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"Noli appropinquare deae, Marce!"

Translation:Don't approach the goddess, Marcus!

September 4, 2019



You can tell from his voice that he really means it.


Recorded moments before disaster


I want to hear the rest of this story!


Isn't goddess in an accusative case here? If it were goddess, it would be deam. Please explain.


Isn't goddess in an accusative case here?

That's right; it isn't.

It's in the dative case here -- to approach someone is to get close "to someone".


Why noli and not nolite?


The statement is directed at one person, Marcus, so we use the singular imperative noli instead of the plural nolite.


Or must be dative for approach only?


Yes, it uses the dative. Much like studere.

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Just as studere is literally "to dedicate oneself to" and therefore takes the dative, appropinquare is literally "to get close to" and therefore takes the dative.


What's wrong with the lector?


Is "Don't approach the gods, Marcus!" wrong? It is not accepted. I'm not reporting it because I haven't learned the cases yet.


dea -> goddess, appropinquare uses the dative singular form deae.

deus -> god, dative singular form would be deo.


Forms with -a singular and -ae plural are mostly female; forms with -us sing and ī plural are mostly masculine. So deae sounds like (is also) a feminine plural form, but not here.

Dea has a weird dative and ablative form, so "Don't approach the goddesses, Marcus!" would be

Nōlī appropinquāre deābus, Mārce!

"Don't approach the gods, Marcus!" would be

Nōlī appropinquāre deīs, Mārce!

Apparently there are several different dative plurals for deus


Yes, that is what I suspected. The fact that the dative form is the same as indicative plural is what made me get the translation wrong in the beginning. But similar things occur in German, so luckily I didn't report it. Thanks Jim for your explanation.

Btw, I notice you mark the long vowels. Does that also help us to know where word stress falls?


Sometimes! Stress isn't too complicated:

  1. Stress the penultimate syllable, unless it is short, in which case
  2. Stress the "antepenult" (two before the last)

So if you see a long vowel in the antepenult then the stress normally goes there, eg:

  • fēmina
  • grātia

The second example shows there can be a bit of complication - grā - ti - a is three syllables because i + a is not a dipthong. There is a bit more at Wikipedia.

EDITED: on reflection and re-reading guides, I don't think it helps much looking at the long vowel in the third; the point is whether there is a consonant cluster making a long syllable, or a long vowel making a long syllable, in the penult. See here for a nice visual version


I think I can get the dipthong vs. hiatus (well that's what it's called in Spanish) by ear, but as far as the long vowels, how do you recognize them if people don't mark them? Btw thanks for the article, but God is it complicated:

Classical Latin syllables and stress See also: Dreimorengesetz In Classical Latin, stress changed. It moved from the first syllable to one of the last three syllables, called the antepenult, the penult, and the ultima (short for antepaenultima 'before almost last', paenultima 'almost last', and ultima syllaba 'last syllable'). Its position is determined by the syllable weight of the penult. If the penult is heavy, it is accented; if the penult is light and there are more than two syllables, the antepenult is accented.[55] In a few words originally accented on the penult, accent is on the ultima because the two last syllables have been contracted, or the last syllable has been lost.[56]


@jairapetyan My shorter version above is easier! And doesn't miss much.

As for long vowels, you do get a sense of where they are over time, but it's much easier if they are marked with macrons. I do think the course editors need to revisit this, I know they are thinking about it.

On diphongs, there are five, these are pronounced out on this page

Also, there is this and a nice visual version showing how stress works.

EDIT: I've taken a Wikibooks extract and tried to make it more readable here


Thank you! The Wiktionary charts are so helpful! I've been trying to suss this out without them.

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appropinquare uses the dative

Ah, because it's more like "to come close to"?

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