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Fabula primera!

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Fabula primera!

Postby Ludo » Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:47 pm

Savete,

This is my first-ever attempt to write a story in Latin! I'm a complete self-learner thus far in Latin and am currently attempting "Latin for Beginners", which I found on this site! I have just reached lesson #20 and I thought it would be fun if every ten lessons I wrote a story to help gauge my progress.

All criticism is heartily welcomed. I tried to do the best I could with the long and short vowels, and I only learned to put verbs in past tense today. :oops: I don't think I have the conjugation of "inquit" completely right - I haven't exactly studied four conjugation yet. :oops:

Any help with word choices, better ways to express things - these I need! But in any case - nominative, accusative, or otherwise - here's the story:

***

Homo Solitarius

unus diēs, ambulābām ad cāsam finitimī. Flaccus, dominus saginatus cibīs magnīs, portābat ad mensā cēnam. ‘cur es hic?’ inquibat. ‘cāsa est mea; iubeō tē excedere!’ timidus eram. ita ad cāsam meam redēbam.

postrīdiē, ad cāsam finitimī redēbam et Flaccum vocābam. ‘Flacce,’ inquibam, ‘solitarius sum quod sōlus sum. nonne ex cāsa tuā venibis et cum mē cēnābis?’ ‘nōn cenābō,’ inquibat. ‘homo sōlitārius sum; cognitō sōlitūdo est bonus. excedē nunc!’

subitō cēnam meam Flaccus olēbat. ‘quid olenō? coquēbatisne?’ inquibat. ‘coquebam,’ inquibam. ‘bonus olet’ inquibat. diū cēnam spectābat. subitō ‘nōn solitūdo amat,’ inquibat. ‘si cupis, cum tē cēnābō.’ lætī eramus. applaudītē!

***

One thing I'm not sure about is the use of accusative case versus ablative case when using "ad" or "ab." For instance, I say, "ab casam" - from the house - but for some reason I had the undeniable urge to say "ad mensa" instead of "ad mensam." Can someone please explain the difference to me? Thanks! :D

One last thing... Perhaps I should add a translation in case I'm way off on any of the sentences. ;)

***

One day, I walked to the house of the neighbor. Flaccus, the master of the house who is fat from great food, was carrying dinner to the table. "Why are you here?" he says, "This is my house; I order you to leave!" I was scared. Therefore, I returned to my house.

The next day, I returned to the neighbor's hosue and called Flaccus. "Flaccus," I said, "I am lonely because I am alone. (Hey, that sentence is catchy, no?) ;) Won't you come out from your house and dine with me?" "I will not dine," he said, "I am a hermit. I think solitude is good. Now leave!"

Suddenly he smelled my dinner. "What do I smell? Did you cook yourself?" "I cooked," I said. "It smells good," Flaccus said. For a long time he looked at the dinner. Suddenly he said, "I do not love solitude. If you want, I will eat with you." We were happy. Applaud! ;)

***

Thanks in advance for everything!!!
Ludo ^_^
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Postby benissimus » Sat Oct 29, 2005 11:49 am

Ludo wrote: unus diēs, ambulābām ad cāsam finitimī.

"one day" calls for an ablative of time. Remember that the nominative is reserved for the subject, so it doesn't make sense to have unus dies in the nominative.

finitimus means "neighbors" only in the plural. One solution is to use vicinus.

the final A of ambulabam and the first A of casam are short. You can never have a long vowel before ND, NT or final M or T in Latin. You forgot to mark quite a few vowel lengths in the story, which I am not going to list, but I will say when you marked a short vowel long.

Flaccus, dominus saginatus cibīs magnīs, portābat ad mensā cēnam.

saginatus is not used to mean "fat" in Classical Latin. pinguis or a similar word would do.

a more normal word order would be "dominus cibis magnis saginatus". This encapsulation of the ablative phrase clarifies that is describing the adjective.

ad takes the accusative, so mensa must be accusative.

‘cur es hic?’ inquibat. ‘cāsa est mea; iubeō tē excedere!’ timidus eram. ita ad cāsam meam redēbam.

the verb inquam (inquit) is irregular 3rd conjugation -io. Just use the present tense form inquit, because it doesn't have an imperfect.

The A in casa is short.

redeo, redire is an irregular verb (almost 4th conj). The imperfect form you are looking for is redibam.

"therefore" would be itaque, igitur, or similar. ita by itself just means "so, in this way"

postrīdiē, ad cāsam finitimī redēbam et Flaccum vocābam.

casa, finitimus, and redebam again.

nonne ex cāsa tuā venibis et cum mē cēnābis?’

venire is 4th conjugation, the future form you are looking for is venies.

cum me = mecum

‘nōn cenābō,’ inquibat. ‘homo sōlitārius sum; cognitō sōlitūdo est bonus. excedē nunc!’

inquibat again.

solitudo, like all nouns with the suffix -tudo, is feminine, yet you put it with a masculine adjective.

cognito, typo for cogito? Regardless, "I think (that) solitude is good" must be rendered into Latin by indirect statement. i.e. rather than saying "I think solitude is good", you say "I think solitude to be good". putare would be better suited for this kind of statement, e.g. "puto solitudinem esse bonam".

the final E of excede should be short; the 3rd conjugation uses a short E in the imperative (the 2nd conj uses a long E).

subitō cēnam meam Flaccus olēbat. ‘quid olenō? coquēbatisne?’ inquibat. ‘coquebam,’ inquibam. ‘bonus olet’ inquibat.

