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"Placentne tibi novae gemmae meae?"

Translation:Do you like my new gems?

October 13, 2019



Ok, so usually sentence structure in Latin is SOV with any adjectives or adverbs immediately following the word it modifies, right? And subjects can be implied, right?

So why is it not "Do you like your new gems"? And why is this not "Placetne tibi gemmae meae novae"?

Or is it that if there are two or more adjectives for a noun, one is placed before and one after, signified as modifying the noun based on the suffix?


"Tibi" is the second-person dative pronoun in Latin, roughly translatable into English as "to you." "Meae" is the first-person genitive feminine singular pronoun in Latin, translatable as "my" or "mine." So, there isn't any word in this sentence that means "your".

The translation of "Do you like your new gems?" would be "Placentne tibi novae gemmae tuae?".

(And unfortunately, I have no clue as to the adjective word order, so I can't help out there)


Theses from this article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_word_order :

  • adjectives which express an inherent property of the noun ("gold ring") tend to follow it
  • adjectives which express a subjective evaluation ("serious"), adjectives of size and quantity ("big", "many"), demonstrative adjectives ("this", "that") usually go before the noun
  • adjectives where there is a choice between two alternatives ("left - right", "preceding - following") tend to go before the noun

Notice the terminology used, though: "tend to" , "usually", which shows us that these are general, but not strict rules.


I wonder if "jewelry" would be accepted for "gemmae?" In English it's likely that somebody would ask "Do you like my new jewelry?" However, I never hear people talking about gems.


It's because "jewelry" and "gems" are not synonyms.
Jewelry is broader. "Gems" can be "jewels", but only sometimes.


Personal ornaments, such as necklaces, rings, or bracelets, that are typically made from or contain jewels and precious metal.

If think it should be "or" precious metal, not and, to make the definition clearer. As jewelry can be: a gold necklace, a diamond wristlet, or anything.

Gems and gemstones are sometimes considered as synonyms (except for expert gemologists), for the other people, there could be this distinction:


Gemstones are rough stone (precious stone) from the mine , Uncut and unpolished and gems are cut and polished gemstones.


a precious stone, typically a single crystal or piece of a hard lustrous or translucent mineral cut into shape with flat facets or smoothed and polished for use as an ornament.

So, gems can be jewels (and it's accepted by Duo) but only if they are destined to be worn,
And not all jewels are gems, gold earrings are not gems.

If you know a millionaire who wants to show you his diamonds, he could say "Look at my gems", if insisting on the precious stone itself. Or if the gems are prepared to be worn, he could say also "Look at my jewels".

But I think you would have more chance to hear ("my gems") said by a gemologist. So, in this case, if they are not destined to be worn like jewels, they are not jewels, but only gems.

A ring with a garnet for instance, is a jewel, as it's a precious ring, and can be considered, by extension, as a gem (made with a big gem or several gems). But precious gold earrings are always jewels, and never gems.


Jewelry can be be made without precious stones, but jewels are stone. Jewelry made only from gold wouldn't be called jewels.

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Completely agree, even if it meant introducing the Latin word for jewellery, this is not a sentence anyone would say, except a gem dealer. It's too weird.


Isn't gemmae singular? Which would make the translation Do you like my new gem? I would have thought "gemmarum" is the plural.


gemmae can be singular when it is the genitive or the dative but here it is the nominative plural (it is 'doing' the pleasing).

gemmarum is the genitive plural ('of the gems').

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