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Drill (n) = terebras?

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Drill (n) = terebras?

Postby autophile » Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:01 pm

Once again, a quote from Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis:

Dominus Dursley praeerat societati nomine Grunnings, quae terebras fecit.

Mr. Dursley ran a company called Grunnings, which made drills.


terebras, as far as I can tell, is a 2nd person singular present active verb meaning "bore through, drill a hole in". Isn't there already a suffix which converts a verb into an instrument -- thus, a drill = terebraculum or maybe terebramen?

Thanks,

--Rob
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Postby adrianus » Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:27 pm

Salve autophile/Rob(erte)
Lewis and Short wrote:tĕrē^bra , ae, f. (
I. neutr. collat. form tĕ-rē^brum , Hier. in Isa. 12, 44, 12 al.) [tero].
I. An instrument for boring, a borer, an auger, gimlet, Cato, R. R. 41, 3; Col. 4, 29, 15 sq.; Plin. 7, 56, 57, § 198; 17, 15, 25, § 116; 37, 13, 76, § 200.--
II. As a surgical [p. 1858] instrument, a trephine, Cels. 8, 3.--
III. A military engine for boring through walls in sieges, Vitr. 10, 13, 7.
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Postby autophile » Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:52 pm

OK, so terebrum (thing that drills) becomes terebra. Whitaker's Words fails me again :?

However, the plural would be terebrae, not terebras. I'm still trying to figure out why Needham (the author of the Latin edition) chose to use terebras.
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Postby Alatius » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:14 pm

The form "terebras" is the (regular) accusative plural of "terebra -ae f".

Do you have any more example of omissions/errors in Words? I'm collecting a list.
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Postby MarcusE » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:07 pm

is this book approachable after LLPSI I?
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Postby timeodanaos » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:10 pm

'praeerat' is not pluperfect, it is imperfective preterite, the present is 'praesum'
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Postby adrianus » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:13 pm

autophile wrote:OK, so terebrum (thing that drills) becomes terebra.
If you believe the L&S entry, autophile, 'terebrum' didn't become 'tenebra' but the use of 'terebra' precedes 'terebrum'. Cato, Columella, Pliny, Vitruvius, and Celsus all preceded Hieronymous, who wrote "terebrum".

Si benè, autophile, credis quod apud L&S scribitur, 'terebrum' verbum non 'terebra' factum est; magìs contrarium obtinuit, quià Hieronymous (qui "tenebrum" scripsit et quinto saeculo obiit) post Catonem et Columellam atque Plinium ac Vitruvium et Celsum vivebat.
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Postby MarcusE » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:13 pm

timeodanaos wrote:'praeerat' is not pluperfect, it is imperfective preterite, the present is 'praesum'


correct of course, I should know better, so why isn't fecit in the imperfect?

it would for example be a little odd in Spanish to say "administraba una empresa que frabrico taladros" it would be "fabricaba taladros"
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Postby Alatius » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:35 pm

By the way, don't miss this detailed commentary on the Latin translation!
http://homepage.usask.ca/~jrp638/latin/potter.pdf
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Postby adrianus » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:58 pm

MarcusE wrote:...so why isn't fecit in the imperfect?
That's a good question, MarcusE. Maybe this is the answer...
Benè roges, MarcusE. Fortassè responsum est ità...
Allen & Greenough, §475 wrote:The Perfect is sometimes used of a general truth, especially with negatives (Gnomic Perfect):
    qui studet contingere metam multa tulit fecit que (Hor. A. P. 412), he who aims to reach the goal, first bears and does many things.
    non aeris acervus et auri deduxit corpore febris ( id. Ep. 1.2.47), the pile of brass and gold removes not fever from the frame.
NOTE.—The gnomic perfect strictly refers to past time; but its use implies that something which never did happen in any known case never does happen, and never will (cf. the English "Faint heart never won fair lady"); or, without a negative that what has once happened will always happen under similar circumstances.
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Postby autophile » Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:18 pm

'praeerat' is not pluperfect, it is imperfective preterite, the present is 'praesum'
(I think you meant not perfect).

