Vocatne filia agricolae gallinas ad cenam

malcesne

New Member
The conversation exercise on page 27 of Latin for Beginners by L. D’OOGE contains the following that you have to answer in Latin:

Vocatne filia agricolae gallinas ad cenam


While I know that "ad" is a preposition in the accusative case and is used here for the accusative cenam, as in "Does the daughter of the farmer call the chickens to dinner?" My question is whether the use of "ad" here is an option and if so why it is used rather than dinner being in the dative case with:

Vocatne filia agricolae gallinas cenae

Is it wrong to be in the dative case?
 

Manus Correctrix

QVAE CORRIGIT
Ad + accusative has a different meaning from the dative.

The former generally indicates where something/someone is going. The latter generally indicates a recipient or beneficiary, i.e. the person for whom something is done or to whom something is given/said.
 
Does it mean:
Does the farmer's daughter call hens for dinner?
or
Does the daughter call the farmer's hens for dinner?

How do you know which meaning is the intended one
and
why would anyone call on hens?
 

Bestiola

Speculatrix
Staff member
She could be calling them to feed them - you can see it in many cottage gardens; that's something my grandma used to do as well.

Anyway, there is a key to these exercises available on the web - not sure whether that would help you though especially if you prefer to figure out things on your own.
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
I think that the farmer's daughter makes more sense, although technically it could be either.

I presume Roman hens would have been free range rather than caged. We certainly used to call our hens when I was a kid...
 
OK, she calls the hens, I understand. Thank you.

I didn't know this was an exercise, and as you guessed, I'm not really into committing my time to exercises, I'm just autodidacting or whatever the term might be. But: people keep telling me Latin word order is utterly free, and I see there are limitations to this freedom, and this intrigues me. When I see this sentence, my first guess is that the farmer is her father. Now, if he's not, and if he's in the genitive solely because he owns the hens, would he be placed after the hens (gallinas agricolae)? That's what I would guess, but I don't know if I'm right, I'm sort of groping, guided by instincts from modern languages which might not be relevant to Latin thinking.
 

Manus Correctrix

QVAE CORRIGIT
Linnaeus59 dixit:
Does it mean:
Does the farmer's daughter call hens for dinner?
or
Does the daughter call the farmer's hens for dinner?

How do you know which meaning is the intended one
I would assume the former, but I don’t see how it could possibly make any difference. Surely it’s his daughter feeding his hens?

Beginners never want to listen to the ‘order is free’ advice, but they really should. Just don’t worry about word order unless a problem arises, and problems arise much less frequently that you might think. There is no ambiguity in the sentence given. Don’t invent problems for yourself!
 
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