problem with a cum clause

Here you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get help with a difficult passage of Latin, and more.
Post Reply
pin130
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:12 am

problem with a cum clause

Post by pin130 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:20 pm

From Nutting's Primer, exercise 65: "When this was learned", said the soldier... The key translates this as Quo cognito, inquit miles. Why is this not treated as a cum clause with a subjunctive verb? What form is "cognito" (1st person passive participle?how would that fit in here?) In short, I'm confused. For some reason, whenever I hit participles in a grammar book, my comprehension begins to fall off.

Barry Hofstetter
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 751
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:22 pm

Re: problem with a cum clause

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:30 pm

It's a perfect passive participle, neuter ablative singular from cognosco. Quo cognito is an ablative absolute, using the relative pronoun to connect with the previous sentence (but English demands a different construction). I can't tell you why they didn't use a cum clause, I mean, they could have, but it doesn't strike me as particularly idiomatic here.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

mwh
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 3037
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: problem with a cum clause

Post by mwh » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:38 pm

Ablative absolute. See Nutting’s Primer p.167.
(More details and examples at http://dcc.dickinson.edu/grammar/latin/ ... e-absolute.)

Quo cognito lit. “Which having been learned, …” (i.e. This having been learned, …”). The -o ending means that it’s (neut.) ablative, not that it’s first person; participles don’t have “persons,” only finite verbs do.
The ablative absolute construction is awkward in English but not at all in Latin. Caesar and Cicero are both full of ablative absolutes. It’s a construction you really do need to get on top of. It’s ablative because it has no grammatical connection with anything else in the sentence (so it’s an ablative “absolute”).

pin130
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:12 am

Re: problem with a cum clause

Post by pin130 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:41 pm

Thanks Barry and mwh. After Barry mentioned the ablative absolute I did find that Nutting says it can take the place of a cum clause. Having almost finished Nutting (after Wheelock and Lingua Latina) I still get confused with participles. Since they feel and act like verbs I keep trying to conjugate them rather than declining them. I'm already wondering what to do after Nutting's Primer. Whether to go on to his First Reader, or maybe go through a composition book (I don't know which one would be best), or maybe just to go through yet another grammar text. I wonder if anyone has a path to suggest.

Barry Hofstetter
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 751
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:22 pm

Re: problem with a cum clause

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:49 pm

It helps to remember what participle means, from the Latin particeps, "having a share in." Participles are the sharing form, it's nice to share... :) What do they share? In qualities of a verb, and in the qualities of an adjective, but they are very particular about what they share. The verb contributes tense and voice, the adjective contributes number, gender and case. MWH is right, understanding participles, and particularly the ablative absolute iteration (which doesn't always use a participle, but most often does) is a crucial element for reading Latin.

Here's an absolutely (!) infallible method for translating the ablative absolute. Start with the English word "with" then a literal translation of the noun or adjective, followed by a literal translation of the participle, and then fit in any adverbs or other associated words contained in the absolute.

Caesare victo, Galli gavisi sunt. With Caesar having been conquered, the Gauls rejoiced.

Now, that's horrible English, so we normally make it some type of clause, whatever fits best from context, since Caesar was conquered, when Caesar was conquered...

Militibus fortiter pugnantibus hostes se receperunt. With the soldiers fighting bravely the enemy retreated. So, because the soldiers were fighting bravely, when the soldiers were fighting bravely...

Sometimes no participle appears, and then one must assume a participle of esse, which doesn't exist in classical Latin.

Galbo et Bibulo consulibus... With Galbus and Bibulus being consuls, so when Galbus and Bibulus were consuls...

Matre proximis amicā... With my mother being friendly to the neighbors... Since my mother was friendly to the neighbors...

Again, the actual clause you would use accurately to translate the ablative absolute depends on context.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

pin130
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:12 am

Re: problem with a cum clause

Post by pin130 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:47 pm

Thanks Barry. I think another reason why I find participles difficult is that in text books, while nouns and adjectives are declined in full, participles are rarely declined so that one doesn't get familiar with their declined form. All that is initially recognized is the verbal root which leads to an immediate attempt to find its conjugated form, rather than its declined form.
I guess its just a matter of reading a few hundred (or thousand) pages of Latin.

Barry Hofstetter
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 751
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:22 pm

Re: problem with a cum clause

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:21 pm

pin130 wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:47 pm
Thanks Barry. I think another reason why I find participles difficult is that in text books, while nouns and adjectives are declined in full, participles are rarely declined so that one doesn't get familiar with their declined form. All that is initially recognized is the verbal root which leads to an immediate attempt to find its conjugated form, rather than its declined form.
I guess its just a matter of reading a few hundred (or thousand) pages of Latin.
Reading a few hundred or thousand pages of Latin is always a good thing, but don't stop there... :)

Just remember that present active participles are declined like third declension i-stem nouns, future active and perfect passive participles use -us, -a, -um endings, just like (e.g.) magnus.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

Post Reply