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October 2017


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 Last year I tried having Latin free write days where for 7-10 minutes students would do a timed write in Latin. We used sheets with word blanks provided (5 per line) and word counts provided at the ends of the lines.

I had mixed feelings all year about what to do with them, how to provide feedback or whether to provide feedback. Written? One on one sessions? The effectiveness? Towards the end of the year I just stopped doing them. I didn't feel it was a productive use of their time or mine. There was no structure at all. If anything, I felt it allowed for the reinforcement of their own errors. Instructionally it felt poorly designed.  Yes, some students liked it and, yes, it did diminish their fear of trying to write in Latin since they had been doing it all year. But otherwise I didn't feel that it added to their learning.

Yet there is no question that while my students typically end up being strong readers of Latin, most of them couldn't compose worth a darn on the fly. It is something I don't really work on. Thus writing IS something I want to do more of. Somehow.

One of the things I enjoy doing from time to time is rewriting a passage of Latin to suit my own needs. I recall once rewriting a passage of Martial complaining that "friend" wasn't reciprocating on dinner invitations to make it about a "friend" not replying to my emails. I was mindful of the structures used in the passage and even tried to keep the meter (but that wasn't critical for my purposes), carefully monitoring my changes in vocabulary and how it affected other structures, etc.

This, I felt, was always a way to control and improve my writing. So I tried it Friday with my Latin 1s.

I demonstrated via this Google Slides Presentation what sort of thing I wanted. In it, you will see the story "amicus" from CLC Stage 2. It's a short, simple story. I pointed out grammatical structures/forms we had been discussing (Nominiatives vs Accusatives, prepositional phrases, action vs linking verbs, etc). Then on the next slide is a story I had created using the name of a student in one of the classes. I pointed out how I had started with the "amicus" story and used only one change per sentence until incorporating those changes led to something more interesting (story-wise). For instance, when I decided the father needed to curse at both the cook and his daughter, I realized the story line was about how the cook apparently had tried to teach the man's daughter (my student) to cook but that she was still a horrible cook. In the process I stole some lines from other stories like "in triclinio" and even "Cerberus" to fit my needs. In other words, I didn't have to stick tightly to "amicus;" it was just a guide and a starting place.

The challenge for the assignment is using ONLY what you know and what you have seen. The rules were: 1) You could NOT use any vocabulary we had not seen either in the book or elsewhere (greetings and such we had worked on before starting the text) this year. 2) It could not be rude.

The students had the last half hour of class so there wasn't a rush. There was time to think and have fun. We used the same paper that I had made up last year for automatically counting words, and most students wrote between 40-60 words. Of course the results weren't perfect (they are students after all), BUT I felt there was a lot more right and productive about writing like this than just a loose free write. And the students seemed to enjoy it.

I think I will keep using this kind of writing for the rest of the year to see what happens. If you try this as well, let me know how it works for you and your students.

P.S. I am not declaring that free writes or timed writes are bad; only that I felt they didn't work for me. My spoken Latin isn't fluent enough thus my students don't get a 90% exposure to comprehensible input, which I feel they would need for this to work well. I am simply positing another possible writing activity that isn't just composition from English to Latin.
 I just posted this on the Cambridge Latin Course list.


A lot of people, many of whom I respect, are totally untextbooking these days. Everything is totally comprehensible input or nothing else.


I have always said that the textbook is only one tool in your toolbox, and I have felt that CLC was a pretty damn good tool. I have read it in-depth so many times as I've looked for examples of certain usages, whether for making materials or presenting papers at conferences, that I feel like I know it intimately. I can't imagine not using this textbook.


And yet, for part of this semester, I wasn't using the textbook but using a novella instead, and letting another younger teacher lead (sort of). I liked the novella, but not as a book to teach from. I want it and others for sustained silent reading, for extra reading, for extensive reading since we get our intensive reading with CLC.


I have always felt on the cutting edge of teaching--when reading approaches were first adopted (and attacked as inferior). In addition, I would never trade a Rusticatio that I have attended and all that I learned there. I hope to go back. I have always wanted to include more oral/aural Latin in my classes and feel I do increase it each year. 


