Author Topic: Latin Question  (Read 8146 times)

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Offline Justin Kissel

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Latin Question
« on: November 12, 2009, 08:09:55 AM »
Ok, a simple question, but I just want to make sure I have this correct. I know cogito ergo sum is usually translated as something like "I think therefore I am" or "I think therefore I exist". Does this mean that sum by itself would be translated as "I am" or "I exist"?
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Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2009, 08:47:46 AM »
Sum is the Latin word for "I am." The word for "I exist" is exsto.
"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2009, 08:52:34 AM »
Ah, ok, thank you :)
We all have an El Guapo to face. Be brave, and fight like lions!

Form a 'brute squad' then!

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2009, 10:03:57 AM »
Sum is the Latin word for "I am." The word for "I exist" is exsto.

Exsto means to stand out or protrude. Metaphorically, it is sometimes used to mean "exist" for inanimate or abstract subjects, but rarely for a person, at least in classical Latin.

As to the OP: Yes, sum could be translated as "I exist" or even "I live."
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline Papist

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2009, 10:55:30 AM »
Sum is the Latin word for "I am." The word for "I exist" is exsto.

Exsto means to stand out or protrude. Metaphorically, it is sometimes used to mean "exist" for inanimate or abstract subjects, but rarely for a person, at least in classical Latin.

As to the OP: Yes, sum could be translated as "I exist" or even "I live."
And its an extremely important word in western metaphysics because according to the western/thomistic/aristotilian view, to exist is a dynamic activity. Thus, "to stand out" means to actively stand out from the nothingness, or to distinguish one's self from nothing by "being".
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Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2009, 11:43:06 AM »
Cool. I generally expect Latin to be similar to Spanish or Italian. In this case, though, it's a lot more primitive. Interesting.
"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2009, 12:36:41 PM »
All your armchair Latin experts take a seat and let the master do his job!   ;D

In Classical Latin, sum can mean both "I am" and "I exist."  However, the Latin word existo or exsisto, (NOT EXSTO)depending on who uses it in Classical Latin, refers more to a sudden coming into being.  It is related to the verb sto which means, basically, to stand. So, there is a fundamental difference between the two Latin verbs.   However, I cannot speak more surely about post-classical Latin.  I would submit that by the time of Descartes there was a more subtle and fine line drawn between existence and being.  Funny thing is that prior to Aquinas, the Latin language had no word for "being."  The present participle form of sum didn't exist in the Classical vocabulary which is probably why the Ancient Romans were not so good philosophers (exception being Lucretius).  To rectify this, they used the present infinitive of sum which is esse but "to be" and "being" are not synonymous.  Thus, I think that by Descartes' time since there was a Latin word to describe "being" using the Aquinas particple, ens, whence come words such as entity, there was more exactitude pertaining to being and existing, the former referring more to a spiritual/mental sense and the latter to a more physical reality.  mho.
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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2009, 01:41:28 PM »
In Classical Latin, sum can mean both "I am" and "I exist."  However, the Latin word existo or exsisto, (NOT EXSTO)depending on who uses it in Classical Latin, refers more to a sudden coming into being. It is related to the verb sto  which means, basically, to stand.

Exsto is also from sto; it is most certainly a proper Latin verb, attested to in Julius Caesar, Cicero, Plautus, et al.; and its definition is as stated above.
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2009, 01:52:24 PM »
*scratches head*  And here I thought the time consuming part was going to be delving into and understanding the philosophical objections to cogito ergo sum. I think I've learned, unlearned, relearned, and reunlearned the meaning of a few different (latin) words in this thread so far.  ;D
« Last Edit: November 12, 2009, 01:53:33 PM by Asteriktos »
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Form a 'brute squad' then!

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2009, 01:56:04 PM »
Well, the real question is how Descartes meant it. That's a whole different matter, really, b/c 17th century scholarly Latin was its own beast.
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2009, 02:08:27 PM »
And just to make things even more confusing, I'd just like to point out that Latin only has one form for the present tense (i.e. no distinct form for the progressive present, emphatic present, etc), so one COULD translate it: "I am thinking, therefore I am existing" or "I think, therefore I do exist" or any number of permutations. Huzzah for English's plethora of helping verbs (one more reason it is so dang hard to learn)!

