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Vocative - w/ or w/o Ö

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Vocative - w/ or w/o Ö

Postby mariek » Thu Jul 24, 2003 3:59 am

<br />Is this assumption correct?<br /><br />If you're using the Vocative to refer to a person, the "Ö" is implied?<br /><br />And if you're using the Vocative to refer to a non-human, then you have to include "Ö"?<br /><br />Just wondering... since I saw the following in one of the exercises and came to the above conclusion.<br /><br /> Male serve = O bad servant<br /> Ö clärum oppidum = O famous town
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Re:Vocative - w/ or w/o Ö

Postby benissimus » Thu Jul 24, 2003 4:13 am

I am pretty sure the books use translations like those just so that you know that it is an address. If they said male serve means "bad servant", it wouldn't be as clear what the function is (could be accusative or nominative) as saying "O bad servant." The word O is used the same way as it is in English, as an interjection, and unless the role of the vocative is unclear, you generally don't provide it if it isn't actually there.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Re:Vocative - w/ or w/o Ö

Postby adz000 » Fri Jul 25, 2003 1:07 pm

It is an inspiration to see you apply your questing intelligence to Latin so wholeheartedly and I'm going to disappoint you by not answering the question to your satisfaction.<br /><br />I've been told that the use of "O" with the vocative always indicates a pitch of intense emotion, unlike the Greek where the "O" is merely a marker for the vocative. In Rome one would not walk down the street, according to this theory, and address a friend with "O" -- unless there were some sort of hatred or grief or intense joy involved.<br /><br />BUT as with most things you've been told there may be reason to doubt this (you should inject some skepticism whenever terms like "always" and "never" are applied to something as mutable as a language), especially when a grammar as comprehensive as Gildersleeve's is of two minds on the subject. <br />(What's that, you haven't heard of Gildersleeve? It's an indispensible reference for questions of the sort you've been asking and I urge you to buy a copy if you plan to continue asking the hard-hitting questions usually reserved for well-trained teams of investigative journalists. Just look up something like "o" in the index and you'll find a number of comments. Gildersleeve's numerical system of organization is initially off-putting, as is the typography, but so too the rose has its thorns.)<br /><br />Anyways, one note in Gildersleeve corroborates what I've been told, that "O" shows intense emotion, and another seems to say that it merely anticipates the vocative. So I'm not sure what to tell you other than that I'll continue looking up information about this question and report back to you. I suspect only close reading of texts will tell you whether or not the "O" is emotional or not, and it's possible that the Romans had several different uses for it.<br /><br />As for distinctions between using "O" with animate and inanimate objects, I'm uncertain. It seems like it's not the case, but perhaps it is. It is far easier to tell when someone is addressing a person than an inanimate object, and the "O" might be used to relieve some of the ambiguity (Cicero's "O tempora, O mores" would be harder to read as "tempora, mores"). <br /><br />You'll recall, however, that the accusative case is also used in moments of intense emotion (one of the many facts Gildersleeve will delight you with). Even if "O" alone is ambiguous, use of the accusative with "O" would clearly indicate such emotion: "O miseras hominum mentes, O pectora caeca!" (Lucretius, II. 14). Entertain your Latin teacher with counterintuitive uses of the accusative.<br /><br />Me miserum,<br />Adam
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Re:Vocative - w/ or w/o Ö

Postby mariek » Fri Jul 25, 2003 6:45 pm

<br />I appreciate the time you put into responding to my query.<br /><br />I thought afterwards that perhaps the "O" was excluded with people because you can usually tell by the case ending whether it is a Vocative. But it isn't as obvious with inanimates, so they precede it with the "O" as a heads up to tell you they're using the Vocative.<br /><br />It is an interesting theory that the "O" acts as a marker of intense emotion. I will try to make note of it's usage when I'm reading Latin.<br /><br />I have flipped through Gildersleeve's grammar book at the bookstore and thought it looked like an excellent reference book for the advanced student. I'm nowhere near that level at this moment, so I've filed it away in my memory as a future purchase. The book was reminiscent of the French grammar "bible" Le Bon Usage, except that Gildersleeve is written in English which makes it so much easier to read. :)<br /><br />
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