But when I wasn't using CLC this year for 2 months (we're on block), it was torture. We weren't just missing the textbook, we were missing the culture. I felt like we were spinning our wheels because we didn't really progress with constructions or sentence length. 


For pure language teaching, I have nothing against comprehensible input. But it's not like our students are learning Latin to go use a little live language while on vacation.  Our goal is reading ancient (or even humanist/medieval/Renaissance) authors. And I'm thinking about college prep and even AP prep (even though I'm not teach AP again... though I could), and the kinds of skills I wish I had had when I was in college. Pure language learning isn't enough--maybe for the autodidacts in the room--but.... 


I guess what I wanted to say is that I am making a well-considered choice not from fear of change, but from experience and knowing what grew my program to have two teachers. (We actually had three teachers this year, but enrollment dropped after our experiment.)  I know that the most critical skill for Latin is READING, and that all the rest should support it and enhance it.  And I will keep forcing myself out of my comfort zone each year to make what I do even better. But I'm not untextbooking. 


So, to me, the elephant is everyone talking about untextbooking is the next best thing. And it may be for some teachers. But it's not for me. Right now I'm working on plans for more oral/aural work this year tied into an overarching project. (More on that another time...)  I will make more time for it because I know it does help to internalize forms, and if that means slowing my pace a bit, ok. But I know the extraordinary value of CLC and I'm sticking with it.


Thus if you are feeling alone, you aren't.



scroll from Pompeiian fresco

Pardon me while I do some thinking out loud.

So I'm working on curriculum for next year, trying to incorporate all the things I've learned from this year, etc. Students are currently taking standardized tests in other classrooms and thus I have some time to think and to process.

I'm currently looking at Interpretive Communication: Reading and Listening for Level 1 Classical Languages as adopted for the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Here's what was put together back in 2014 but goes in effect fall of 2017:

(2) Interpretive communication: reading and listening. The student comprehends sentence-length information from culturally relevant print, digital, audio, and audiovisual materials as appropriate within highly contextualized situations and sources. The student uses the interpretive mode in communication with appropriate and applicable grammatical structures and processes at the specified proficiency levels. The student is expected to:
114.47 2A: demonstrate an understanding of culturally relevant print, digital, audio, or audiovisual materials in classroom contexts;
114.47 2B: identify key words and details from fiction or nonfiction texts or audio or audiovisual materials;
114.47 2C: infer meaning of unfamiliar words or phrases in highly contextualized texts, audio, or audiovisual materials; and
114.47 2D: identify cultural practices from authentic print, digital, audio, or audiovisual materials.
The specified proficiency level is left purposefully vague, or so it seems. The intro to the whole section includes this: §114.47. Classical Languages, Level I, Novice Low to Intermediate Low Proficiency (One Credit), Adopted 2014. The Novice Low rating was for speaking proficiency, and in fact a look at the rest of the TEKS demonstrates that it was considered unnecessary to require going above Novice Mid for speaking even in Latin 4, which in part I feel is a shame, but I remember it wasn't worth pushing hard for at the time. (I also remember a time when we didn't have an speaking component to the Latin certification test for Texas but we finally have something now. Testing oral proficiency in at least reading Latin aloud was something I promoted for decades it seems. Change often moves slowly...but I digress.)

I have been teaching for almost 2 decades using what I clumsily refer to as reading methodologies, which maybe should be better described as reading strategies to train the English speaking brain to learn to accept Latin word order as something totally understandable when reading from left to write, as well as for helping one focus on the details of inflection and phrasing in shaping meaning without having to resort to parsing or decoding (as I had been taught). I teach the skills I wish I had been taught that would have made me a truly superior student of Latin in college (instead of one who just studied for hours to know the answers). Not that I didn't ask in college to be taught how to be better; I was just told the only way to improve at Latin was to read more Latin. As I have said before, I was a decoder, and a good one, but not a reader. So now I try to create readers of Latin in my classroom, not people who can decline nouns perfectly or conjugate any verb in any tense and mood perfectly. They know the basics but it's not the most important thing. Reading is. 

