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Usage of "quin" and "quominus"

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Usage of "quin" and "quominus"

Postby Quis ut Deus » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:47 pm

Salvete!

Well, I've run across the words "quin" and "quominus."

WORDS has quin as an adverb and a conjunction. The meaning of the conjunction means "so that not," that not," or "that."

These meanings seem to be the same as "ut" and "ne."

Here is the use of "quin" (from a Nuntii Latini article):

Quae cum ita sint, nihil iam impedit, quin ille tubus submarinus amplius mille ducenta chiliometra longus e Russia in Germaniam ducatur.

Can "ut" be substituted here?

"Quominus," according to WORDS, also means "that not."

Here's the sample sentence (again from Nuntii Latini)

Nivibus etiam impediebatur, quominus aeriportus Ciampino prope Romam situs in usu esset.

Again, could "ne" be substituted here?

Gratias vobis ago, docti peritique!

Valete.
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Re: Usage of "quin" and "quominus"

Postby adrianus » Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:29 pm

"Ne" in both, I think. Utram in sententiam licet "ne", ut opinor.
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: Usage of "quin" and "quominus"

Postby Damoetas » Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:20 am

Yeah, those quin and quominus are notoriously tricky!

But to start with, quin has one usage that is not at all tricky: it can be an interjection meaning something like, "In fact," or "As a matter of fact." It's often accompanied by etiam, giving added emphasis: equidem credibile non est quantum scribam, quin etiam noctibus; nihil enim somni. "It is truly incredible how much I am writing, in fact even at night; because I can't get any sleep" (Cicero, Ad Atticum, 13.26.2).

The harder situation is when they're used as conjunctions.... If you have access to Bradley's Arnold (Latin Prose Composition), there's a very good discussion in paragraphs 129-135. I'll give a few excerpts from it here:

1) Verbs of "hindering, preventing, and forbidding" (impedio, deterreo, retineo, prohibeo, et al.) take a noun clause of Indirect Command which is introduced by ne, quominus, or quin and whose verb is subjunctive.

Atticus, ne qua sibi statua poneretur, restitit.
"Atticus opposed having any statue raised to himself."

Naves vento tenebantur quominus in portum redirent.
"The ships were prevented by the wind from returning into harbour."

2) If the verb of "preventing" etc. is itself positive, the conjunction is either ne or quominus; if it is negative, the conjunction is either quominus or (more usually) quin.

Plura ne dicam impedior.
"I am prevented from saying more."

Non recusabo quominus te in vincula ducam.
"I will not object to taking you to prison."

Germani retineri non poterant quin tela conicerent.
"The Germans could not be restrained from hurling their weapons."


3) Quin is often, but not invariably, used instead of ut non to introduce negative consecutive (result) clauses, when the main verb is also negative.

Nihil tam difficile est quin investigari possit.
"Nothing is so difficult that it cannot be discovered."

Nec multum afuit quin interficeremur.
"And we were not far from losing our lives."


4) A clause introduced by quin and having its verb in the subjunctive is used as the subject or object of negative and interrogative expressions of "doubt."

Non dubium erat quin plurimum Helvetii possent.
"There was no doubt that the Helvetii were the most powerful."

Quis dubitat quin hoc feceris?
"Who doubts (= no one doubts) but that (or that) you did this?
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Re: Usage of "quin" and "quominus"

Postby Quis ut Deus » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:30 pm

Salve, Adriane et Damoetas!

I'll look for quin and quominus in A &G because I don't have Bradley's.

Let me get back to the drawing board and chew on this one for a bit.

Valete!
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Re: Usage of "quin" and "quominus"

Postby Damoetas » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:11 pm

Quis ut Deus wrote:Let me get back to the drawing board and chew on this one for a bit.


Yeah, just keep chewing on it and it should become clear! :)

Here's another way to think about it which may be simpler: quin and quominus can usually be replaced by ne or ut non. But in certain types of constructions, quin and quominus are the more normal and regular expressions.
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Re: Usage of "quin" and "quominus"

Postby ptolemyauletes » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:30 pm

Here is some help with quominus.
I will start with purpose clauses, which don't use quominus, but provide a useful analogy to understanding quominus.

