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"Who lives alone?"

Translation:Quis solus habitat?

September 8, 2019

20 Comments


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

In italian, if the gender is not specified, it defaults to masculine instead of the feminine form. I wonder if Latin also worked this way.


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

But in Italian there is an interesting use of the feminine gender: the formal "you" is "Lei" ("she")


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

It's from illī (dative singular of illa) and more precisely from the form illūi (in Vulgar Latin)

Lei (Italian) and Lui (French) comes both from this same Vulgar Latin illūi pronoun.

There are some chances that it was an epicene, meaning it could be used for both gender (probably in Late Latin or Medieval Latin, or Vulgar Latin, or whatever, I don't know when or which kind of Latin)

I say that because "lei" is you/she, and "lui" can be used for he, and she in French (when it's the dative pronoun). So, two of the descend languages use it as a kind of epicene.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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  • 2615

Very likely.


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

Well... if it's like French (and if my somewhat shaky understanding of French is correct), that's sort of true, but it depends what you mean by "specified".

For example, if you were to ask "who lives alone" rhetorically to no one in particular and about no one in particular, you would use the masculine version of "alone", because no gender was specified.

But imagine instead that you're giving a speech to an audience of women and only women, and at one point you ask them to raise their hands if certain things were true of them. If one of the things you ask is "Who lives alone", I believe you would use the feminine form of "alone", despite no gender having been "specified" (in anything but a loose, implicit sense).

So that's why I'm wondering - at least in French, there is a plausible context in which one would ask this question using the feminine. And generally speaking (not just about this question, and not just about gender), Duolingo seems to often assume a certain context even when more than one context is plausible.


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

"Quis sola habitat" is marked wrong. Should it be? I imagine that if, say, you're asking a group of women to raise their hands if they live alone, you would use "sola" rather than "solus"?


[deactivated user]

    I agree. Why should one gender be preferred over another?


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

    BobVesterm is correct. My answer was also marked wrong for using 'sola' instead of 'solus'. Please fix this.


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

    Hello Daniel. Please, don't ask them here to fix things, because we have to use the report button for this. Comments here are only for grammatical questions/tips and about the cultural side.
    It would be too much work for them to read every messages here to fix things, so they ignore the suggestion here, and work with the ones sent via the report button.


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

    Don't worry I've reported it as well, but it doesn't hurt to reassure the people who've made similar complaints on here...


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

    Of course, reassuring other users, yes, but saying "please fix it", is useless, and confusing because it would mean that you can address directly on this forum the bugs from the course, and it's not the case.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mari596047

    Why is solum not correct?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
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    • 2615

    Presumably because the neuter "solum" isn't used with people.

    http://latindictionary.wikidot.com/adjective:solus


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Scian4

    Solus habito!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AngeloJose874927

    Is "Qui solus habitat" also correct? I thought 'qui quae quod' was more often used?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
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    • 2615

    No. It's the difference between the interrogative "who" and the relative "who". So unless it's part of a bigger sentence such as "Marcus, who lives alone, yadda yadda..."

    http://latindiscussion.com/forum/latin/qui-quae-quod-vs-quis-quid.25914/


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

    Yes, but "qui" can also be an interrogative pronoun. (it's were the French "qui" (who) comes from probably)

    Quī homō vocat?
    What man calls?

    http://dcc.dickinson.edu/grammar/latin/relative-interrogative-and-indefinite-pronouns

    "Qui" is said, in the article, to be a declension of "quis".

    The Substantive Interrogative Pronoun quis (who?) quid (what?) is declined in the Singular as follows. quis, quid, cuius, cuius, cui, cui, quem, quid, quo, quo

    The Plural is the same as that of the Relative quī, quae, quae.

    I'm a bit confused about the use of qui, as a question word, though.


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

    Solum was marked a typo, should it not also be correct with the gender unknown?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    • 2615

    No. The Indo-European languages tend to default to masculine when the grammatical gender is unknown. I don't think the neuter grammatical gender can be applied to people.


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

    But how about non binary people? :o

    If you are already modernisering Latin, ignoring the fact that non binary is not a modern concept.

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