When I taught middle school Latin a dozen plus years ago, I even experimented with extensive reading vs intensive reading, but there just wasn't enough low level material at the time. With block schedule now, I feel that I have had time for a few minutes of SSR (sustained silent reading) which has been a good way to work in extensive reading. Which leaves what Latinists have really been doing for a long, long time: intensive reading. And let's face it: it's not real reading, like one read's for pleasure, but a slower reading that more often than not involves an excessive amount of analysis. At its worst this involves constant parsing (which will NEVER allow you to develop a true feel for phrasing while reading and thus limit your ability to read). And I believe that there are ways to teach reading in word order with attention to inflection and phrasing that can lead you to more profitable extensive reading, which in turn will lead to improved intensive reading. It's intensive reading that's needed for AP Latin & university level Latin course work, like it or not.

And while there's much merit in accessing the Latin writings of the humanists and others, we will not easily escape the need to focus on the Roman world. We have 3-4 years with students, if we are lucky, to expose them to the Roman world and to Latin. The majority of the Latin they will experience in their lifetime (not just in our class) will be in written form. We can provide them with tons of comprehensible input but if we are failing to provide them with the means of dealing with reading material that will almost assuredly always be beyond what they have developed a mental representation for, then we are also limiting their ability to read Latin outside of the classroom.  

I'm rambling, admittedly. But I'm also struggling with certain aspects of the new TEKS/proficiencies, and I'm not afraid to admit it. The Interpretive Reading Can-Do benchmarks from ACTFL, for instance, seem more appropriate for extensive reading goals. ACL's Standards for Classical Learning are not much different.

ACTFL's CAN-DO Benchmarks for Interpretive Reading are:
Novice Low: I can recognize a few letters or characters. I can identify a few memorized words and phrases when I read.
Novice Mid: I can recognize some letters or characters. I can understand some learned or memorized words and phrases when I read.
Novice High: I can understand familiar words, phrases, and sentences within short and simple texts related to everyday life. I can sometimes understand the main idea of what I have read.
Intermediate Low: I can understand the main idea of short and simple texts when the topic is familiar.

ACL's Standards for Classical Learning draft document from 2016 has:
Novice Low Learners can identify a few memorized Latin or Greek words and phrases when they read. For Greek, they can also recognize most Greek letters.
Novice Mid Learners can understand some learned or memorized Latin or Greek words and phrases when they read. For Greek, they can recognize all Greek letters.
Novice High Learners can easily understand the main idea of texts related to familiar topics, personal interests, and studies. They can sometimes follow stories and descriptions about events and experiences in various time frames. For Greek, they can recognize basic transliterated words.
Intermediate Low Learners can understand the main idea of short and simple Latin or Greek texts when the topic is familiar.
As is, it would seem it's not necessary for students to have that attention to detail as long as they have the main idea. But the main idea won't help you to develop an understanding of how an inflectional language works and how to retrain your brain to accept Latin word order and thus allow you to be able to read those super long sentences that come up in Caesar and other classical authors.

I've gone back online to search again for the new TEKS because in my frustration I keep feeling like there was certainly more that we produced in that committee than what I currently have saved on my computer. (Admittedly my memory is faulty; I blame too many years of sleep deprivation.) Anyway, I finally found what I was looking for here. So let's look again:

TEKS for Classical Languages: 

(1) The study of world languages is an essential part of education. In the 21st century language classroom, students gain an understanding of two basic aspects of human existence: the nature of communication and the complexity of culture. Students become aware of multiple perspectives and means of expression, which lead to an appreciation of difference and diversity. Further benefits of foreign language study include stronger cognitive development, increased creativity, and divergent thinking. Students who effectively communicate in more than one language, with an appropriate understanding of cultural context, are globally literate and possess the attributes of successful participants in the world community.

