2

In Q: Is it "bene videtur" or "bonum videtur"? Adjective or adverb with verbs/copulae meaning "seem", I made the mistake of assuming that, "videtur mihi" = "it seems good to me", can stand alone. It was stated, by Vincenzo: "(The passive infinitive) "videri" means "it seems good" on its own only when used impersonally to introduce incidental propositions with "ut" os "si" and certain infinitives (e.g. they must not themselves contain an impersonal verb)."

In response to an enquiry as to prevailing circumstances, in Calabria, six-months ago, Vincenzo offered the example:

"res hic in Calabria satis bona videtur mihi." = "The situation here in Calabria seems good enough to me."

In order to achieve, "it seems good to me" (in isolation), there is impersonal verb (having only a 3rd. person singular in each tense & "it" as its subject) "placet" (= it pleases) plus dative, giving "mihi placet" = "it pleases me"/ "it is pleasing to me", rendered to "it seems good to me".

On https://glosbe.com/la/en/placet, in one example, "mihi placet", stands alone but is translated to "Pleased to meet you." In all other examples it is qualified by circumstances.

Therefore:

Firstly: is "mihi placet" a correct way to say "Pleased to meet you.", in the Roman World?

Secondly: can "mihi placet" be used, in isolation, to express pleasure at any prevailing circumstance/s?

2
  • My answer is yes. But I don't know why exactly. It may have to do with transitivity.
    – Nickimite
    Oct 14 '20 at 14:57
  • @Nickimite: Thank you. Unbrutal_Russian has provided what may be an answer in Comments in Q: latin.stackexchange.com/q/12785/1982, indicating that "mihi placet" cannot stand alone.
    – tony
    Oct 20 '20 at 12:17
5

Short answer:

  1. "Please to meet you" - no evidence in Lewis&Short lexicon for this usage.

  2. Yes and no. As usual, it depends on context. The true answer is no, but most of the time it looks like yes. And it's because subjects can be implied.

Long answer:

  1. No evidence for this use. You may find in poetry (Terence, Plautus, etc) some common Latin greetings. It's unlikely that colloquial Roman greetings mirror English counterparts.

  2. It depends on how "isolated" it is. Technically, no. But if we know what we're talking about (=have an implied subject), yes. Here is the reasoning behind implied subjects:

"It seems to me" and "it pleases me" both require a subject, like any verb. Notice that in English, we use (the expletive) "it" to temporarily stand in for a not-yet-stated subject.

In the example you cite (res hic in Calabria satis bona videtur mihi) the subject is stated. It is res. It seems to suggest that videtur mihi cannot stand alone.

But the subject can be unstated (implied) as long as everyone knows what you're talking about:

Dave: what is the situation in Calabria? John: It seems good to me. || quae est res in Calabria? bona videtur mihi.

I hear the objection already: "but, you made bona the subject!" Nope, just a predicate nominative. So I repeat, if we know what we're talking about, the subject can be implied:

Dave: How is running in the afternoon? John: I like it. || quomodo est post meridiem currere? placet mihi.

The subject is implied (the whole clause currere post meridiem). So NO, placet and videtur don't "work" without a subject. No sentence in any language can truly lack a subject or verb. Yet we often leave out est.


As for the comment by Unbrutal_Russian,

"mihi placet" can't be used like that any more than "I like" can in English.

Sort of. mihi placet = "I like [it]," but English can't imply the "it."

If any of this didn't make, sense don't feel bad. English makes learning romance languages confusing. It depends so much on word order that it requires "it" at the beginning or else it becomes Yoda-talk at best and nonsense at worst.

0
3

When I said that mihi placet can't be used like that, I didn't mean to say it can't stand alone - it absolutely can when the context is sufficient to identify the thing that evokes the emotion. Even English allows some ellipsis colloquially, eg. "(d')you like?". I meant only that it can't be used as a greeting in the same way "I like" can't be used as a greeting to mean "Pleased to meet you" in English.

Now when you say "to express pleasure at any prevailing circumstance/s", it looks like you want to use mihi placet without a concrete reference, but something like "I'm enjoying myself", like an impersonal expression (pluit, tonat). In this case no, it always takes at least two thematic roles: the stimulus in the Nominative, and the experiencer in the Dative. In other words it's a two-place verb, and both thematic roles need to be derivable from the context when they aren't explicit, which is again absolutely everywhere in Latin.

Any way, when used without any clear reference, placet acquires the meaning of "I agree, approve, decide in favour of": senātuī placuit "the Senate has thus decided", sī dīs placet "gods willing". In this use there's still a second thematic role, which is now closer to that of the theme, as in transitive verbs like dēcernere. This theme still needs to be derivable from context, and most often is an entire clause introduced with ut or the Acc.Inf, and can be referred back with ita/sīc.

To sum up, replying with mihi placet when meeting somone would be like saying "I approve", which at best can be understood as awkwardly praising someone's looks. And to say "I'm having a good time", you can say bene etc. est mihi/bene sum. But there's no idiomatic equivalent of "It's a pleasure to meet you" in Latin, and the ways to express this sentiment are all very direct, but exploring them deserves a question of its own.

1
  • Thank you. In Q: latin.stackexchange.com/q/6578/1982 , I tried to use "mihi placet (eam videre)" to mean "sexy", in the sense of "it is pleasing (arousing) me to see her". It proved to be too great a stretch. Nobody offered a Latin term for "sexy". Does yourself have any thoughts on this one?
    – tony
    Apr 2 at 8:38

Your Answer

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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.