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Translation Questions

Postby Infern0 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:45 am

Hi all!

I'm taking my course in Latin and I came across a Latin sentence that I'm not quite sure how to translate:

"Mea puellae formam portis dat"

I translated the sentence as "My girl gives form/shape/beauty to the gates," but that sounds funny to me? Is this translation correct? I believe "portis" is the plural dative? "Formam" is the singular accusative?

Thanks for your guys help!
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby thesaurus » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:10 pm

Infern0 wrote:"Mea puellae formam portis dat"

I translated the sentence as "My girl gives form/shape/beauty to the gates," but that sounds funny to me? Is this translation correct? I believe "portis" is the plural dative? "Formam" is the singular accusative?


The correct sentence would be, "Mea puella formam portis dat," which would translate as you suggest. Puella must be put in the nominative singular form (to be the subject, and to agree in case with "mea"). Formam is the singular accusative. Portis is dative plural.
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: Translation Questions

Postby adrianus » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:56 pm

For what it's worth, I believe it CAN mean also "My girl takes herself to the gates." ("gives her outline to").
Et hoc significari potest, ut credo (quod forsit non tanti est): "Puella mea ad portas recedit."
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: Translation Questions

Postby Infern0 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:44 pm

Oh you're right, I added an extra "e" to the end of puella.. >< Thanks! The TA told us the translation was "My girlfriend gives beauty to the gates." So, that was pretty close. I didn't know "puella" could also mean girlfriend though.

Thanks for the help!
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby furrykef » Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:08 am

Very strange sentence, I think. I don't think it does much good to translate such things unless either it appears in a text you're reading or there is some cultural context that it can shed light upon.
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby Infern0 » Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:22 am

furrykef wrote:Very strange sentence, I think. I don't think it does much good to translate such things unless either it appears in a text you're reading or there is some cultural context that it can shed light upon.


Yeah, that is exactly why our entire class was so confused on the translation! My TA explained that since our vocabulary is very limited right now (this being the first week of class), some of the translations may not make much sense, but that he wanted us to be able to tell the different parts of the sentences and the cases. As our vocabulary expands, the sentences will begin to make more sense. We're currently working on the third chapter of Wheelock's and also reading from a companion book called 38 Latin Stories by Anne Groton and James May.
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby furrykef » Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:27 am

I've done all forty chapters of Wheelock and all thirty-five chapters of Lingua Latina Vol. I and it still doesn't make much sense to me.
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby Infern0 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:00 am

Hi,

If I want to use the adjective "antīqua" to describe a nominative, singluar, masculine noun (i.e. populus), is it declined as "antīquus" or "antīqus"?

Also, I was practicing the translation exercises in Chapter 3 of Wheelock's (page 21) and had a question for the translation of #10. The English sentence is "We see great fortune in your daugthers' lives, my friend." The translation that I worked out is as follows: "Hodiē fortunam magnam in vītīs fīlīae tuae vidēmus, amīcus meus." I got a bit confused on which case to use for some of the nouns. I'm pretty sure "great fortune" is the accusative because its the direct object. "In your daughters' lives" can be rewritten as "in the lives of your daughters" in which case "daughters" would be genitive and "lives" would be in the ablative?

Oh, and for #11 of the same page, The English sentence is "He always gives my daughters and sons roses." My question is do we translate my daughters and sons using a single phrase? So the translation would be "Filiīs meīs rosās semper dat?" Is there a need to distinguish daughters from sons? In this case, the declension would be the same for both, but theoretically, if the declensions were different, do we need to translate both separately? Or is it like Spanish, where the masculine term would also translate as both male and female together?

Thanks! :)
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby furrykef » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:04 am

Infern0 wrote:is it declined as "antīquus" or "antīqus"?

Antīquus. "Antīqus" wouldn't be possible because the "u" after a "q" acts like a "w" and therefore must always precede a vowel.