(2) The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) identifies three modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational. Interpretative communication is the overarching goal of classical language instruction. Students of classical languages should be provided ample opportunities to interpret culturally appropriate materials in the language of study, supported by opportunities for interpersonal and presentational communication.
(A) In the interpersonal mode of communication, students engage in direct oral or written communication with others such as conversing face to face, participating in digital discussions and messaging, and exchanging personal letters.
(B) In the interpretive mode of communication, students demonstrate understanding of spoken and written communication within appropriate cultural contexts such as comprehension of digital texts as well as print, audio, and audiovisual materials.
(C) In the presentational mode of communication, students present orally or in writing information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers with whom there is no immediate interaction such as presenting to a group; creating and posting digital content; or writing reports, compositions, or articles for a magazine or newspaper.
(3) The use of age-level appropriate and culturally authentic resources is imperative to support the teaching of the essential knowledge and skills for languages other than English. The use of culturally authentic resources in classical language study enables students to make connections with other content areas, to compare the language and culture studied with their own, and to participate in local and global communities.
(4) Students recognize the importance of acquiring accuracy of expression by knowing the components of language, including grammar, syntax, and genre.
(5) At the end of Level I, students of classical languages should reach a Novice High to Intermediate Low proficiency level in reading, a Novice Low to Novice Mid proficiency level in listening, a Novice Low to Novice Mid proficiency level in speaking, and a Novice Mid proficiency level in writing. Proficiency levels are aligned with the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines 2012 and the ACTFL Performance Descriptors for Language Learners.

AH!  That's more like it. And I believe that #4's "accuracy of expression" wasn't about output so much as understanding how things are properly "expressed" in Latin. That is, this addresses the need for intensive reading (which should be coupled appropriately with extensive reading) in studying Latin--the need not to just get the gist but to understand with greater depth. BUT admittedly, this is not one of the proficiencies, merely part of the description of a Level 1 course. The reading proficiency is at a Novice High to Intermediate Low, and even that, when glancing back at the ACTFL can-dos, seems vague and more appropriate for a description of extensive reading skills.

One of my other issues is that when I consider what Latin 1 means to me, admittedly it is in great measure defined by where I am in the Cambridge Latin Course. This is of course artificial in some ways. People could claim that I am defining Latin 1 by "chapters covered" and that we shouldn't allow a textbook to drive the curriculum. On the other hand, the underlying design of CLC -- when you strip away all the things that have been added over the years to appease academia -- is the running story with repetitions and gradual building of understanding of new constructions. There are certainly nuances to reading Latin that I have learned from CLC that were never explained to me by any teacher or professor that aide in fluent reading. 

When I am asked what my goal is for the year and reply with a stage number, I'm told that's not a goal. That's covering chapters or covering grammar. But in my mind's eye, it's about reading goals - having certain grammatical constructions in one's passive knowledge at least and working towards active knowledge (or building a true mental representation). And I will admit that I don't seem to be able to counter an argument on what my goals are for the year when someone is demanding proficiency markers. But ACTFL's (intermediate low) "I can understand the main idea of short and simple texts when the topic is familiar" is awfully broad, not that ACL's "Learners can understand the main idea of short and simple Latin or Greek texts when the topic is familiar" is much different. Of course, in many ways this could describe anything.  Heck, ACL's novice high has a better description: "Learners can easily understand the main idea of texts related to familiar topics, personal interests, and studies. They can sometimes follow stories and descriptions about events and experiences in various time frames."  And if that's the case, then intermediate low is understood to include various time frames. 

Something else that's not mentioned and something that I started to feel was totally missing when we detoured off CLC earlier this year and taught Brando Brown Canem Vult--sentence length. Fear of a long sentence, especially a long Latin sentence, is something that I try to get students over early on. CLC does a nice job expanding sentence length as it builds upon new grammatical structures. At first, naturally, it's with simple dependent clauses like "quod" or "postquam," then relative clauses, participial phrases, and subjunctive clauses. I expressly teach students how to read in word order, how to metaphrase (search this blog for "metaphrasing" for more on that topic), etc, so that the location of the period is not an issue--that taking the Latin as it unfolds, one phrase at a time, is what truly matters. My problem when trying to teach a more comprehensible input style class is that we were not experiencing enough complex sentences. That could easily be my fault and tied to my low speaking proficiency. Some would say that experiencing complex sentences could wait anyway. But I disagree: I think that even metaphrasing should begin early when the text is too easy to need it because these new mental muscles need to be built up gradually and consistently. It's not about the metaphrasing, but training the brain to accept Latin word order--and in my experience that can make a big difference in the quality of the experience of extensive reading as well as intensive reading. 

