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Word order difference of essentially identical sentences

Why does the word order change between these two sentences?

Cotidie mater sacrificat. (Mother sacrifices daily.) (https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/34048588)

Maritus cotidie sacrificat. (The husband sacrifices daily.) (https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/33834138)

Is it as simple as the "the" in the husband's sentence? Or does it have to do with the genders involved? or something else?


December 15, 2019



Word order is changed in Latin to emphasise what you are saying (as well as for poetic reasons).

In this case, in the first sentence it's emphasising that the mother does it daily, whereas in the second sentence the emphasis is on it being the husband that does it.

The difference is small and almost insignificant - there would be other ways to place and strengthen emphasis if it was really important, but these small changes of word order give a richness of expression in Latin that is difficult to achieve in other languages where word order cannot be changed so easily.


Ahh - that makes sense - and helps me understand some of the other word order changes I've seen as well. Thank you!


In Classical Latin, the subject of a sentence (the do-er of the action) is usually the first in the word order while the verb is usually the last word in a sentence (or at least in simple sentences). While word order can be changed since Latin relies on endings of nouns and verbs to indicate their "jobs" in a sentence, the standard is Subject-Object-Verb. Latin sentences also don't always require a stated subject: verb endings can indicate the subject without the need for pronouns.


I think I understand. Thanks.


The 2nd sentence is a neutral statement in the standard word order. The 1st emphasizes cotide a little by putting it at the beginning of the sentence, not in neutral order.


You can emphasize a word by placing it in the beginning of the clause. Mother sacrifices daily (not once a week) Husband sacrifices daily (not anybody else)

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