Rome is a beautiful place. I look at the town. I am always scared.

By OrionsBelt, in 'Latin Beginners', May 14, 2019.

  1. OrionsBelt New Member

    I am just starting Latin and I have to translate a lot of short sentences. Could you walk me through the translations of these ones so I can do the others on my own?
  2. legio septima Member

    I can try.
    Pulcher locus est urbs Roma. Oppidum aspicio. Semper territa sum.
    Hemo Rusticus likes this.
  3. Hemo Rusticus Tom Bombadillo

    • Civis Illustris
    The key to understanding them is in the distinction between the nominative and accusative cases. Review these terms in your grammar book.

    In the first and third sentences, we have only grammatical subjects (that is, 'Rome' and its predicate 'beautiful place' in sentence 1, and then 'I' in sentence 3). In translating, we must keep this in mind, for the subject of a sentence will always be nominative.

    In the second sentence, the subject, 'I', is gotten by using the correct verb-ending of spectare 'to watch/look at'. The equivalent Latin pronoun 'ego' need not be used. The 'thing-being-watched', that is the object which 'receives' the action of the verb (in this case the 'town'), must be made accusative. Fortunately, the word for 'town' (oppidum) has the same form in the nom. as in the acc. case. This is known as the neuter rule.

    Let us know if something remains unclear.
    Pacifica likes this.
  4. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    This post should be in Latin Beginners. Can a mod move it, please?
  5. john abshire Active Member

    "Rome is a beautiful place"
    Roma est locus pulcher.

    Pulcher locus est urbs Romae
    "A beautiful place is the city of Rome."
    or/ "The city of Rome is a beautiful place."
    [did you mean city of Rome?]
  6. Etaoin Shrdlu Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Urbs Roma is the usual form, as can be seen from Roman coins. Urbs Romae is rare, late and smacks of translation from English or another modern language. Is there a reason why you prefer it?
  7. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    For no other reason than because it's the instinct of an English speaker who isn't familiar with the usual Latin construction, I assume.

    But yeah, in Latin it's more usual to have the name of the city follow in the same case as the noun urbs. So you say urbs Roma, literally "the city Rome", the logic of this being that the city in question is Rome. It's similar to something like "my friend John". You wouldn't say "my friend of John", because the friend is John, rather than belonging to John or anything like that. In Latin, this logic also applies to cities.

    As for the word order, pulcher locus est urbs Roma can perfectly translate to "the city of Rome is a beautiful place".
  8. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    But epexegetic is so fun to say (and type).
  9. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    A&G is boring and would call urbs Romae an appositional genitive
  10. john abshire Active Member

    Is it common to put the subject at the end, in this type sentence (with predicate nominative)?
    Is it common to put the subject at the end in a sentence with direct object?
    regem interfecit servus
  11. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Yes, when the context makes things clear. While there isn't much context here, the whole construction of the sentence is a context unto itself, as "The city of Rome is a beautiful place" is somehow a more likely thing to say than "A beautiful place is the city of Rome". I guess that's because it's more usual to state that a definite thing (like "the City of Rome") is such and such kind of thing (indefinite, like "a beautiful place") than the other way round.
    It isn't uncommon. Latin word order is flexible.

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