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There must be a shorter way

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There must be a shorter way

Postby ingrid70 » Sat Nov 26, 2005 8:15 pm

I've got this very old schoolbook (1893), exercises only, no grammar explanations. In the exercises on verb forms, there are a couple of sentence fragments like these (translated from Dutch to English):

The friend, who was warned
The danger, that has been deflected
The laws, that will have been abolished

Obviously, I can translate them with a relative pronoun, but I'm still wondering if there is some other way to render them in good Latin. Some participle construction perhaps (although the book has separate exercises on the participles).

Any thoughts?

Ingrid.
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Re: There must be a shorter way

Postby amans » Sat Nov 26, 2005 11:50 pm

ingrid70 wrote:I've got this very old schoolbook (1893), exercises only, no grammar explanations. In the exercises on verb forms, there are a couple of sentence fragments like these (translated from Dutch to English):

The friend, who was warned
The danger, that has been deflected
The laws, that will have been abolished

Obviously, I can translate them with a relative pronoun, but I'm still wondering if there is some other way to render them in good Latin. Some participle construction perhaps (although the book has separate exercises on the participles).

Any thoughts?

Ingrid.


Participles as modifiers would definitely be a good way around it, I think. However, you only have three at hand in Latin: present active, future active, and perfect passive. Therefore it may be difficult to express the exact temporal differences between the first two examples. One would have to use the perfect passive and say amicus monitus and periculum repulsum, I think, and this may not an absolutely precise rendition of your examples. You might use the future active in the last example: leges sublaturae but this only means laws which will be abolished, not laws which will have been abolished. Here's what I think: use the participles if they express the meaning neatly - use the relative clauses if you feel the participles don't do justice to what you are trying to say.
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Re: There must be a shorter way

Postby benissimus » Sun Nov 27, 2005 12:53 am

amans wrote:You might use the future active in the last example: leges sublaturae but this only means laws which will be abolished, not laws which will have been abolished.

for leges sublaturae to mean "laws which will be abolished", wouldn't sublaturae have to be a future passive participle?

The first two examples can be translated most economically by perfect passive participles. I don't believe there is a way to translate the third example in the same brief manner.
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Re: There must be a shorter way

Postby amans » Sun Nov 27, 2005 1:50 am

benissimus wrote:
amans wrote:You might use the future active in the last example: leges sublaturae but this only means laws which will be abolished, not laws which will have been abolished.

for leges sublaturae to mean "laws which will be abolished", wouldn't sublaturae have to be a future passive participle?


mea culpa :oops: I do believe so, b.

The first two examples can be translated most economically by perfect passive participles.


But are you not agreed that you cannot really express the difference, however subtle it may be, between, say, "the friend who was warned" and "the friend who has been warned" by means of perfect participles?

I don't believe there is a way to translate the third example in the same brief manner.


On second thought, you might say leges tollendae, the gerund carrying some sense of the future, no? Of course, it has other implications alongside its futuristic aspect (that which 'should be done'), but it may serve as a handy form, context allowing.
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Re: There must be a shorter way

Postby benissimus » Sun Nov 27, 2005 1:00 pm

amans wrote:
The first two examples can be translated most economically by perfect passive participles.


But are you not agreed that you cannot really express the difference, however subtle it may be, between, say, "the friend who was warned" and "the friend who has been warned" by means of perfect participles?

I agree; it has to do with the double use of the perfect tense in Latin as a present and past (pseudo-aorist) tense. This sort of ambiguity is not limited to participles, e.g. "the friend warned us" and "the friend has warned us".

I don't believe there is a way to translate the third example in the same brief manner.


On second thought, you might say leges tollendae, the gerund carrying some sense of the future, no? Of course, it has other implications alongside its futuristic aspect (that which 'should be done'), but it may serve as a handy form, context allowing.

I meant to say something about this but it must have slipped my mind. If context allows, I would use it, and it is probably the answer that ingrid's book expects, but you have to remember that it is not just a participle of time and voice like the others usually are.
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Postby ingrid70 » Sun Nov 27, 2005 7:11 pm

Thanks all.

Gerunds are rendered like 'they must be warned', so I don't think they want that.

I'll stick with relative sentences, I think. The book is quite strict in tense-relations, so these have to be expressed.

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Relative clauses or Participles

Postby rustymason » Thu Jun 19, 2008 5:57 pm

When translating into Latin and given the choice between a relative clause or a participle, which is better?
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Re: Relative clauses or Participles

Postby Cato » Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:56 am

rustymason wrote:When translating into Latin and given the choice between a relative clause or a participle, which is better?

Stylistically I'd say the participle lends the action an immediacy over the relative clause, which IMO is more deliberate. I'm reminded of a line from Cicero's First Catilinariam:

An vero vir amplissumus, P. Scipio, pontifex maximus, Ti. Gracchum mediocriter labefactantem statum rei publicae privatus interfecit; Catilinam orbem terrae caede atque incendiis vastare cupientem nos consules perferemus?

Now lets recast that with relatives:

An vero vir amplissumus, P. Scipio, pontifex maximus, Ti. Gracchum, qui mediocriter statum rei publicae labefacebat, privatus interfecit; Catilinam, qui orbem terrae caede atque incendiis vastare cupit, nos consules perferemus?

Not as bold; the natural breaks before and after each clause really slow down the delivery, not to mention the change in tense between the two clauses distracts from the parallel Cicero is trying to establish.
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Postby thesaurus » Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:17 pm

I would go as far to say that a relative clause is more a hallmark of golden age Latin, while participles gain in popularity in later writing. I'm mostly thinking of Cicero versus Seneca. A preference developed for a more terse, less diffuse, 'pointed' style of writing which would, as Cato points out, naturally favor succinct participles over additional clauses.

In regards to brevity, if I may add something I thought interesting, in an introduction to some letters of Seneca, there is a discussion of the stylistic features of silver age Latin. The editor compares expressions of the same intent:

Cicero:
Cupidis enim rerum talium (sc. uoluptatum) odiusum fortasse et molestum est carere, satiatis vero et expletis iucundius est carere quam frui.


vs. Seneca:
Hoc ipsum succedit in locum uoluptatum, nullis egere.


Cicero:
Quamquam quis est tam stultus, quamuis sit adulescens, cui sit exploratum se ad uesperum esse uicturum?


vs. Seneca:
(Mors) tam seni ante oculos debet esse quam iuueni: non enim citamur ex censu.

citamur ex censu: 'summoned on the principle of the levy', where the censors assigned to each of the two classes of citizens (iuniores and seniores) its own distinct function.
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