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Help with parsing a Latin phrase (not in MP curriculum but want to understand)

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    Help with parsing a Latin phrase (not in MP curriculum but want to understand)

    I've been learning the Divine Mercy chaplet in Latin and I am curious about the parsing of a phrase. I feel like I should understand these endings, but they are not what I expect so I am guessing it is due to some more advanced grammar I haven't learned yet. So, can anyone here help me out?

    Have mercy on us and on the whole world

    miserere nobis et totius mundi

    I confused by the "totius mundi". My understanding is that miserere takes dative (I think???) which would be "toto mundo", right? Mundi is either genitive or pl nom. I know there are some complicated uses of genitive so maybe that is what is going on? I can't figure out totius either. The only grammar I can think of with "ius" for an adjective is comparative neuter and this would be masculine and doesn't seem to be comparative. So teach me!!! Why "totius mundi"?
    Debbie- mom of 7, civil engineering grad, married to mechanical engineer
    DD, 25, BFA '17 graphic design and illustration
    DS, 23, BS '18 mechanical engineering
    DS, 21, chemistry major
    DS, 18, Physics major
    DD, 15, dyslexic, 10th grade customizednMP plus co-op
    DS, 12, super squirmy, possible dysgraphia, MP 7A
    DD, 6 , K- finally one who seems to like drawing and writing- first one since my oldest!

    #2
    Re: Help with parsing a Latin phrase (not in MP curriculum but want to understand)

    Originally posted by momgineer View Post
    I've been learning the Divine Mercy chaplet in Latin and I am curious about the parsing of a phrase. I feel like I should understand these endings, but they are not what I expect so I am guessing it is due to some more advanced grammar I haven't learned yet. So, can anyone here help me out?

    Have mercy on us and on the whole world

    miserere nobis et totius mundi

    I confused by the "totius mundi". My understanding is that miserere takes dative (I think???) which would be "toto mundo", right? Mundi is either genitive or pl nom. I know there are some complicated uses of genitive so maybe that is what is going on? I can't figure out totius either. The only grammar I can think of with "ius" for an adjective is comparative neuter and this would be masculine and doesn't seem to be comparative. So teach me!!! Why "totius mundi"?
    Hello,

    Misereor can take the genitive, as in mundi, or the dative, as in nobis. Totius is the masculine genitive singular and modifies mundi. This adjective, totus -a -um, is part of a group of adjectives that are sometimes called the "Naughty Nine." They are regular 1st/2nd-declension adjectives except in the genitive singular, which is -ius for all three genders, and the dative singular, which is -i for all three genders. (One has an irregular neuter singular too: alius alia aliud.) These adjectives are taught in Unit II of Third Form Latin.

    Loved this question; thanks for asking!
    Last edited by Michael; 11-09-2017, 10:19 PM.
    Michael
    Memoria Press

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      #3
      Re: Help with parsing a Latin phrase (not in MP curriculum but want to understand)

      How could I forget the naughty nine! I "taught" that last year, but I obviously didn't actually learn it myself. Ok, I get totius then. I'll just accept your explanation for misereor for now. The logical part of me wants to know how you know when it takes genitive and when it takes datives, but I am sure I will see more about that in years to come. For now, I'll just say, "Latin can be as messed up as English sometimes!" Thanks!
      Debbie- mom of 7, civil engineering grad, married to mechanical engineer
      DD, 25, BFA '17 graphic design and illustration
      DS, 23, BS '18 mechanical engineering
      DS, 21, chemistry major
      DS, 18, Physics major
      DD, 15, dyslexic, 10th grade customizednMP plus co-op
      DS, 12, super squirmy, possible dysgraphia, MP 7A
      DD, 6 , K- finally one who seems to like drawing and writing- first one since my oldest!

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Help with parsing a Latin phrase (not in MP curriculum but want to understand)

        Miserere takes the genitive in the classical age and also in the time of the Vulgate, whereas dative is more typical of later medieval Latin. You can see miserere mei, genitive, in the Psalms. But it is miserere nobis, dative, in the Gloria and Agnus Dei.

        Just speculating, I notice that here it is paired with the dative of person, nobis, but the genitive of a thing, mundi, but I do not think that there is any rule about person versus thing with this verb. This prayer was composed in modern times, I think, and I suspect that has something to do with the seemingly arbitrary mixing of genitive and dative.

        Bonnie

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          #5
          Re: Help with parsing a Latin phrase (not in MP curriculum but want to understand)

          Originally posted by Bonnie View Post
          Miserere takes the genitive in the classical age and also in the time of the Vulgate, whereas dative is more typical of later medieval Latin. You can see miserere mei, genitive, in the Psalms. But it is miserere nobis, dative, in the Gloria and Agnus Dei.

          Just speculating, I notice that here it is paired with the dative of person, nobis, but the genitive of a thing, mundi, but I do not think that there is any rule about person versus thing with this verb. This prayer was composed in modern times, I think, and I suspect that has something to do with the seemingly arbitrary mixing of genitive and dative.

          Bonnie
          It could also be metrical: The genitive nostri would elide with et, but the dative nobis does not. Also, the i in totius is normally long, but can be scanned short. If short, totius mundi is a dactyl + spondee, a common ending in dactylic hexameter, the meter of epic poetry. The rest of the prayer is not dactylic hexameter, but maybe the translator really wanted to pay tribute to the great Greek and Latin epics?
          Michael
          Memoria Press

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Help with parsing a Latin phrase (not in MP curriculum but want to understand)

            Michael,

            Exactly! I think you have hit the reason. I believe this prayer is meant to be sung. I know it is set to music, and the phrasing must have been for meter and rhythm.

            Bonnie

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              #7
              Re: Help with parsing a Latin phrase (not in MP curriculum but want to understand)

              In line with Michael's thinking, it just occurred to me that Miserere nobis et totius mundi, said aloud, seems so much more euphonious than Miserere nobis et toti mundo. That final long i in mundi just seems to perfectly cap off the assonance from all those i's. So I think Michael nailed it in looking for non-grammatical reasons for mixing the dative and genitive. Momgineer, you always ask the most interesting questions!

              Bonnie

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