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  5. "Vir semisomnus caffeam biber…

"Vir semisomnus caffeam bibere vult."

Translation:The half-asleep man wants to drink coffee.

September 5, 2019



"The half-asleep man'' sounds a bit contorted.


Would "sleepy" be allowed here?


This is a question about English, rathan than about Latin. My answer was The man half asleep wants to drink coffee., which was rejected. I thought many English speakers would reject such adjectives as awake, (half) asleep, alive, afraid, etc. in the prenominal position as awkward or marginal. Do you say, e.g., the awake baby, the afraid children, the alive animal, etc.?


We'd cast it slightly differently, but yes in principle we would. We'd probably say "the wakened baby" if the emphasis was on the fact that the baby was awake. For the others, the frightened children, the live animal ... and so on. As you say, 'alive' and 'afraid' in those positions are awkward - sorry English is so complicated ...


I'm a native English speaker, and I agree with you. I also put down "The man half asleep", which sounds right to me as a literary construction. "The half-asleep man" grates on me. English does not welcome complex constructions as attributive adjectives in the way that German does. In speaking, I think we would generally make a subordinate clause here: "The man who is half-asleep wants to drink coffee", or else pick a different adjective as sparrowhawk suggests.

https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Attributive-Adjectives.htm gives a good discussion of attributive adjectives. It clearly supports your observation that words like 'awake', 'asleep', 'alive', and 'afraid' are not to be used in the prenominal position.


Should coffee not be cafea with a single "f"?


The coffee plant is "Coffea" like "coffea arabica"


Cofea also exists: http://www.dicolatin.com/FR/LAK/0/CAFEA/index.htm

I don't know if it's a typo on Dicolatin, this site is usually very accurate, so it's possible that an alternative spelling does exist (?)


The scientific name coffea goes back to Linnaeus (Carl von Linné, 1707-1778) but I can't find it in use by Latinists of the time.

As detailed in my link elsewhere in the discussion both cafea and cafeum turn up in Neo Latin between the 16th and 18th centuries.

Your linked Dicolatin entry is not a typo. It shows cafea as the nominative, vocative and accusative plural of cafeum. It does not, however, include the feminine cafea which is listed by Guy Licoppe.


Vult can also be translated as "wish," if anyone else got confused by trying to enter that.


My answer 'The man half asleep wants to drink coffee' was marked wrong. Why? I leaned English mainly through books.


I wouldn't read too much into it. There are often many possible correct translations and it's a major task for the contributors to add them all. Your version is a little unusual, slightly poetic even, but I wouldn't say it is incorrect.


Yes, but the problem here is that the accepted version is simply not correct. As h_sapiens above notes, and as this page on attributive adjectives (https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Attributive-Adjectives.htm) explains, 'asleep' belongs to a class of adjectives that cannot be used in prenominal position. "The man half asleep" is poetic, but acceptable. "The half-asleep man" is not proper English grammar, poetic or otherwise.


Hirosh, you are correct, or as correct as the word choice allowed you to be. As dkahn points out, 'The man half asleep' would be used mainly in elegant writing, but would not be common in every-day speech. The accepted version, 'The half-asleep man', is actually wrong, because we do not use certain adjectives like 'asleep', 'awake', 'alive', and 'afraid' in front of the noun. In common speech, we would probably use a subordinate clause and say: 'The man who is half asleep wants to drink coffee.'


In modern english we almost always put adjectives before noun, e.g. angry man (as opposed to spanish hombre enojado)


This is a useful sentence.


Why is 'sleepy' marked wrong?


Half-asleep, sleepy, drowsy should all be allowed. There is also another adjective for sleepy: somniculosus.


The order is not important here Mine is even bettrer: You don't say ' the half asleep man'

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