Latin Question

Discussion in 'Languages' started by Hamalas, Feb 17, 2014.

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  1. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    I've got a rookie Latin question for you.

    I'm working my way through the optional exercises in the sixth edition of Wheelock's Latin and have come across a problem. I was doing question 18 from chapter five which reads: "Malos igitur in patria nostra superabimus." (Sorry, I don't know how to include the proper markings). I translated this as: "Therefore, we shall overcome the evil in our country." However, the answer key says that the proper translation is: "Therefore, we shall overcome evil men in our country."

    My question is this, where do the "men" come from?
     
  2. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Looks like the plural form here means that the adjective is implying an unstated subject. It would be a bit clearer in Greek where the presence or absence of an article would tell you. Evil ones might be a more precise translation, but (as Wheelock is generally drawing from a classical source) it is also likely that context makes the translation clearer.
     
  3. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    In Latin, adjectives can be used as substantives without nouns. When that is the case, the gender of the adjective can supply the "substantive." So malos would be "evil men" and malas would be "evil women" and mala would be "evil things."

    This is very standard - you will come across it over and over again in Wheelock.
     
  4. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    Thanks!
     
  5. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    I would have taken it that they were going to overcome the apple trees in their fatherland.
     
  6. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    Good one, Heidi. That very confusion between malum (apple) and malum (evil) is why it's most common to hear and see the forbidden fruit described as an apple.
     
  7. CJW

    CJW Puritan Board Freshman

    This very confusion between apple and evil also lead to the ever popular (especially among high school students!) doggerel: malo malo malo malo: I would rather be in an apple tree than a naughty boy in adversity.
     
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