Also, I was practicing the translation exercises in Chapter 3 of Wheelock's (page 21) and had a question for the translation of #10. The English sentence is "We see great fortune in your daugthers' lives, my friend." The translation that I worked out is as follows: "Hodiē fortunam magnam in vītīs fīlīae tuae vidēmus, amīcus meus."

Hodiē magnam fortūnam in vītārum fīliārum tuārum vidēmus, amīce mī.

Also note that only the first "i" in "fīlia" is long, and fortūnam has a long "u". Remember too that both "amīcus" and "meus" have special vocative forms ("amīcus -> amīce" since it's masculine second declension; "meus -> mī" because it's irregular).

I got a bit confused on which case to use for some of the nouns. I'm pretty sure "great fortune" is the accusative because its the direct object. "In your daughters' lives" can be rewritten as "in the lives of your daughters" in which case "daughters" would be genitive and "lives" would be in the ablative?

Correct.

Oh, and for #11 of the same page, The English sentence is "He always gives my daughters and sons roses." My question is do we translate my daughters and sons using a single phrase? So the translation would be "Filiīs meīs rosās semper dat?" Is there a need to distinguish daughters from sons? In this case, the declension would be the same for both, but theoretically, if the declensions were different, do we need to translate both separately? Or is it like Spanish, where the masculine term would also translate as both male and female together?


"Fīlia" has an irregular dative and ablative form in the plural: fīliābus. The text mentions this somewhere. I think "fīliīs" may nonetheless be sufficient to cover both (although the book probably wants you to use "fīliābus" just to show that you know it).

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Re: Translation Questions

Postby Craig_Thomas » Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:24 pm

furrykef wrote:
Infern0 wrote:Also, I was practicing the translation exercises in Chapter 3 of Wheelock's (page 21) and had a question for the translation of #10. The English sentence is "We see great fortune in your daugthers' lives, my friend." The translation that I worked out is as follows: "Hodiē fortunam magnam in vītīs fīlīae tuae vidēmus, amīcus meus."

Hodiē magnam fortūnam in vītārum fīliārum tuārum vidēmus, amīce mī.


magnam, mī amīce, fortūnam in vītīs fīliārum tuārum vidēmus.
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby furrykef » Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:09 pm

Oops, yeah, there shouldn't be a "hodiē" in that translation. I guess I copied that from the original attempt. ^^;

And I see I got the case agreement wrong too. *facepalm* Craig's got it right.
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby Infern0 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:05 am

Thanks guys! That helped out a lot!

I'm working on a translation and I need some clarification on word order. I know there isn't a definitive word order for Latin, but I was wondering if my translation would be ok. The English is "The rumors ought to warn the farmers in my fatherland"

I translated it as: "Famae agricolās in patriā meā monēre debent." It bothers me a bit that word order can be a bit arbitrary (but that could be because im just a bit OCD lol). I also wasn't sure if the ablative case is correct for "patriā meā."

Thanks for the help!
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby Craig_Thomas » Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:23 am

Infern0 wrote:I'm working on a translation and I need some clarification on word order. I know there isn't a definitive word order for Latin, but I was wondering if my translation would be ok. The English is "The rumors ought to warn the farmers in my fatherland"

I translated it as: "Famae agricolās in patriā meā monēre debent."

Perfect.

Infern0 wrote:I also wasn't sure if the ablative case is correct for "patriā meā."

It's correct, because the farmers are in the fatherland, not moving into it as an accusative would suggest.
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby adrianus » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:15 pm

Infern0 wrote:It bothers me a bit that word order can be a bit arbitrary (but that could be because im just a bit OCD lol).

Word order in Latin isn't arbitrary; it's super expressive and artful! :) Alternatively, OK,—you can think of it like that.
Non arbitrarius ostentui latinè ordo vocabulorum, sed valdè significans et artifex. Aliter, licet,—non falsum quod dicis.
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: Translation Questions

Postby furrykef » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:33 pm

And that's the problem, adrianus -- knowing when to vary word order, and knowing what a particular word order signifies when you come across it. I'm OCD about that sort of thing too. Thankfully, by simply observing the way Latin sentences are written over and over, I think I've gotten the general hang of it.

