Dummy subjects

By ahmedcrow, in 'Latin Beginners', Oct 17, 2018.

  1. ahmedcrow New Member

    How we can use dummy subjects in Latin, in another words, what's their Latin equivelants?
    In fluent Arabic, my native tongue, for "it" we can use an emphasising letter called "enna", it has form like "an" and "anna" I mentioned before at "I think that ..." thread. We don't use verbs at all with "enna", we do understand hidden meaning of "to be" in the sentence.

    For "there", we can use a verb or Arabic "there" too like English.
  2. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    In Latin, the dummy subject, just like other pronominal subjects (I, you, he, she, it, etc.), is very often omitted.

    For example, the sentence "It is important to know oneself" can translate to interest se ipsum nosse, with just the finite verb interest, "is important" and the infinitive phrase se ipsum nosse (the true subject), "to know oneself", without any dummy "it" being literally there.

    It is, however, possible to add an "it" or "that" or "this" pronoun to the above sentence, but it would convey a particular emphasis:

    Id/illud/hoc interest, se ipsum nosse = literally "It/that/this is important, to know oneself" = an emphasis that could in some contexts be rendered in English as "What's important is to know oneself".
    ahmedcrow likes this.
  3. ahmedcrow New Member

    Is it related to the impersonal verbs?
    Do we use a verb of existence to express the equivelant of "there"?
  4. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Impersonal verbs often translate with a dummy subject in English, so yes.
    We use the verb esse alone, which in this meaning has a tendency to (but does not always) come first in the sentence (or at least early, before the subject). You won't use any literal translation of "there".
    ahmedcrow likes this.
  5. ahmedcrow New Member

    Notwithstanding my limited abilities, I would like to know all what I can do with language, there are purposes for that, one of 'em that according to a vision I've to convert Quran into Old English tongue, but on my way I found Latin and liked it. Problem in Quran is that it's the highest linguistic work in Arabic, it wasn't made by limited human ability, I mean the linguistic aspect, not religious one. For bad luck, I'm not linguistic scholar, but it seems I've to do by myself, so I need to learn perfectly, and to know all forms I can do with language.

    So, Latin didn't use "there" like we're doing in this days tongues? but does this usage exist in Latin?
  6. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Well, if you want to translate the Quran into Latin, you'll certainly need to study seriously for several years first.
    I'm not sure I understand your question, but let's see if this answers it:

    When in English you would say "there is/are...", to denote the existence or presence of something, in Latin you will NOT use any word that means literally "there" but you will use a form of the verb esse alone. For example, "There are wolves in the wood" will translate to sunt lupi in silva, NOT ibi sunt lupi in silva. The latter is wrong as ibi (= literally "there") isn't used that way in Latin.
    ahmedcrow likes this.
  7. ahmedcrow New Member

    As long as I can use the language to express about my personal thoughts, and there are sources to learn it, there's no problem to exert efforts in learning it, but for my bad luck, I searched for independent Latin section in Egypatian universities and results were that you'll study it with other materials.

    According its relation with Christianity, some Christian Egypatians those who care in the religious studies know it, and I'm not Christian, maybe I can't invade their sources of learning it.


    This's a fair answer.

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