The English verb "smell" can mean either "to pick up a scent" or "to give off a scent". Latin uses a different verb for each of these senses, ol(e)facio, -ere for the former and oleo, -ere for the latter. Therefore, olebat should be olfaciebat and oleno (oleo?) should be olfacio.

inquibat, inquibam - just use present forms, inquit and inquam.

In Latin idiom, you would say something "smells well (bene olet)", not "smells good (bonum olet)".

subitō ‘nōn solitūdo amat,’ inquibat.

"I do (not) love" is "(non) amo", not "(non) amat". "solitude" is the direct object, it should be accusative (solitudinem).

‘si cupis, cum tē cēnābō.’ lætī eramus. applaudītē!

"si vis" would be better Latin idiom for "if you want/wish".

cum te = tecum

the I in the 3rd conj imperative plural is short (long in 4th). The final E of imperative plurals is always short, regardless of conjugation.

One thing I'm not sure about is the use of accusative case versus ablative case when using "ad" or "ab." For instance, I say, "ab casam" - from the house - but for some reason I had the undeniable urge to say "ad mensa" instead of "ad mensam." Can someone please explain the difference to me? Thanks! :D

ad always takes the accusative case, whereas ab always takes the ablative case. Therefore, "ab casam" is impossible, as is "ad mensa". Some prepositions can take either the ablative or accusative, usually with different meanings, but ab and ad do not.

Well that was an interesting story. Years ago I wrote one about a giant cat terrorizing a Roman city, which was warded off by a giant dog. Your fable is slightly more sophisticated :wink:
Last edited by benissimus on Sun Oct 30, 2005 3:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby whiteoctave » Sat Oct 29, 2005 4:55 pm

"You can never have a long vowel before ND, NT or final M or T in Latin."

This of course ignores the effects of contraction/synizesis, e.g. deprendo, (early) sint and sim, and various contracted perfects coming at once to mind.

"Just use the present tense form inquit, because it doesn't have an imperfect."

News to Cicero et al.

The other points are fair.

~D
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Postby benissimus » Sun Oct 30, 2005 2:13 am

whiteoctave wrote:"Just use the present tense form inquit, because it doesn't have an imperfect."

News to Cicero et al.

embarrassing, inquiebat does occur as the only (?) imperfect form. My apologies to the OP.

*forgot the title of the thread. "first" in Latin is the adjective primus, -a, -um; "primera" is not a Latin word, but a Spanish word from Latin primarius, -a, -um.
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Postby Ludo » Sun Oct 30, 2005 11:09 pm

benissimus,

Thank you so much for your informative reply! :) I sometimes write out long corrections like yours for friends of mine trying to learn to write well in English, and I have to say it has been quite an experience for me trying to learn a new language myself... :)

I looked at your comments and attempted to rewrite the story. So without further ado:

Homo Sōlitarius

ūnō diō, ambulābam ad casam fīnitimōrum. Flaccus, dominus cibīs magnīs pinguis, portābat menae cēnam. ‘cur es hic?’ inquiebat. ‘casa est mea; iubeō tē excēdere!’ timidus eram. itaque ad casam meam redibam.

postrīdiē, ad casam fīnitimōrum redibam et Flaccum vocābam. ‘nōnne ex casā tuā venies et mēcum cēnābis?’ ‘nōn cēnābō,’ inquiebat. ‘homo sōlitārius sum; putō sōlitudinem esse benam. excede nunc!’

subitō cēnam meam Flaccus olfaciebat. ‘quid olfaciō? coquēbāsne?’ inquiebat. ‘coquebam,’ inquam. ‘bene olet’ inquiebat. subitō ‘nōn sōlitūdem amō,’ inquiebat. ‘sī vīs, tēcum cēnābō.’ laetī eramus. applaudīte!

---

Now - a few questions. First and perhaps most importantly, what is the confusion about the verb inquit? Based on the discussion I saw in this thread, I decided to use "inquiebat" to mean "he said" and "inquam" to mean "I said" - even though "inquam" is present tense. Should I just stick to saying "inquat" and "inquam" though?

uno dio - I'm assuming this is how to put unus dies into the ablative case, but I haven't actually studied anything but 1st and 2nd declension. :) From all the corrections I can tell that there is a lot more study of grammar to be done! Hopefully, by the time I reach the end of Latin for Beginners I'll be able to write with a little more confidence... :)

What is the Latin equivalent of "once upon a time..." That is, is there any traditional way to start off stories? (I think "applaudite" is the traditional way of ending stage performances, so I used that as my ending.)

finitimorum - this means "the neighbors'", but I guess there's no way to say "the neighbor's" without using another word for neighbor? This shows a little inconsistancy in my writing - I didn't quite have a plan when I wrote the story, it just sorta came out - first I say he's the master of the house, then I say he's a hermit... Hopefully I'm not asking too many questions than are welcome, but if someone is a "dominus" does this imply they have house servants?