For what it's worth, the "standard" word order for Latin sentences is: Subject, indirect object, direct object, adverbial words or phrases, verb. There will, of course, be numerous exceptions in any real Latin prose, though. (And in poetry, you're better off just assuming anything is possible and there is no standard order...)

Another rule that's good to know is that adjectives generally come after the noun (much as in Spanish, etc.), except for adjectives of size, beauty, quantity, and a few other things, which typically precede. Likewise, genitives almost always come after the noun they modify... but only "almost".

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Re: Translation Questions

Postby adrianus » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:32 pm

I believe Latin composition is also an important part of the process of understanding word order, because, by trying to express yourself not just grammatically but also clearly, you begin empathetically to recognize and understand the skills and choices of Latin authors in writing as they do,—since writing is (or should be) about communication.

Latinè scribere etiam valdè adjuvat ut ordo vocabulorum meliùs à te intellegatur. Per processum et clariùs non modò grammaticè scribendi, quasi è nebulâ videre cogitareque instituis mutuò affectu artem consiliaque auctorum latinorum atque cur sic scribant,—ars scribendi posthaec, nonnè est communicationis ars (vel debet esse)?
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: Translation Questions

Postby Infern0 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:05 am

Thanks guys! Really helpful for a Latin newbie! =)

furrykef wrote:Another rule that's good to know is that adjectives generally come after the noun (much as in Spanish, etc.), except for adjectives of size, beauty, quantity, and a few other things, which typically precede. Likewise, genitives almost always come after the noun they modify... but only "almost".


This is a really useful tip! Thanks!
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby Infern0 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 4:03 am

I'm working on a few translations and came across a few questions:

English: "The danger to the good son is small."
My Latin Translation: "Perīculum ad fīlium bonum est parvum"
I wasn't exactly sure if I should use the accusative or the ablative case here. So far, we've mostly used the ablative with prepositional phrases, but Wheelock says that the accusative is often used with preposition "to." I'm also not sure if "ab" is the correct word to use in this sentence as well.

English: "The evil war terrifies many people."
My Latin Translation: "Bellum malum multum populum terret."
Since Latin word order is slightly arbitrary, does one just look at context in a case like this where you can take the sentence different ways? I know in this case it wouldn't make sense to switch which noun is the nominative and which is the accusative, but theoretically speaking.

English: "The greedy men ought to love leisure."
My Latin Translation: "Virī avāvī ōtium amāre debent."
For this one, I just had a question on word order. Is the infinitive verb generally right before the active verb?

Thanks in advance! =)
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby furrykef » Mon Oct 11, 2010 4:42 am

Infern0 wrote:English: "The danger to the good son is small."
My Latin Translation: "Perīculum ad fīlium bonum est parvum"
I wasn't exactly sure if I should use the accusative or the ablative case here. So far, we've mostly used the ablative with prepositional phrases, but Wheelock says that the accusative is often used with preposition "to." I'm also not sure if "ab" is the correct word to use in this sentence as well.

My guess is that it would actually be dative with no preposition: "Perīculum fīliō bonō est parvum." And yes, "ad" always (not just "often") takes the accusative.

Infern0 wrote:English: "The evil war terrifies many people."
My Latin Translation: "Bellum malum multum populum terret."

You're letting your English interfere with your Latin here. Remember that "people" in this sentence is just the plural of "person"; "populum" is "the people" in a broad sense, more like "population". I would just say "Bellum multōs terret", but if you really need to translate the "people" part, I would say "multōs hominēs".

Infern0 wrote:Since Latin word order is slightly arbitrary, does one just look at context in a case like this where you can take the sentence different ways?

