so happy together by Anthony Gibbins

happy, happier, happiest : All three are Adjectives. In grammatical terms, they are adjectives of differing Degree. The three Degrees of an Adjective (or an Adverb, for that matter) are Positive (happy), Comparative (happier) and Superlative (happiest or very happy).

Alanus est laetus. Alan is happy. Scipio est laetior quam Alanus. Scipio is happier than Alan. parvus canis est laetissimus. The small dog is very happy. parvus canis est quam laetissimus. The small dog is as happy as you can possibly imagine.

This little dog is so happy, because he has found both a new friend and a new home with Scipio.  He is also quite rare, by the way, having only ever appeared along with the Series 16 Collectable Minifigure, Dog Show Winner. If you’d like, you can check the Dog Show Winner out here, on the Brickset website. If you like Lego and don’t know Brickset, you are about to be very happy indeed.

Do you know what makes me very happy? The Latin word for together, una. It is an Adverb, but obviously has its origins in the Latin number unus one. It is written with a long final a, like an Ablative, and I prefer to think of it as a kind of Ablative of Manner. una exeunt. Not just they exit together but they exit as though they are one.

Soon Alan and Scipio and the small dog exit out of the pet store together. ‘Be well!’ the shop keeper shouts. ‘Be well!’ the parrot repeats. The very happy dog walks beside Scipio.

Brando Brown Canem Vult by Anthony Gibbins

Two weeks ago I received a package in the mail. A good friend and fellow Latin teacher had bundled together a parcel of Latin novellas and sent them to me in the mail. There was Marcus et Imagines Suae Bonae, Piso Ille Poetulus, Fabella de Petro Cuniculo and Brando Brown Canem Vult. They are all fantastic.

I began to read Brando Brown Canem Vult walking home from work. It’s about a twenty-five-minute walk, and I guess I read about half of it. But when I got home, I couldn’t put it down. This is a very simple reader, but it has a compelling story and a humorous style. I think I am correct saying that the story was originally written in Spanish by Carol Gaab. This Latin translation, anyhow, was written by Justin Slocum Bailey, whom you may know from the podcast quomodo dicitur. (And if you don’t know it, you should check it out here.)

I found this story of particular interest because Brando Brown, like Scipio, wants a dog for his birthday. Brando’s mother, however, is not as forthcoming as Scipio’s father with the gift. Brando takes matters into his own hands and, well, I won’t ruin the story. But here is the opening paragraph and, if you want more, this link will take you to the first seventeen pages.

Brandō canem vult. Magnum canem vult. Maximum canem vult! Maximum canem vult similem canī ‘Clifford’, sed nōn vult canem rūfum. Brandō nōn vult canem rūfum; vult canem colōris nātūrālis.Canem album vult, vel canem ātrum. Maximum canem colōris nātūrālis vult!

Soror eius, Catarīna, mūrem habet, sed Brandō nōn vult mūrem.

Mūrēs sunt molestī! Mūrēs albī sunt molestī. Mūrēs ātrī sunt molestī. Omnēs mūrēs sunt mo- lestī. Brandō nōn vult mūrem molestum. Brandō vult canem!

Finally, Keith Toda wrote a review of the book on his website Todally Comprehensible Latin. You can check that out here. And if you don’t know Keith’s work you’ll probably want to have a wider look around, while you are there.

Then Scipio notices a small dog. ‘I recently found this dog in the street,’ the shopkeeper says. ‘There is need to him of a new home. Are you able to give a home to him?’

 

gifting pets in Martial’s epigrams by Anthony Gibbins

Book 14 of Martial’s Epigrams is a collection of 222 two-line verses, with a twelve-line verse serving as introduction (praemia convivae det sua quisque suo let each one give his guest an appropriate prize). The theme is gifts of the Saturnalia, the Saturnalia being a Roman holiday during which gift giving was tradition. A number of these verses refer to the giving of pets, some which we will take a look at here. It seems appropriate, under the circumstances, to begin with a parrot, then a chatterbox magpie, then have one about a puppy. To finish, and for something a little different, a copy of Homer on parchment.

