9

I am active in a small Latin Discord group; a member brought up a question concerning the validity of the following phrase with chained enclitics:

Valēsneque?
(with the enclitics distinguished) Valēs-ne-que?

I assume that their intent was to convey something that fell around the following sentiments; it was not difficult for me to clearly interpret what he was trying to say:

And how are you?
And are you [doing] well?
etc.

However, I asserted that it was not valid, and offered a potentially suitable alternative like "et ut valēs?"; another member offered the equally suitable "atque ut valēs?".

I assumed that valēsneque was invalid largely based on two reasons: one, the fact that, other than words with unremovable enclitics that have taken on a separate meaning (see: quīcumque, quaecumque, quodcumque and others like it), I have never encountered any instance of chained enclitics anywhere; and secondly, the fact that Latin is classified as a fusional language, and that if valēsneque was indeed valid, it would be a potentially interesting case of agglutination in a fusional language.

This leads me to my primary question: is the chaining of enclitics -que, -ve, -ne in sequences like valēsneque valid or not?

4

The question in the title ("Can enclitics be chained?") is broader than the one you end the body with ("Can -ne, -que, -ve be chained?").

  1. The answer to the first question (assuming we can agree on a definition of an enclitic) is "yes." Consider one common but limited-use enclitic that you didn't bring up: -cum after certain pronouns. -cumque is quite common--and I don't just mean words like quicumque. Here's Cicero:

    tecumque et ero tantum quantum patietur utriusque aetas et valetudo, et, si esse una minus poterimus quam volemus, animorum tamen coniunctione iisdemque studiis ita fruemur ut numquam non una esse videamur. (Epistulae ad Familiares 5.13)

  2. As for the second question, I agree with Joonas's answer: a corpus search only reveals false positives for the six combinations of -que, -ne, and -ve.

9

Playing with a corpus search tool brought up no examples of -quene or -neque in the intended sense. If chaining was admissible, I would expect to see attestations with -que and -ne, the most common enclitics. Therefore I would argue that chaining of enclitics is not good classical Latin, but it is readily understandable in modern use.

  • I mentioned it in my answer, but perhaps I'm missing something obvious: how did you sift through the results for "neque#" to determine that they were all false positives? That definitely seems like the most promising combination – brianpck Oct 4 '18 at 4:29
  • 1
    @brianpck To screen off the word neque, I searched for things like "sneque#" and similarly for some other common final letters beside S. I didn't go through the entire alphabet, though. I wish there was a way to search for "neque# but not #neque#"... – Joonas Ilmavirta Oct 4 '18 at 4:35
  • I didn't think of that! You're right that that eliminates the false positives! – brianpck Oct 4 '18 at 13:20

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