1. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Numquam cede isn't classical but not actually wrong, you can find that kind of command in poetry, early or late Latin.

    Numquam cesseris is classical (= using the subjunctive perfect as Cicero often did).

    Numquam cedas isn't classical in the sense "= Cicero", but this kind of negative commands (with subjunctive present) is actually the most common in Latin through about all periods.

    So you can choose.
  2. socratidion Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    London
    Well -- yes -- no-- -ish... Like I said 'one is encouraged' not to do this. You can choose, but do you know what you are choosing?

    Of course I've seen things like 'tu ne cede malis', but what's the register? Is it colloquial, or pretentious ('withdraw not!')? Do we actually find 'numquam' used with the imperative too (no particular reason why not, but I haven't seen it)?

    A good example here of crossed purposes. I admit I've got no deep justification for my attachment to the classical period, but unless we select some period, we will be talking about a language that never existed, made up of all the possibilities in Latin's long history.
  3. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    I must say that, though I've seen a good bunch of negative commands with the imperative (in Plautus for ex.), I've never seen it exactly with numquam - I just assumed that a negative command was a negative command, whether the negation was ne or numquam, but maybe I was wrong assuming so.
  4. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    I've just been looking in the OLD to see if I could find there any example of numquam + imperative, and guess what? There isn't even any command quoted there, whether with imperative or subj. It makes me wonder. It would be worth it to find out how it actually is, but how to do?

    LCF, do you still have that search tool you were elaborating? And have you enlarged it to more authors than just Cicero yet? (If yes, you could make a search with numquam + imp., numquam + pres. subj., numquam + perf. subj., and I would inspect the results to see if there are commands among them... If not, well...!)
  5. socratidion Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    London
    I remember researching this a while back, and went hunting in the disticha Catonis (an obvious place to look!). Here's one: iudicium populi numquam contempseris unus.
    Pacis puella likes this.
  6. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Then we can go for numquam cesseris and be sure it's not a complete novelty. :)
  7. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Location:
    England
    Two more:
    Sallust, Jug. 110, 4: Arma viros pecuniam, postremo quicquid animo libet, sume utere, et, quoad vives, numquam tibi redditam gratiam putaveris.
    Ovid, Amores, I, 8, 81: sed numquam dederis spatiosum tempus in iram.
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  8. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Well, it's proven once and for all there is no problem at all with "never" in commands. Good. :) (Now we know we don't have to torture our minds when we have such a translation request! :D)

    Edit: Once again Latin proves to be less alien than one might think; less alien to express the basic things we simply express in modern languages. (After all, some essential things, concepts, stay the same in the minds of human beings of all times and all countries, even if some other largely differ due to culture etc. - "never do this" is probably one of those common concepts.)
    Last edited by Pacis puella, Jul 26, 2013
  9. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Location:
    England
    Although the relative scarcity of examples seems to suggest they weren't so fond of it as we are.
  10. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Relative scarcity, yes.

    But there's unfortunately a relative scarcity of Latin texts having come to us, too...

    If in two thousand years there are only left a few bits of English literature, will there be proportionally so much more imperatives with "never" in them?

    (And then of course it's not because only three occurences have been quoted here that they are the only ones to exist.)
  11. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    And anyway, even if they really weren't so found of it as we are, we have the proof they still did it at times, so it's not wrong and we can give op's coming here with a "never + imp." translation request what they want.
  12. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Location:
    England
    Something tells me you're keen on being able to roll out numquam + imp. at some point in the near future, and nothing's going to stop you. No need for extended apologias; you've got your green light and you're good to go.
  13. socratidion Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    London
    PP, I think it's a reasonable hypothesis that, comparing like for like, Latin uses 'never' in commands less frequently than English. It is only a hypothesis: it lacks proof, and furthermore the proof can only be statistical. The existence of examples in Latin is no refutation. I would accept a refutation that showed that the number of numquam commands in extant literature of the period approaches or exceeds the number of 'ne/noli' commands -- of this type, always assuming we can agree about what this type is.

    In short, I may be wrong or right. But that's not my point.

    My point is, if you focus only on what is possible in Latin, you may miss what is beautiful. Noting that 'never' commands occur in both English and Latin, you may be drawn to the false conclusion that they have the same weight, or nuance. To take a parallel case: we know that almost every contortion of word order is possible, but that should not lead us to the conclusion that they all have the same value. A student might note that Cicero sometimes puts his verb in first place, and argue ever thereafter that there's nothing wrong with verbs in first place. You presumably see the insidious nature of that fallacy: if so, you have some taste of the frustration I feel at the direction this debate has taken.

    (There's of course an argument for saying that since the whole exercise of translation is artificial, artificial solutions are perfectly appropriate. Sometimes that way of thinking makes sense to me)
  14. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    It's possible that statistically they liked it less than us... We would have to count every occurence in Latin literature and compare with a sample of English literature of the same measure and covering an equivalent period of time to approach certainty on the question.

