4

Particularly in terms of word-order in sentence.

I doubt, for example, if we would hear sentence like this:

"Tarda solet magna in rebus adesse fides" (Ovid)

where we have Tarda and fides gapped by the entire sentence.

But the scope of this question is not restricted merely to examples as the above. Rather, I'm even more interested in basic movements in sentence: the order of subject, verb, object. Was it more prevalent to use the SVO/SOV in daily spoken language than in writing?

When reading Latin, I was charmed by that magical flexibility of word-order; However, it turns out to be quite a headache when one is trying to translate a spoken language of daily life into Latin. Especially, in situations when people are angry or in hurry. In those cases, I wonder if several kinds of order would "sound" [not sure to whom though] odd/"too poetical".

I've read that the order might be used to stress out certain words or the idea behind the sentence. Yet, it seems there is a lot of gray area - especially when translating into Latin where this kind information given by the word order cannot be given in the source language that does not share this flexibility.

  • Written Latin is extant; spoken Latin isn't. :) – C Monsour Jun 13 at 14:40
  • @CMonsour, My question is indeed "problematic". It's somewhat blurred and open in nature. One can take it as a question relevant to the historic times; i.e accounts of Romans writing about this subject of spoken language issues (like "deterioration"). Another one, might say, having present-times in mind, that we just have to start real-speaking to find that out. However, I venture to say here that "imposing"/"dictating" a system from above (such by translating living scenes - which is the context of the Q), might have it's influence: bi-directional living-process. – d_e Jun 13 at 15:14
  • My theory, by the way, is that we indeed could hear sentence like Ovid's in spoken language - but up to a certain time in history... doubtly in Ovid's age. that's another aspect of that interests me, namely language evolution. – d_e Jun 13 at 15:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.