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SFL L26 V. 8: Question about genitive

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    SFL L26 V. 8: Question about genitive

    Hello!
    I'm working my way through the Form workbooks to shore up my Latin knowledge, and I have a question about genitive nouns.
    Sentence 8 in section IV of L. 26 of SFL:
    "Senatores pópuli clamóribus impédintur."
    The translation is:
    "The senators are (being) hindered by the cries of the people."
    How do we know that pópuli modifies the word clamóribus and not senatores? Is it based on syntax? (If so, when is this taught?) Like, is there a rule for genitive word placement, since they function like adjectives...?

    Thank you!
    -Laura Hall
    Mom to DS1 (11, 6th), DS2 (9, 4th), DS3 (6, 2nd), and DD (3, JrK).

    Highlands Latin Phoenix Cottage School

    www.highlandslatinphoenix.org

    #2
    Re: SFL L26 V. 8: Question about genitive

    Originally posted by calliope View Post
    Hello!
    I'm working my way through the Form workbooks to shore up my Latin knowledge, and I have a question about genitive nouns.
    Sentence 8 in section IV of L. 26 of SFL:
    "Senatores pópuli clamóribus impédintur."
    The translation is:
    "The senators are (being) hindered by the cries of the people."
    How do we know that pópuli modifies the word clamóribus and not senatores? Is it based on syntax? (If so, when is this taught?) Like, is there a rule for genitive word placement, since they function like adjectives...?

    Thank you!
    -Laura Hall
    Good morning Laura,

    I believe the Forms do teach that as a general rule genitives precede the noun they modify, but Latin word order is so flexible that we can't assume populi must modify clamoribus. Grammatically, populi could modify senatores instead of clamoribus. Thus there are two possible translations:

    1. The senators are being hindered by the cries of the people.
    2. The senators of the people are being hindered by the cries.

    Without context, the first translation makes more sense than the second. In fact, context is what you would normally use to determine the correct translation of an ambiguous sentence. Of course, if a student can validly defend an alternate translation, I certainly wouldn't mark him wrong unless his translation made grammatical sense but not logical sense.

    HTH!
    Michael
    Memoria Press

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      #3
      Re: SFL L26 V. 8: Question about genitive

      Super helpful, as always! The grammatical ambiguity and need for context is part of what makes Latin so engaging and fun.
      Thank you!
      Mom to DS1 (11, 6th), DS2 (9, 4th), DS3 (6, 2nd), and DD (3, JrK).

      Highlands Latin Phoenix Cottage School

      www.highlandslatinphoenix.org

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