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SUUS and somebody elses book

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SUUS and somebody elses book

Postby blutoonwithcarrotandnail » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:12 am

SUUS denotes possession in the 3rd person. In the following sentence:

PATER LIBEROS SUOS AMAT
The father loves his children

It states clearly that it is the father's children. However, according
to context sometimes this can mean 'somebody elses children'. In
that case you use 'EJUS'.

Can somebody give me a contextual example of when a sentence
like 'PATER LIBEROS SUOS AMAT' means 'it is somebody elses
children'? Can somebody show an actual contextual application?

Thanks.
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Postby Kasper » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:25 am

Pater meus suos liberos amat. Avunculus quoque liberos habet. Pater meus et liberos eius amat.

=

"My dad loves his (own) kids. My uncle also has kids. My dad loves his kids too."
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Postby blutoonwithcarrotandnail » Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:15 pm

What you are saying is that the confusion created by the sentence
of stating that my dad loves his kids and then my uncle loves his kids
- that nobody is sure in the final statement whose kids they are talking
about so they used EJUS.

This makes sense if i am interpreting it correctly.

Thanks.
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Postby calvinist » Mon Oct 13, 2008 7:58 pm

blutoonwithcarrotandnail wrote:What you are saying is that the confusion created by the sentence
of stating that my dad loves his kids and then my uncle loves his kids
- that nobody is sure in the final statement whose kids they are talking
about so they used EJUS.

This makes sense if i am interpreting it correctly.

Thanks.

there is no confusion in the Latin, only in English. suus always refers back to the subject, eius is used only when you are not referring to the subject. it's not that they used eius to eliminate ambiguity, eius had to be used in that case otherwise the meaning of the sentence would change.

Pater liberos suos amat. -- can only be interpreted as "his own kids"

Pater liberos eius amat. -- can only be interpreted as "someone else's kids"
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Postby Swth\r » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:19 pm

Hi, my friend,

Try to understand if there is a "reflection" or just a reiteration of something mentioned before.

Greeks have destroyed their (own) enemies. => Graeci interemerunt hostes suos.
Greeks destroyed their (= of Romans) enemies. => Graeci interemerunt hostes eorum (= Romanorum)

Cicero gave his (own) daughter a present. => Cicero filiae suae donum dedit.
Cicero gave a present to his (= Caesar's) daughter. => Cicero filiae eius (= Caesaris) donum dedit.

Remember: SUUS is used attributively, but IS as possesive genitive (that is, always -> eius, eorum, earum)
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Postby MarcusE » Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:11 am

This seems like such a useful distinction to be able to make that it makes me wonder why Spanish abandoned it. "Cicero le dio un regalo a su hija" could mean his daughter or somebody else's daughter.

I suppose my next step will have to be to try to bridge the gap between these two languages.
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Postby benissimus » Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:38 am

MarcusE wrote:This seems like such a useful distinction to be able to make that it makes me wonder why Spanish abandoned it. "Cicero le dio un regalo a su hija" could mean his daughter or somebody else's daughter.

Just a thought... as an empire and its language expand and you have more people speaking Latin as a second language in, say, Hispania, then these linguistic features that are more difficult for new speakers to acquire are the first to be neglected.
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Postby calvinist » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:10 pm

benissimus wrote:
MarcusE wrote:This seems like such a useful distinction to be able to make that it makes me wonder why Spanish abandoned it. "Cicero le dio un regalo a su hija" could mean his daughter or somebody else's daughter.

Just a thought... as an empire and its language expand and you have more people speaking Latin as a second language in, say, Hispania, then these linguistic features that are more difficult for new speakers to acquire are the first to be neglected.