So I guess the REAL question I'm back to in all of this thinking out loud is what I need to define for our program as the goal(s) for meeting an intermediate low proficiency for reading for Level 1 Latin. You know what is left out?  TIME.  This is one reason why I think I might want to specify, at least for my own personal purposes, the difference between INTENSIVE reading and EXTENSIVE. It may not be a big deal in Latin 1, but consider this from the Level 4 TEKS: students of classical languages should reach an Advanced Low to Advanced Mid proficiency level in reading.  I guarantee you that's intensive reading not extensive. That's not comfort zone reading. That's not reading done with a timer on. And I'm not advocating that we should necessarily put timers on reading. I was always a slow reader in English even because I liked to "taste the words" as Rex Harrison put it. And while I do have a timer on SSR this year (5 minutes for Latin 1, 7-10 minutes for Latin 3 & 4), I don't tell them what to read. Sometimes they are reading the simplest things I have, sometimes they are looking at Harrius Potter or Ille Hobitus.

But maybe we should do timed readings--how many pages of Latin at a certain level--since we are also incorporating timed writes. It's a thought. I could save the Orberg Lingua Latina's for timed readings and maybe only do timed readings a couple of times a six weeks. Read, write down how much and 1-2 sentence summary of what it was about.  I don't think I'd put a grade on it. I think I'd just let students reflect on it later in the year.

No final answers here, just more to ponder. 

This will be a short entry because I feel like I don't have time to post at all but I MUST MUST MUST start posting some things about what I am doing.

1) We are on block schedule this year, and I like it.  I like that after a day of busting my butt planning for the next day's classes that I can then relax a day.  Sort of. Well, I should have graded last night but I took care of me instead. Our block schedule is A B A B C, with C being a flex day of seeing all classes for only 41 minutes.  Otherwise we have 92 minutes per class.

2) I have been able to work in Rassias substitution/transformation drills in Latin 3 and Latin 4 because I had time!  And instead of just using some target sentence from the story as is, I will change out names to be people in the class.  Talk about increased engagement!  They want to know what they are doing in the sentence!!!  So that's been good.

3) I have been working in using basic WAYK symbols with the Latin 1s to make sure they can stop me or ask questions while staying in Latin. Of course even I'm not very good at forcing the issue of staying in Latin because I've been dealing with a few behavior issues (in my last class) and some learning disabilities and I want to make sure EVERYONE is feeling ok before pushing high percentages of Latin.

4) I have been working on making myself do two things: 1st, to pause for a count of three before allowing answers, and 2nd, to actually call on people by name for questions. Boy, let me tell you, that was eye-opening, especially with my last class.  From group responses it sounded like most people were getting the hand of UBI and QUID FACIT, but, sheesh, individually proved something else!

And here's the question: Why?  I think it was two-fold. I think there were engagement issues in that class AND I think I should have given them a brain break instead of racing to the finish line. I didn't get to the finish line because of all the interruptions, so I should have just had a brain break. By not having the brain break I wasted time.

I also gave my first quiz and I'm feeling like it was harder than I meant it to be.  I mean, I think it was very, very easy for some.  However, for students who have processing/analytical issues, it may have been tricky.  That is, I had a fill in the blank conversation over basics of quid nomen tibi est, mihi nomen est, salve/vale, tibi gratias ago, libenter, mihi placet, quid agis hodie, etc--all of which were in a word bank. If you followed the conversation, it was pretty easy. But if you weren't use to solving puzzles by seeing what comes next, it was tricky.  Well, for some. I should grade them next but I have a stack of Latin 3 quizzes to grade first.

So, I dunno.

5) OH OH OH!  We have been having 5 minutes of Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) in Latin on A & B days. So far this is only in Latin 3 and Latin 4, but they are liking it.

6) I have been working on masting Google Forms, Google Sheets, Google Slides, etc.  Just not Google Docs because it doesn't allow me to script keys to type macrons, so Word is still my go-to for that.  I have done some cool slides, made a rubric in a Google Form which then feeds into a Google Sheet and calculates the grade--which was great until I realized that you can't give students feedback that way. I'm researching writing a script (ok, copying the script) to automate emails from the data sheet. I used it for scoring simple (scripted) presentations on Latin names and bullas.  By the way, some of the bullas have been gorgeous this year!  Look at these:

So it's been a busy start to the year for me.

