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Cum and the use of the subjunctive.

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Cum and the use of the subjunctive.

Postby Bretonus » Tue Jun 17, 2008 4:41 am

I have been trying to avoid asking for help throughout Lingua Latina, because the answers would usually click relatively quickly after reading the chapter a couple more times, or just continuing on. However, I have been unable to see for what reason the subjunctive may or may not be used with cum.

Although I have come by it before, this sentence bugs me every time I start chapter 32 over again:

Ipse Gaius Julius Caesar, cum adulescens ex Italia Rhodum navigaret, a praedonibus captus est nec prius liberatus quam ingens pretium solvit.

I know once I get this I have a fair amount of backtracking to do in order to understand the subjunctive better. And at least I know that previous sentence warranted a subjunctive. :)
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Postby MiguelM » Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:17 pm

A cum+imperfect subjunctive clause expresses a "when/because" expression,

"when and because he sailed..."
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Postby Bretonus » Wed Jun 18, 2008 1:46 am

Thank you. I just wish the answer wasn't so simple.
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Postby Cato » Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:14 am

To pile on, cum and the indicative is strictly temporal, while subjunctive usually indicates some other matter of opinion or potential (cause, concession, etc.)
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Postby Rufus Gulielmus » Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:48 am

Cum, when paired with a subjunctive, can also mean "since" or "although," depending on the context and what the sentence is expressing. In this case, though, I agree that "when" is the best translation.

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Postby timeodanaos » Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:32 am

Cato wrote:To pile on, cum and the indicative is strictly temporal, while subjunctive usually indicates some other matter of opinion or potential (cause, concession, etc.)
Gratias multissimas tibi! I have been too lazy to ever seek out this distinction in a grammar, even though it has been bugging me for as long as I have seen cum combined with the indicative.
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Postby Essorant » Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:06 pm

multissimas


Shouldn't that be plurimas?<pre> </pre>
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Postby Lucus Eques » Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:05 am

Essorant wrote:
multissimas


Shouldn't that be plurimas?<pre> </pre>


"Plurimas" is proper, "multissimas" is colloquial.
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Postby Essorant » Thu Jun 19, 2008 1:39 am

Maniest thanks. It makes muchest sense to me now.<pre></pre>
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Postby timeodanaos » Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:20 am

Lucus Eques wrote:
Essorant wrote:
multissimas


Shouldn't that be plurimas?<pre> </pre>


"Plurimas" is proper, "multissimas" is colloquial.
I didn't know that - I guess that makes me a plebeian.
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Postby benissimus » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:36 pm

timeodanaos wrote:
Lucus Eques wrote:"Plurimas" is proper, "multissimas" is colloquial.
I didn't know that - I guess that makes me a plebeian.

Count me as a plebeian too then. Let's see some proof
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Postby timeodanaos » Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:10 pm

It's too late (passed midnight four minutes ago) to read your links in depth, Luce, and I do not doubt your analytical skills, nor observations.

I meant to have written plurimas, and it did, from the moment I wrote multissimas, sound peculiar to me, without me, however, being aware why.

I have written what I have written, and I do think, however right and 'proper' the comparative might be, that the superlative is as usable as the 'proper' form, mainly because of the possibility of superlatives not having to be absolute in meaning (doesn't have to be the most in comparison to something else).

As native speakers of our respective languages, we also demand the right to alter our idiomatic expressions to our liking and yet be understood and even considered as rounded a speaker of our language as anyone.
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Postby benissimus » Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:28 pm

I was hoping for some example from a native speaker. If it is a neo-Latin idiom then so be it, but I think only those who speak a language as their first language are generally the ones who can change the morphology or irregularities of a language (other than coining new words as needed). Otherwise, I would call it simply a foreign speaker erring. That's my two cents.

On the other hand, I'm not so sure whether the examples you have listed, Lucus, are intentional or accidental. Vicipaedia has some good writers, but I have seen errors on the front page before and would hesitate before citing it as exemplary Latin.
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Postby Gonzalo » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:51 am


Optima res mihi videtur talis pagina quum de Latinitate neo-latinorum librorum auctorumque dicitur: http://www.philological.bham.ac.uk/bibliography/
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Postby thesaurus » Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:26 pm

Lucus Eques wrote:http://worldlibrary.net/eBooks/Wordtheque/la/BembEtna.txt

Definitely not my personal preference, and it has a dialectic ring to my ear; still, there it is, Latina recentior.


For what it's worth, yesterday found me by chance reading this exact work, "De Aetna," among others, of Pietro Bembo's, and I can tell you the man is undisputedly latinate. He served as the papal secretary to Leo X, and wrote fine volumes of Latin poetry and prose. He was also a staunch Ciceronian. As a native speaker I suppose he will always be neo-latin, but I defer to this man's judgement, though I wouldn't be inclined to do so for Vikipaedians.
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Postby Lucus Eques » Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:22 pm

benissimus wrote:I was hoping for some example from a native speaker. If it is a neo-Latin idiom then so be it, but I think only those who speak a language as their first language are generally the ones who can change the morphology or irregularities of a language (other than coining new words as needed). Otherwise, I would call it simply a foreign speaker erring. That's my two cents.


