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Genitive gerund of esse?

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Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby autophile » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:20 pm

Salvete!

I'm really struggling with translating the following phrase:

S1. "Its history as a border state has led it to exhibit..."

I decided to try simplifying the phrase (well... simplifying for what little Latin grammar I know) as follows:

S2. "Because it has had a history of being a border state, it exhibits..."

Quando historia (gen. gerund esse) civitatem confinii habuerat, exhibet...

So, two questions:

1. Is there a way to translate S1 into Latin without or with minimal paraphrasing?

2. What is the genitive gerund form of esse? I don't think it's essendi...is it?

--Rob
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Re: Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby Einhard » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:46 pm

I don't know if there is a gen gerund of esse. It doesn't mention it in Wheelock, nor in the book listing the comprehensive conjugations of the major verbs that I have.

If it does exist though, wouldn't it be "endi" rather than essendi? The gerund is formed on the present stem, and the present part of esse is ens, -entis, so if it follows that pattern then it should be endi. Or maybe I'm completely wrong!!

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Re: Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby bedwere » Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:49 pm

I'd write simply:

Cum sit civitas limitaris, etc.
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Re: Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby autophile » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:26 pm

Thanks... although the subjunctive always makes me shudder, I'll use it! Ironically, although is cum + subjunctive as well.
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Re: Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby Diaphanus » Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:41 pm

Einhard wrote:If it does exist though, wouldn't it be "endi" rather than essendi? The gerund is formed on the present stem, and the present part of esse is ens, -entis, so if it follows that pattern then it should be endi. Or maybe I'm completely wrong!!

I think you're right. A gerund for esse was apparently not used, but ens was used as the present participle later, so endi would be the gerund.

The present participle of esse would regularly be sons (perhaps eventually regularizing to sens), and the gerund would be sundi (according to the usual rules of vowel change), but sons stopped being associated with that verb as a participle.
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Re: Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby ptolemyauletes » Sat Jul 04, 2009 10:10 pm

Something like this?
cum civitas limitaris diu fuerit, etc.
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Re: Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby autophile » Sat Jul 04, 2009 11:36 pm

After thinking about it a while, and then encountering another, similar sentence, I think the ablative absolute is also probably good:

Civitate limitare (or finitionare < finitionaris, -is, -a < finitio, finitionis) historialiter fuit, ...

(Because it has historically been a boundary state...)

I'm not sure I like the cum + subjunctive construction because it can be treated as either a causal (because, since) or a concessive (although, despite) clause which, at least to me, are very very different things.

Historialiter is apparently in the Medieval Latin lexicon.
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Re: Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby Twpsyn » Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:44 am

autophile wrote:Civitate limitare (or finitionare < finitionaris, -is, -a < finitio, finitionis) historialiter fuit, ...


That is not a good use of the ablative absolute. First of all, since the purpose of the construction is usually to get rid of an extra clause and its verb, having the word fuit is no good. I myself, if I knew the name of this city-state, — let us call it Borderlandia — should state the clause thus:

Borderlandia iam diu in finibus [you could insert details about its geographical location here, in the genitive] sita, ...

with nothing more torturous than a participle agreeing with the name of the place.

the subjunctive always makes me shudder


... Why?
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Re: Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby autophile » Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:22 pm

So your rephrasing is: Borderlandia, for a long time now situated on the border [between region A and region B], ...

I like it, (and "iam diu" is going into my phrasebook!) but the problem is, haven't we lost the sense of a causal phrase? We would have to add another phrase to the sentence "... is, as a result, ...", for example: "... is, as a result, considered [list of characteristics]".

How would we put that in Latin?
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Re: Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby ptolemyauletes » Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:20 pm

Autophile,
An Ablative Absolute, cannot work here, for its very nature would be defied. Ablative Absolutes are supposed to be Absolute, that is grammatically disconnected from the primary clause. They cannot work with a finite verb, such as fuit, although the verb 'to be' can be assumed in such phrases as 'Caesare duce,' 'with Caesar as leader'. More to the point, if our border state is the subject of the main clause, that is the thing that is exhibiting something, it cannot be expressed with an ablative absolute.

