentence, it is put into the ablative absolute with a participle, rather than into the main clause with a finite verb (though you could do this also through conjunctions).
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