Benissimus is exactly right. When non-native speakers pick up a language in a natural setting (not a classroom) they usually simplify the language as much as possible and stamp out any irregularities... Spanish being a perfect example with it's loss of case endings, neuter gender, etc. The interesting thing is that the only irregularities that usually remain are in words and structures that are very high frequency such as the verb "to be" cp. English is, am, was, are.
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Postby MarcusE » Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:53 pm

This is certainly true in a general sense and well worth being reminded of and yet one of the really interesting things about language change is its degree of unpredictability - things get preserved that "should" have fallen away and vice versa.

Do any of the romance langauges preserve this distinction? If not then that suggests it probably ceased to be strictly observed fairly early on in vulgar latin. A topic for another place perhaps!
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Postby calvinist » Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:09 pm

One thing to make note of is the fact that this distinction is more necessary in the written word. In actual spoken language the context is much more clear than when reading something written thousands of years ago by someone whom you know very little about and in circumstances you are not completely familiar with. The language was spread as a spoken form, not a written form... and this distinction probably wasn't very necessary in the everyday use of the language. In English we don't make this distinction except in rare cases where there might be ambiguity and we emphasize "his own" or if not referring to the subject we just omit the pronoun and restate the head noun "The father loves John's children" instead of "The father loves his children". This is probably what happened in Vulgar Latin.

I think that the more literate a language community is, the more stable the language is. We phrase things much more freely and even change the pronunciation of words in everyday speech ("John and Jim" becomes "John 'n' Jim") etc. In the written word, however, we are constantly brought back to the "pure" or "standard" form of the language and so we never venture too far into creating a new dialect.

I bet that even listening to educated Romans it was hard to distinguish amat from amant, aqua (nom.) from aqua (abl. long 'a') from aquam. They knew the distinctions were there, however, because they read and wrote the language regularly.
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Postby blutoonwithcarrotandnail » Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:21 pm

SUUS is possibly ambiguous in its natural usage but EJUS is not.

Correct?
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Postby calvinist » Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:36 pm

blutoonwithcarrotandnail wrote:SUUS is possibly ambiguous in its natural usage but EJUS is not.

Correct?

suus is not ambiguous. whatever word suus modifies (librum suum) is tied to the subject (whatever is in the nominative case)... always. eius, on the other hand, never references the subject. so they are opposites in a sense. only one can be used in any particular instance, there is no overlap. neither one is ambiguous. Again, I think the confusion is because you are translating the Latin into English where there is ambiguity.
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Postby bedwere » Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:57 pm

English is my second language, but I noticed that in the Douay Rheims Challoner Bible "thereof" is used as a translation for ejus in the Vulgate and his/her/its/their for suus-a-um.
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Postby Swth\r » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:46 pm

Of course in many cases "reflection" is not always direct, either with reflexive (=personal in Latin), or with possessive pronouns. (direct reflection is called the situation of subject and object, or subject and possessor being the same person)


direct:

Caesar adhortatur milites suos ut salutem suam sperent (milites). -> Caesar encourages his soldiers to hope (: the soldiers) for their salvation.

indirect:

Petreius obsecrat milites ne se (= Petreium) adversairiis tradant. -> Petreius begs the soldiers not to abandon him to the enemies.

Titurius , cum procul Ambiorigem suos cohortatem conspexisset, interpretem suum Cn. Pompeium ad eum mittit. -> Titurius, when he discerned by far away that Ambiorix was encouraging his soldiers (= Ambiorix' soldiers), he sends (=sent) to him (= to Ambiorix) his (=Titurius') interpreter.

blue -> direct reflection.
red -> indirect reflection: Titurius discerned, Ambiorix encouraged his (own) soldiers

(but ad eum=reiteration).

That is, things go far away when indirect discourse comes up.
Last edited by Swth\r on Wed Oct 15, 2008 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby loqu » Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:22 am

calvinist wrote:Benissimus is exactly right. When non-native speakers pick up a language in a natural setting (not a classroom) they usually simplify the language as much as possible and stamp out any irregularities... Spanish being a perfect example with it's loss of case endings, neuter gender, etc. The interesting thing is that the only irregularities that usually remain are in words and structures that are very high frequency such as the verb "to be" cp. English is, am, was, are.


