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S-O-V

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S-O-V

Postby Eurysilas » Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:23 am

I'm doing pretty good on translating from Latin to English, but not so well in translating English to Latin. What's tripping me up is this confounded S-O-V (Subject-Object-Verb) word order that Latin uses. So, any tips on that? Specifically, how does one find the subject, object, and verb? In the sentence "They are giving nothing.", that's easy....It's "Nihil dant.", with the only verb in the sentence going at the end. But take a slightly more complex sentence, like "You ought not to praise me.". That's going to end up having two verbs, "debes" and "laudare". So....What do I do? Where do I stick them, as well as the other words in this sentence? This really frustrates me.
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Postby quendidil » Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:09 am

Non me laudare debes.

I doubt you know any German, but if you do, it's similar to the V2 concept there; the main verb goes to the end. I can't really recommend anything to help with your problem because I was already accustomed to SOV word order from Japanese before I started learning Latin but perhaps all you really need is exposure. Lingua Latina should provide enough examples of SOV word order for it to diffuse into your brain eventually.
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Postby Alatius » Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:47 am

Since the words order in Latin is relatively free, it is not critical how you do it; you might want to try to place the finite verb last (i.e. the one that is inflected in tempus, mode, person and number, such as debes in your example), but it's also perfectly acceptable to vary it. Note that non immediately precedes the word it modifies.

me non laudare debes: you ought to not praise me or it's not to praise me that you ought.
me laudare non debes or me non debes laudare: you ought not to praise me.
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Postby cantator » Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:24 pm

Alatius wrote:Since the words order in Latin is relatively free, it is not critical how you do it.


Indeed, this is one of the language's greatest strengths. Latin poets often exploit that freedom of order for a variety of effects, though of course for sermo cotidianus you can expect a plainer syntax.
Similis sum folio de quo ludunt venti.
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Postby Koehnsen » Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:35 pm

quendidil wrote:I doubt you know any German, but if you do, it's similar to the V2 concept there; the main verb goes to the end...


Parenthetically, this and the highly inflected nature of German is probably why when I am tired while speaking German I sometimes throw in Latin words accidentally. I get funny looks, for sure... :D
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Postby Eurysilas » Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:33 am

OK, so I just need more exposure to the language.....

I knew that Latin word order was freer than other languages, but I have also been told that unusual word order was utilized to place emphasis on certain words. which I don't want to do. So I was anxious to get the standard word order down. But maybe I ought not to get so hung up on it in my first lesson.
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Postby Twpsyn » Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:41 pm

Eurysilas wrote:OK, so I just need more exposure to the language.....

I knew that Latin word order was freer than other languages, but I have also been told that unusual word order was utilized to place emphasis on certain words. which I don't want to do. So I was anxious to get the standard word order down. But maybe I ought not to get so hung up on it in my first lesson.


Yes.

It is good but misleading to think of Latin word order as 'free'. For while some syntactic 'objects' you can rearrange as you like, others you can't without making your sentence confusing or wrong. For (an extreme and rather silly) example,

Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris [...] venit

can't be rearranged as

Arma Troiae cano virumque, venit ab qui oris primus.

In other words, words generally have to stay in their own clause. So in the end, you will 'absorb' how it works the more you read. Oh, but a comment: you do want to 'put emphasis on certain words'. You have to put the words in some order, and they might as well be one that expresses what you want to say with the emphasis that is natural to put on it ... otherwise your Latin may be grammatically correct, but stilted. But yes, if you are still in the early stages don't worry about it too much. Imitate the 'good' Latin you see in whatever textbook you use, and it will all fall together.
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