Expressing continuous action with "iam + present"

LenCabral

Member
Hi all,

It is well-documented that iam diu and iampridem, along with similar expressions of time, can license a present tense in Latin that is best translated as a present perfect progressive in English.

Iam diū īgnōrō quid agās.
(Fam. 7.9)
For a long time I have not known what you were doing.

My question is - can this be done with just "iam"? What I have in mind is something like the following:

Iam tē exspectō. I have been waiting for you. (length of time unspecified)

If this is not possible - what is the best way to express this?
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Latin seems to follow the German logic on these issues ... (or it would probably be better to say the French logic, but I don't know French well enough :D)

... that means that iam te exspectavi would sound more natural to me, even though iam te exspecto would also sound ok in a very emphatic situation.
I can't really prove it, though. Maybe somebody has more insight into actual usage. If you want to do some research yourself, you could try to search packhum for iams.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Iam te expecto sounds like "Now I'm waiting for you". Iam te expectavi like "I have waited for you before" or something along those lines.

Just "I have been waiting for you" in any case wouldn't require a iam. What tense should be used would depend on the exact context, I guess, which is lacking here. However, the first context that comes to my mind when I see "I have been waiting for you" is that of a person turning up and another one telling them they happened to have been waiting for them. In such a context in Latin I think you'd be most likely to say te expectabam.
 

LenCabral

Member
The context in this case would be: one person walks into a room, the other says "I've been waiting for you."
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
So it's pretty much the context that came to my mind:
a person turning up and another one telling them they happened to have been waiting for them. In such a context in Latin I think you'd be most likely to say te expectabam.
 
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