Oh I cannot agree at all. First of all because, according to your reasoning, Italian (the closest to be called 'natives') wouldn't have lost the case endings and neuter gender, which it has (let me remind you that only Romanian has preserved -and partly- the declension and the neuter gender).

Apart from that, Baetica and other parts of the Empire (such as the coast of Tarraconensis) were rather well romanized regions so that we cannot consider these inhabitants to speak Latin as a second language (in fact, pre-Roman languages died out in few years because of the good Romanization). Latin was the first and only language to most population in Hispania as it was in Italia -- but, of course, it was Vulgar Latin in both of them, not Classical one. And we all know Vulgar Latin had lost a whole bunch of classical features from the beginning on.
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Postby calvinist » Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:57 am

loqu wrote:
calvinist wrote:Benissimus is exactly right. When non-native speakers pick up a language in a natural setting (not a classroom) they usually simplify the language as much as possible and stamp out any irregularities... Spanish being a perfect example with it's loss of case endings, neuter gender, etc. The interesting thing is that the only irregularities that usually remain are in words and structures that are very high frequency such as the verb "to be" cp. English is, am, was, are.


Oh I cannot agree at all. First of all because, according to your reasoning, Italian (the closest to be called 'natives') wouldn't have lost the case endings and neuter gender, which it has (let me remind you that only Romanian has preserved -and partly- the declension and the neuter gender).

Apart from that, Baetica and other parts of the Empire (such as the coast of Tarraconensis) were rather well romanized regions so that we cannot consider these inhabitants to speak Latin as a second language (in fact, pre-Roman languages died out in few years because of the good Romanization). Latin was the first and only language to most population in Hispania as it was in Italia -- but, of course, it was Vulgar Latin in both of them, not Classical one. And we all know Vulgar Latin had lost a whole bunch of classical features from the beginning on.
yes, they spoke Vulgar Latin as a first language which had already lost most of the elements of Classical Latin probably by being introduced as a second language, and I never said that was the only way languages were simplified, just one instance in which they are.. trust me I live in SoCal and I hear non-native English speakers making chop suey of English regularly.... but I don't want to argue man, just putting my two cents in. :roll:
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Postby metrodorus » Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:55 pm

Interestingly, Teresa Roguski asked a similar question, only this morning on 'Latinteach', after noticing the following sentences in the Rosetta Stone Latin course:

Here is what she noticed:

"
In a list of phrases and sentences from Rosetta Stone Latin I found some phrases that seemed wrong to me. I know you out there on the list can tell me what's correct. These phrases are captions for photos, not part of any larger context:

femina et canis eius -- if I'm not mistaken, this means "a woman and (his, her) dog" (someone else's dog, not the woman's)

"femina et canis suus" would be "a woman and her dog" (the dog belongs to the woman)

vir et feles eius -- should be vir et feles sua (unless you are specifying a male cat - feles suus)

femina et raeda eius --- should be femina et raeda sua if the raeda (car?) belongs to the woman

vigil publicus et equus eius --- should be et equus suus, if the horse belongs to the policeman

duae puellae et parentes earum --- should be parentes sui if the parents are the girls' parents, right?

Caption for a picture of a boy sitting under a tree and his father kicking a soccer ball:

"Filius non ludit. Pater eius ludit." Here eius is used correctly, isn't it? - eius refers back to a person not the subject of the sentence.

Caption for a picture of a girl and her grandmother:

"Puella et avia eius in triclinio sunt." means "The girl and (his/her-someone else's) grandmother are in the dining room." Shouldn't this be "Puella et avia sua in triclinio sunt"?

"
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Postby calvinist » Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:49 am

those are not complete sentences... there really is no subject/predicate so it may actually be fine in those circumstances. They're basically just labels, syntax is almost void in such a simple statement.
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