Verb nominalisation / Verbos sustantivados

Engolianth

New Member
I've just started to learn Latin (LLPI Ch. 4 and some other light lectures) and I'm playing with translating random phrases from English/Spanish/Catalan to Latin. Now, I find myself in an impasse: nominalised verbs (verbo sustantivado). I don't even know if this can be done in Latin.

Examples:
  • In English: "What do you prefer? An small beating with a big stick or a big beating with an small stick?"
  • In Spanish: Qué prefieres? Paliza pequeña con palo grande o paliza grande con palo pequeño?
  • In Catalan: Què prefereixes? Pallissa petita amb pal gran o pallissa gran amb pal petit?
I cannot find ANY online resources on this precise topic, not even on the fora. Could someone point me to any resources and/or translate this phrase (and explain it)?

PD: What do you think of New Latin Grammar by Charles E. Bennet? Any good?
PD2: Feel free to correct any english mistakes in this text. It's not my native language.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Verbal nouns can be made principally from the supine (the fourth principal part) minus its ending + the suffix -io (gen. -ionis) or -us (gen. -us with a long u). For instance, take the verb percutio, percutere, percussi, percussum, "to hit": take its supine percussum, remove the -um ending and put -io instead, and you've got percussio, "a hitting". Or take the verb intellego, intellegere, intellexi, intellectum, "to understand": take its supine intellectum, replace the -um ending with -us and you've got intellectus, "understanding", "intellect". There are other forms of verbal nouns but not quite as productive as these two kinds.

Your sentence ""What do you prefer? A small beating with a big stick or a big beating with a small stick?", if we insist on using a verbal noun, could be translated thus: Utrum mavis? Parvamne pulsationem virgae magnae an magnam parvae? That's literally "Which (of the two) do you prefer? A small beating of a big stick or a big one of a small one?" — the genitive ("of...") is just more natural for modifying a noun in Latin. However, even that way, this isn't the most natural sentence ever. It would probably be even more natural this way, without a verbal noun: Utrum mavis? Paululum virga magna vapulare an parva multum? Literally: "Which (of the two) do you prefer? To be beaten a little with a big stick or a lot with a small one?" But the downside of this is that the wordplay with the repetition of "big" and "small" is lost.
 

Engolianth

New Member
Thank you very much. I'm not able to understand half of what you wrote for now, but I asure you I will visit this post many times in the future; this is fascinating.

Do you think there is a situation in which verb nouns make communicating something more natural in Latin? I don't have an intuition for "natural" yet.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Thank you very much. I'm not able to understand half of what you wrote for now, but I asure you I will visit this post many times in the future; this is fascinating.
Sorry about that. :( If you point out what it is that you don't understand maybe I can explain better.
Do you think there is a situation in which verb nouns make communicating something more natural in Latin?
Well, yes, verbal nouns exist so they are used and their use will be natural in some contexts, probably sometimes more natural than alternatives. But there isn't exactly any rule about this as far as I can tell. It's case by case, really. If you want an example of a context where a verbal noun would be natural then say, hm... a phrase like delectationis causa, "for the sake of pleasure" (delectatio = verbal noun from delecto). Of course verbal nouns can be used in a lot of ways, not just this.
 
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Engolianth

New Member
Sorry about that. :( If you point out what it is that you don't understand maybe I can explain better.
Your explanation is great; it's me who hasn't got a big enought toolset yet. For a moment it even occurred to me I could use verberatus as a verb noun because hey, lets decline a verb with the nominative case! Not long after I realised verbs do not decline; they conjugate and so, conjugate I must.

As you can see I'm not even green, I'm just a sprout. A tiny and fierce sprout of Latin speaker.
 
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