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  5. "We would like two cookies."

"We would like two cookies."

Translation:Duo crustula velimus.

October 8, 2019



Elsewhere, the indicative (volo, etc.) is being accepted for "would like," in addition to the subjunctive (velim, etc.).


I did see one of the contributors or mods or somesuch say in one of these threads that "Latin doesn't make that distinction", i.e., the distinction between "I like" and "I would like".

I find it hard to understand what he could possibly have meant by that, since the distinction between "volo" and "velim" (and the similar one between "audeo" and "ausim") seems clear to me and is explained in any grammar or even beginner's textbook, but I did not raise the question with him.

Perhaps the judgement has simply been made that the two senses are close enough and that these nuances are not of primary importance, especially at this early point, long before learners have been given a formal introduction to the subjunctive, and so "volo" and "velim" can be considered interchangeable. And, of course, as this course is still in a rude stage of development, we have to be a little patient in expecting faultlessly consistent treatment of these countless expressions.


Those subjunctives (velim, ausim) assuredly exist; but the uses of them that I've seen involve whole clauses introduced by the subjunctive verb (and not food items, like wine or bread).

Thus, "I would like (velim) that you tell him _to go to Verona " (so, velim introduces a sequence of two subordinate clauses: _[ut] dicas [ut] Veronam veniat. This is paraphrased from the opening lines of Catullus' Poem 35.


Why not ┬źduas crustula velimus┬╗?


Because "duas" is accusative feminine plural; it would be appropriate in a sentence like Duas puellas video , "I see two girls."

The noun, crustula, is accusative neuter plural. You'd have to say, Duo crustula velimus . (The word "two" is unusual: we have accusative forms duos, masc. pl., duas, fem. pl., and duo, neuter pl.)


"Velimus duo crustula" is marked wrong. Am I being too flexible with word order here?


Yes; probably because it's more normal to have the action verb at the end of the clause.


Thanks. Does it cause semantic confusion as it would do if I said in English "Two cookies we want.", or does it simply sound peculiar, like Yoda-speak? I'm thinking of the phrase "Habeunt Papem" where the verb is first, why is that word order acceptable?


Yes, the phrase is Habemus papam = we have a pope.

So, that's presumably a medieval Latin (anyway, post classical!) utterance, right? But we're told, in any case, that moving a word out of its "normal" position puts emphasis on it--so, possibly, Habemus papam means something like, "At last, we have a pope (again)!" But that's just a quick guess on my part.

(Habere is a 2nd conj verb, so the form "we have" is habent, with an e before the -nt "they" ending. Papa is a 1st decl. masculine noun. There are some (irregular) verbs that use -eunt as the 3rd pers. plural present tense ending, but they're all forms of the verb "to go": as in Shakespeare, at the end of an act, the stage directions sometimes say Exeunt omnes = They all go out.)

I don't think the word-order matters as much in Latin as in English, so frankly I would be accepting "Volumus duo crustula" (using the subjunctive form Velimus is something else--but my views are expressed somewhere above, on this thread!).


Thank you for that explanation and for clarifying the Pope phrase (what I get for getting my latin from popular culture instead of primary sources

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