Re: Latin basics!
Posted By: LunairDate: 6/13/04 3:26 p.m.

In Response To: Latin basics! (Vid Boi)

: Hooray, that afternoon I spent trying to learn Latin is finally paying off!!!

: "Celer Manus Dei" and "Manus Celer Dei" both mean the
: same thing, and neither is incorrect. This is because the order in which
: words are written in latin is purely cosmetical and does not affect the
: meaning of the words. How awesome is that. It must be so easy to write
: rhyming poetry.

Perhaps too easy; with four years of Latin study under my belt, I cannot recall any poems by the most notables (like Horace, Vergil, Ovid, and their ilk) in which rhyme was the major feat. But in Latin, there are very specific rules for when a syllable is long or short, leading to rigidly-rhythmic poems, like dactylic hexameter, the meter the noble P. Vergilius Maro placed into tens of thousands of verses in the Aeneid, or a few variations of Asclepiadic, which both Horace, Ovid, and others used. In English, since there aren't strictly-defined rules for syllabic length, some people try to take the ancient rhythms and substitute stressed and unstressed syllables for long and short syllables, with variable success. But it's possible to shoehorn pretty much any text into whatever stress pattern you want. Shakespeare is probably the best-known example of iambic pentameter, though Chaucer also used it in the Canterbury Tales quite a bit earlier.

And indeed, all of the six permutations of "Celer Manus Dei" mean the same thing, given that there's only a single noun and two adjectives (which must therefore modify the noun and not each other). That's the beauty of using cases to convey meaning instead of simply word order and sentence structure. Careful, though -- word order isn't purely cosmetic. For example, exerciter arcem Antonii cepit means "the army seized Antony's citadel," (or, more literally, "the army seized the citadel of Antonius") while exerciter Antonii arcem cepit means "Antony's army seized the citadel." Within clauses and as long as no case is repeated, word order is flexible, but it isn't absolutely flexible.


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Pre-2004 Posts


Trilogy StickersAeryn 6/8/04 12:12 p.m.
     Re: Trilogy StickersLt Devon 6/8/04 2:50 p.m.
           Thanks for the heads upErnie 6/8/04 6:24 p.m.
     Re: Trilogy StickersSiphonopho 6/8/04 7:54 p.m.
           Re: Trilogy StickersHolyMcGibblets 6/8/04 8:04 p.m.
                 Re: Trilogy StickersErnie 6/8/04 8:19 p.m.
                       Re: Trilogy StickersForrest of B.org 6/8/04 9:16 p.m.
                             Thanks Forrest *NM*Ernie 6/8/04 9:23 p.m.
           Re: Trilogy StickersAlfred Mordeir 6/11/04 10:16 a.m.
     Latin basics!Vid Boi 6/13/04 2:06 p.m.
           Re: Latin basics!Lunair 6/13/04 3:26 p.m.
           Re: Latin basics!Bob-B-Q 6/13/04 4:39 p.m.
                 Re: Latin basics!Lunair 6/15/04 4:42 p.m.
                       Cpmmodum habitus es!Enkidu 6/15/04 4:49 p.m.

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