A normal purpose clause uses 'ut' with a subjunctive verb.

Caesar pontem fecit ut flumen transiret.
Caesar made a bridge to cross the river.

Sometimes a purpose clause uses a relative pronoun instead of 'ut', particualry following verbs of motion, choosing, sending etc.

Caesar legatos misit qui pacem peterent.
Caesar sent envoys to seek peace.

Now, sometimes a purpose clause uses 'quo' instead of 'ut', usually when there is a comparative adverb in the purpose clause.

Caesar pontem fecit quo facilius flumen transiret.
Caesar made a bridge to cross the river more easily.

What is actually going on here? Well, 'quo' is actually a neuter relative pronoun in the ablative case.
Caesar made a bridge, by means of which (bridge making) he might cross the river more easily.



Now, on to quominus.

Quo minus is actually two words, as so often happens in Latin with words that often are paired together.

quo is a neuter relative pronoun in the ablative case. minus is well... minus, an adverb meaning less.

quominus is used after verbs of preventing.

Caesar prohibuit Sequanos quominus oppidum oppugnarent.
Caesar prevented the Sequani from attacking the town.

What is going on here? Here is a literal translation.
Caesar prevented the Sequani, by means of which (prevention) they were less (not) able to attack the city.

I hope this helps. I find with my students that they are able to grasp new ideas like quominus much more readily when they can actually see how it works and what is going on.
Last edited by ptolemyauletes on Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Usage of "quin" and "quominus"

Postby Damoetas » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:08 pm

ptolemyauletes wrote:Quo minus is actually two words, as so often happens in Latin with words that often are paired together.

quo is a neuter relative pronoun in the ablative case. minus is well... minus, an adverb meaning less.


Ah yes, it's good to point that out. It probably is helpful in most cases for modern students to know. On the other hand, just word of caution. (Not that you don't know this, but I think it doesn't get mentioned by classicists often enough!) We shouldn't assume in every case that the derivation of the word was transparent to the original speakers. We can see this with a few conjunctions that are used in modern English. "Nonetheless" and "nevertheless" are fairly transparent. When you produce or hear a sentence like, "It's raining out; nevertheless, I'm going to go to the library," anyone can break it down and see "nevertheless" = "never the less" = "it is never any less true that I am going to the library." Conjunctions like "notwithstanding" are not so transparent. "Notwithstanding the rain, I am still going to the library." If you start thinking about that closely, you might scratch your head and wonder, "How did it ever come to mean that?" You could research the historical reasons, whatever they are; but that would not help you very much at understanding what it means in the present day. When you use the word, you are guided more by the countless times that you have heard the word in actual use; that shapes what the word comes to mean in your own mind.

Now, with a given Latin word, it is difficult to prove how transparent the derivation was to Latin speakers in a given period. It's possible that if you heard a Latin speaker use a sentence with quominus, and you asked them, "Why did you use that word?" they might say, "Hmmm, I don't know, it just sounds right. It feels like it ought to be there." And then you follow it up and ask, "Did you realize that it consists of quo and minus, so that it literally means, 'by which the less'?" -- they actually might exclaim, "You know, I never thought of that! I guess you're right!"

We don't know. For some words, this scenario is undoubtedly the case; for the others, clearly not; most are in the middle. My point in saying all this is, By all means, yes, it's helpful for students to know the breakdown of words. But what really solidifies the meanings is when the read them in actual sentences, and practice using them themselves -- just as it would have worked for native Latin speakers. If they think of quominus as "by which the less" every time the see it, they will really be distorting the meaning of the Latin text. (I know you weren't advocating this, I was just using it as a segue for the discussion!)