Well, tho' I share your sentiments in part, I'll recall how very few, in fact none of the ancient "Roman" authors whose writings survive to us today, were in fact native Romans except Julius Caesar. And some of the greatest Latin authors did not speak Latin as a first language, including Ovid and Vergil. And they sure coined a hell of a lot!

As for the quality of the links I found in a cursory Google search for "multissim-," I really didn't mean to imply anything more than Latina recentior colloquialis. Altho' the majority of those links cited are from the writings of fluent speakers and writers.
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Postby Scribo » Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:29 pm

What was Vergil's native tongue then? Most curious.
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Postby benissimus » Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:46 pm

http://worldlibrary.net/eBooks/Wordtheque/la/BembEtna.txt

All right, I suppose I can accept this one as evidence, though I wish there were something official on this matter. This so often seems to be the problem with mediaeval Latin.

Well, tho' I share your sentiments in part, I'll recall how very few, in fact none of the ancient "Roman" authors whose writings survive to us today, were in fact native Romans except Julius Caesar. And some of the greatest Latin authors did not speak Latin as a first language, including Ovid and Vergil. And they sure coined a hell of a lot!

Perhaps instead of "first language" I should have said "language learned from childhood". I believe most of the authors we know who wrote well in Latin were able to acquire the language at that critical age when language comes so easily. Anyways, the point I meant to make was that in a setting like we have today, where Latin is a communal language but not really native to any (besides a few exceptional cases), any attempt to change its grammar would have to be conscious (and therefore artificial) or based on error (and therefore not really a change to the language itself). It would require a large community of fluent speakers to effect any significant change in the language, and while we do have fluent speakers today, they are spread so thin that we can hardly call them members of a single Latin community. This is all besides the point since Bembo was writing at a time when such a Latin community did exist, which is why I find it easier to accept his usage.
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Postby Scribo » Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:56 pm

So I'll never be able to speak Latin fluently and write wonderfully? :cry: :cry:
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Postby Lucus Eques » Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:25 pm

Scribo wrote:So I'll never be able to speak Latin fluently and write wonderfully? :cry: :cry:


Sure you will, Scribo! I'll be among several fluent Latin speakers at the Conventiculum Buffaloniense next week, which promises to be a blast. I also hope to go to the Conventiculum Lexintoniense.

I wish there were more of this stuff:

http://www.uky.edu/AS/Classics/videocasts/
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Postby Scribo » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:06 pm

Yay! my incentive to work hard has returned with the force of a pugio thrust.
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Postby benissimus » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:20 pm

I think you can be fluent too, but there is a difference between being fluent in a language and having learnt it from childhood. Some gifted people are able to achieve the same level of skill as native speakers, but realistically, the vast majority will always sound slightly off, whether in pronunciation or idiom or mannerism. This is especially the case with Latin since it is very difficult to immerse yourself in the spoken language as you might with a modern language. I'm sorry if that sounds discouraging, I didn't mean to sound so pessimistic, and I'm sure not everyone agrees with me, but I wouldn't consider accent a fault, but rather a charm and a mark of internationalism.
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Postby Scribo » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:39 pm

benissimus wrote:I think you can be fluent too, but there is a difference between being fluent in a language and having learnt it from childhood. Some gifted people are able to achieve the same level of skill as native speakers, but realistically, the vast majority will always sound slightly off, whether in pronunciation or idiom or mannerism. This is especially the case with Latin since it is very difficult to immerse yourself in the spoken language as you might with a modern language. I'm sorry if that sounds discouraging, and I'm sure not everyone agrees with me, but I wouldn't consider accent a fault, but rather a charm and a mark of internationalism.


Indeed, I would fain also consider it such. Besides, there is always this forum to practice the written side and I spy a section for posting compositions. :)
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Postby timeodanaos » Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:28 pm

The most dissuading thing about foreign languages (something I meet every day, reading and writing English on the internet) is being able to read everything from Malory to Shakespeare to Joyce as were their works written in my mother tongue, and yet feeling clumsy, long winded and using self-coined phrases (which might be correct, semantically and grammatically) where I know there is an idiom hidden somewhere in my passive vocabulary.

That being said, I do think the abstract notion of 'style' is easier to copy when writing in such a synthetic language as Latin. Where the syntactical features (esp. word order) of English can be baffling, even to natives, this is less of a hurdle in Latin, the word order relying so much more on the specific wishes of the writer.

And of course the lack of any sort of centralised controlling organ of the language (such as the French, German or Danish).
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