AVT/VEL/SIVE

By Matthaeus, in 'Latin Grammar', Apr 6, 2009.

  1. Matthaeus Vemortuicida strenuus

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Ludoviciana
    Salve, Latine loquentes!

    In studying Adler's text, a confusion arose in my understanding of the difference in the usage of these three words. The text gives three examples:

    Aut disce, aut discede.
    Vel imperatore vel milite me utimini.
    Sive casu sive consilio deorum.

    I still am not sure what that distinction between those three may be. Is aut used with verbs, and vel and sive only with nouns? And what about the enclitic -ve? Any feedback greatly appreciated.
  2. Bitmap Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Saxonia
    The distinction I know is that aut is exclusive whereas vel is not.

    In aut disce aut discede you can only learn or leave, but you can't do both. (A or B)

    in vel imperatore vel milite me utimini it's also thinkable that he wants to be used as both imperator and soldier at the same (or by turns), so the 2 conditions don't really rule out each other (A or B or [A and B])

    The enclitic -ve is like a vel put in front of the word.
  3. Quasus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Essentially I can little add to what Bitmap said, but I feel I must take part in such a discussion. :D

    By the way, it's a magnificent dictionary that I've recently found on books.google.com. I like it perhaps more that Georges' German-Latin. Currently I'm indexing its pages creating bookmarks with the last word for each of them, such bookmarks facilitate the work immensely. This work will take a while, and after I'll have finished I'll upload it. I'm sure that if you, Mattheus, download it then, you'll have to admit that it's handier then your favourite paper dictionaries. :D
  4. Matthaeus Vemortuicida strenuus

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Ludoviciana
    Thanks, Quasus. To be honest, I have that pdf, I just rely more on people with their knowledge. Yes, I could look it up first, but I'd like to see what others think. Thanks again! :)
  5. Quasus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Ergō, excerptīs tē, Matthee, jam nōn obtundam. :)
  6. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    Here's my somewhat (relative to Quasus) simplistic take: as Bitmap said, aut tends to join alternatives that are mutually exclusive, and when correlated (aut...aut) the one will positively exclude the other. Because the alternatives given are presented as the only alternatives, and thus the denial or falsity of one alternative necessitates the other, it often has the force of "or else".

    Vel is much weaker than aut, and usually implies a choice for the reader/listener that isn't necessarily mutually exclusive or presented as a complete set of possibilities (supposedly it was an old imperative of volo). As such you can often translate it "or if you wish/prefer". It may also imply that the alternative(s) that follow are merely incidental or an afterthought; "or perhaps/or even". The alternatives may still naturally exclude each other, but the exclusion isn't emphasized as it is with aut. For these reasons vel is much more likely to concatenate a long string of alternatives than aut. The enclitic -ve is simply a less common substitute for vel. (Vel is also an adverb that means "even" or "actually", and with superlatives "the very".)

    Sive (or seu) may be used singly in its most literal sense as the equivalent of vel si "or if". This is comparatively rare, however. More commonly it's found correlated sive...sive "whether...or", forming a disjunctive conditional wherein both protases are conceived of as equally likely alternatives. It may follow the form of any traditional conditional statement (future-less-vivid, contrafactual, etc.) with a verb in the proper tense and mood for each clause, or simply correlate two independent words in a single clause. It may also be correlated three or more times "whether...or...or...". Occasionally it's used singly in the same sense as vel.

    Aut disce, aut discede. = "Either learn, or else [if you won't do that] get out."

    Vel imperatore vel milite me utimini. = "Employ me either as general or even as just a soldier."

    Sive casu sive consilio deorum... = "Whether by accident or by design of the gods..." (incomplete thought)
    Pacis puella and Matthaeus like this.
  7. Matthaeus Vemortuicida strenuus

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Ludoviciana
    Gratias et tibi, Imber! :)

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