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Why "sibi"?

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Why "sibi"?

Postby adrianus » Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:58 pm

Augustine Letters CXXXVI (Marcellinus Augustino, Epistola Augustini centesima tricesima sexta) wrote:Nam quis tolli sibi ab hoste aliquid patiatur, vel Romanae provinciae depraedatori non mala velit belli iure reponere?
For who would allow something to be taken from him by an enemy, or to the waster of a Roman Province wish other than to repeat the evil doings by right of war.

Why "sibi" and not "se"? // Cur "sibi" non "se"?
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Why "sibi"?

Postby cb » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:11 pm

hi, this looks like a typical dative of deprivation: see woodcock s61, p44:

http://books.google.com/books?id=WmT6mS ... ng&f=false

cheers :)
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Re: Why "sibi"?

Postby adrianus » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:30 pm

Many thanks, cb. That's it. A&G §381 calls it Dative of Separation, I now see.
Multas gratias, cb. Ita est. Separationis dativus apud A&G vocatur, ut nunc invenio.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Why "sibi"?

Postby modus.irrealis » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:24 am

Maybe I'm just biased against all the "dative of this" and "genitive of that" but "dative of separation" seems like too fine a division. I agree with Chad's link that "the dative denotes the person to whose disadvantage the act is performed" (although not it's argument that "constructions are apt to develop in pairs of opposites" -- although if that is true, that would be interesting). This just seems to fall under the general "dative of interest" and this use seems to be very common with languages that have such a dative construction (at least I know it exists in in Greek, in Modern for sure and Smyth mentions it for Ancient, French, and German). I wonder if there are any languages where this is not the case.

This is getting off-topic but a while ago I read something that was basically arguing that the traditional grammars of the Classical languages are organized around the fact that so much of teaching the languages was based on translation exercises. And it does often seem like some of these distinctions are based more on what the English equivalent would be than on reasons internal to the language. Even in fairly hefty grammar of English, I don't think I've ever seen as fine a division of the uses of "of" for example, although, on the other hand, that might just be a flaw in those grammars.
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Re: Why "sibi"?

Postby adrianus » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:46 pm

modus.irrealis wrote:Maybe I'm just biased against all the "dative of this" and "genitive of that" but "dative of separation" seems like too fine a division.

How something is used is more important than what it is called, sure, but if you don't know what it is called in a grammar you can't look up how it is used. Maybe Dative of Deprivation is nicer, but Dative of Separation was typical in older American grammars (such as Gildersleeve-Lodge, d'Ooge, A&G), and you won't find either term in the classical grammarians.

Mos utendi mihi major momenti terminologiâ est, at sine recto nomine difficile est in grammaticam inquirere. Forsit "dativus ademptionis" epitheton mundius est at apud vetustiores de Civitatibus Foederatis grammaticas (ut Gildersleeve-Lodge, ut d'Ooge, ut A&G) populariùs invenitur "dativus separationis". Verò neutra appellatio apud grammaticos classicos invenitur.
Last edited by adrianus on Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Why "sibi"?

Postby adrianus » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:55 pm

modus.irrealis wrote:I agree with ...(although not it's argument that "constructions are apt to develop in pairs of opposites" -- although if that is true, that would be interesting).

Vide hoc:
Edwin W. Fay, "The Latin Dative: Nomenclature and Classification", The Classical Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 3 (Jul., 1911), pp. 185-195, wrote:I. IT must have been shortly after I entered college in my middle 'teens that I first heard of the grammatical doctrine that psychological opposites take the same construction. As a mnemonic, alone, the doctrine is immensely worth while and practically helps with categories like damnare)(absoluere, meminisse)(obliuisci, cedere)(resistere, similis)(alienus (dissimilis)—which rouses a literary interest by recalling Thackeray's use of different to as a counter term to equal to, similar to, like to. And, to get back to grammar, for English folk it clarifies prope ab to counter it with procul ab. By the doctrine of opposites we clarify even so elusive a matter as the 'subjunctive of repudiation ' which I once sought to explain by partial obliquity (Cl. Rev. XI. 344 sq.), not mistaking therein, I am fain to believe, the valuable stylistic note of echo. In this subjunctive I now see a clear opposite to the concessive. It is a survival, on the cold page, of a speech form that owed its meaning to the speaker's mood (7 frvXlKc) 8ta&Oeo-v [Greek phrase]), the pitch of his voice, all the things that manifest and betray emotion, and so far forth is 'polemic.' It is often introduced by ut, utne, egone ut, where ut is exclamatory and interrogative at once, and the tone converts the concessive to an anticoncessive, indicating repudiation, disavowal. (p.185)
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Why "sibi"?

