the worm, word order

By john abshire, in 'Latin Beginners', Jun 13, 2018.

  1. john abshire Member

    hannibal will send messengers to Spain to seek help from his brother.
    my version; hannibal ut auxilium a fratre petat nuntios in Hispaniam mittet.
    the book answer; hannibal in Hispaniam nuntios mittet ut auxilium a fratre petat.

    the book just cautioned (again) about "the worm". That is you don't want to write a sentence in Latin beginning with a clause that makes sense on its own, leaving a clause hanging off the end.

    in the book answer above, I think it has a worm. It begins; hannibal in Hispaniam nuntios mittet.... I would translate this; 'Hannibal will send messenger into Spain'.....This leaves ut auxilium a fratre petat hanging.
    Am i right, that hannibal ut auxilium a fratre petat in Hispaniam nuntios mittet is a better "wormless" answer? Or am i misinterpreting "the worm"?
  2. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Both orders are correct. While your version puts more emphasis on Hannibal sending messengers (it highlights it by putting it at the end), your book's version gives more prominence to the purpose for which he will do so (to seek help from his brother).

    I'm not familiar with the term "worm", but I sort of see the point. However, it doesn't apply in all cases. It's quite frequent to find purpose and other clauses at the end. Especially if they're long. Here, it's possible to put the purpose clause before the main verb because it's relatively short, but if it were long it would be weird to have Hannibal ut blablablablablablablablablabblablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablablabla nuntios in Hispaniam mittet.
    Last edited by Pacifica, Jun 13, 2018
  3. john abshire Member

    I think i understand. He (and you) are mainly referring to longer more complex sentences? See if this is correct.
    the original mention of 'the worm' is on page 5.
    "In this book you will be learning to cope with increasingly complex sentences, made up a large number of subordinate clauses." " ........."
    "In a Latin sentence, you should try at all costs to avoid a situation known as 'the worm'. This is where a complete sentence may be found in a sentence before you have reached the end."
    His example e.g. consul urbem bene regebat quod sapiens erat.
    The clause; consul urbem bene regebat ; "the consul ruled the city well." This leaves quod sapiens erat hanging, as if a worm has been chopped in half by a spade."

    he suggests; consul, quod sapiens erat, urbem bene regebat.
    'the consul, because he was wise, ruled the city well.'

    If in short sentences the order doesn't matter much, but in longer ones you need to be careful of 'the worm', then i have learned what i needed to.
    I also see your point on emphasis; place at the end. This is new to me, and is backwards from English, in my thinking anyway, and is good to know.
  4. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    As I see it, here again, both orders are correct per se but the meaning changes. If the main point of the sentence is to say that the consul ruled the city well, and the reason, "because he was wise", is stated in a sort of by-the-way fashion, then the correct order is consul, quod sapiens erat, urbem bene regebat; but if the point of the sentence is specifically to give the reason why the consul ruled the city well (as if in answer to the question "Why did the consul rule the city well?), then the quod clause is better placed at the end. Extracting a general rule may be more complicated than this, but in this specific example at any rate that is my feeling.

    I understand the author's point, because, while English has a tendency to put subordinate clauses at the end of sentences in all sorts of contexts, that isn't so in Latin, where they are often embedded within sentences. However, it isn't a universally valid rule, as there are situations when subordinate clauses will be put at the end of sentences in Latin (like the one explained above).
    Last edited by Pacifica, Jun 13, 2018
  5. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    in orbe lacteo
    Hmmm........ someone should have told that to Tacitus (Roman author writing early 2nd century AD). He loves his "appendix sentences", where a complete main clause is presented early on, and then subordinate phrases (ablative absolutes, clauses, participial/adjectival phrases, etc.) are added onto the end of the sentence, often to provide some sarcastic comment on the main clause or to add some insightful look into the motivation of the subject of the main clause.

    One example that I encountered recently:
    nec quisquam defendere audebat, crebris multorum minis restinguere prohibentium, et quia alii palam facies iaciebant atque esse sibi auctorem vociferabantur, sive ut raptus licentius exercerent seu iussu.
    (main clause followed by an ablative of cause, a causal clause, and a sive...seu construction containing a purpose clause and an ablative of cause)


  6. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    in orbe lacteo
    Or for a longer example from Tacitus:
    Postquam Bruto et Cassio caesis nulla iam publica arma, Pompeius apud Siciliam oppressus exutoque Lepido, interfecto Antonio ne Iulianis quidem partibus nisi Caesar dux reliquus, posito triumviri nomine consulem se ferens et ad tuendam plebem tribunicio iure contentum, ubi militem donis, populum annona, cunctos dulcedine otii pellexit, insurgere paulatim, munia senatus magistratuum legum in se trahere, nullo adversante, cum ferocissimi per acies aut proscriptione cecidissent, ceteri nobilium, quanto quis servitio promptior, opibus et honoribus extollerentur ac novis ex rebus aucti tuta et praesentia quam vetera et periculosa mallent.

    The main clause is bolded; it's followed by an ablative absolute and a cum clause explaining that ablative absolute.
  7. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
    Just picked a sentence at random from Caesar:
    Is M.Messāla, [et P.] M. Pīsōne cōnsulibus rēgnī cupiditāte inductus coniūrātiōnem nōbilitātis fēcit et cīvitātī persuāsit ut dē fīnibus suīs cum omnibus cōpiīs exīrent: perfacile esse, cum virtūte omnibus praestārent, tōtīus Galliae imperiō potīrī.
    An entire can of worms ;)
  8. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    in orbe lacteo
    Indeed. It's one of those rules that's presented in beginner textbooks that real authors don't really follow.
  9. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    Location:
    litore aureo
    I am wondering if it is something that you would do in specific contexts to achieve a sense of expectation.
  10. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Just for fun, here's the first paragraph of In Catilinam "corrected" according to beginners' textbooks' (pseudo-)rules of word order (no "worms" here, but I've moved verbs to the end of clauses and put adjectives and genitives after the nouns etc.).

    [1] I. Quo usque tandem, Catilina, patientia nostra abutere? quam diu etiam iste furor tuus nos eludet? quem ad finem sese audacia effrenata iactabit? Nihilne te praesidium nocturnum Palati, nihil vigiliae urbis, nihil timor populi, nihil concursus omnium bonorum, nihil hic locus munitissimus senatus habendi, nihil ora voltusque horum moverunt? Consilia tua patere non sentis, coniurationem tuam scientia omnium horum iam constrictam teneri non vides? Quid nocte proxima, quid superiore egeris, ubi fueris, quos convocaveris, quid consilii ceperis, quem nostrum ignorare arbitraris? [2] O tempora, o mores! Senatus haec intellegit. Consul videt; hic tamen vivit. Vivit? immo vero etiam in senatum venit, publici consilii particeps fit, unum quemque nostrum ad caedem oculis notat et designat. Nos autem fortes viri rei publicae satis facere videmur, si furorem ac tela istius vitemus. Ad mortem te, Catilina, iussu consulis duci iam pridem oportebat, in te pestem conferri, quam tu in nos [omnes iam diu] machinaris.
  11. john abshire Member

    thank you pacifica.

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