Textkit Logo

Si ita diceretur, obscenius concurrent litterae

Here's where you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get translation help and more!

Moderator: thesaurus

Si ita diceretur, obscenius concurrent litterae

Postby furrykef » Wed May 19, 2010 7:11 pm

In one of Cicero's letters, he writes that the reason that we say "nōbīscum" rather than "cum nōbīs" because the latter sounds obscene (sounds like "cunnō bīs"). So he says this:

"...cum autem nobis non dicitur, sed nobiscum? quia si ita diceretur, obscenius concurrent litterae."

What I don't get is why "dīcerētur" is imperfect subjunctive (as I would expect), but "concurrent" appears to be the indicative future. Is it just a contraction of the expected "concurrerent", perhaps? Or were the rules of mood agreement not always followed?

EDIT: Almost immediately after posting this, I found some copies of this passage do have the expected "concurrerent", and most if not all examples with "concurrent" came from Wikipedia. Now I wonder if maybe it was a copying error...
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
I also have a lang-8 journal where I practice Spanish and Japanese.
User avatar
furrykef
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 365
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:18 am

Re: Si ita diceretur, obscenius concurrent litterae

Postby Scribo » Wed May 19, 2010 7:35 pm

erm what would cunnobis mean?
User avatar
Scribo
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 697
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:28 pm
Location: Between Ilias and Odysseia.

Re: Si ita diceretur, obscenius concurrent litterae

Postby furrykef » Wed May 19, 2010 7:39 pm

"Cunnō" is the ablative of "cunnus", which... well, I'll just say it's quite similar in meaning to an English word quite similar in form. :) (Though, as it happens, they might not be etymologically related.) The "bīs" after it has no particular significance that I know of.
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
I also have a lang-8 journal where I practice Spanish and Japanese.
User avatar
furrykef
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 365
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:18 am

Re: Si ita diceretur, obscenius concurrent litterae

Postby adrianus » Wed May 19, 2010 8:41 pm

"Bis" (per i vocalem brevem) duìs significat.
"Bis" (with a short i) does mean "twice".
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.
adrianus
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 3270
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:45 pm

Re: Si ita diceretur, obscenius concurrent litterae

Postby ptolemyauletes » Thu May 20, 2010 1:41 pm

Conditions are tricky, no matter how we try to simplify them. One would expect another imperfect subjunctive as you say. The imperfect subjunctive in a condition creates a sense of a thing done in the past resulting in a present state, but not quite in the same way that a normal perfect tense verb does this. The best example of this is from the Wizard of Oz - 'If I were the king of the forest' - here an imperfect subjunctive is used in LAtin.

If I were now king, having become so in the past...

I suspect that Cicero uses a future tense indicative to make the illusion of the words he is playing with take on a more vivid reality. 'If one were to write it this way the letters WILL appear rather obscene.

This is in any case an attempt to make sense of this odd mix of tenses and moods. I suspect that your initial suspicion may be correct, that concurrent, should read concurrerent.
The only thing we can guarantee when communicating via the internet is that we will be almost completely misunderstood, and likely cause great offence in doing so. Throw in an attempt at humour and you insure a lifelong enemy will be made.
User avatar
ptolemyauletes
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:26 am

Re: Si ita diceretur, obscenius concurrent litterae

Postby adrianus » Thu May 20, 2010 5:56 pm

ptolemyauletes wrote:I suspect that your initial suspicion may be correct, that concurrent, should read concurrerent.

You're likely right, ptolemyauletes, and furrykef. It's a mistake. Look at the sentence as a whole. The future indicative doesn't belong there. The sense can't be intended to be somehow more vivid. It's a present condition contrary to fact, so imperfect subjunctive in apodosis and protasis, followed by a past condition contrary to fact so pluperfect subjunctive in both.

Probè dicis, ptolemyauletes, et tu, furrykef. Peccatum typographicum. Sententiam in totâ spectate. Tempus futurum modo indicativo ibi non inest. Sensus ausus aliquà vividus non est. Est conditio à facto diversa quae tempus imperfectum modo subjunctivo et in apodosi et in protasi requirit. Consequitur, notate benè, conditio tempore praeterito cum verbo tempore plusquamperfecto modo subjunctivo in utrâ clausulâ.

"Because if that were to be said, the letters will [sic] run together obscenely, as indeed just now they would have, if I had not interposed "autem".

