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correlatives, tense, mood - help please

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correlatives, tense, mood - help please

Postby justerman » Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:09 am

Hi

I've just joined so please excuse any (hopefully minor) transgressions.

I'm learning from "Teach Yourself Latin". It includes the following extract (Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum X, 10, 1):
"Sic enim princeps ille philosophiae disserebat, qualis cuiusque animi adfectus esset, talem esse hominem ....".
The translation supplied for the part that vexes me is "as the state of each man's mind is, so is the man".

According to what principles is "esset" used rather than "est" (ie why subjunctive, why imperfect)? An explanation, or pointer to an online source, would be much appreciated

thanks
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Re: correlatives, tense, mood - help please

Postby Rhodopeius » Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:09 pm

I believe it is because the clause of esset is dependent on an accusative + infinitive statement. If it were a normal clause, you would use the indicative.

Talis es qualis frater tuus est.

But since qualis adfectus animi esset is dependent on talem hominem esse, you have to use the subjunctive in Latin. If it seems like the rule doesn't make sense, it doesn't.

For example, if I wanted to say, "They say you are such (the kind of man) as your brother is," I could render that as:

Qualis frater tuus sit, dicunt te talem virum esse. The tense of the subjunctive depends on the time of the verb in the dependent clause relative to that of the verb in the main clause. So I could replace frater tuus sit above with:

qualis frater tuus futurus sit as your brother will be
qualis frater tuus fuerit as your brother was
qualis frater tuus esset as your brother was
qualis frater tuus fuisset as your brother had been

The reason you have the imperfect in that sentence is because in the main clause you have disserebat in the imperfect. Since the verb esse in the dependent clause happens at the same time as the verb in the main clause, you use the imperfect subjunctive. If Plato had been talking about the state of someone's mind before his time, Cicero could have used the perfect or pluperfect subjunctive.

Dicebat suum magistrum talem fuisse, qualis adfectus animi fuerit.
He said (habitually or repeatedly) that his teacher was such as the state of his mind was.

I don't have a grammar on hand so I could be wrong but I believe those are the rules for using correlatives in a clause depending on an acc. + inf. statement.
Scott Sumrall. http://classicsexercises.blogspot.com

"Qui sis, non unde natus sis reputa."
Rhodopeius
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Re: correlatives, tense, mood - help please

Postby justerman » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:52 pm

Thanks for replying at length Rhodopeius. I now understand why the subjunctive.

Your explanation for the imperfect doesn't sit well with what I had previously understood, so let me play it back.

I had understood that the tense within the indirect statement should follow from that of the original statement. So if the original speech was:
Qualis cuiusque animi adfectus est, talis homo est ,
then both verbs should retain the present tense when expressed indirectly.

However, you say that the tense within the dependent clause should agree with that of the verb introducing the indirect statement (disserebat).

I am wrong?

Thanks again.
justerman
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Re: correlatives, tense, mood - help please

Postby Imber Ranae » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:43 pm

justerman wrote:Thanks for replying at length Rhodopeius. I now understand why the subjunctive.

Your explanation for the imperfect doesn't sit well with what I had previously understood, so let me play it back.

I had understood that the tense within the indirect statement should follow from that of the original statement. So if the original speech was:
Qualis cuiusque animi adfectus est, talis homo est ,
then both verbs should retain the present tense when expressed indirectly.

However, you say that the tense within the dependent clause should agree with that of the verb introducing the indirect statement (disserebat).

I am wrong?

Thanks again.


The main clause of the indirect statement is always an accusative + infinitive construction, with the time of the infinitive being relative to that of the independent clause's verb (i.e. perfect infinitive shows time anterior to the independent clause, future infinitive time posterior, present infinitive time contemporaneous). However, when an indirect statement has a subordinate clause of its own (the "qu" half of coordinate constructions like tam...quam, talis...qualis, etc. is technically subordinate) you don't use another accusative + infinitive construction, but rather the subjunctive, which must, as always*, follow the sequence of tenses. Therefore, if the independent clause has a verb with secondary tense, the subordinate verb must be either imperfect subjunctive (time contemporaneous or posterior) or pluperfect subjunctive (time anterior). In certain instances, such as indirect questions, you could also use the active periphrastic (future participle + sum) in the imperfect subjunctive to show time posterior.


*well, almost always, anyway.
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
Imber Ranae
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Re: correlatives, tense, mood - help please

Postby Rhodopeius » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:16 pm

Yeah.
Scott Sumrall. http://classicsexercises.blogspot.com

"Qui sis, non unde natus sis reputa."
Rhodopeius
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Re: correlatives, tense, mood - help please

Postby justerman » Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:24 am

Thanks Imber Ranae. I understand now (though it was a stretch)
justerman
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