to need / want

gerases

Member
Hi, for some reason there's no New Post in the Latin-to-English translation part of the web site. So, I'll post my question here, I hope it's OK.

I'm trying to practice my Latin daily by commenting on what I'm doing -- in Latin. One of the problematic constructs is that of "need". I want to say "I need to go to the store to buy some bread" or "I need to wash my hands" or "I want to have some water". I know about egere but I don't think it's right in this case. Is it?

As for "want", I guess desidero or cupio could work, right? Can I say "Aquam bibere desidero"? I know about sitio but I want to more or less mimic the English structure because it's such a common one.

Iuvate! Multas gratias vobis ago.
 

Decimvs

Aedilis
Staff member
volo, velle, volui - wish, want, prefer; be willing, will

opto, optare, optavi, optatus - choose, select; wish, wish for, desire

If you want to talk about yourself actively, with regard to your question about 'needing' to do something, you can say debeo + an infinitive, like ire debeo = I ought to go, I am needing to go, etc.

Agricolam auro donare debeo. = I ought to reward the farmer with gold.
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
To express obligation, you could also use necesse est [ut] + subjunctive.
 

gerases

Member
Volo dormire
Oops, I didn't know it was a 4th conj. I haven't officially put that word into my flash card program :D

Thank you, Mattheus. What would I do with you guys!

Have you heard about the Finish radio station that broadcasts in Latin? That's awesome though of course I understand just a few words from each broadcast.
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Yes, I have heard of it. It is really something.
 

gerases

Member
How long did it take you to become so good in Latin? Are you a teacher or just an enthusiast?

They say there are only about 120 people in the world who can speak it fluently. Are you one of them?
 

Iohannes Aurum

Technicus Auxiliarius
I am simply a Latin enthusiast and never learned Latin formally. I simply translate for fun.
 

Iohannes Aurum

Technicus Auxiliarius
I am motivated by my interest in Latin and I had been interested in it for a few years. I am just curious.
 

gerases

Member
Do you hone your listening comprehension as well? For example, can you understand most of that station's broadcasts?
 

Decimvs

Aedilis
Staff member
gerases dixit:
They say there are only about 120 people in the world who can speak it fluently. Are you one of them?
I would even call that number into doubt. No one has it as a first language of course. And, I doubt if the so-called 120 are able to speak it and comprehend it fast enough to, say, have a heated and fast-paced argument in Latin. I think that people throw the word 'fluent' around too loosely sometimes. Webster's defines it, and I have to say that I would agree, as "being able to express oneself readily and effortlessly." I don't believe that there are even 120 people alive today that can express themselves as readily and effortlessly in Latin as I can with English.

My so-called Latin hero is a man named Father Reginald Foster. He is the senior Vatican Latinist, and is at the top of that list of 120, without doubt. You can listen to him here, right click the links and select "save as", and you can save the shows as mp3 files.

Click here for a wonderful New York Times article about him.

And, click here for a video of him carrying on an interview in Latin. (first part is in German)

A good inquiry indeed Gerases! I myself have always been fascinated by the same questions. If I hear of someone who speaks it, I want to meet them, if someone broadcasts in it, I want to hear it, if it is written in Latin, I want to read it, etc.
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
gerases dixit:
They say there are only about 120 people in the world who can speak it fluently. Are you one of them?
Who says, actually? Is there a list somewhere?
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
gerases2 dixit:
Hi, for some reason there's no New Post in the Latin-to-English translation part of the web site. So, I'll post my question here, I hope it's OK.

I'm trying to practice my Latin daily by commenting on what I'm doing -- in Latin. One of the problematic constructs is that of "need". I want to say "I need to go to the store to buy some bread" or "I need to wash my hands" or "I want to have some water". I know about egere but I don't think it's right in this case. Is it?

As for "want", I guess desidero or cupio could work, right? Can I say "Aquam bibere desidero"? I know about sitio but I want to more or less mimic the English structure because it's such a common one.

Iuvate! Multas gratias vobis ago.
As Decimus said, volo should work fine. Desidero is more like "yearn" or "long for", and would suggest that you're parched. Cupio is stronger than volo, and means "desire" or "covet". There are also a few special desiderative forms like esurio "desire to eat/be hungry" and empturio "want to buy", which you could use. They're not especially common, though.