Secondly, cum + subjunctive is normally a causal clause. This is its most common usage. If it is used as adversative, then it usually is made obvious by 'tamen' or some such word in the main clause. The same is true of participles. They often have a causal sense as well as temporal. If they are adversative they will include a tamen with the main verb. Not always, but usually.

Twpsyn, your construction is quite nice. And elegant. A participle is always a nice method of constructing a sentence.

How about a result clause? 'quae civitas tamdiu prope fines erat ut nunc exhibeat...'
OR Twpsyn's version, something like this - 'Borderlandia tamdiu prope fines sita est ut nunc exhibeat...'

Hope this is helpful.
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Re: Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby autophile » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:04 pm

Very helpful, thanks. I hadn't quite understood the ablative absolute until this. But in this version:

Borderlandia tamdiu prope fines sita est ut nunc exhibeat...

why did you choose est and not erat?
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Re: Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby ptolemyauletes » Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:38 pm

That's a good question, and one which only you can answer. I don't really understand the context of your border state. Is it still a border state? If so, 'sita est' is appropriate, for it is the passive perfect tense of the verb sino, to allow (it means to be placed, or to lie in the passive). 'sita est' means 'has been placed', and would be appropriate if your state is still a border state. This is what the Romans would use on a tombstone, for example. H.S.E 'hic situs est' or 'here lies'... Thus, the sentece translates as 'Borderlandia has lain near the borders for so long that'...

If, however, your state is no longer a border state, perhaps 'sita erat', which is the pluperfect, of 'sino', would work best. 'it had lain near the borders so long that'

The key here is that 'situs' is not really an adjective, as it seems to be, but rather part of either a perfect or pluperfect passive verb. Does that make sense?
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Re: Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby autophile » Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:25 pm

Thanks, it's beginning to make a little bit of sense. In answer to your question, the context is that Borderlandia was historically a border state, and whether it is now or is not now a border state is not relevant. The sentence is supposed to mean that Borderlandia, because it was at some point in the past a border state, the consequence is that NOW, it has the following characteristics...

That's why I originally wanted erat, because that is the imperfect: Borderlandia WAS a border state, habitually (saying nothing of its current status). As opposed to fuit: Borderlandia WAS a border state, and stopped being one. As opposed to est: Borderlandia IS a border state.

I guess it all comes down to quibbling over fine distinctions in semantics? :)
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Re: Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby ptolemyauletes » Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:38 pm

No, you should try to say exactly what you want to say.
erat is the imperfect, but sita erat is the PLUPERFECT passive of the verb sino. sita est is the PERFECT passive, and would work best in your case.

However, based on what you have said, I go back to my earlier suggestion of a causal clause, but maybe simplify it to 'quod civitas diu limitaris erat nunc exhibet'
I use the quod to get away from having to use a subjunctive with cum, which would necessitate an awkward use of fuerit (a form I hate). I also think limitaris as an adjective works well, even if not classical Latin.

To me, with your new information about your state, my result clause idea no longer seems best.

In fact, Twpsyn's suggestion of a participle works really well. 'Borderlandia, diu in finibus sita, nunc exhibet...' Using diu in the participial phrase, balanced with nunc in the main clause seems to be suitably ambiguous.
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Re: Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby autophile » Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:21 pm

I see. I do like the participle apposition as well.

Thanks for all the help!
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Re: Genitive gerund of esse?

Postby Diaphanus » Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:25 pm

autophile wrote:Civitate limitare (or finitionare < finitionaris, -is, -a < finitio, finitionis) historialiter fuit, ...

The -alis suffix is much more productive with nouns in -io (e.g. rationalis) (in fact, I can't provide any examples of adjectives in -ionaris); -aris really a varient of -alis very often used right after r. So:

Finitionale from a finitionalis.

Even limitalis would be more regular than limitaris.
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