My understanding of the whole imperfect/perfect thing is that the imperfect not only means something which was happening, but also something which happened habitually or continuously. Thus, the translation of an imperfect can look like a perfect as long as it's understood that it's a continuous state of being (see, e.g., M&F 1B.2. on the imperfect tense).

So praeerat is imperfect, but I translated this as ran because Mr. Dursley wouldn't have merely momentarily run Grunnings. See, for example, the use of inquit throughout the translation meaning said (perfect) as opposed to an imperfect because they didn't habitually or continuously say.

...so why isn't fecit in the imperfect?


That's a very good question. Maybe the sense of "made" implies that Grunnings put together, as in completed, drills -- and the meaning of perfect is to complete something? That's one rationalization, anyway!

is this book approachable after LLPSI I?


Maybe. I never got past chapter 8 or so of Lingua Latina, mostly because at that point I wanted to learn the rules and start translating rather than get them in bits. Thus, my love of M&F :)

Do you have any more example of omissions/errors in Words? I'm collecting a list.


I've noticed the program fails to recognize the superlative in some cases; hebetissimi (dullest) comes to mind. Aside from the noun terebra, I've run into others over the months I've been using Words, but I can't remember specific instances. I'll remember to keep a list and occasionally post them somewhere.

BTW, if you look up inquit, Words spits out both inquiit and inquiam as entries, but if you enter either of those, Words says they are unknown.

By the way, don't miss this detailed commentary on the Latin translation!


Wow. Just.... wow.

Thanks so much for all your help. While the first three sentences took a few hours to puzzle through, the next two pages went by in a little over an hour.

--Rob
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Postby MarcusE » Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:21 pm

adrianus wrote:
MarcusE wrote:...so why isn't fecit in the imperfect?
That's a good question, MarcusE. Maybe this is the answer...
Benè roges, MarcusE. Fortassè responsum est ità...
Allen & Greenough, §475 wrote:The Perfect is sometimes used of a general truth, especially with negatives (Gnomic Perfect):
    qui studet contingere metam multa tulit fecit que (Hor. A. P. 412), he who aims to reach the goal, first bears and does many things.
    non aeris acervus et auri deduxit corpore febris ( id. Ep. 1.2.47), the pile of brass and gold removes not fever from the frame.
NOTE.—The gnomic perfect strictly refers to past time; but its use implies that something which never did happen in any known case never does happen, and never will (cf. the English "Faint heart never won fair lady"); or, without a negative that what has once happened will always happen under similar circumstances.


Interesting. That's a usage that doesn't correspond to modern Spanish use of the preterite perfect. I can see my Spanish will only take me so far!
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Postby Cato » Thu Oct 02, 2008 4:30 pm

MarcusE wrote:correct of course, I should know better, so why isn't fecit in the imperfect?

The imperfect denotes continuous action, which may not be appropriate for describing the general function of an enterprise. Here the imperfect quae terebras facebat would mean they were making drills at that very moment--perhaps true, but not necessarily so. The perfect on the other hand describes the business even at times when the factory is shut down.

I think this is a regular use of the perfect; appeals to the gnomic perfect--the past tense used in general aphorisms like "Faint heart never won fair lady" (not "wins")--are unnecessary.
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Postby adrianus » Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:57 pm

Let me try this as an argument, Cato.
The Imperfect generally is used when an action either is continuous or repeats in a period of past time. An action's repetition does not imply it does so incessantly. "He used to fish" is not the same in English as "he was fishing",—both are translated by the Imperfect in Latin.
If I say "the company used to make drills" in Latin, everyone will understand, but to use the Gnomic Perfect is to convey more, and more than "normal" Past Perfect usage. If I used the Past Perfect in Latin, the normal uses would be: Perfect Definite "the company has made drills,—and maybe other things?"; Historical Perfect "the company made drills,—at an undefined point in the past"; Past Emphatic "the company made drills,—and now doesn't"; Gnomic Perfect "the company made drills,—it always did and always will because it's a drill-making company".
Maybe I'm wrong, of course.

