question about the subjunctive

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pin130
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question about the subjunctive

Post by pin130 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:44 pm

Sorry to clog the forum with my elementary questions, but here goes another one. In Nutting exercise 51.

"When the wolf heard the dogs, he also crossed the stream".

A few lines later,

"When we saw the dead sailor in the woods, said Marcus, we ran to the farmhouse".

In the translation key, the cum clause in the first sentence is

Lupus, cum canes audivisset,

the second cum clause is

Nautam mortuum cum in silvis vidimus.

Why is the second cum clause in the perfect indicative and not in the
subjunctive pluperfect vidissemus as is the first cum clause? Both it seems are talking about actions which were prior to the action which comes afterward, which I thought calls for the subjunctive pluperfect. First Marcus saw the dead sailor, then he ran to the farmhouse.

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Re: question about the subjunctive

Post by bedwere » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:52 pm

cum + subjunctive has a semi-causal meaning. The wolf got the stimulus to cross the river from hearing the dogs.
cum + indicative is purely temporal. We happened to see a dead sailor and we ran to the farmhouse.

Sometimes the choice is nuanced and it depends on what feeling you wish to convey. You could have used the
cum + subjunctive in the second example.

pin130
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Re: question about the subjunctive

Post by pin130 » Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:07 am

Thanks Bedwere. Such subtle nuances are not mentioned in the textbooks that I know of. I still have trouble though hearing the word "when" (cum) at the start of a clause without hearing a causal ring (excluding poetry where everything goes).

pin130
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Re: question about the subjunctive

Post by pin130 » Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:04 am

Not true what I just wrote. "When" doesn't have to be causal and often isn't (When I went to the store, the sun came out),
but a sentence like "When we saw the dead sailor in the woods, we ran to the farmhouse" I can only hear as causal.

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Re: question about the subjunctive

Post by Nesrad » Sun Dec 02, 2018 11:31 am

I changed the key to the pluperfect subjunctive considering the information given in the textbook.

pin130
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Re: question about the subjunctive

Post by pin130 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:09 am

Would this be another such case? In Nutting exercise 52: "but when he heard the sea, he ran quickly to the boat...". The cum clause is translated as cum autem mare audiverat. Should this be audivisset?

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