    I just sincerely believe that, even if it's less common in Latin, since we see it's not a thing stranger to the language, if an op comes up with something like "never give up", we should just translate "never give up", and not seek a problem where, to me, there isn't one. To me, given that we only have a limited corpus of text left, three examples are amply sufficient to make me feel secure I'm not giving shit to the op. I just give them something which means what they want and is correct Latin. For the I-don't-know-how-manieth time: to think that nothing can be exactly translated from English to Latin and that everything should be formulated in a completely different way (which inevitably changes the meaning, "don't give up" isn't "never give up") is a mistake. And almost as dangerous as the contrary one which is to translate everything word-for-word without thinking. I think, I check if I have a doubt, and if I see three examples, well then, yes, I do use the construction without scruple if it fits the needs of the request.

    Now I personally never intended to start a war here.
    Last edited by Pacis puella, Jul 26, 2013
  15. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Location:
    England
    You do seem to have said this a number of times, though actually there's never been a need for you to say it even once, because it's a flagrant misrepresention of the viewpoint of your perceived antagonists. Who on this forum has ever seriously maintained that "nothing can be exactly translated from English to Latin and that everything should be formulated in a completely different way"? For someone who can slice things as finely as you can, that's a pretty crude assessment of the situation.
    Again, no-one said you were.
    Unfortunately that's simply begging the question, and underlining it doesn't help to make it otherwise.
    A more reflective and compromising approach would lend that statement greater conviction.
  16. socratidion Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    London
    I agree. We have settled on 'numquam cesseris': the OP can be reassured that it is good, grammatical Latin, and mirrors the original English closely.
  17. Godmy A Monkey

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Bohemia
    But you are not implying that any new produced Latin which occurs in the modern world is an artificial translation exercise? Could we call Erasmus a maker of artificial Latin translations from some unwritten originals he first worded in his mother tongue? (he's not the modern world anymore, but neither a native speaker of Latin)
    That would be in many cases a not fitting appellation (at least from a linguistical point of view).

    Surely this doesn't touch the point when you are asked to translate from a foreign language (and therefore your ability to express freely is a bit maimed, that depends on the translator) but the cases when the people really express themselves.

    I advocate the opinion that a new Latin student should first develop some his own working Latin idiolect (even when desiring in the future to read only, to boost his/her language competence) in his brain that he will produce with ease and automatically, and later refine this idiolect by reading and imitation of better closer idiolects.

    In other words: let's not worry that from the start we are construing an unidiomatic Latin, almost a conlang, but let us never forget the goal - to get our "conlang" as much "unconlang" as possible and as close to the dialect of Latin you would read from a certain corpus.

    But in that point it is a working language in your brain, when produced as such, and is not by any mean artificial. (maybe historically untrue to the original Latin in some points, that may be, but not something you would make as if dealing with a language you have no mental competence of - artificially - consciously, translating word by word... thinking about grammar)

    Lot of the new difficulties in learning Latin and lot of bad Latin stemming from it in the 20th century (and 21st) is because the students are not asked to learn it as a working language. Sometimes they are almost forbidden! But there is a part in our brain that deals with language and makes it work automatically without our direct conscious and focused construction, which part however we cannot control directly... that's why the living method has such merit.
    Last edited by Godmy, Jul 27, 2013
    LCF likes this.
  18. socratidion Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    London
    Godmy, that is another valuable contribution to the discussion I seem to be trying to encourage. I might try to answer you, but not just this minute: possibly, since we are so far off-topic, in another thread?
    Godmy likes this.
  19. Godmy A Monkey

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Bohemia
    Ok, thank you, I realize I was really off-topic. I also, in a way, got to advocating a method which worked on myself and something I would call my own personal Latin idiolect (which is still probably far from a historical veracity, but, I strongly believe so, also far from a conlang and I consider it as a very valuable tool in my head and even for further passive Latin activities - all the reading I haven't done yet and I very much want and intent to!).
  20. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    I think writing/speaking a language having no native speakers any more and surviving only by some pieces of literature does has something artificial to it. We can't - even more those who speak it - imitate "natural", "unartificial" Latin, because it no longer exists. We don't know how people really spoke it, naturally, in real life. But what we can be sure of, is that they didn't speak as literary authors wrote. Even I who make no literature, I don't speak as I write (I speak much less "well" than I write - I don't mean English here (though it's also true for English, but in another way... :p) but my language). So even if you succeeded (which is very unlikely) in writing like Cicero, and in speaking as he wrote, your spoken language wouldn't be "natural". People in real life didn't speak like Cicero wrote, and Cicero himself in his everyday life probably didn't speak as he wrote.

    I think the way you can approach "naturalness" in a foreign language is by imitating the native speakers of that language (in different situations, writing, speaking, in different contexts; formal, less formal)... and Latin has none. So someone talented maybe can approach a certain natural in writing, produce something which would have looked normal for the written language. But really natural in speech, impossible. We have nothing but a few clues on what happened in colloquial speech. It's 98% lost. I wish it weren't, but...
    Last edited by Pacis puella, Jul 27, 2013

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