For "need", egeo doesn't work because it only means "to be in need" in the sense of lacking something. For your two examples, I think the best option would be an opus est construction. So you might say opus mihi emptum ire est or something like that. If you mean more like "I ought to" or "I should", then you'd use debeo + inf. or the impersonal oportet + acc. & inf.

I don't think necesse est is the best choice here. This word usually indicates that something is necessary because it is inevitable and unavoidable rather than obligatory. Homini necesse est mori "a man has to die", i.e. he can't avoid it.
 

gerases

Member
I would even call that number into doubt. No one has it as a first language of course. And, I doubt if the so-called 120 are able to speak it and comprehend it fast enough to, say, have a heated and fast-paced argument in Latin. I think that people throw the word 'fluent' around too loosely sometimes. Webster's defines it, and I have to say that I would agree, as "being able to express oneself readily and effortlessly." I don't believe that there are even 120 people alive today that can express themselves as readily and effortlessly in Latin as I can with English.
I completely agree with you on the loose definition of the word "fluent" that most people have. Like the other day I met a guy and he said he was fluent in German. I said really? Can you and I talk philosophy in German? He laughed and said no. Yet, this is what fluent means to me as well. I.e., can we talk some about Kant?

My so-called Latin hero is a man named Father Reginald Foster. He is the senior Vatican Latinist, and is at the top of that list of 120, without doubt. You can listen to him here, right click the links and select "save as", and you can save the shows as mp3 files.
Really enjoyed listening to the interviews. He's awesome. I heard about him a few weeks ago. His American accent is still strong though :)

Enjoyed it as well. I even understood in general terms what he was saying. But just on an intuitive level, not fully "grammatically".

A good inquiry indeed Gerases! I myself have always been fascinated by the same questions. If I hear of someone who speaks it, I want to meet them, if someone broadcasts in it, I want to hear it, if it is written in Latin, I want to read it, etc.
Decimus, how long have you been studying Latin? How did your fascination begin? How is your listening comprehension? Do you practice speaking it? Do you listen to that radio station? If you do, do you know if they have transcripts of each broadcast so I can follow what they are saying better? I still have 9 chapters of Wheelock to go! I became interested in it partly because of Schopenhauer but the decisive impetus was Carmina Burana.
 

gerases

Member
As Decimus said, volo should work fine. Desidero is more like "yearn" or "long for", and would suggest that you're parched. Cupio is stronger than volo, and means "desire" or "covet". There are also a few special desiderative forms like esurio "desire to eat/be hungry" and empturio "want to buy", which you could use. They're not especially common, though.

For "need", egeo doesn't work because it only means "to be in need" in the sense of lacking something. For your two examples, I think the best option would be an opus est construction. So you might say opus mihi emptum ire est or something like that. If you mean more like "I ought to" or "I should", then you'd use debeo + inf. or the impersonal oportet + acc. & inf.

I don't think necesse est is the best choice here. This word usually indicates that something is necessary because it is inevitable and unavoidable rather than obligatory. Homini necesse est mori "a man has to die", i.e. he can't avoid it.
Thank you very much for the explanation. emptum ire heh? So it literally must mean "to be bought", right? But if I want to say "I need to buy some bread", where would the word "bread" go?
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
gerases dixit:
Thank you very much for the explanation. emptum ire heh? So it literally must mean "to be bought", right? But if I want to say "I need to buy some bread", where would the word "bread" go?
I was using emptum as the supine of emo: "to go [somewhere] to buy". Have you not learnt the supine yet? It's used with verbs of motion to indicate purpose. I used it here because I don't know of a general Latin word for "store". Taberna "shop, storefront" could work, I suppose, but I don't think the Romans used it in a generalized sense like we use "store" in "to go to the store". Ad tabernam would mean "to the/a shop" rather than "to any place for shopping". Perhaps ad forum would work, but Romans went to the forum to do more than just buy things.

Opus mihi [ad tabernam] panem emptum ire est. = "I need to go [to a shop to] buy bread."

English word order: Opus est mihi ire [ad tabernam] emptum panem. literally: "Need is to me to go [to a shop] to buy bread."
 
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