Here you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get help with a difficult passage of Latin, and more.
11 posts • Page 1 of 1
Many, many ab.ab.s consist of a participle (either present or perfect passive) and a noun which it modifies, both (of course) in the ablative case. Sometimes there are two ablative nouns (Augusto consule, when Augustus was consul) and you assume that the missing verb is a form of the verb "to be." So look for participles and ablative endings. <br /><br />Anna Peregrina<br />magistra
In many school Latin readers, ablative absolutes will often be enclosed in commas, so if you see two ablatives (OR, a phrase with an ablative at both ends) that looks like an appositive, chances are good you've got an abl. abs.
Rules of thumb I've taught are<br /><br />1. a participle with an ablative ending usually means a noun in the ablative is lurking nearby<br />2. a sentence begining with two or three words and a comma is a common AA gambit (yes, AAs do occur elsewhere in text but they are mostly at the beginning of sentences)<br />3. so et so consulibus or similar(always a giveaway)<br />4. beware the -a ending which can confuse the unwary into thinking it is nominative 1st decl. when it is really ablative.<br /><br />Vincens SD amicibus suis
Salve Tia, <br /><br />I have always found it easy to recognize ablative absolutes if you keep in mind that the subject of that clause is separate from the independent clause. <br /><br />For instance,<br /> 1) While Rome was burning, Nero played his lute with a wicked smile. <br /><br /> ** So "Rome" is the subject of the temporal clause which is <br /> completely separate and distinct from the subject of the <br /> Independent clause, Nero. <br /><br />For more info., see Allen & Greenough section 419. I hope this helps. <br /><br />Vale.
- Global Moderator
- Posts: 127
- Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2003 10:27 pm
- Location: Cincinnati, OH, USA
Cringe :-[ ouch, how that grates upon my ears. <br /><br />the plural of "ablative absolute" is<br /><br />*ABLATIVES ABSOLUTE* !!!<br /><br />as it is in the case of "Knights errant" and "Courts martial".<br /><br />Surely we are so much absorbed in our Latin that we are beginning to confuse its "practices syntactical" with those of English where adjectives do not receive plural -s. If this is the case I am very pleased, for rather than translating Latin, we ought to translate our own minds to it.<br /><br />The judges in the English courts are "Lords Justices". Here, both words take the plural -s because both are nouns, unlike in all of the above examples, where the terms "absolute, errant, martial and syntactical" are adjectives.<br /><br />This is the case not only with single word adjectives. For example, everyone has heard the expression "Justice of the Peace". Here, the phrase "of the Peace" modifies the noun Justice and is working as an adjective. This is why the plural of this designation is<br /><br />"Justices of the Peace" and not "Justice of the Peaces" ::)<br /><br />Or again, to drive the point ad nauseam, there is an organization of volunteer physicians who dedicate their time to helping underdeveloped nations. They are known by their French name as "Médecins sans Frontièrs" or in the English translation as "Doctors without borders", where the phrase "without borders" is equivalent to the adjective "borderless". These Physicians would thus be<br /><br />"Doctors borderless" and not "Doctor borderlesses".<br /><br />Some more examples:<br /><br />Attorneys general (according to my friend the papers are always <br /> messing this one up. As a result you are more <br /> likely to have heard about the Attorney generals.)<br /><br />Tacos Supreme (my personal favourite. Yes next time you go to <br /> Taco Bell be sure to ask for three *Tacos <br /> Supreme*)<br /><br />Fools Illiterate (You too can now make fun of your friends by <br /> by placing them among the ranks of these. ;D<br /><br />Alcoholics Anonymous (I dunno who these folks is.)<br /><br /><br />To test whether one of these is correct or not, you must be able to flip the order. It will not work unless you have it right. If we flip all of these around we get (bottom to top)<br /><br />anonymous Alcoholics as opposed to anonymouses alcoholic<br />illiterate Fools illiterates fool<br />supreme tacos supremes taco<br />general Attorneys generals attorney<br />martial courts martials court<br />errant knights errants knight and<br />absolute ablatives absolutes ablative<br /><br />If you read each of these columns from right to left, in the manner of the Arab, you will find (1) in the right column: what people usually say, and (2) in the left column: the proper expressions. <br /><br />Taking them again from left to right serves as a check and certifies the column on the left as valid.<br /><br /><br />This exercise in pedantry<br />brought to you by,<br /><br />Classicists pedantiK<br /><br />PD Yes we Classical scholars are extremely pedantiK if nothing else.<br />::)<br /><br />well, I hope you have all enjoyed this, <br />and that I have not offended anyone with my jests.<br />I only mean well, and even if it hurt a little, though you are <br />angry with me for a while you are sure not to forget this lesson.<br /><br />amicably,<br />Sebastian<br /><br /><br />PPD believe me, on occasions several have I been reprimanded by the Police grammatical, notably in my undergraduate Classics department at UC by the kind and well-intentioned Dr. Gotoff, whose lessons I now pass on. <br /><br />PPPD Hey, who ever said that in English adjectives must precede their nouns? >:(
- Global Moderator
- Posts: 2733
- Joined: Mon May 12, 2003 4:32 am
- Location: Berkeley, California
I am curious what leads you to believe which word is the the rightful noun.<br />It seems to me that both "Ablative" and "Absolute" are each adjectives in themselves and therefore should the first one be treated in the manner of a noun except for purposes of style or eccentricity (as several of my dear friends prefer to speak).
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
I think ablative absolute is a single semantic unit, a portmanteau noun which English, unlike other languages, likes to keep as separate words rather than spelling contiguously. This is why Sebastian's flipping the order game makes the words seem odd - they are spelt as two words but are semantically one , it's like saying noesbody, crossesroad or Volvoes Estate. Consequently the plural is ablative absolutes. It rather like the frightful "teaspoonsful" - it is not a "teaspoon, full" but a word which means a measurement and the plural should be teaspoonfuls. I do, however, expect lorriesload of corrections.
- Textkit Enthusiast
- Posts: 352
- Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2003 6:01 pm
- Location: Various Points in Canada
On teaspoonSful..... The unit of measurement is a teaspoon. Therefore the plural is "teaspoons". The "ful" is tacked on for no apparent reason, when you come to think of it. It's kind of like the horrible non-word "irregardless". <br /><br />I believe that as far as the term "ablative absolute" goes, it's a short form of saying "an ablative noun/participle combination, used as an absolute term in and of itself, separate from the main sentence". By that interpretation, if you have several of them, you have several combinations, and the only word referring to the combinations is "ablative", which therefore associates a plural. "Absolute" is acting more like an adverb, explaining how the ablatives are being used.<br /><br />There's an extremely fuzzy (and totally spurious, I suspect!) explanation for what's going on with ablativeS absolute. (Me, I like the exceptional situations where the English noun-declension winds up in the middle of a word. This makes no sense at all, because all the "quis" words with undeclinable endings tacked on, drive me nuts. )<br /><br />Kilmeny