"Are the parrots leisurely?"

Translation:Suntne psittaci otiosi?

October 11, 2019

This discussion is locked.


Since they aren't doing anything (like walking or flying) "leisurely," the sentence must mean that they are ( = sunt) "at leisure" or "free from work" or "on vacation" or whatever you like. We don't actually say, in English, that people are leisurely (as opposed to: they're walking leisurely, which is at least possible). It's not a bad thing for students to confront the fact that sometimes there's a phrase, rather than a one-to-one, word-for-word translation, that's appropriate. (Duolingo does this when it teaches that "captat," for example, means "tries to grab," a phrase rather than a word.


Indeed, in English 'leisurely' is not used - the proper adverb should have been a prepositional phrase. Idle or lazy seems appropriate.

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Does putting the verb (Sutne) at the front of the sentence make it into a question? I tried psittaci otiosi sutne, which was marked wrong. In English, we can make something into a question by inflection, where the voice goes up at the end. Is the same also true in Latin, or does Latin require a word sequence change?


The -ne added to the end of sunt makes it into a question that expects a yes or no answer.

Duolingo, as far as I have seen, only accepts question words (here suntne) at the start of the sentence. I am sure there are instances of authors putting question words elsewhere in sentences, but not sure how common this is. The first word of a sentence in Latin often has a good amount of emphasis on it, so it would make sense to put the question word first to emphasize that it is a question.

I am not sure if it is truly known if the ancient Romans used intonation, it's more than possible I am sure.


The word is sunt , "they are", with the added question-marker (for yes/no questions) -ne. In principle, -ne can be added to any word, so long as you put it first in the sentence (the whole point of a "marker" is to let the interlocutor know what type of utterance he's hearing).


Not necessarily any word and not necessarily the first word, but the first "main" word of the question, see this example from Wiktionary:

"Is tibi mortemne vidētur aut dolōrem timēre?" --Tusculanae Disputationes 5.88

"Does it seem to you to be death that he fears or pain?"


The question starts with mortem , doesn't it? The question is "mortem aut dolōrem" , "death or pain?"

The Is tibi vidētur ... timēre part, it seems to me, is not part of the question. "He seems, according to you, to be afraid of"--that's not in question. That part seems to be agreed upon.

But the question is what he fears: "Is it DEATH or PAIN that he seems to be afraid of, in your eyes?" (That he's afraid of something , one of the two words in the accusative, is taken for granted.)


What is with all the parrots? Is this Monty Python?


Could this be ”They are leisurely parrots”?


No, suntne indicates a question

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