Cicero, Orator ad M. Brutum, §154, wrote: Libenter etiam copulando verba iungebant, ut sodes pro si audes, sis pro si vis. Iam in uno capsis tria verba sunt. Ain pro aisne, nequire pro non quire, malle pro magis velle, nolle pro non velle, dein etiam saepe et exin pro deinde et pro exinde dicimus. Quid, illud non olet unde sit, quod dicitur cum illis, cum autem nobis non dicitur, sed nobiscum? Quia si ita diceretur, obscaenius concurrerent litterae, ut etiam modo, nisi autem interposuissem, concurrissent.

Words have happily been joined by coupling them, as "sodes" for "si audes", "sis" for "si vis". There are even three in one in "capsis" ["cape si vis"]. "Ain" for "aisne", "nequire" for "non quire', "malle" for "magis velle", "nolle" for "non velle", and we also often say "dein" and "exin" for "deinde" and "exinde". That doesn't whiff of [/hint at] why it should be that "cum illis" is said, yet "cum nobis" isn't but "nobiscum". Because if that were to be said, the letters would run together obscenely, as indeed just now they would have, had I not interposed "autem".
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.
adrianus
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 3270
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:45 pm

Re: Si ita diceretur, obscenius concurrent litterae

Postby ptolemyauletes » Fri May 21, 2010 8:20 am

Yes, according to the rules, and even to common sense, the imperfect subjunctive is much more likely. The only reason I do not assert that this is an error with absolute certainty, is because I have read enough Cicero to expect the unusual. If he DID write it, then I am not likely to questions his choice. That being said, I do think it is most likely an error in the text.
The only thing we can guarantee when communicating via the internet is that we will be almost completely misunderstood, and likely cause great offence in doing so. Throw in an attempt at humour and you insure a lifelong enemy will be made.
User avatar
ptolemyauletes
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:26 am

Re: Si ita diceretur, obscenius concurrent litterae

Postby adrianus » Fri May 21, 2010 2:59 pm

The only reason I assert it is an error is because I haven't read enough Cicero :) and, until there is certainty, I can posture. It's not an exactly empty posture, though, because it's an attempt to test the rule. Sometimes the fearless fool outdoes the wise man. That's not, mind you, a principle to base an educational system on, but (as you implied yourself in the other thread) fools can teach within it. You'll forgive me, I'm sure, for implying that you are wise, ptolemyauletes.* Understand also, I don't think you are outdone. [This is just my own particular, maybe odd, sense of humour.] What you say is very sensible.

Id erratum esse clamo qui satis apud Ciceron non legam et, dum incerta est res, me certum assimulare possum. Non vacuè autem assimulo, quià regulam probare conor. Nonnunquàm ineptus interritus doctum superat. Quod lex non est in quâ systema scholasticum condendum est, sed, sicut tu ipse alibi denotasti, quod inepti in tale systemate docere possunt possible est. Me ignoscas, amice, te amabò, qui te doctum denotem.* Et scito me te non superatum putare. [Justus sensus jocandi meus proprius et forsàn externus est.] Sanissimum quod dicis.

* I don't think your opinions on historical relativism expressed elsewhere are wise, though. Sorry! :)
* Tuâ veniâ, non autem doctas habeo tuas sententias de doctrinis relativismi historici alibi enuntiatas.
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.
adrianus
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 3270
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:45 pm

Re: Si ita diceretur, obscenius concurrent litterae

Postby ptolemyauletes » Sun May 23, 2010 10:29 am

What?!?! You disagree with me somewhere Adrianus?!?! You will pay, my friend... you will pay... ;)
The only thing we can guarantee when communicating via the internet is that we will be almost completely misunderstood, and likely cause great offence in doing so. Throw in an attempt at humour and you insure a lifelong enemy will be made.
User avatar
ptolemyauletes
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:26 am

Re: Si ita diceretur, obscenius concurrent litterae

Postby ptolemyauletes » Sun May 23, 2010 10:39 am

Just trying out my new signature and avatar...
The only thing we can guarantee when communicating via the internet is that we will be almost completely misunderstood, and likely cause great offence in doing so. Throw in an attempt at humour and you insure a lifelong enemy will be made.
User avatar
ptolemyauletes
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:26 am


Return to Learning Latin

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bedwere, Google Adsense [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 74 guests