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TFL Lesson 4 Saying

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    TFL Lesson 4 Saying

    Okay, so I'm curious about the saying for TFL's Lesson 4: "Alea jacta est."

    Lesson 4 taught us about the perfect passive tense, using verbals and forms of sum. Translated, the perfect passive should read "was/were" or "have/has been", correct? So, "jacta est" would be translated "has been cast" or "was cast"....right?

    Why, then, is the saying's translation "The die IS cast"? Wouldn't the Latin use present passive and say "Alea jacitur"?

    I'm probably missing some nuance and it is eating at my brain.

    Thank you for humoring me!

    Taylor

    #2
    Re: TFL Lesson 4 Saying

    Hi Taylor,

    In this scenario, "jacta est" is not the perfect passive of jacio, but the perfect passive participle (jacta) functioning as a predicate adjective with a form of the verb "to be" (est). Painfully literally, you could write this "the die (alea) is (est) a-thing-having-been-cast (iacta)." In English, we many times shorten the perfect passive participle from "having-been-Xed" to "Xed," i.e. "The die is cast."

    Does that make sense?
    Jacob
    Memoria Press

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      #3
      Re: TFL Lesson 4 Saying

      Hello! Thank you for your quick response and please forgive my slow one!

      Hmmmm.....so here is my next question, then. How can you tell when it is perfect passive vs. a predicate adjective? Is it the presence of a preposition that determines its fate?

      Thanks!
      Taylor

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        #4
        Re: TFL Lesson 4 Saying

        Like most identical forms in Latin, context will be the key. For "alea jacta est," you could very easily translate it as "The die has been cast." Both of these translations makes sense. The perfect passive participle as a predicate adjective is much less common than the verb form though.
        Jacob
        Memoria Press

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          #5
          Re: TFL Lesson 4 Saying

          Thanks! Gotta love those identical forms, ha.

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