Of course, in translation, as in life, there's often a difference between what one can do and what one should.
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2009, 03:45:57 PM »
In Classical Latin, sum can mean both "I am" and "I exist."  However, the Latin word existo or exsisto, (NOT EXSTO)depending on who uses it in Classical Latin, refers more to a sudden coming into being. It is related to the verb sto  which means, basically, to stand.

Exsto is also from sto; it is most certainly a proper Latin verb, attested to in Julius Caesar, Cicero, Plautus, et al.; and its definition is as stated above.

But it is only minimally attested.  Existo or exsisto was far more commonplace even in Classical Latin and would have definitely carried over to the post-classical Latin world as opposed to exsto.  I'll have to do a TLL search to confirm, however.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2009, 09:18:49 AM »
Some more latin questions... How do you pronounce quaere verum? Also, while I've seen some use quaere verum for "seek the truth," I've also seen quaerere verum used. Which one is correct if you're talking about a motto or something along those lines?
« Last Edit: November 14, 2009, 09:20:13 AM by Asteriktos »
We all have an El Guapo to face. Be brave, and fight like lions!

Form a 'brute squad' then!

Offline augustin717

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2009, 10:09:08 AM »
1."quaere" is the second person singular of the imperative.
2."quaerere" is the present  infinitive form.
3. [kweh-re-(re) veh-room]

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2009, 10:51:38 AM »
augustin717,

Thank you for your post. Unfortunately, due to my poor education, it is not quite as helpful to me as it would be to other people. I think I understand (3) clearly enough. However, regarding your points (1) and (2), I'm afraid I don't understand the terminology that you are using.  :-[
We all have an El Guapo to face. Be brave, and fight like lions!

Form a 'brute squad' then!

Offline augustin717

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2009, 11:07:05 AM »
1. Search the truth! (a command)
2. To search the truth.

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2009, 11:59:40 AM »
Ahh, thank you for the explanation :)
We all have an El Guapo to face. Be brave, and fight like lions!

Form a 'brute squad' then!

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2009, 02:26:04 PM »
However, on occasion, an infinitive can be used as an imperative. Just to screw you up a little bit more.
I seek the truth by which no man was ever harmed--Marcus Aurelius

Those who do not read  history are doomed to get their facts from Hollywood--Anonymous

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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2009, 03:39:24 PM »
But it is only minimally attested.

True. Someone else introduced it up above, so I just added that it isn't usually used of persons, at least according to our eminent friends Lewis and Short.

However, on occasion, an infinitive can be used as an imperative. Just to screw you up a little bit more.

 ;D Yeah. Happens in Greek too. Grammatical rules exist so that prose stylists and poets can break them.
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline GiC

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2009, 04:22:34 PM »
Some more latin questions... How do you pronounce quaere verum?

Now there's a question that can open up a can of worms ;)
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2009, 05:22:16 PM »
;D Yeah. Happens in Greek too. Grammatical rules exist so that prose stylists and poets can break them.

I took both Greek composition and Latin composition in Graduate School under two great professors, one of whom has reposed (Memory eternal), but despite Greek's headaches, I found that the Greek composition class was actually easier.  Why?  Because the rules weren't as standardized as they are in Latin.  For instance, I would routinely use the subjunctive for purpose clauses even in secondary sequence, though the supposed rule was that the optative should be used.  However, since people like Xenophon, Herodotus and even Demosthenes used it that way, my professor couldn't mark me wrong.  Latin composition was a whole new can of worms!
I seek the truth by which no man was ever harmed--Marcus Aurelius

Those who do not read  history are doomed to get their facts from Hollywood--Anonymous

What earthly joy remains untouched by grief?--St. John Damascene

Offline Liz

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2009, 05:44:58 PM »
Going back to the OP and leaving the pronunciation question (sorry, but ... they're dead. As long as you can scan, who cares how you say it?), it's worth looking at Anselm's ontological proof of God. The Latin is quite easy, but he is clearly struggling to define, and maintain, a meaningful difference between 'to be' and 'to exist'. In the end he tends to go for 'to be in reality' and 'to be in thought'.

Offline Christianus

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2010, 01:59:29 AM »
However, on occasion, an infinitive can be used as an imperative. Just to screw you up a little bit more.
`
Latin verbs are easy to conjugate especially the first the 1st conjugation -are.
Greek verbs are a nightmare.

