Participle + Sum as a unit or not always

MichaelJYoo

Member
I can't help but notice numerous instances in English translations of Latin where a perfect passive participle and a form of sum is not taken as a unit but individually. For example, in two English translations available for the following text, "Nec a vita aeterna, nec a mediis sufficientibus ad eam ullus rejectus est. . . [sed] ad incredulitatem autem, impietatem, peccata, tanquam media & causas damnationis, nemo destinatus est." Instead of translating "rejectus est" and "destinatus est" as perfect passive indicatives, "has been rejected" and "has been destined" respectively, they translate them as "is rejected" and "is destined."

So my question is, isn't that incorrect? Or is there greater flexibility in sometimes disconnecting a participle from "sum" and not taking it as a unit, but translating it more individually?
 

Hemo Rusticus

Lounge Lizard
A couple things to consider:

1. The source:
Just by glancing at your example (& because I've seen some of your previous posts), I'm willing to guess that it's Medieval. It wasn't particularly uncommon for medieval scholars, who certainly knew the Classical language very well, to allow their native tongue(s) to 'contaminate' their Latin. Knowing this, an English translator might choose to translate according to this assumed contamination. A usage that comes to mind (although unfortunately I can't remember the exact place) is habere as an auxiliary/modal verb, as in the Romance languages and English, e.g.:
Habeo ire 'I have to(= 'must') go'.

2. The morphosyntax:
The fact that Latin achieves the perfect passive by periphrasis is indicative of how closely it was (historically) associated with the present tense. Consider the somewhat poetic English example:
'Now my good friend is gone forever from this world.'
This is essentially as much to say 'my friend died'. There is no question as to whether it took place in the past, no matter the tense of the English verb; furthermore, the choice of the present tense 'is gone' serves an indexical function. That is, the speaker creates a point of reference: the present time (as distinct from that past time in which the friend was alive).

3. The semantics:
This is more to do with your last point, of taking the words 'separately'. In some circumstances, words that are historically participles can become what we could call 'pure adjectives'. An English example is 'molten', which is historically the participle of 'melt' but is no longer used that way (unless perhaps in archaizing poetry). That is to say, 'speak::spoken' but not 'melt::molten' (instead we have 'melt::melted').
As to whether your example of destinatus est falls under this category, I really can't say.
 

MichaelJYoo

Member
A couple things to consider:

1. The source:
Just by glancing at your example (& because I've seen some of your previous posts), I'm willing to guess that it's Medieval. It wasn't particularly uncommon for medieval scholars, who certainly knew the Classical language very well, to allow their native tongue(s) to 'contaminate' their Latin. Knowing this, an English translator might choose to translate according to this assumed contamination. A usage that comes to mind (although unfortunately I can't remember the exact place) is habere as an auxiliary/modal verb, as in the Romance languages and English, e.g.:
Habeo ire 'I have to(= 'must') go'.

2. The morphosyntax:
The fact that Latin achieves the perfect passive by periphrasis is indicative of how closely it was (historically) associated with the present tense. Consider the somewhat poetic English example:
'Now my good friend is gone forever from this world.'
This is essentially as much to say 'my friend died'. There is no question as to whether it took place in the past, no matter the tense of the English verb; furthermore, the choice of the present tense 'is gone' serves an indexical function. That is, the speaker creates a point of reference: the present time (as distinct from that past time in which the friend was alive).

3. The semantics:
This is more to do with your last point, of taking the words 'separately'. In some circumstances, words that are historically participles can become what we could call 'pure adjectives'. An English example is 'molten', which is historically the participle of 'melt' but is no longer used that way (unless perhaps in archaizing poetry). That is to say, 'speak::spoken' but not 'melt::molten' (instead we have 'melt::melted').
As to whether your example of destinatus est falls under this category, I really can't say.
Thank you for this helpful answer. I will keep these principles in mind.
 
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