Sunday, February 10, 2013

Things I Didn't Know: Tenses in Latin (Reasoning)

Since I haven't been able to post much, I thought I would post a few short notes now and again about things I encounter in my study of classics that I didn't know before. I encountered a few doing my Latin Prose Composition homework.

Bradley's Arnold: 180 [1]: dum (while) always takes an historical present when it denotes the time within which something occurs. I'm not sure if this was something I just missed or if it actually wasn't in my Latin textbook, but this was news to me. Amusingly enough, I bought this textbook used and the person who had the textbook before me circled this as well.

181: The Latin perfect cannot express the equivalent of the English "I have been doing"," so the Romans used the present plus an adverb connoting the idea of the past for the same effect. Teh adverbs are iampridem, iamdiu, and iamdudum. This definitely did not show up in my Latin textbook, but i also can't think of a situation when I've run across it "in the wild" so I guess I can't really blame Moreland and Fleischer for the oversight.

  1. Bradley's Arnold references are by paragraph number, not by page.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting about the lack of the present perfect in Latin! It's one of the big "to teach" items for teaching English as a foreign language. I found the best way to explain it is to say that it includes the idea of something that was completed in the past but is still relevant now -- it could be captured by the idea of "up to now" and is in some sense summative. It's interesting to note that "iamdudum" and such words are used to fill out this idea, because this is exactly how one might express that sort of idea in Latin! It just goes to show that to understand any tense, you really need to know what adverbs may and may not be used with it. Interesting post!