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  5. "Velisne vinum rubrum?"

"Velisne vinum rubrum?"

Translation:Would you like red wine?

August 28, 2019



"Visne" not "Velisne" would be more common. The principal parts are Volo, Velle, Volui, but the conjugation is slightly irregular.


Using 'velim' is more polite. In French you would say 'je voudrais' instead of 'je veux'. In German 'ich möchte gern' instead of 'ich will'. You can say 'volo' in Latin, but that is very direct and impolite. The coniunctivus is a polite way of saying that you want something.


I understand other European languages have this politeness factor, but Latin (classical) does not. All of these sentences should be using indicative forms of volo, not the subjunctive.


In the first place I am very impressed with your posts. However I am curious, since no one speaks Latin and all we have to go on are the texts, how do we even know about the subjunctive?


I am not positive how it is used, but one way to tell would be from ancient written dialogue. There are no native speakers of classical Latin, but there were plays written in Latin.


Makes perfect sense to me. So if the subjunctive is used in Plays then it would seem to me that using it here would be acceptable.


I think she's a Latin teacher.

[The Latin language uses three moods by changing the form of the infinitive: indicative, imperative, and subjunctive. The most common is indicative, which is used to make a simple statement of fact; the others are more expressive.

The indicative mood is for stating facts, as in: "He is sleepy."

The imperative mood is for issuing commands, as in: "Go to sleep."

The subjunctive mood is for uncertainty, often expressing as a wish, desire, doubt or hope as in: "I wish I were sleepy."]


Reading that, I think Duolingo's sentence may be perfectly right.


But are plays truly representative of the common usage of the language?


There is support in the grammars for claiming that the subjunctive was used as a polite imperative.


Are there examples of it governing food and drink, though? I only know of examples where it's a polite imperative governing another subjunctive verb (like, "I would like that you deliver this message ," and so forth).


Exactly: would you like = do you want = vis(ne) in Latin.


But one wonders when this "politeness" came into the language; it seems to be post-classical. The 'wish' use of the pres. subj. is for things you'd wish to happen: Utinam pluat, if only it would rain! (vs. pres. indic pluit, it's raining; fut indic pluet, it will rain).


For some reason they appear to be using the subjunctive, velis. I don't recall this as a common use of the subjunctive in Latin.


If it's true, I hope they'll fix it, I don't want to put in my head non common expressions. But I read that subjonctive was to express a wish in Latin, and it's the case here.


But the wishes are usually of the formula, "I wish [that] you would do (something)", and not "I wish BREAD / WINE", etc.

So you could say Velim hoc mihi faciās, "I (would) wish that you do this for me." There are examples of that in ancient comedy, according to the Oxford Latin Dictionary; and there's a good example in a poem of Catullus (velim Caeciliō, papȳre, dīcās, "O papyrus, I could wish that you would say to Caecilius...", in which velim functions like a 'polite imperative').

In other words, the velim here introduces a subordinate clause (with its own subjunctive, [ut] dīcās), not an accusative like "bread" or "wine."


It's good to learn the optative subjunctive for attainable wishes, PERCE_NEIGE, often with utinam, so it's not a huge problem. However, it's not clear that classical Latin used the optative subjunctive in day-to-day life at a taberna or in the market to request something. Maybe, but the evidence is not strong. We do have evidence for some of the ways Romans actually requested something, and the evidence includes the present indicative, imperative, and various expressions such as quaero. Some Romance languages use the subjunctive to make polite requests, but we cannot assume that Romans did so without providing the evidence.


Honest doubt: is "vinum rubrum" the actual form Romans used to call this kind or wine or is it rather a translation of "red wine"? I ask that because I don't know how Latin speakers of the ancient Rome used to call that wine but I do know that not all Romance languages call this kind of wine "red": in Spanish it is "tinto", i. e. 'coloured', in Catalan it is "negre", so 'black', and maybe there are other exceptions. French and Italian do use "red wine" (vin rouge, vino rosso). As for Romanian, I don't know. Thanks!


I suppose it's just a translation from English.