Interesting point on the sentence "puto solitudinem esse bonam" - in Latin, I suppose you couldn't say "I think solitude is good" because that would involve two different subjects and two different verbs...

I corrected the verb "coquebasne(?)" in the final paragraph - I think I had it in future tense before. Thanks for describing the difference between olet and olfacit! As for "bene olet" - I suppose it is incorrect in English to say "It smells good"(!!!) I suppose we all ought to say "Its smell is good." For if we said, "it smells well", that would mean it is good at smelling. Which, if its smell is good, I suppose it would be good at smelling... I never thought I'd learn so much about English from studying Latin... :)

Sorry about messing up that sentence 'non solitudem amo' - I was rather impatient toward the end of my story and rushed the grammar a bit. ;)

As for "si vis" - I looked up "vis" in my dictionary and it said vis meant strength or force. Perhaps this became idiomatic for "if you wish" when people said "if you force" to rulers? :-) Any thoughts on this; also, does "si cupis" sound awkward? Having little experience at all with the language, I can't tell whether something sounds awkward or not any more than I can tell whether or not it is correct... :)

Thank you so much again for your time (and talent!) I look forward to hearing from you again. :)

Ludo ^_^
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Postby benissimus » Mon Oct 31, 2005 2:10 am

ūnō diō,

ūnō diē; dies is 5th declension so I don't think you would have known the ablative yet.

portābat menae cēnam.

portabat ad mensam cenam. Use the preposition ad when you are talking about motion (to the table); use dative for indirect objects (give to, talk to, show to etc.)

putō sōlitudinem esse benam.

bonam

subitō ‘nōn sōlitūdem amō

solitudinem

applaudīte!

short i, third conjugation

---

Now - a few questions. First and perhaps most importantly, what is the confusion about the verb inquit? Based on the discussion I saw in this thread, I decided to use "inquiebat" to mean "he said" and "inquam" to mean "I said" - even though "inquam" is present tense. Should I just stick to saying "inquat" and "inquam" though?

the confusion is that inquit is missing a lot of forms. I (too hastily) said that it had no imperfect tense, but it does have one form (the 3rd pers sing) in the imperfect. I would use the present tense to avoid this issue when switching persons, but I am not sure how a real Roman storyteller would have addressed it.

uno dio - I'm assuming this is how to put unus dies into the ablative case, but I haven't actually studied anything but 1st and 2nd declension. :) From all the corrections I can tell that there is a lot more study of grammar to be done! Hopefully, by the time I reach the end of Latin for Beginners I'll be able to write with a little more confidence... :)

you got the gender right but not the ending, by no fault of your own. Composition is probably the best exercise for solidifying the concepts you learn, so keep up the good work.

What is the Latin equivalent of "once upon a time..." That is, is there any traditional way to start off stories? (I think "applaudite" is the traditional way of ending stage performances, so I used that as my ending.)

"olim" is sometimes used this way.

finitimorum - this means "the neighbors'", but I guess there's no way to say "the neighbor's" without using another word for neighbor? This shows a little inconsistancy in my writing - I didn't quite have a plan when I wrote the story, it just sorta came out - first I say he's the master of the house, then I say he's a hermit... Hopefully I'm not asking too many questions than are welcome, but if someone is a "dominus" does this imply they have house servants?

I would assume that a dominus would have a household staff, but I have no idea if it was ever used of men who lived alone.

Interesting point on the sentence "puto solitudinem esse bonam" - in Latin, I suppose you couldn't say "I think solitude is good" because that would involve two different subjects and two different verbs...

Yes, this is a rather big deal in Latin. Later on, the solution was to write such statements as we do in English (but always including the word for "that"), as "puto quod solitudo est bona", creating a dependent clause. This isn't normally something you want to do in Classical Latin though, since it is a sign of vulgarity.

I corrected the verb "coquebasne(?)" in the final paragraph - I think I had it in future tense before. Thanks for describing the difference between olet and olfacit! As for "bene olet" - I suppose it is incorrect in English to say "It smells good"(!!!) I suppose we all ought to say "Its smell is good." For if we said, "it smells well", that would mean it is good at smelling. Which, if its smell is good, I suppose it would be good at smelling... I never thought I'd learn so much about English from studying Latin... :)

you almost lost me there, but not before I laughed. I didn't pick up on the "coquebatisne" you had, but it was in the right tense. Perhaps you wanted it to be second person singular instead of plural.

As for "si vis" - I looked up "vis" in my dictionary and it said vis meant strength or force. Perhaps this became idiomatic for "if you wish" when people said "if you force" to rulers? :-) Any thoughts on this; also, does "si cupis" sound awkward? Having little experience at all with the language, I can't tell whether something sounds awkward or not any more than I can tell whether or not it is correct... :)

vis is also the present second person singular of the irregular verb volo, velle, volui "to wish, want, be willing". cupio is transitive, so it is awkward for it not to have a direct object. volo, however, does not need a direct object, and "si vis" is a common phrase regardless.
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