If it can be done, I can do it.

kurthamm

New Member
I am trying to develop a Latin family motto. The gist of what I believe is that if something is possible, I can do it. If someone has been able to do something, I can do it as well. It is meant to be inspirational and suggest that there are no limits. At a basic level, if you can do it, so can I. There are no special people with extra powers. If it can be done (if it has been done), I can do it. If someone has achieved a Ph. D, I can do that. If someone has scaled Everest, I can do that. It is meant to convey a limitless capability. Which I believe we all have.

Please help me with a concise Latin phrase that encompasses the central meaning for which I am looking.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Hi, I would suggest si fieri potest, ego id facere possum.
 

Godmy

A Monkey
Ah, I'm grave digging, being late for this thread... hm... well never mind.

In Czech that ego wouldn't be there in this instance in most contexts for this saying (therefore likely neither in Latin) - I could probably analyze it and write out here the exact reason why, if necessary. Stylistically, personally, I wouldn't min the "id" omission either...
 

Issacus Divus

ᛏᚱᛁᚾᚴᚱ•ᚼᛁᛘᛘᛁᚾᛋ
Yes, the id and ego seem like a quite literal take on the English.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Nominative personal pronouns tend to be included in Latin when there is a change of subject. The id is optional.
 

Godmy

A Monkey
Hmmm.. .I'm not sure there is a change of subject justifying this. It is a mere shift from the third person to the first person, I see that as no justification for including the subject with a personal pronouns unless you really want that emphasis that I implied should not be there in most contexts (while not impossible, of course, it's not wrong). Even if the first clause was a second person and the other clause the first person, I still don't see that as a reason to include the pronoun. I of course cannot state the rule exactly, because I don't know it consciously, but it just doesn't pass my native feeling-test.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Hmmm.. .I'm not sure there is a change of subject justifying this. It is a mere shift from the third person to the first person
That is a change in subject, isn't it?

I see that as no justification for including the subject with a personal pronouns unless you really want that emphasis that I implied should not be there in most contexts (while not impossible, of course, it's not wrong).
I can only go by my feeling, but it made sense to me. It would make even more sense if the change occured from tu to ego ... I have not much more to offer than my feeling, though ... and well, maybe my trust in Pacifica being very well read.
 

Godmy

A Monkey
I can only go by my feeling, but it made sense to me. It would make even more sense if the change occured from tu to ego ... I have not much more to offer than my feeling, though ... and well, maybe my trust in Pacifica being very well read.
In my language, if there is no "but", if the second clause is just a logical conclusion of the first clause, the subject no matter how much having been changed, is not stated (unless it's some third person we don't know yet). If you include it, it seems, dunno, like boasting, but I mean a boasting of a kind that doesn't go with the sentiment of the sentence in English, if you catch my drift.
 

Godmy

A Monkey
I know you could be allergic on when I argue with "my language", but just as we often inspect e.g. Romance languages in their use of perfect vs. imperfect (=their counterparts of it), I think Czech is very if not entirely congruent with Latin when it comes to the personal pronoun use, not having innovated it much if at all since the PIE.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Do you have any text passages in mind where the personal pronoun isn't used if there is a change in the subject?
 

Godmy

A Monkey
No, I don't, it's not the method I used (I was quite transparent about my reasoning, not claiming any definitive proof, right?), if I have, I will show you. What I say is that if you go just by this "one liner" - "as simple rule as this", you are probably going to run in troubles in reality.

I think we are all in ignorance (=I don't worship that rule exactly, that is, I think it's incomplete as it has been stated here), but, in ignorance, I think the method I used is very reliable though ;p That I dare claim... At least, I have never seen where Latin and Czech would NOT agree in their use of subject personal pronouns.

I'm sorry if it's not satisfying, on the other hand, wouldn't it be wrong from me, if I felt wrong about this and said nothing? :) It's probably better if we gather all even if *indirect evidence we could...


*indirect as in, via PIE and its daughters
 

Godmy

A Monkey
I think we are all in ignorance
On the other hand, while I'm willingly humbling myself here in face of the lack of direct evidence (yes, I am indeed ignorant!), we would also have to state that if a typologically* similar modern PIE language could indeed be used as a compass to answer this question while we don't have any other solid evidence and if we can consult a native speaker of that modern language, a speaker who doesn't know the rule consciously but feels whether it is right or wrong and, in the same time, if I can indeed be trusted about Czech (if I'm not lying about my native feeling, being malicious or simply deluding myself), then we should take it seriously... (= yes, not very humble of me anymore, but from all my experience after those 10 years with Latin I very strongly believe the compass is right though, I put my money on it ;))


*sharing the the same if not identical grammatical aspects due to the lack of evolution
 
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Godmy

A Monkey
It is also maybe that I take these methods & approaches to the dead languages seriously in general: for instance, I have consulted numerous times a native speaker of a Romance language (@Pacifica included) when it came to same subtle cases of the perfect vs. imperfect use and I usually took their answers and instincts at face value. I never claim it is a definitive evidence (because I know how a philologist should go about it correctly, with the corpus etc.), but often enough, with certain stuff in certain PIE languages in relation to Latin, things that have proven themselves in the past, you can be reasonably certain about.
 
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Godmy

A Monkey
(adding more random thoughts)


I wouldn't consult any slavic language though (while most are usable). For example, Russian personal pronoun system has quite degraded (they use them almost anywhere, sometimes because of some other verb conjugation degradation or a complete lack of the copula), on the other hand, Polish or Slovak (the ones I have at least a slight experience of) should be quite Ok about this (I believe, Slovak certainly, Polish doesn't differ from both TOO much...).
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I guess it isn't actually the change of subject by itself that made me use ego here, but the fact that I "heard" the "I" as emphatic in the English. "If this can be done, I can do it; if this can be done, there's no reason it can't be done by me, too." I can see how you can read it differently, with less focus on the "I".
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
That's how I took it as well ...

Couldn't you do it that way in Czech as well?
 
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