Postby modus.irrealis » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:14 pm

adrianus wrote:How something is used is more important than what it is called, sure, but if you don't know what it is called in a grammar you can't look up how it is used. Maybe Dative of Deprivation is nicer, but Dative of Separation was typical in older American grammars (such as Gildersleeve-Lodge, d'Ooge, A&G), and you won't find either term in the classical grammarians.

But to expand on my comment, it seems to me that you could have equally translated the passage as "for who would allow something of his to be taken by an enemy" (at least the equivalent Mod. Greek construction has this translational ambiguity), so is it really a "dative of possession"? The thing for me is that
deciding between these two options is not a question about the Latin, or in other words I don't think that "sibi" means "from him" or "of his", even though these are suitable renderings of it. That's why I find the classification somewhat misleading.

Thanks for the reference in your other post. Some of those seem to me have alternate explanations ("ab" can already mean "on the side of") but it's still interesting. The "different to" is a good example as I don't know what the usual explanation for it is, and I can't think of anything beyond analogy with constructions of the opposite meaning.
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Re: Why "sibi"?

Postby adrianus » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:50 pm

In my opinion, the word order, or the sense that arises from it, is against a possessive dative. In other words, it's "tolli sibi" not "sibi...aliquid"

Possessionis casum dativum vetat ordo vocabulorum seu sensus qui ex ordine oritur, ut opinor. Id est, secundum ordinem, "sibi" cum "tolli" non cum "aliquid" legendum est.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Why "sibi"?

Postby modus.irrealis » Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:35 pm

But what difference (in English) do you see between the two translations? They mean the same thing to me.

Can you expand on your comment about the word order, as that's a weakness of mine with Latin? Is it just the separation, because it doesn't seem all that different from examples like these from Cicero:

ea quae mihi veniebant in mentem
quotiens iam tibi extorta est ista sica de manibus

where the translations on perseus use a possessive in English. (Although, it seems this wouldn't be a "dative of possession" in any case, as traditional grammars seem to restrict this name to the use of the dative with esse and similar verbs.)
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Re: Why "sibi"?

Postby adrianus » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:33 pm

Maybe I'm talking rubbish but the examples you give from Cicero do seem very much the same as the Augustine one. For me, it concerns the construction of meaning as you read the words in order left to right. Consider how in the first parts of these sentences your understanding is already pretty well formed just from the connection or relationship between the pronoun and the verb, and this has nothing to do with how you choose to translate into English:

nam quis tolli sibi...
ea quae mihi veniebant...
quotiens iam tibi extorta est...

Fortassè nugas dico at verùm similia mihi exempli Augustini sunt ista apud Ciceronem à te data. Quomodo in vocabulis legendis à sinistrâ parte in dexteram partem harum sententiarum sensus emergat, res spectat. Consideres hoc: iam ferè perfectus est sensus toti ob solum verbi pronominisque contextum, quod nihil ad ullam traductionem anglicè pertinet.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Why "sibi"?

Postby modus.irrealis » Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:31 pm

Would you then see such a difference in the meaning of the dative examples like:

Iam tibi istam scelestam linguam abscindam.
Ei collum gladio suo dextera secuerit.
Nescio qua vox ad aures mihi advolavit.
Vox mi ad aures advolavit.
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Re: Why "sibi"?

Postby adrianus » Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:27 pm

...tibi istam scelestam linguam...
Ei collum...
...ad aures mihi...
...mi ad aures...

I'm not an expert and call me silly but the voices in my head (call me mad, then) say 1. possessive sense, 2. possessive sense, 3. possessive sense, 4. possessive sense, especially because they all involve parts of the body.

