Basic Question: Active into Passive

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cdm2003
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Basic Question: Active into Passive

Post by cdm2003 » Thu May 11, 2006 4:44 pm

Hello all...

I am working through the Minkova Readings and Exercises in Latin Prose Composition and realized that I could not think of the answer to this basic question: When taking an active sentence and making it passive, what is to be done with the indirect object?

Here is my active sentence: Legati omnia bona Cincinnato exoptant.

Then, I rewrote it in the passive voice: Omnia bona Cincinnato legatis exoptantur.

I placed "Cincinnatus" into the dative in each sentence since I felt that the relationship of "Cincinnatus" to the verb did not change even though the voice of the verb did. I believe I did it correctly, but I just wanted to double-check this since I can't find it explicitly stated in my Wheelock or M&F books. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Chris

bellum paxque
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Post by bellum paxque » Thu May 11, 2006 11:05 pm

There's something called a retained object, both in Latin and English. The basic rule is that, when an active sentence with two objects undergoes the passive transformation (is passified! :D), the leftover objects are left in their appropriate cases. Thus:

"He really taught the teacher a lesson!" becomes
"The teacher was really taught a lesson (by him)!"

and

"He gave the teacher a book" becomes
"The teacher was given a book (by him)"

The same applies in Latin. So, in your sentence, remember the ablative of personal agent with a/ab: (a legatis) and you're all set.

-David

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Post by cdm2003 » Fri May 12, 2006 12:15 am

Thanks David...much obliged...and thanks for the reminder about a/ab. Now I can merrily go back to my passification of Republican Rome. :wink:

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Post by mraig » Fri May 12, 2006 10:13 pm

bellum paxque wrote:There's something called a retained object, both in Latin and English. The basic rule is that, when an active sentence with two objects undergoes the passive transformation (is passified! :D), the leftover objects are left in their appropriate cases. Thus:

"He really taught the teacher a lesson!" becomes
"The teacher was really taught a lesson (by him)!"

and

"He gave the teacher a book" becomes
"The teacher was given a book (by him)"

The same applies in Latin. So, in your sentence, remember the ablative of personal agent with a/ab: (a legatis) and you're all set.

-David
This really isn't the same thing in English and Latin. What's going on in your English sentences is that the INDIRECT object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence.

Let's take your second sentence for example:

He gave the teacher a book.

From word order and common sense we know that 'teacher' is the indirect object and 'book' is the direct object. (Think about the sentence in Latin: librum magistro dedit.)

Now, in English, we can convert the sentence to the passive by making either the direct or the indirect object the new subject:

A book was given to the teacher by him (DO becomes subject)
The teacher was given a book by him (IO becomes subject)

But only the first of these two sentences works in Latin:

Liber magistro ab eo datus est. (Note that, yes, the indirect object stays in the dative)

There is no way to put "The teacher was given a book by him" Latin. This is a peculiarly English way of putting together a sentence.

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Post by Interaxus » Sat May 13, 2006 1:48 am

A book was given to the teacher by him (DO becomes subject)
The teacher was given a book by him (IO becomes subject)

But only the first of these two sentences works in Latin:

Liber magistro ab eo datus est. (Note that, yes, the indirect object stays in the dative)

There is no way to put "The teacher was given a book by him" Latin.
Lucid analysis, mraig! But (as Columbo might put it) just one thing. ‘Liber magistro ab eo datus est’ surely translates BOTH ‘A book was given to the teacher by him’ AND ‘The teacher was given a book by him’. In the latter English sentence, ‘the teacher was given’ really means ‘TO the teacher was given’, even though ‘the teacher’ is the formal subject of the passive verb. It’s just our English idiom at work again. I’m not aware of the grammatical name for this phenomenon. But in fact BOTH English sentences ARE translated perfectly well by your Latin.

On the other hand, recalling the treacherous schoolmaster of my schooldays (Camillus pueros e castris Romanis ad oppidum magistrum malum agere iubet), I wonder how one might translate ‘The teacher was given to the kids to be whipped back to where he came from’. But presumably the Latin idiom would here require another verb than ‘give’…?

Int

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Post by Michaelyus » Sat May 13, 2006 1:07 pm

The idea I think is the same; both are translated like this, except that Latin cannot give the emphasis of "The teacher was given a book by him" on the teacher. I don't know if this is a cultural thing - giving (dative) being seen as distant and so never at the centre of things (never the subject).

As for the name - I don't really know; passive ditranstive construction is a generic name, but what else?

ËœThe teacher was given to the kids to be whipped back to where he came from". = Magister pueris datur ut... ???illuc venisti flagelletur???.

Sorry, my Latin needs brushing up.
phpbb

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Post by mraig » Sat May 13, 2006 5:13 pm

Interaxus wrote:
A book was given to the teacher by him (DO becomes subject)
The teacher was given a book by him (IO becomes subject)

But only the first of these two sentences works in Latin:

Liber magistro ab eo datus est. (Note that, yes, the indirect object stays in the dative)

There is no way to put "The teacher was given a book by him" Latin.
Lucid analysis, mraig! But (as Columbo might put it) just one thing. ‘Liber magistro ab eo datus est’ surely translates BOTH ‘A book was given to the teacher by him’ AND ‘The teacher was given a book by him’. In the latter English sentence, ‘the teacher was given’ really means ‘TO the teacher was given’, even though ‘the teacher’ is the formal subject of the passive verb. It’s just our English idiom at work again. I’m not aware of the grammatical name for this phenomenon. But in fact BOTH English sentences ARE translated perfectly well by your Latin.
Of course the MEANING of both sentences is captured by the Latin (as it is by the Latin sentence in the active voice), but there is no way to represent the same grammatical structure, which is what the original question was referring to.