Offline franthonyc

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2010, 03:27:50 AM »
Some more latin questions... How do you pronounce quaere verum? Also, while I've seen some use quaere verum for "seek the truth," I've also seen quaerere verum used. Which one is correct if you're talking about a motto or something along those lines?

Pronounce according to whom? Classical scholars pronounce Latin differently from the Roman Catholic Church. V's can be W's. C's can be CH's. And vowels can be all sorts of fun.
Τῷ μεγάλῳ χρίεται μύρῳ καὶ χειρονεῖται βασιλεὺς καὶ αὐτοκράτωρ τῶν Ῥωμαίων, πάντων δηλαδὴ τῶν χριστιανῶν...οὐδὲν οὖν ἔνι καλὸν, υἱέ μου, ἵνα λέγῃς, ὅτι ἐκκλησίαν ἔχομεν, οὐχὶ βασιλέα, οὐκ ἔνι δυνατὸν εἰς τοὺς χριστιανοὺς, ἔκκλησίαν ἔχειν καὶ βασιλέα οὐκ ἔχειν. – EP Anthony to Basil of Moscow c. 1395

Offline Liz

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2010, 09:09:41 AM »
Some more latin questions... How do you pronounce quaere verum? Also, while I've seen some use quaere verum for "seek the truth," I've also seen quaerere verum used. Which one is correct if you're talking about a motto or something along those lines?

Pronounce according to whom? Classical scholars pronounce Latin differently from the Roman Catholic Church. V's can be W's. C's can be CH's. And vowels can be all sorts of fun.

Good point.

At least in the West, Latin was only formalized relatively late on. In the late Antique/Dark Ages (however you like to call it), people all over Europe considered that they spoke and wrote 'Latin', although these were in reality quite different dialectal versions. Alcuin, who learnt Latin from books, as a second language, had a huge impact on our modern idea of Latin as a standardized language. He was responsible for a lot of the standardization, and to some extent responsible for proliferating the idea that Latin was a language with specific rules of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation that should stay constant through different geographical areas. Cue many people deploring the fact that Spanish-speaking Latin churchmen pronounce 'vivit' and 'bibit' as homophones!

Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2010, 11:14:45 AM »
Some more latin questions... How do you pronounce quaere verum? Also, while I've seen some use quaere verum for "seek the truth," I've also seen quaerere verum used. Which one is correct if you're talking about a motto or something along those lines?

Pronounce according to whom? Classical scholars pronounce Latin differently from the Roman Catholic Church. V's can be W's. C's can be CH's. And vowels can be all sorts of fun.

Good point.

At least in the West, Latin was only formalized relatively late on. In the late Antique/Dark Ages (however you like to call it), people all over Europe considered that they spoke and wrote 'Latin', although these were in reality quite different dialectal versions. Alcuin, who learnt Latin from books, as a second language, had a huge impact on our modern idea of Latin as a standardized language. He was responsible for a lot of the standardization, and to some extent responsible for proliferating the idea that Latin was a language with specific rules of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation that should stay constant through different geographical areas. Cue many people deploring the fact that Spanish-speaking Latin churchmen pronounce 'vivit' and 'bibit' as homophones!
Indeed. We have all sorts of fun with vivir and beber, which are the Spanish versions of those Latin verbs respectively. The kids have a hard time picking the two out, as the Spanish letter v is very close in pronunciation to b, and in fact is given the name "be chica" (little b)!
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Offline Elisha

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2010, 12:53:44 PM »

However, on occasion, an infinitive can be used as an imperative. Just to screw you up a little bit more.

 ;D Yeah. Happens in Greek too. Grammatical rules exist so that prose stylists and poets can break them.

Deutsch auch.

Offline Marc1152

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2010, 02:33:58 PM »
Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm

Offline Schultz

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2010, 03:20:36 PM »
Here ya go:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbI-fDzUJXI

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Offline Christianus

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Re: Latin Question
« Reply #29 on: March 30, 2010, 05:46:11 PM »
Sum is the Latin word for "I am." The word for "I exist" is exsto.

Exsto means to stand out or protrude. Metaphorically, it is sometimes used to mean "exist" for inanimate or abstract subjects, but rarely for a person, at least in classical Latin.

As to the OP: Yes, sum could be translated as "I exist" or even "I live."
I think that in Classical Latin Dari (literally to be given) would mean to exist, or it would mean to exist in Germanic Latin syntax.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2010, 05:47:42 PM by Christianus »