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help with syntax

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help with syntax

Postby pmda » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:30 pm

A sentence in Orberg's LLPSI reads:

Dies atque horae longiores sunt vere quam hieme.

I'm a bit confused about the syntax of this. I have two questions:

1) How do we figure out whether Dies is Nominative singular or plural.

2) I can't figure out how the words fit together to make grammatical sense. I take it that a literal translation is something like: 'The day(s) is(are) longer hours in Spring than in Winter.' I'm not sure about the syntax. 'Horae longiores' seems to suggest longer hours.....but an hour is an hour whether in winter o summer. Is this just idiomatic Latin for 'The day (as in daylight) has more hours??'

I'd appreciate any help.
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Re: help with syntax

Postby pmda » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:33 pm

I have just figure out that it's plural - 'sunt' being the giveaway...but I'd appreciate any advice with the rest of my query....thanks..
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Re: help with syntax

Postby LaurentiusH » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:11 pm

Salve,

pmda wrote:A sentence in Orberg's LLPSI reads:

Dies atque horae longiores sunt vere quam hieme.
(...)
2) I can't figure out how the words fit together to make grammatical sense. I take it that a literal translation is something like: 'The day(s) is(are) longer hours in Spring than in Winter.' I'm not sure about the syntax.


As far as I understand it "Dies atque horae" (coordinated by "atque" = "et") are the subject of "sunt".

pmda wrote: 'Horae longiores' seems to suggest longer hours.....but an hour is an hour whether in winter o summer. Is this just idiomatic Latin for 'The day (as in daylight) has more hours??'


Actually, I think I read in a book on everyday life in Rome (written by J. Carcopino) that, for the Romans, the number of hours was fixed for night time and daytime, i.e. they were actually longer in the summer than in the winter (and night hours were conversely shorter in the summer than in the winter).

Vale.
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Re: help with syntax

Postby thesaurus » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:21 pm

"Dies atque horae longiores sunt vere quam hieme."

"The days and hours are longer in spring than in winter."

You can't really tell (grammatically) whether "dies" is plural because "sunt" incorporates both "horae" and "dies," but from context we arrive at this translation. I suppose it could be "the day and the hours are longer," but that makes less sense. Plurals are usually grouped together.

Cum verbum "sunt" et "horae" et "dies" regit, utrum "dies" pluralis sit grammatice scire non possumus. Contextu autem hanc sententian rationcinari coepimus. Si "dies" singularis sit, minus liquet. Verba pluralia junctim inveniri solent.

LaurentiusH wrote:Actually, I think I read in a book on everyday life in Rome (written by J. Carcopino) that, for the Romans, the number of hours was fixed for night time and daytime, i.e. they were actually longer in the summer than in the winter (and night hours were conversely shorter in the summer than in the winter).


Very interesting, I didn't know that.
Quod dicis miror. Huius ignarus eram.
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: help with syntax

Postby pmda » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:58 pm

Many thanks. Of course I now see that atque is a simple conjunction.....silly me. Thanks for your help.
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Re: help with syntax

Postby Hampie » Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:36 pm

Roman hours were not an hour, but a 6th of day and night. There were always six hours of day and six hours of night. The night hours were longer during the winter, and the day hours were longer during the summer. Man I wish we had this system in Sweden during the winter when it's dark from 3pm until 9am.
Här kan jag i alla fall skriva på svenska, eller hur?
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Re: help with syntax

Postby furrykef » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:37 pm

Hampie wrote:Man I wish we had this system in Sweden during the winter when it's dark from 3pm until 9am.

Yeesh! And I thought it getting dark at 6 PM was bad enough!
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