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Nested indirect statements

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Nested indirect statements

Postby Quis ut Deus » Sun May 16, 2010 12:01 am

Salvete omnes!

Volo sententiam talem latine scribere:

"Bob said that Bruce said he was hungry," aut "Bruce said that Bob said that Dave said that Mike said that he was hungry."

Quomodo sententiam talem scribere possum?

Valete!
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Re: Nested indirect statements

Postby adrianus » Sun May 16, 2010 1:16 am

Dicam hoc:

"Dixit Robertus Brutum dixisse se/eum esurire."

et

"Robertus dixit Brutum dixisse Davum dixisse Michaelem dixisse se/eum esurire."
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: Nested indirect statements

Postby Quis ut Deus » Sun May 16, 2010 1:54 am

Salve Adriane!

Gratias tibi ago.
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Re: Nested indirect statements

Postby ptolemyauletes » Mon May 17, 2010 2:40 pm

Who is hungry though? The English is certainly ambiguous, with only context making it entirely clear.
'Bob said that Bruce said he was hungry.'
Did Bob say that Bruce said Bruce was hungry or that Bob was hungry? Who is the 'he' referring to?

Latin normally gets around this problem by using 'se' as opposed to 'eum'.
'se' is supposed to refer back to the original subject of the sentence.

Hence 'Dixit Robertus Brutum dixisse se esurire' properly means 'Bob said that Bruce said he (Bob) was hungry.'

On the other hand 'Dixit Robertus Brutum dixisse eum esurire' would seem to mean 'Bob said that Bruce said he (Bruce) was hungry.'

How set in stone is this rule though? I know I have seen instances in Latin of the se actually referring to the accusative subject rather than the original subject.

I have also seen 'ipsum' used to avoid ambiguity.
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Re: Nested indirect statements

Postby adrianus » Mon May 17, 2010 3:29 pm

ptolemyauletes wrote:Latin normally gets around this problem by using 'se' as opposed to 'eum'.
'se' is supposed to refer back to the original subject of the sentence.
...I know I have seen instances in Latin of the se actually referring to the accusative subject rather than the original subject.

See A&G §301e ("The reflexive may refer..."). It's ambiguous in Latin and English every which way here. That's why I wouldn't attempt to distinguish "se/eum" above. Can of worms. Unless you say "he, the first/second...last referred to", or someone else entirely by their name.

Vide A&G §301e ("potest referre pronomen reflexivum..."). Omnibus in artibus hîc et latinè et anglicè ambiguum est. Idcircò "se" et "eum" suprà non discrimino. Res valdè confundit. Nisi planè et dicitur "primum/secundum...ultimum citatum" vel alius adusquè per eius nomen.

"Robertus dixit Brutum dixisse Davum dixisse Michaelem dixisse se [ipsum] Michaelem enim esurire."
"Robertus dixit Brutum dixisse Davum dixisse Michaelem dixisse se Robertum enim esurire." ? Non placet, meo judicio.
"Robertus dixit Brutum dixisse Davum dixisse Michaelem dixisse eum Brutum/Davum [vel alium per nomen] enim esurire."
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: Nested indirect statements

Postby ptolemyauletes » Tue May 18, 2010 10:50 am

Yes, you're right... the rules (rules never work) are supposed to work one way, but as you say, even the rules are ambiguous on this point. As ever, context wins the day.
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