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I am learning Latin from Collar and Daniell's FIRST YEAR LATIN. In LESSON IV: THE GENITIVE CASE TO DENOTE POSSESSION, an exercise is given (sentence translation).

Some examples:

  • Līberatne? Līberō, portāmus. (Hopefully translates to Is he freeing? I am freeing, we are bringing.)
  • Fīliās incolārum līberant (They are freeing the daughters of the inhabitants.)

But, there is one sentence I do not understand:

Fīliane Galbae litterās exspectat?

I have no idea what Fīliane means. I have checked it in several dictionaries, including Lewis and Short, to no avail.

From what I have read, fīlia means daughter, but it has a -ne ending added to it? (To a noun? What?!)
My only guess is, this is a mistake and the sentence should be this instead:

Fīlia Galbae litterās exspectatne? - hopefully: Is Galba's daughter expecting some letters?

Is that correct?

  • The -ne is an enclitic, it's used to ask a yes/no question, and it's on the word where the question is (usually the verb, but not always), with "expectat + ne" alone = you would have: Is he/she/it wait for/expect. The enclitic can also be on noun (but it's less usual). "Filiane" alone would be something like "is it the daughter who...", putting the yes/no question specifically on this word. See here: latin.stackexchange.com/search?q=enclitic – Quidam Nov 17 at 9:44
  • See also: Where to put the enclitic -ne? – Joonas Ilmavirta Nov 17 at 12:18
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Your analysis is correct: this is fīlia "daughter" + -ne "?".

The trick is, -ne can attach to any word, not just verbs. In fact, it usually attaches to either the first word, or the most emphatic word, whatever that might be. Since nōn often comes at the beginning, nōn-ne became common enough that you'll often see it analyzed as a word of its own, rather than a combination! Similarly, satis-ne is common enough that it's often contracted to satin'.

So your translation is spot-on: "is Galba's daughter expecting some letters?"

  • Ironically, nonne was just introduced to me in Cap. VII of LLPSI, although by this point in the book I've already seen -ne attached to various different words. – Adam Nov 17 at 0:50

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