In your sentence there was only one way it could be taken, since "populum" is masculine (and therefore its nominative does not end in -um). But yes, context can help a lot, as can word order -- the subject usually comes before the object, especially when there is potential for confusion (but note that what confuses us didn't necessarily confuse the Romans).

Infern0 wrote:English: "The greedy men ought to love leisure."
My Latin Translation: "Virī avāvī ōtium amāre debent."


"Avārī", not "avārī". It's quite common to put the infinitive first, yes, but it's also quite common to do it the other way around.

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Re: Translation Questions

Postby Infern0 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:30 am

Ok thanks Kef! I did mean to put avārī NOT avāvī. Stupid typo... haha

We are going to be going into the future and imperfect tenses this week in class (chapters 5-6 of Wheelocks). I'm making a sentence using the imperfect and I want to know if my translation of my own sentence makes sense:
English: "I used to always eat with my good friends"
Latin: Cum amīcīs meīs bonīs semper cēnābam.

Does that look right to you guys? I think the tenses and cases I used should be correct, it's just a matter of if there is a more usual or better word order for the adjectives. Thanks! :D
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby furrykef » Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:02 am

Adjectives of goodness generally precede the noun, so I would say maybe "cum bonīs amīcīs meīs". Of course, it's still grammatical the other way. It looks fine, in any case. :)
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby Infern0 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:26 pm

Thanks! Here's another translation checking question:

English: "We are not able to blame the foolish men; a large number of men were sane."
Latin: Virī stultī culpāre nōn possumus; magnus numerus sānum erant.

For the second part of this translation, is it ok to use the substantive and omit "men?" I wasn't sure if I translated it correctly either. I put it in the accusative because I think men would be a direct object in this situation, right? I don't know if my translation would correspond to what they want because I feel like my translation says "a large number were sane men" which may be slightly different from "a large number of men were sane." Thanks!
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby Nooj » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:39 pm

Latin: Virī stultī culpāre nōn possumus; magnus numerus sānum erant.


Viros stultos or better yet, stultos. Viros stultos is the object of culpo so they need to be in the accusative case. Viros is superfluous here, the substantive stultos says the same thing.

I put it in the accusative because I think men would be a direct object in this situation, right?


sum doesn't take a direct object. It's a copula which links a subject and predicate. The predicate will be in the same case as the subject. So it will look like this: magnus numerus (nominative) sanus (nominative) erat.

Also, because magnus numerus is a singular thing, the number of the verb is also usually singular. But here since we know that by a great number, we mean a great number of men and a plural subject is implied, a plural verb can follow from the sense.
Last edited by Nooj on Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby victoriaw » Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:01 pm

It's very difficult to use Google's automated translation for this language.. I thought that would be easier to use it from Latin to Spanish, but it's the same (maybe it's because the Latin Google translator is in alpha state)

Do you know another English-Latin online tranlslator?

Do you also know which other languages besides Latin and Slovenian have cases like nominative, accusative, dative, genitive?

Thanks!
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Re: Translation Questions

Postby adrianus » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:13 pm

victoriaw wrote:Do you also know which other languages besides Latin and Slovenian have cases like nominative, accusative, dative, genitive?

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Re: Translation Questions

Postby furrykef » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:15 am

Also Romanian, as well as any Slavic language such as Russian. German has four cases, but they usually inflect on the article rather than the noun and it's losing the genitive in favor of the dative. Dutch, on the other hand, has lost its cases, declining only for number and gender as in Romance languages. Modern Greek still has four of the five cases that Ancient Greek had (nom, gen, acc, and voc; it lost the dative). Finnish, Hungarian, and Estonian are a language family that has cases as well -- Finnish has fifteen! Norwegian has a dative case in some dialects, but others don't distinguish case at all. There's also probably a number of American Indian, Australian Aboriginal, and African languages that make use of case -- Wikipedia lists 19 cases for Quechua!
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