Your suggestion that "The teacher was given a book by him" is shorthand for "to the teacher was given a book by him" may in fact be the historical source of this strange English formtion, but consider:

"I was given a book by him"

The English pronoun "I" is unambiguously the subject of the sentence, and I think this is a better illustration of how such a construction couldn't exist in Latin. The closest you could come is "liber mihi ab eo datus est," but this really doesn't retain the structure of the English sentence.

The original question was about what to do with the indirect object in a passive sentence. Our English indirect-object-as-subject passive sentences present a new problem: what do you do with the direct object? The English solution is to have a passive verb with a direct object; this simply wouldn't do in Latin ("datus sum librum ab eo" makes no sense).
On the other hand, recalling the treacherous schoolmaster of my schooldays (Camillus pueros e castris Romanis ad oppidum magistrum malum agere iubet), I wonder how one might translate ‘The teacher was given to the kids to be whipped back to where he came from’. But presumably the Latin idiom would here require another verb than ‘give’…?
Int
I suppose a direct translation would be something like:

Magister discipulis datus est ut verberatus iret ad eundem locum unde venerat.

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Post by Interaxus » Sun May 14, 2006 1:53 am

"I was given a book by him"

The English pronoun "I" is unambiguously the subject of the sentence, and I think this is a better illustration of how such a construction couldn't exist in Latin. The closest you could come is "liber mihi ab eo datus est," but this really doesn't retain the structure of the English sentence.

The original question was about what to do with the indirect object in a passive sentence. Our English indirect-object-as-subject passive sentences present a new problem: what do you do with the direct object? The English solution is to have a passive verb with a direct object; this simply wouldn't do in Latin ("datus sum librum ab eo" makes no sense).
Of course, you’re right. I suppose my point was that when translating from one language to another one often has to ‘switch structures’, ie the grammatical structure of one language cannot always be replicated in another, though a functional approximation may be achieved. For example, a simple conversion from reflexive ‘se habla español’ to passive ‘English spoken’ may do the job. But sometimes a particular aspect of one language may be totally irreproducible in another and thus be totally ‘lost in translation’, for example, both English and Latin lack a dual form of the verb.
Magister discipulis datus est ut verberatus iret ad eundem locum unde venerat.
Thanks, I really enjoyed that. I wonder whether ‘traditus’ might replace ‘datus’?

Int

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Post by mraig » Sun May 14, 2006 6:01 pm

Interaxus wrote:
Magister discipulis datus est ut verberatus iret ad eundem locum unde venerat.
Thanks, I really enjoyed that. I wonder whether ‘traditus’ might replace ‘datus’?

Int
Sure, 'handed over' instead of 'given'; looking at it again, I would replace 'verberatus iret' (whipped, he went) with 'verberibus ageretur' (he was driven with whips) as well.

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Post by Interaxus » Sun May 14, 2006 11:28 pm

Mraig, thanks again. Your translation gets better and better.

Incidentally, I just recalled another word for ‘beat’, ‘flog’, etc. My best friend at grammar (!) school (at least someone learned a bit of Latin there) was fond of citing the following as an example of the way Cicero could build up a sentence to achieve maximum oratorial indignation:

Caedebatur … uirgis … in foro … ciuis Romanus!

In fact, this turns out to be a slightly streamlined version of the original, which I have since traced on the Internet:

Caedebatur uirgis in medio foro Messanae ciuis Romanus

But don’t get me wrong. I’m perfectly satisfied with the dramaturgy of your latest draft of my sentence.

Cheers,
Int

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Post by bellum paxque » Mon May 15, 2006 7:11 pm

Oops! Quite misleading in my analysis. Thanks for the correction and reproof.

Omitting the problematic English idiom of allowing an indirect object to become the subject in a passive sentence, I'll reiterate my (main) point, that the indirect object is "retained" in the dative even after a passive transformation. And this is similar to English:

A book was given him by the teacher.
Liber eo ab magistro datus est.

It is curious that I want to say "He was given a book by the teacher." I get the feeling that "a book was given him" is pretty rare, both in spoken and written English.

-David

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Post by mraig » Tue May 16, 2006 3:21 pm

bellum paxque wrote: A book was given him by the teacher.
Liber eo ab magistro datus est.

-David
Sorry to be a fault-finding know-it-all, but the dative is 'ei' rather than 'eo'.

But that doesn't diminish your right-ness about the indirect object being retained in the dative!

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Post by bellum paxque » Tue May 16, 2006 9:18 pm

Yikes! Two strikes, and all - is it too late to retreat from the game?

That's not the first time I've goofed on the dative of is.

plus culpae mihi iam est quam velim...

-David

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