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  5. "There are not very many fish…

"There are not very many fish in the school."

Translation:Plurimi pisces in ludo non sunt.

September 4, 2019



I'm not surprised. By this point in the lesson almost all of them are on the floor.


Unless it's a school of fish


Or a cooking school of fish dishes.


This is really weird since the negation is of the quantifier not the verb


In both the latin and the English it is negating the verb.


Technically the English could be negating "are", but I agree, "non" could be in many other places.


Why ”in ludo non plurimi pisces sunt” is not accepted? This is an existential expression where it is natural to start the clause with a location.


Its a debatable point, poor fish.


How would one instead say "there are very many fish not in the school"?


I think that's what this sentence means.

There's something about "very many" in English following "not", and I think it winds up being the opposite of Latin plurimi (I'd think of "plurimi pisces" as "tons of fish," simply because I don't think we really say "very many fish"--except when we say there aren't very many fish left).


Do you mean "There are very many fish, but not in the school" (= outside the school, or elsewhere)?

Maybe "Plurimi pisces sunt, sed non in ludo?


Yes, exactly; or "Plurimi pisces sunt, non tamen in ludo."

("Not very many" is a thing, in English; I think it means "a rather small number," in fact.)


Can anyone please explain why it's plurimi and not plurimos here?


Yes. Notice the verb in the sentence: it's sunt = "they are."

In this sentence, we're talking about how many fish are in the school--not how many someone is throwing onto the floor, for example--and therefore the fish are the subject of the verb (sunt), and are in the nominative case (plurimi , a nomin. pl. masc. of the 2nd declension).

If people are throwing the fish onto the floor, then PEOPLE are nominative/subject, FISH are accusative/direct object (they, the people, are throwing them , the fish), and if they were "very many" fish, they'd be described as plurimos (accus. pl. masc. of the 2nd declension). Notice that the verb, "to throw," is the type of action that can have both a subject (= who does the throwing) and an object ( = the thing that gets thrown).

Hope this explains it.


I'm also confused about the ending of plurimos / plurimi: does this plurim- stem have a declension of its own( 2nd masc) , I thought an adjective should agree with the noun (pisces) which is 3rd masc? And why is this not explained in the tips for this lesson? (or did I miss it?)


OK--please note what "agree with its noun" means:

an adjective agrees with its noun by sharing the same case, number ( = singular/plural), and gender .

It does not simply "adopt the declension" of its noun!!

So, if "fish" are plural, accus, and masculine (accus, because people are throwing THEM onto the floor), we need to make the word for "very many" also plural, accusative, masculine.

Yes, the word plūrimī belongs to the 2nd declension. It's irrelevant that piscēs belongs to the 3rd declension; what matters is that, in our sentence, piscēs is accus, plur, masc (using its 3rd decl set of endings).

To "agree" with piscēs , we need plūrimōs in the accus, plur, masc form that it can make, using its 2nd decl set of endings.

You asked a really important question here, and I hope I have answered it adequately. Let me know, please, if not.


Thank you - that's really helpful. Plurimi being 2nd declension isn't mentioned in the lesson tips, nor is adjectives having to agree with their nouns in gender number and case, but not declension as well (or maybe I missed this point.... I'm brand new to Latin)


I'm so glad it was helpful!

For nouns, there are 5 declensions (though you will just see the 3 "main" ones here on Duo, as is appropriate): 1st decl like puella, vīlla, Rōma 2nd decl like amīcus, Marcus 3rd decl like māter, pater, mīles (There have been some neuter nouns as well, which are either 2nd decl or 3rd)

Adjectives come in two varieties: the 1st/2nd decl ones, like plūrimī, plūrimae, plūrima (the nomin pl M/F/N forms of the word "very many," "quite a lot of") and the 3rd decl ones: omnis, omnis, omne = each, every (nomin sing M/F/N; as you see, M and F are identical in this declension) omnēs, omnēs, omnia = all (nomin plur M/F/N; again, M and F are identical in 3rd decl).

A noun and adj. will have "rhyming" endings if they both belong to the same declension: amīcus est dēfessus , "the friend is tired" (masc)

But the adj and noun "agree" in 3 respects (case, number, gender): Mīles est dēfessus , "The soldier is tired" (nomin, sing, masc--3rd decl noun & 2nd decl adj).


Does the pun translate to Latin, or is that an English-only thing?


If the sentence is supposed to say: "There are few fish in the school," why not change it to that (and use it elsewhere)? "Plurimi ... non" sounds unidiomatic to me.


Agreed. "Pauci pisces in ludo sunt" would be "few" .

Or perhaps: "Complures pisces in ludo sunt," "Several fish are in the school."

  • 2152

Sed, plurimi pisces in mari sunt.
But, there are very many fish in the sea. : )


Does this mean there are not many fish in a school that students attend? Or rather, does it mean there are not many fish in a "school (group) of fish"? Or does it mean both? Thanks!


There is no indication, in the Oxford Latin Dictionary, that lūdus ever refers to a group of fish.


Why is "plurimi pisces sunt non in ludo" wrong?


I guess it would be in ludum?


No, it would be in ludo. I suspect it's not accepting the order sunt non, which I think is fine (but I don't fully know).


The nōn normally modifies (and precedes) the sunt .


Could one translate "plurimi" as "a multitude of", or is it too much of a stretch?


Why is not "plurimi pisces non in ludo sunt" acceptable?


OK, a basic question. Did the Romans use ludus to refer to a group of fish, as we use "school" in English?


"School" of fish, and "school" as a place of instruction, are not even the same word in English , in terms of their origin.

I'm basing this on what I read in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.

Apparently, the fish kind of "school" comes from an Indo-European root represented as "skel- (1)", which has a meaning of "division" in Germanic and is related to the word "shoal."

But our word "school" (= place of instruction) is borrowed ultimately from Greek, through Latin (scholē becomes schola or scola), and derives from an Indo-European root represented as "segh-" in the American Heritage Dictionary's appendix. The meaning is "to hold," and gave rise in Greek to a meaning "hold back = have leisure," and "school" is a leisure activity of the privileged classes.

According to the Oxford Latin Dictionary, there is nothing in the entries of either lūdus or schola to suggest the application of the term to fish (or any other animals).


I don't think so.

Closest term for something similar to a 'school' of fish I could find was grex but that isn't specific to fish (would have to verify if it would indeed be used with fish).

Wiktionary states that 'school' for fish and 'school' for study/learning come from different origins. For fish via English's Germanic ancestry and for study/learning from Latin schola. That makes it seem more unlikely for me should these origins be true.

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