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"Orator ad me litteras mittit."

Translation:The orator sends me a letter.

August 29, 2019

42 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rory_OConor

should it me orator litteram ad me mittit?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/obsidianadept

literra means "letter" as in like letter of the alphabet. so in plural it can mean "letter" like a letter you would send to someone. In that case I think the word "epistula, epistulae - letter" (like the latter definition) would be less ambiguous, but the plural use of "littera" still is used in Latin . Notice that "litteras" can also mean literature in general


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thenino85

Except right now it doesn't accept "literature" (and yes, I did report it.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daguipa

I don't think that it can mean "literature" in this particular context, honestly.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Payson372807

We have many 'letters' from antiquity which were clearly meant to be published and read as essays. They are only letters in the sense they are addressed to somebody. Some of the letters we have are unlikely to have even been sent. Cicero, arguably the greatest orator in history wrote many such 'letters'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PERCE_NEIGE

To send literature to someone makes sense?

I though literature was like one of the arts, a general category. The fact it is always in the plural form makes me thing that you cannot send a literature or some literature, meaning an artwork of literature.

Maybe I think too much in my native language, but in French, the meaning of littera is the same.

Lettre could mean an alphabet letter, and a mail.

Lettres, plural, could mean alphabet letters, or mails AND could also mean literature.

(J'étudie les lettres, j'ai un professeur de lettres = littérature.)

When you say "les lettres" meaning literature, it's impossible to send it to someone, as it would be like sending "maths" or "science" to someone, it's general field of study and of human knowledge.
Not like sending a novel to someone.

I really don't know if it's the same in Latin, but it would seems logical to me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Payson372807

To clarify, I wouldn't translate it as literature in this context, merely passing comment that there wasn't always a distinction between letters and literature in ancient Rome, especially when orators were involved.

That being said I consulted William Whitaker's Words, which suggest litteras can mean literature in the abstract sense as you suggest, or in the physical sense of books. Depending on the context we could take the sentence as "The orator sends works of literature to me". Perhaps the speaker is the student of the orator, and the orator had a slave bring some books over he wants him to study. Here is a link to the William Whitaker's Words page: http://archives.nd.edu/cgi-bin/wordz.pl?keyword=litteras


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PERCE_NEIGE

I don't see the "works of literature". (Do you mean "books"?)

Yes, books, you can send them, but it's not really the same meaning than "work of literature". I checked in 5 or 6 online dictionaries (including ones with examples sentence to show the use of a word), and I can find something else than "literature" in the conceptual meaning, no "works of literature" unless they are "books" or "writings".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GScottOliver

So what you're saying is that the English word "letter" to mean an epistle is a synecdoche? Cool.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

Why isn't the dative used here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robertz466

Good question. That would be more typical, but, technically, either is acceptable.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CptNautilus

Methinks the main translation should be "The orator sends me letters" so as not to confuse the student with a plural translated by a singular.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jaiirapetjan

Yup. That's what I was just suggesting too. Only you did it much more succinctly. Ego dabo te gemmam. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robertz466

I think that you mean "tibi," not "te."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tina_in_Bristol

It is accepted, despite not being the main translation. But now I am confused as to whether I indeed got it right, or should have reported: "My answer should not be accepted."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PERCE_NEIGE

It accepts (tested): xxx sends me letters, and, sends me a letter.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jaiirapetjan

Yes, I noticed that. But I still don't quite get why it can be both singular and plural. Someone said "litteras" means letters of the alphabet, but even if he was sending those kinds of letters they would still be plural in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tibfulv

If you've completed the course, you'll know a common sense of the plural of littera is literature. It does not make sense to send you a collection of letters, lol. Especially in the ancient world, where paper letters were more significant.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GScottOliver

Which could be an abbreviation for the Italian or Spanish for "yes".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elin.7-1

The tiles did not have a 'to' but did have a 'for', and as the dative case can be translated as 'to' or 'for', I translated the sentence as The orator sends a letter for me. Whilst this is not as usual a translation as The orator send me a letter or The orator sends a letter to me, I think it should also be accepted as grammatically correct.

