AcI vs present participle

By Matthaeus, in 'Latin Grammar Questions', Aug 9, 2018.

  1. Matthaeus Vemortuicida strenuus

    • Civis Illustris
    Salvete omnes sodales!

    This query may have come up before, but just to refresh mine and others' knowledge of this particular bit of grammar, what would be the difference in meaning between these two sentences?

    video puerum in horto ludentem


    vieo puerum in horto ludere


    "I see the boy playing in the garden," or "I see the playing boy in the garden," as opposed to "I see THAT the boy plays/is playing in the garden." Surely there has to be some nuance.

    I'd be interested to see your replies. Any comments appreciated!
    Terry S. likes this.
  2. Iáson Cívis Illústris

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    Something like this?

    ōlim in trīclīniō aestīvō cuiiusdam amīcī sedēbam, ē quō hortum īnspicere poterāmus.
    'ecce', inquam, 'videō puerum in hortō lūdentem.'
    'minimē vērō', respondit ille, 'nam haec est tabula picta in hortō posita. puer enim est in ātriō, quod nōn hinc vidēre possimus, ubi lūdit gladiō suō - gladiātōrum spectāculum magnoperē illī placet.'
    subitō clāmor perterritus ortus est.
    'ēheu,' inquam, 'videō puerum tuum iam cum meō servō lūdere.'
  3. Iáson Cívis Illústris

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    I guess fundamentally I think that when the present participle is used, the 'playing' of the boy is presented as in the mind of the speaker of the statement, whereas the infinitive construction presents it as in the mind of the person seeing, because it is dependant on the verb. In this example, however, because the verb of seeing is first person, the two are the same.

    However, I think there is still a difference, which I tried to show through the story: videō can have a more metaphorical meaning (perceive or realise a fact, rather than directly see an object), and in this sense it must take an indirect statement. Thus when (in the first instance) the speaker was seeing an object, the participle was used, but when the speaker was deducing a fact, the indirect statement appeared.

    But since seeing an object with a quality X automatically means deducing that that object has quality X, the difference is not usually apparent...

    But I'm not very certain and I would also be interested in what other people think.
  4. Godmy A Monkey

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    Anyway, my take on this always was that in the finite clause the participles with the copula ellipsed or not ellipsed (esse+ participle) simply never appear*, the participle is never the predicate of a finite clause, so shouldn't they in non-finite clauses (pseudo-clauses), they shouldn't make a predicate, the predicate (if a verb) should come as infinitive. If it doesn't, then my suspicion is that not being classical/native Latin... or it is and I don't know the examples (which doesn't say much, I don't carry the corpus of the Roman literature in my head). So my suggestion is: let us bring some real examples before we start making judgements about the [native] Latin. And if we don't find anything persuasive enough, then let's go with what I suggested in the first part :)

    *Like the typical English Latinist beginner's mistake: "laudans est" = "he is praising"
  5. Godmy A Monkey

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    (That is, if it's not a predicate, then it's a verbal attribute with the predicate [*potentially] following later in a form of inifinitive, e.g. )
    Last edited by Godmy, Aug 11, 2018
  6. Iáson Cívis Illústris

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    I think this is sort of what I was trying to say: if a participle is found in a non-finite clause, it is not a predicate but an attribute, and thus signifies seeing an object, not noticing a fact.

    Some real examples:
    Cic. Pro Sestio:
    Videō P. Sēstium, meae salūtis, vestrae auctōritātis, pūblicae causae dēfēnsōrem, prōpugnātōrem, āctōrem, reum; videō hunc praetextātum eius fīlium oculīs lacrimantibus mē intuentem; ...
    Cic. In Catilinam:
    Videō dē istīs quī sē populārīs habērī volunt abesse nōn nēminem, ...

    I'm not sure if these really bear it out, though? At any rate it supports the object/fact distinction, as in the first instance the statement shows an act of vision, but in the second it conveys a deduction (since Cicero can't literally see these people if they're not there).
    Godmy likes this.
  7. Godmy A Monkey

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    Okay, we would agree in that: pretty much that the participle construction in question is not tantamount syntactically to the pseudo-clause of the type ACI...

    Hm, yes, so pretty much, he doesn't say "I see how this underage boy of his stares at me." but rather something along the lines "I see [also] this underage boy of his, that one who stares/would-stare at me." - if we more or less agree on that interpretation (and syntax wise) then I suppose we agree pretty much. I think that Matt had the idea that they could be treated almost quite as equal - and I don't doubt that there is many otherwise very well written quality non-classical Latin that will use occasionally a participle instead of the infinitive to convey the predicate, not just a verbal attribute and therefore pretty much making it equal to the present active infinitive, but I think we would probably agree on the summary that such treatment wouldn't be entirely correct and that those people (albeit many times perfect and experienced Latinists) may not know then what they are doing in respect to the original Latin.

    As a counter-example with the same verb (videō) - yeah, the attribute here is the relative clause but the statement is that some-of-them are-present (not-nobody-of-them is-absent), some kind of absentem then wouldn't fill the gap for the predicate and that would be still awaited. (=with the intended meaning)

    I suppose we conveyed the same using different wording (you tried more to use the everyday language, I went with the technical terms), but having understood one another, I guess there is no disagreement...
    Last edited by Godmy, Aug 11, 2018
    Iáson likes this.
  8. Godmy A Monkey

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    Anyway, if I should render the Matt's examples to some English, I would do it this way:

    videō puerum in hortō lūdentem = I see a boy, he plays in the garden, [he has blue eyes.... + some other characteristics or a statement that follows about him]

    => if none statement about him follows than the only statement there is that there is a boy + some characteristics of his (including the participle)

    video puerum in hortō lūdere = I see a (the) boy plays (is playing) in the garden. | I see how a/the boy plays in the garden.

    => the statement is that the boy plays in the garden, the boy is already characterized in the mind of the speaker on the beginning so it's needless now, instead he focuses on what he does.

    But I think that all these thoughts pretty much follow from the simple fact that the true participles (not adjectivized) never make predicates, they make only attributes to something, both in finite and non-finite clauses, that's all what Matt needs to know, everything else we said follows logically from that after some meditation.
    Last edited by Godmy, Aug 11, 2018
    Matthaeus likes this.
  9. Matthaeus Vemortuicida strenuus

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    Thank you for the explanations!

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