Thoughts, anyone?
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Re: Usage of "quin" and "quominus"

Postby ptolemyauletes » Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:16 pm

I disagree totally with everything you said... oh no, wait... I totally AGREE with everything you said! :) My hope (not that most of my students will ever take Latin far enough to appreciate it) is that in time students will be advanced enough to appreciate finer distinctions like you mention, and instances where the word is just there because it is just there. This explanation of quominus is certainly useful for composition!
I always try to teach students that grammar and explanations of the workings of the language are created after the fact to explain what is there, not as rules to guide people on how to speak. Therefore they should always try to retain a very open mind and flexible approach. But you do have to start with basic rules. People need a rigid structure to start anything.
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Re: Usage of "quin" and "quominus"

Postby adrianus » Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:26 pm

I almost agreed with you completely, Damoetas, until you used the word "segue", because its origins in music underpin its creative application elsewhere. I think there are many words whose meanings we extend creatively, and it does strengthen our appreciation of the language is we understand that extension. Otherwise, you're right.

Tecum ferè adusquè concurri, Damoeta, antequam "segue" vocabulo usus es, cuius applicatio modo creativo aliis rebus quàm musicis ut origo illius dictionis intelligitur postulat. Sunt multa vocabula quorum significationes callidè ampliamus et si ea ampliata diligamus, quomodo res facta esset tenendum est. Aliter rectè dicis.
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Re: Usage of "quin" and "quominus"

Postby Quis ut Deus » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:44 pm

Salve Ptolymeauletes!

Thanks for the breakdown on "quominus!" That did indeed help matters. Much clearer thanks.

And thanks to everybody else as well.

You guys are all a great resource.

QUD
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Re: Usage of "quin" and "quominus"

Postby Imber Ranae » Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:12 am

Although its conflation with the ablative of means is natural enough, the quo in this construction was in fact originally an ablative of degree of difference. This explains why it is found principally with comparative adjectives and adverbs, though in the case of quominus the comparative significance has been almost entirely effaced.

There is, believe it or not, a parallel construction in English, albeit one that hasn't nearly as much utility as its Latin equivalent. Its use is confined mostly to the literary register, and it takes an infinitive of purpose rather than the subjunctive, as e.g. in the famous words of Polonius:

    In few, Ophelia, do not believe his vows; for they are brokers, not of that dye which their investments show, but mere implorators of unholy suits, breathing like sanctified and pious bawds, the better to beguile.

Or this wonderful sentence I randomly found from an English translation of the French novel Le Calvaire:

    I found none of the lofty abstractions of honor, justice, charity, patriotism of which our standard books are so full, on which we are brought up, with which we are lulled to sleep, through which they hypnotize us in order the better to deceive the kind little folk, to enslave them the more easily, to butcher them the more foully.
What looks like a definite article "the" is actually an adverb. It is derived from Old English þy, the instrumental case of the neuter demonstrative pronoun þæt, and it may be used to denote degree of difference exactly like quo in Latin. The same use is shown in the English equivalent of eo...quo, "the more...the more" (in Old English þæt was used as both a demonstrative and a relative pronoun, hence þy takes also the place of eo.)

So I suppose you could translate Caesar pontem fecit quo facilius flumen transiret literally as "Caesar built a bridge the more easily to cross the river," but it does sound awfully strange.


Addendum:
Apparently English also has a rough equivalent of Latin's quominus in the form of the somewhat archaic adverb lest. Originally it was þy læs þe "whereby less that", but initial þy was eventually dropped and læs þe were contracted to form lǣste.
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
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Re: Usage of "quin" and "quominus"

Postby adrianus » Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:38 am

Imber Ranae wrote: ...but it does sound awfully strange.

You forget your fairy tales, Imber Ranae:
"All the better to see you with, my dear!"...etc, says granny, really the wolf, to Little Red Riding Hood.

Lamiarum (seu mirabiles) fabulas iam à te gnotas negligis, Imber Ranae:
"O mea, quo tantò meliùs te videam!" et caetera, ait avia, verò lupus, Lacernellae Rubrae.
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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