 

psittacus a vobis aliorum nomina discam:

     hoc didici per me dicere: CAESAR HAVE. 73

psittacus As a parrot discam I shall learn a vobis from you nomina the names aliorum of others: didici I have learned dicere to say hoc this per me by myself: HAVE Hail CAESAR Caesar!

 

pica loquax certa dominum te voce saluto:

     si me non videas, esse negabis avem. 76

loquax As a chatterbox pica magpie saluto I greet te you certa with a sure voce voice: si if non videas you do not see me me, negabis you will deny [me] esse to be avem a bird.

 

delicias parvae si vis audire catellae,

     narranti brevis est pagina tota mihi. 198

si If vis you wish audire to hear delicias the whimsicalities parvae of [this] small catellae puppy, tota a whole pagina page est is brevis [too] short mihi for me narranti telling [it].

 

Ilias et Priami regnis inimicus Ulixes

     multiplici pariter condita pelle latent. 184

Ilias The Iliad et and Ulixes Ulysses inimicus unfriendly regnis to the kingdom(s) Priami of Priam latent lie hidden pariter together condita stored-up multiplici in many folded pelle parchment.

 

Look! A parrot is sitting in the store. ‘I love you, father!’ the bird says again. The father and son laugh. ‘That parrot is a chatterbox,’ the store keeper explains to them.

zoopolium and the End of Legonium, Season One by Anthony Gibbins

Welcome to the zoopolium pet store.  This is the interior of Lego modular 10218-1: Pet Shop. This set is unusual in that it consists of two separate buildings, the Pet Shop itself and a New York style brownstone walk-up. The Pet Shop building also hosts a two story apartment. The structures combined contain 2032 Lego pieces. The set was released in 2011 and discontinued only months ago. For a glimpse of both buildings, flanking the Legonium theatre, take a look here. The Pet Shop came with a dog, a cat, a green bicycle and the psittacus parrot that you can see in today’s photo.

While you could obviously buy animals in ancient Rome, and pets were kept – think of Lesbia’s sparrow for example – it was not easy to find a Latin word for pet shop. zoopolium was offered up by the Morgan-Owens Lexicon of Neo-Latin, about which I hope to have a full post in the near future.

It was a friend, Kirsten, who came up with the idea of making the parrot talk – that is, repeat back what it has heard. I am fortunate to have good friends who will offer story suggestions for Legonium. Just this past weekend, while we were celebrating our Third Wedding Anniversary, my partner Beth came up with the perfect ending to the suitcase story-line - multas gratias tibi, uxor optima.  If all goes to plan, the current Season should wrap up with episode eleven. Who knows where things will go from there?

‘I love you, father!’ Scipio says happ(il)y. Then he hears a strange voice. ‘I love you, father!’ the voice repeats. Scipio and Alan and even the shop keeper turn themselves toward the voice.

it behoves you all to read this post (not really) by Anthony Gibbins

I should like to see the word behoves come back in a really big way. You know, it’s likely that I only ever learnt this word because it is a translation commonly suggested for oportet, oportere, oportuit.  In full, it behoves, it is proper, one should or ought to, it is demanded by some principle or standard. I heard someone on a Podcast last week say that it behoves us all to remain vigilant against the rise of Xenophobic Nationalism. There really should be more of it. (Behoving, that it, not Nationalism).

On today’s page, Alan tells Scipio that it behoves him to choose a dog from the pet shop. Strong language perhaps, but Alan is a pretty serious guy. I thought we should look at a few of the ways that Latin can suggest a sense of duty.

 

With the impersonal Verb oportet

te oportet canem eligere. It behoves you to choose to a dog.

 

With the Verb debeo, debere, debui, debitum to be due to do a thing, to be morally bound.

[tu] debes canem eligere. You ought to choose a dog.