Tua veniâ, Cato, hoc argumentum propono.
Imperfectum tempus in universum dicitur cum praeteriti temporis spatio actio vel durat vel repetit. Potest actionem repetere et non incessabilem esse. "Piscabatur" latinè et habiliter anteà et praeteritae durationi actionis significare potest.
Si dicam "societas terebras faciebat" omnes intellegant (ut credo); sed si dicam "societas terebras fecit", omnes plus intellegant, dumtaxat tempus Praeteritum Gnomicum legent,—"societatis est terebras facere". Si aut Definitivum aut Historicum aut Emphaticum intelligentur, omnes circumducentur. Definitivo, "societas terebas fecit,—et alia separatim?"; Historico, "societas terebas fecit,—spatio quodam certé"; Emphatico, "societas terebas fecit,—tunc non fecit"; Praeterito Gnomico, "societas terebas fecit, quià societatis erat (vel fuit quidem!) terebras facere"
Fortassè autem erro.
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Postby MarcusE » Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:08 pm

Cato wrote:
MarcusE wrote:correct of course, I should know better, so why isn't fecit in the imperfect?

The imperfect denotes continuous action, which may not be appropriate for describing the general function of an enterprise. Here the imperfect quae terebras facebat would mean they were making drills at that very moment--perhaps true, but not necessarily so. The perfect on the other hand describes the business even at times when the factory is shut down.

I think this is a regular use of the perfect; appeals to the gnomic perfect--the past tense used in general aphorisms like "Faint heart never won fair lady" (not "wins")--are unnecessary.


This makes a lot of sense. I had never heard of the gnomic perfect before. However it does beg the question why isn't praeerat in the same gnomic perfect? The two verbs would appear to have exactly the same aspect. He ran the company and the company made drills. Maybe that isn't what they were doing at the moment the story opened but that is what they both (Dominus Dursley and Grunnings) did professionally.

I suspect the difference is as much to do with creating variety for stylist reasons. The both CAN be used here and so both of them are.
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Postby thesaurus » Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:51 am

The reason the imperfect isn't used here is because it is a question of whether the effects of the action are still relevant to the present. In other words, if Dursley made drills, and his making these drills is still relevant today, then it's imperfect. If he made drills at some point, but this action is no longer relevant to the present (as here) then it's perfect.

I wish I could give a better explanation. Again, it's not just a question of continued or non-continued action, but one of continued relevance of the action.

"Rex regnabat" the king was ruling (and it's important to note that he isn't anymore... perhaps he was recently deposed?).
"Rex regnavit" the king ruled (at some time or other--the consequences of his rule are no longer at issue.).
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Postby adrianus » Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:35 am

A bit like "He ran a company which incidentally made drills"? Now that you say it, that sounds plausible, Thesaurus.

Velutne par sit ità: "Praeerat societati quae obiter terebras fecit"? Hoc à te dicto, Thesaure, credibile id mihi videtur.
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Re: Drill (n) = terebras?

Postby Godmy » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:04 pm

...quae terebrās fēcit from [firm] called Grunnings, which made drills.

I am sorry and I am sorry to Peter Needham but this is a TYPICAL English mistake (a mistake an English latinist could make) where English mixes the habitual past and historical perfect all in the English past simple.
- A reality that is NOT in Latin.

This is not a gnomic perfect nor anything similar to it. You really can't say he [in the very time] worked in the company, that made [=used to make] drills (every day several thousands drills, any other interpretation is inconsistent with the description of the actual job he used to have) and use perfect. Not possible.

The Latin imperfect is a past mirror of the Latin present tense.

Latin present tense:
1) right now: I'm swimming = natō
2) habitually: I swim every day = natō

Latin imperfect (a mirror of the present tense in the past):
1) at the moment: I was swimming = natābam
2) habitually: I swam every day [used to swim, would swim] = natābam <- this is NOT a historical perfect and cannot be

---------------

Any attempt to justify the perfect here just changes the sense of the original statement. It is a simple description what his firm did everyday and is translated so in any other language. Therefore the grammatical justification changes the original meaning.

+ This is absolutely obvious how an English person (granted an experienced Oxford professor of Latin) can make this mistake: English is exactly the language that merges these two concepts.
---------------

I love Harry Potter, I love Latin, I love English (not my native language) and I love Peter Needham's translation: but this is an obvious English-based mistake, period.
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