The adj. ruber, rubra, rubrum gets applied to flames, the setting sun, and the painted statues of the fertility-god Priapus (examples from Lewis & Short); thus it's probably not the dark color associated with 'red' wine.

The wine I've ever seen mentioned in poetry is called by its name of origin: there's the famous Falernian wine, there's Massic wine, and so forth. (Falernum, Massicum--neuter place-name adjectives in agreement with the understood noun vinum.)


I suspect that vinum rubrum is sadly just a mechanical translation of "red wine" (cf. Spanish vino tinto). The only take away from this is that "red" = ruber/rubra/rubrum and, quite independently, "wine" = vinum, nothing beyond that, I'm afraid.


This sentence is anachronistic to Classical Latin. Romans designated wine by area such as Falernian. Another problem is the verb. Here's a link: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/33837764 I was curious to see how DL Latin would attend to the stages of the Latin language. So far it blends stages. [Addendum: thanks for the note about the consul. If people are interested in trying wine from clay amphorae, COS out of Sicily is worth it: http://www.cosvittoria.it/ART/2013/05.pdf]


Yes, they talk about the region where it's grown (Falernian, Massic are some that you see in Horace), and its vintage ( = who was consul when it was "bottled").


If by Red Wine you mean the blood of my enemies spilt on the sacred ground of Rome, then yes, ego youd 'amo ut diversi generis multa nimis


Homer called the sea 'wine coloured'. We all know that the sea does not have the colour of a pinot grigio, merlot or sauvignon blanc. In ancient times people had a different perspective on colours than nowadays. Here's an interesting article on colours: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/what-is-blue-and-how-do-we-see-color-2015-2


The recording of "rubrum" in particular is very difficult to understand. It sounds like a much longer word is being spoken because of the overemphasis.


You are quite correct. The speaker says ‘rūbrum’ rather than the correct ‘rŭbrum’.


Estne Ponifex Maximus Catholicus?


Wow, what are all of you people doing here??? Most of you are discussing this sentence and pulling it apart, like it was a quote from Virgil, or Cicero. It's a 3 lesson beginners course. With 650 words. I maxed it out months ago, and no I still can't speak, read, or write Latin. But I love reading the Classics. And thank you for a most interesting read. I just wish could understand half what all of you teachers and scholars were writing about. It's obviously far more advanced than anything offered in this course. But I'd love to hear from you if anyone knows of any other online Latin courses. Just about had my fill of "Angry drunken parrots," and "My daughters and your son's sleep." Or my favorite, "The woman has a wife." I've taken a few language classes over the years, but I've never seen anything like this before in an academic school book.


The most important issues here, which do come up in this itty bitty sentence, are whether the Romans had a polite "Would you like?" different from "Do you want?"; and whether the Romans called the wine that we call "red" wine "rubrum."

Or have these features of modern languages been grafted onto Latin with no justification?

Those seem like really important questions to me! Even weighty ones, for a teacher of beginning languages. (Unless it's not important what the beginner learns and is given as a model--I can't for a moment agree with that.)


Please improve the quality of the recording


ruber, rubra, rubrum -- red


The recording is very difficult to understand due to fast pacing of words and enunciation.


Est catholica papam?


Rather: Est catholicus papa?
Or I'm wrong?


Papa is one of the 1st decl. nouns that's masculine, so it needs the masc. (2nd decl.) adj. catholicus, indeed!


‘ūnus nauta’


Yes--nauta, agricola, Belga, pirata, poeta; some family cognomina (Seneca, Cinna) are all 1st decl. masculine nouns.

(as is papa, the word for "pope".)


is does not like "would you like some red vine"


There's no indefinite ("some") in the Latin to correspond, I suppose.


I'm trying to notice similarities between English and Latin, and would like to know if rubrum is related to ruby (red gemstone) and rubric in some way.


Yes, both words are descended from Latin ruber, rubra, rubrum , "red."

Rubric is particularly interesting: red-letter writing on documents (to highlight the important words), which has become a term for "the rules/regulations" according to which one will be judged or graded.

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