 

With the Impersonal Phrase necesse est it is necessary, unavoidable, inevitable, indispensable

necesse est tibi canem eligere. It is necessary for you to choose a dog.

 

With the Gerundive of Obligation (which is difficult to translate hyper-literally)

canis tibi eligendus est. There is to you a dog having to be chosen (ie. You should choose a dog).

 

The shop-keeper greets them entering (ie: as they enter). ‘Son,’ the kind father says to Scipio, ‘it behoves you to choose a dog for yourself. For I should like to give a dog to you.’

index verborum - animalia by Anthony Gibbins

porcus pig vacca cow taurus bull ovis sheep angus lamb capra goat equus horse asinus ass cuniculus rabbit mus mouse erinaceus hedgehog sciurus squirrel vespertilio bat vulpes fox lupus wolf canis dog feles cat lutra otter phoca seal balaena whale delphinus dolphin hippocampus seahorse raia ray volpes marina shark xiphias sword-fish cancer crab cammarus lobster polypus octopus cervus deer camelus camel camelopardalis giraffe hippopotamus hippopotamus elephantus elephant rhinoceros rhinoceros tigris tiger leo lion simia ape ursus bear avis bird passer sparrow cornix crow palumbes pigeon picus woodpecker gallina hen aquila eagle falco falcon bubo owl pelecanus pelican ciconia stork grus crane anas duck anser goose cycnus swan pavo peacock phasiaca pheasant psittacus parrot crocodilus crocodile lacerta lizard testudo tortoise serpens snake rana frog bufo toad formica ant apis bee vespa wasp culex mosquito musca fly scarabaeus beetle blatta cockroach tinea moth papilio butterfly cicada cricket eruca caterpillar aranea spider limax slug cochlea snail vermis worm

Perhaps you do not yet know what a zoopolium is. It is a kind of shop where animals, like dogs, cats and birds, are able to be bought. 

 

subjunctive verb tenses in indirect questions II of II by Anthony Gibbins

In yesterday’s post, which you can find here, we began to look at the (comparatively) complicated rules that govern the correct Tense to use in an Indirect Question.

In Rule 1 we saw that that the Verb within the Indirect Question is always Subjunctive. Compare quid Alanus emit? What is Alan buying? with scio quid Alanus emat. I know what Alan is buying.

In Rule 2 we saw that that the Indirect Question will always refer to one of three time periods (consecutive with, before or after the Main Verb), and that this partially determines the tense of the Subjunctive Verb.

i) I know what Alan is buying. scio quid Alanus emat.

ii) I know what Alan bought. scio quid Alanus emerit.

iii) I know what Alan is going to buy. scio quid Alanus empturus sit.

We then began to look at Rule 3, which states that the Tense of the Main Verb (and here the main Verb is scio I know) also plays a part in determining the Tense of the Subjunctive Verb in the Indirect Question. The Main Verb is considered to refer to one of two time periods;

a) the Present or Future or

b) the Past.

scio I know, for example, refers to the Present. sciam I will know, to the Future. sciebam I used to know refers to the Past. So does scivi I knew*. Now watch how Rules 2 and 3 work together to determine the Tense of the Subjunctive Verb.

ai) Main Verb is Present or Future : question is consecutive with the Main Verb

I know what Alan is buying. scio quid Alanus emat. emat is Present Subjunctive.

bi) Main Verb is Past : question is consecutive with the Main Verb

I knew what Alan was buying. scivi quid Alanus emeret. emeret is Imperfect Subjunctive.

aii) Main Verb is Present of Future : question refers to something previous to the Main Verb

I know what Alan bought. scio quid Alanus emerit. emerit is Perfect Subjunctive.

bii) Main Verb is Past : question refers to something previous to the Main Verb

I knew what Alan had bought. scivi quid Alanus emisset. emisset is Pluperfect Subjunctive.

aiii) Main Verb is Present : question refers to something after the Main Verb

I know what Alan is going to buy. scio quid Alanus empturus sit. empturus is a Future Participle which means about to buy. sit is a Present Subjunctive that means is.

biii) Main Verb is Past : question refers to something after the Main Verb

I knew what Alan was going to buy. scivi quid Alanus empturus esset. empturus is a Future Participle which means about to buy. esset is an Imperfect Subjunctive that means was.