Or does the use of 'ad' mean only 'to', whether explicit or implicit, is correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/obsidianadept

The use of the preposition "ad" is very explicit as direction towards. It takes an accusative object and so there is no real indirect object in this sentence. If it was "mihi" instead of "ad me", you could make the argument for the translation "for me", but from context, a regular indirect object would still make more sense here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PERCE_NEIGE

"Me" is not grammatically the indirect object, as it's introduced by a preposition?

Sorry for the people who don't speak French, but it's more visible in French than in English.

J'envoie une lettre à ma mère.
Indirect complément: à ma mère

Je lui envoie une lettre.
lui, replacing "à ma mère" (and not ma mère only, because without the preposition "à", it would be "la")

Je la vois, no preposition, la = direct complement.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PERCE_NEIGE

What would be the meaning of "sends a letter for me"? On my behalf?

It would probably be said in another way.
I think the "for" meaning for someone, on the behalf of someone, would be translated by "pro"?

I think "pro" takes the ablative: so I would say: "pro me" (=for me, in my name)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MrPheidippides

"ad me" cannot mean "for me"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Atamunu

So, you guys claim that "litterae" can also sometimes mean a letter, the same as "epistula"? As I recall, I got sentences with "litterae" refused because I didn't use "epistula" instead. Shouldn't the exercises with "epistula" then be fixed, to make sure "litterae" is also a valid answer?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mona208606

That lesson was probably featuring and teaching the word "epistula"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidGuijarro

shoudn´t be letters in plural??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/obsidianadept

The idea is that "littera" is a letter as in a letter of the alphabet, so in plural it could be used as a letter as in one you write to someone else


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jaiirapetjan

Yes, someone explained that. But if you want to translate that into English, and we all know we are talking about letters as in XYZ, then the translation should be "The orator sends me letters," not "...a letter" as shown in the principal translation. It seems to me if they want the kind of letter which is a note with a message sealed with the address on the outside, then they should say "epistula." That word has been introduced.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robert_in_USA

I think the idea is that "litteras" as "XYZ" is stylistic or euphemistic for "correspondence." It doesn't mean literal "letters" or "ABCs," like cut-outs of individual letters from that morning's newspaper. :-)

To give the scope of the word, Lewis and Short (1891 edition, p. 1071-1072) gives as the first definition for "littera": "a letter, a written sign or mark signifying a sound." By transference, this can also mean "a word, a line," (as how in English we might say "Drop me a line if you get a chance").

But in the plural, "litterae" can mean "a letter, epistle" or "a writing, document, paper" or "written monuments, records, literature," or even "learning, the sciences, liberal education, scholarship, letters."

Given the wide range of meanings, and given that the translation exercises in Duolingo are offered without context, "a letter" sounds as reasonable a translation as any.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nnullness

I do not hear the "ad"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Khamiis1

It didn't accept the orator sends me the letter, I can't see how the sentence indicates an indefinite article. What did I miss?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linguo483220

Wouldn't the dative case work here rather than a preposition?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elisha558715

"The orator sends me literature" would be less confusing I feel...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Schyllic

The speaker sends me a letter. accepted 15-Dec-2020.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anthony345453

Should they have excepted "sends to me a letter"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

You mean "accepted", not "excepted".

No, that probably should not have been accepted. It's arguably grammatically correct, but literally no native English speaker anywhere in the world would say it that way. It would either be "The orator sends me a letter" (no "to" if the indirect object immediately follows the verb) or "The orator sends a letter to me" (if the indirect object follows the direct object).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robertz466

See my comment below. In addition, strictly speaking, in English, "The orator sends me a letter" has the clause form "subject/finite verb/indirect object/direct object." To mirror that precisely in Latin, one would say "Orator mihi epistulam mittit." In the alternate way of saying it ("Orator ad me epistulam mittit"/"The orator sends a letter to me"), there is no indirect object, but instead there is a direct object (epistulam) and a prepositional phrase ("ad me") consisting of a preposition and the preposition's object.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robertz466

The correct translation should be "The orator sends letters to me." Your choices were ill-formulated.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anthony345453

Well actually the translation they gave was "The orator sends me a letter." I think the "to" should have bean excepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robertz466

Actually, the "to" was excepted, even though it definitely should have been accepted.

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