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Question regarding a sentence in ‘Reading Latin’

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Question regarding a sentence in ‘Reading Latin’

Postby rnjnsn » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:15 pm

Hello latinists!

I have been studying latin in high school; but, unfortunately, I have forgotten much of what I learned thence. After reading several posts on this forum, I decided to take up latin once again, for which reason I bought the Cambridge ‘Reading Latin‘ course.

I have been doing fairly well until now; however, I have a problem with a sentence which I am supposed to translate into English: ‘dominus meus frātrem uirum optimum habet’. I have analysed the sentence thus: dominus meus (S) frātrem uirum optimum (DO) habet (V), but I have problems figuring out what ‘uirum’ means in this case? According to the running vocabulary in the book, it means ‘man’.

Finally, I was wondering if anyone have any experience with the course I am doing?

Thanks in advance.
Last edited by rnjnsn on Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question regarding a sentence in ‘Reading Latin’

Postby Screwdog » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:48 pm

Hello there, rnjnsn!

I think the problem you are having is how to reconcile your three accusative cases in this sentence: fratrem, virum, and optimum. Note that two of these are nouns (fratrem, virum) and the third is an adjective (optimum). Note also that all of these agree in gender, number, and case: masculine, singular, accusative.

This sentence demonstrates what's called apposition. Apposition is a quality that nouns can have. In order for two nouns to be in apposition to each other, they must have the same gender, number, and case. In this situation, we have two such nouns: fratrem and virum. When two nouns are in apposition, one noun effectively works to explain further the other noun. A common example of apposition is something like this: "Augustus, Emperor (of Rome)" where Augustus and Emperor are in apposition to each other.

In this sentence, this looks something like this: "My master has a brother, a man." Remember also that you have to choose where to put your adjective. Hypothetically, optimum can go with either noun, though I think it makes more sense with virum. That gives you "My master has a brother, a best man." It sounds a little clunky, but I think it's what your looking for.

I don't have any experience with the Cambridge Latin course. Keep us updated on how you like it!
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Re: Question regarding a sentence in ‘Reading Latin’

Postby Smythe » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:43 pm

I'm sure there are other, more erudite, opinions, but "fratrem virum optimum" would seem to me to indicate 'good brother' (who is a man, rather than a boy).

My take on the translation would be "My lord/master has a good brother."

That's what I get out of it. If this is not the case, than I, also, need some instruction here.
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Re: Question regarding a sentence in ‘Reading Latin’

Postby rnjnsn » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:59 pm

That is exactly what I thought but stressing the fact that the brother is a man seems rather peculiar unless, of course, the meaning is somewhat adjectival like a ‘real’ or ‘true’ man.

Your reply is much appreciated. Thank you.
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Re: Question regarding a sentence in ‘Reading Latin’

Postby rkday » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:06 pm

'Optimum' can't be translated as 'good', because it's superlative: it would have to be 'best' or 'very good'.

My instinct, perhaps, is to take habet in the sense of "to have, hold, or regard in any light" (L&S, II D), with a double object: my master considers his brother the best man (i.e considers that his brother is the best man). I think that makes more sense, but I don't know how common a use of habeo that is (I'd think teneo more usual in that sense), especially in Reading Latin.
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Re: Question regarding a sentence in ‘Reading Latin’

Postby Kynetus Valesius » Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:14 am

dominus meus frātrem uirum optimum habet

such a simple sentence! yet i am often thrown off course in the face of seeming simplicity. My initial thought was: my LORD holds/considers MY brother to be an most excellent man. well Lord and My are out having seen others comments

1 my master has a brother, a most excellent man (example of apposition)
2 my master considers his brother a most excellent man (example of double accusative)

both seem possible......no? 1 seems more probable to me
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Re: Question regarding a sentence in ‘Reading Latin’

Postby thesaurus » Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:42 pm

Kynetus Valesius wrote:1 my master has a brother, a most excellent man (example of apposition)
2 my master considers his brother a most excellent man (example of double accusative)

both seem possible......no? 1 seems more probable to me


Number two is how I read it. Of course, the first IS a viable option; however, if I had written this sentence, I would have set off the appositive phrase in commas, as is the style in English. "Dominus meus fratem, virum opimum, habet."
Modo secundo sententiam legi. Certe primam rectam habeo, sed si sententiam scripsissem ego, "virum optimum" commis, modo Anglicorum, cigerem.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Question regarding a sentence in ‘Reading Latin’

Postby rnjnsn » Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:36 pm

After having looked up ‘habeo’ in the ‘Oxford Latin Dictionary’—how I wish I could have constant access to this dictionary—and read Kynetus Valesius reply, I decided on: ‘my master considers/regards his brother a most excellent man’ as the better translation in this case.

Thank you all. I appreciate your help very much.
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Re: Question regarding a sentence in ‘Reading Latin’

Postby thesaurus » Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:57 pm

rnjnsn wrote:After having looked up ‘habeo’ in the ‘Oxford Latin Dictionary’—how I wish I could have constant access to this dictionary


I suggest using the online Glossa Latin Dictionary if you want an approximate level of information (for free). It's based on the Lewis and Short Latin Dictionary, which is comparable to the OLD, except that it covers post-classical Latin to a fuller extent. You can also download it, like Whitaker's Words.

Si librum Oxoniensi Latine Dictionario similem optas, tibi commendo Glossa Latine Dictionario utaris (grati). Ejus fundamentum est Lewis and Short Latin Dictionary, qui in OLD conferri potest; ille autem plus auctorum aeviis sequentibus viventium continet. Etiam in computatro servari potest.

Vide: http://athirdway.com/glossa/?s=habeo
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Question regarding a sentence in ‘Reading Latin’

Postby edonnelly » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:12 pm

thesaurus wrote:I suggest using the online Glossa Latin Dictionary if you want an approximate level of information (for free). It's based on the Lewis and Short Latin Dictionary, which is comparable to the OLD, except that it covers post-classical Latin to a fuller extent. You can also download it, like Whitaker's Words.


I would suggest that Diogenes (http://www.dur.ac.uk/p.j.heslin/Software/Diogenes/) is a superior choice to Glossa for several reasons. Both have online and downloadable versions, are free and include the Lewis and Short material. Diogenes, however, also will parse words for you. That is, using the habeo example above, the user needed to know that 'habet,' the actual word in the sentence, came from the verb habeo and would have to enter that into Glossa, while Diogenes will accept "habet" as an entry, tell you it is the present active 3rd person singular indicative form of the verb habeo and then proceed to give the Lewis and Short entry for habeo. This feature is very handy for irregular forms as well as forms with multiple possibilities (either overlapping forms of a single word, or overlapping forms of two different words -- in fact in this case it is possible that he thinks the brother is not an excellent man, but, in fact, an excellent slimy liquid). Also, Diogenes seems to handle the u/v and i/j thing well, while Glossa seems inflexible. For 'uirum' in the above sentence, the user of Glossa would have to enter 'vir' while the Diogenes user could enter 'uirum' 'virum' 'uir' or 'vir' to get the Lewis-Short entry. (Diogenes also does all of this for ancient Greek and the LSJ, which is quite nice, too).

The beauty of all of this, of course, is that since both are completely free, you are free to play around with and use either or both as much as you wish and you do not need to choose between them. I like the format of the output of Glossa, and I notice that the developer is calling this an 'alpha' release, so I expect there will be even more to come from this venture.
The lists:
G'Oogle and the Internet Pharrchive - 1100 or so free Latin and Greek books.
DownLOEBables - Free books from the Loeb Classical Library
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