And so, we have six possible Tenses of the Subjunctive Verb in an Indirect Question, which is considerably more complicated than most thing in Latin grammar.

*And, just to make things that little bit more complex, the Perfect Tense can refer to either the Present or the Past. Let’s look at the Verb rogo, rogare, rogavi, rogatum to ask. The Perfect Tense rogavi can refer to the Present I have asked or to the Past I asked. But, as long as you know which you mean, the Rules will still apply;

rogavi quid Alanus emat. I have asked what Alan is buying.

rogavi quid Alanus emeret. I asked what Alan was buying.

Alan is going to buy a dog for his son. For Scipio loves dogs very much and has wanted his own dog for a long time. Alan, therefore, is leading his son to the Pet Shop.

subjunctive verb tenses in indirect questions I of II by Anthony Gibbins

Legonium is full of Indirect Questions. And it is fair to say that, compared to other aspects of Latin grammar, the rules around Indirect Questions are quite complex.

If I had to summarise those rules I would probably break it down to these three:

1) The Verb within the Indirect Question is in the Subjunctive (not the Indicative) Mood.

2) The Tense of the Subjunctive Verb is PARTIALLY decided by the time period the Indirect Question is about (Present, Past or Future).

3) The Tense of the Subjunctive Verb is PARTIALLY decided by the Tense of the Main Verb in the Sentence.

Let’s begin with Rule 1. A Direct Question like ‘What is Alan buying?’ will have a Verb in the Indicative Mood. quid Alanus emit? What is Alan buying? The Verb in an Indirect Question is in the Subjunctive Mood. scio quid Alanus emat. I know what Alan is buying. Just to be clear, emat is a Subjunctive Verb. scio, which sits outside of the Indirect Question, is Indicative.

Now let’s move onto Rule 2. The Tense of the Subjunctive is partially decided by the time period the question is about. There are only three possible time periods –

i) consecutive with the main sentence

ii) previous to the main sentence, or

iii) after the main sentence.

That might sound confusing, but hopefully some examples will clear it up;

i) I know what Alan is buying. scio quid Alanus emat. emat is Present Subjunctive.

ii) I know what Alan bought. scio quid Alanus emerit. emerit is Perfect Subjunctive.

iii) I know what Alan is going to buy. scio quid Alanus empturus sit. empturus is a Future Participle which means about to buy. sit is a Present Subjunctive that means is.

So, according to Rule 2, there are three possible choices for the Tense of the Subjunctive in an Indirect Question; i) Present, ii) Perfect and iii) A Future Participle with the Present Subjunctive of am, are, is etc.

If that were the whole story, things would not be so bad. But Rule 3 tells us that the Tense of the Subjunctive is ALSO partially decided by the Tense of the Main Verb in the Sentence. eheu! Alas! Fortunately for us, however, Latin divides this into only two categories; a) Present or Future and b) Past. Take a look at what follows. In each Sentence the Indirect Question is (i) consecutive with the Main Verb, and yet the Tense of the Subjunctive changes based on the Main Verb’s tense.

Main Verb refers to the Present or Future

scio quid Alanus emat. I know what Alan is buying. emat is Present Subjunctive.

sciam quid Alanus emat. I will know what Alan is buying. emat is Present Subjunctive.

Main Verb refers to the Past

scivi quid Alanus emeret. I knew what Alan was buying. emeret is Imperfect Subjunctive.

What this means, says Math, is that there are a total of six possible Subjunctive Verb Forms in an Indirect Question. But this post is already getting out of hand. We will return to this topic tomorrow. See you then.

After the film Alan leads his son out of the theatre. Alan has in mind to buy a gift for Scipio. Do you wish to know what Alan is going to buy for his son?