Non peritus sum, forsit ineptus, at voces mihi in capite (quâre me insanum esse dicas) omnes quattuor clausulas eundem possessivum sensum habere clamant, non minùs quià hae clausulae partes corporis includunt.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Why "sibi"?

Postby modus.irrealis » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:51 am

I don't know, and I'm still a little unclear about what distinction you're making, especially with "nescio qua vox ad aures mihi advolavit." vs. "ea quae mihi veniebant in mentem", which seem to me to have the exact same use of "mihi", and "mens" is also a part of a person. But before I bore you, some last examples:

sese Caesari ad pedes proiecerunt
ei libenter me ad pedes abieci

in conspectum venerat hostibus
nobis hostes in conspectum venerant

In each pair the dative seem to have the same sense. How would you understand these?

I think you make a good point about body parts. In French for example with something like "il m'a cassé le bras" = "he broke my arm", you use the indirect object pronoun, but you'd say "il a cassé ma fenêtre" = "he broke my window", with the possessive adjective, so it seems to be more strict in that language. But I guess it stands to reason that a person is more interested if their body is involved.

And while looking this up, I came across a possible dative of separation in English: his name escapes me. Although I don't know how one would go about determining whether it is or not (or even whether it makes sense to do so).
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Re: Why "sibi"?

Postby adrianus » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:30 pm

Salve mode.irrealis

You also have "It died on me" as an example of dative of deprivation or disadvantage in English. Does it make sense to talk so in English? Some say it's a matter of function not of case. I'll respond by and by to the other stuff, when I get a chance. But, believe me, I don't claim to have clear ideas on this.

Etiam anglicè hoc: "It died on me" ut exemplum casûs dativi ademptionis seu incommoditatis. An aliquid significetur sic in dicendo? Sunt qui dicunt rem non casum sed functionem spectare. Mox caeteris adibo cum otium habebo. Crede mihi, de hâc re mentem meam claram esse non assumo.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Why "sibi"?

Postby adrianus » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:45 pm

OK. This is what I'm talking about. We can recognize two senses: one sense when the pronoun attaches to the verb and another when the pronoun attaches to the noun.

Benè. Ecce argumentum meum. Duos sensus distinguere possumus: unus ubi pronomen verbo addicitur, alius nomini.

He stole my book. He stole the book from me. (Sure we can have "librum mihi est" but not here, I don't think. The verb isn't "esse".)

Librum meum sustulit. Librum mihi sustulit. (Alibi aliter cum "esse" verbo "librum mihi est" habes certó, sed heic non aptum est, ut opinor.)


Meter imposes constraints on Plautus's word order, of course, but that's a great example, "nescio qua vox ad aures mihi advolavit". I think you could read it both ways. Common sense weighs towards "ad aures mihi" (the verb isn't "esse" but we're talking about "ears", personal bits, and we met with these words first). But since they couldn't be another's ears, you can also hear the sense in the pair "mihi advolavit". Now, tonally, however, I think you can still distinguish which sense you actually intend. By suppressing the acute accent on "mihi" (two grave syllables,—something you wouldn't normally do), you link it to "aures"; by delivering the acute accent on "mihi", you tie it to "advolavit". Easy to disagree because these are feelings about style and tuning, but we all do such things all the time in our own speech and expressions.

Certè regulae metri versuum ordinem verborum apud Plautum afficiunt, at valdè amo hoc exemplum, "nescio qua vox ad aures mihi advolavit", quod bino modo legatur. Intuitivè, dico, "ad aures mihi" audimus (etiamsi non "esse" verbum, quià ad partem corporis res pertinet et primò haec verba repperimus). Cum aures autem alii esse non possint, sensum additicium per "mihi advolavit" compares ad aures volare potest ( :wink: ). Tonis autem, utrum sensum destinetur iam distinguere potes. Si accentus acutus "mihi" pronominis deprimitur (et gravi accento utras syllabas aequè sonas, quod rarò factum est), "mihi" ad "aures" nominem conjugitur; accentum acutum clarè sonans, "advolavit" verbo pronomen connectis. Facilè dissentias: de figurâ prosodiâque hi affectûs et curae, at semper in loquellâ seu locutione nos omnes talia facimus.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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