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  5. "Livia has four beds."

"Livia has four beds."

Translation:Livia quattuor lectos habet.

August 31, 2019



Is "Livia lectos quattuor habet." also possible? Must the number be before of the word it refers to. Should it stand in front?


Since most words use endings to communicate what they are doing in the sentence, Latin word order is pretty free.

Most numbers however, are indeclinable (that is, they do not change forms). For this reason, it is best to keep them before the word they are modifying, as in "quattuor lectos."


I disagree (respectfully) here, Magister Smith. Numbers do follow their noun with significant frequency in the literature. It think it's better to say that the number must be next to the noun, either before or after. Moreover I think numbers ending in unus -a -um follow their noun even more often, to avoid the awkward "viginti et unum crustula" apparent lack of agreement.


Did you mean numbers preceding? I didn’t say follow.

I can’t find a source right now or a percentage of uses, but I have seen them before more often than after, at least in prose. Poetry is a whole other beast, of course.


Caesar puts numbers after their noun about 50% of the time. Cicero heavily favors preceding. And because everyone wants to be Cicero, that nasty stereotype spread.


Nasty stereotype? If Cicero does it, it must be correct!

We should all want to be Cicero (except for the part at the end with the execution)



Yes--you stated that numbers preceding the noun they refer to/modify is a "firmer guidline" and I am disputing whether that is really true. Put IIII into the PHI (Packard Humanities Institute Latin Texts search engine) and see what comes up in the De Agri Cultura of Cato.

I also don't think that the meter dictates word order to Latin poets categorically either. But that's another topic.


True, but given that the word following is a verb, it wouldn't get confusing as to which word it modifies. I like to think Romans had a pretty decent RAM for storing words until the sentence was finished.


I mean I’m also telling you what the Romans did, not just a “best practice.”

Most numbers come before the nouns they modify.


By no means do I actually disagree with you. The Romans when casually speaking probably stuck to a consistent word order. My only point is that in prose it could appear that way, not necessarily that it should.


Fair enough.

Latin word order did go more by guideline, than rule. There were some guidelines that were firmer however. Prepositions coming before their objects is one of them. Numbers coming before words they modified is another.


Is the Latin "v" really supposed to be pronounced like "w" in English?


Yes, in Classical Latin it is a W sound.


In Ecclesiastical pronunciation it is said like the English "v," but in classical it's pronounced like the english "w."


How about ‘Lectus quattuor / Quattuor lectus sunt Līviae’ as in dative of possession?


when do you use lectus and when lecti? it is confusing since both are the plural of lectus. thanks


Lectus is not plural. Lecti is the plural subject form (nominative) and lectos is the plural direct object form (accusative).


And for (semi-) completeness, the singular accusative is…lecto?


The noun is second declension, so the accusative singular is “Lectum.”


why is "liviaquattorlectoshabet" wrong? It was how the Romans wrote.


In Roman writing, it does appear as if there are no spaces between words. However, there is technically still a space between the words even if it doesn't look like there's one.


Needs a tan or Needs Satan

Jobs are now here! or Jobs are nowhere!

Yes, Latin used to write in scriptio continua, which did not use spaces, different letter cases or punctuation, andneitherdidmostofus until about the 10th Century when we all got common sense. There was a collective sigh of "Why didn't we think of that before?" and everybody could suddenly read twice as fast. Have a look at the monograph page in the Book of Kells (c.AD 800). Christiautemgeneratiosicerat Christi autem generatio sic erat This is how the birth of Christ came about. No attempt to separate here, though elsewhere in the manuscript there is separation. There is now limited demand for a way of writing that is so impenetrable. I can only think of the German system, applicable to numbers and many portmanteau words, where you see things like Zweihunderttausend zweihundertzweiundzwanzig for two hundred thousand, two hundred and twenty-two (200,222). I know which I'd rather have.


What a spoiled child!

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