Tomorrow I'm going to have students write about this picture after we discuss it. I combined two pictures so hopefully there will be enough to write about.  We'll see how it goes.  That's all for now.

So I've been listening to a lot of Tea with BVP lately, having lots of deep thoughts but not being able to pause and write.

A bunch of topics have come up that have had my head spinning but this one really caught my attention: Are languages "subjects" to be taught or something to be coached?

Now, I definitely believe that Latin should be treated fully as a language because it is WITHOUT QUESTION a language. I think the more we teach in the target language, the more we use more modern techniques to provide Comprehensible Input, the better. But...

But... I have had this question personally for a long time: Why Latin?  Students sign up for my class because of me not necessarily Latin. My enthusiasm is contagious, I know, and we have a good time. But secretly I feel like I do not have a good enough reason for arguing that students should take my class over another modern language.

I know I love Latin, even obsess over it in my own way, but I truly cannot explain WHY--outside of thinking that maybe buried deep in my genetic make-up is a Latin speaking Roman ancestor. I do NOT want to hear arguments about benefits to the understanding of English grammar, developing broader English vocabulary, and the like. Let other people say that is the reason for teaching Latin. Ok, I do use it from time to time but secretly I think it's a wimpy argument. I prefer to argue that I feel like I have direct communication with Vergil and Caesar by reading their original; I like to know exactly how they expressed themselves in order to feel a stronger connection with them. Yes, western civilization is indebted to the Romans (and the Greeks), and by studying ancient authors we are broadening our understanding of our own culture. But in general for drawing wisdom from the ancients, well, we can do that in translation, can't we? It isn't the strongest argument when we have so many good translations available these days.

Let me come at this from another direction. In general people who study Latin in college either become teachers or professors or go on to another field. If they go on to another field, they rarely read Latin again. Most students who take Latin in high school do not continue it in college unless they have more language hours required for their major. I took Latin because I didn't want to take Spanish because my brother and sister did. (I have an independent streak.) I continued with Latin because I had fun teachers and professors that made it interesting. I majored in Latin because I thought teaching would be a decent occupation and no one encouraged me to do something that would earn a better paycheck. (But ok, I am a good teacher and I do think this is where I am meant to be even though I am tired of being stressed out over finances.)

One does not study Latin in order to communicate when traveling to foreign countries, or to be able to put bilingual or trilingual on a job application. It is not a language taught in the military to use when serving abroad. A bachelor's degree in Latin does not indicate that one has true fluency of any sort with the language. It DOES indicate a certain ability to translate choice selections of mainly golden age Latin accurately, but it doesn't indicate reading fluency in the same way one would talk about reading fluency in a modern language. Latin is read by the line or by the page. Modern languages are read by the chapter or by the book.  A degree in a modern language can be useful in many other professions. In this country, Spanish is useful in business; it is good to be bilingual if you are a doctor, lawyer, journalist, whatever. Latin helps with understanding medical terminology, but NOT with communicating with someone in need of something (medical help, legal help, etc). Latin is seemingly a means to one end: reading Latin, mainly that written by famous Roman authors. Modern languages are used to communicate to find out all sorts of things from people around us.

So should we teach it as a language or a subject, and does it matter?

I think it does matter--greatly. Right now in general we treat Latin as a subject (even if we think we are treating it as a language--this is something I see myself being guilty of). Our goal is NOT proficiency if we are honest. It isn't; not around here. Our goal is to learn forms and function so that we can then use a variety of coping mechanisms to leapfrog over real language ACQUISITION in order to translate selections Vergil, Caesar, Cicero, Catullus, Ovid, etc. And our goals in these courses are about improving analysis skills more than developing any real proficiency in reading. It is about making the grade of an A via translation, spot grammar analysis/explanation, and writing a paper in English that analyzes some aspect of Latin grammar or a theme in the target author's work.  Make the grades and that's it. We know--we KNOW--this is exactly what AP Latin has us doing.

Consider textbooks for Latin. We like to have discussions about the various worth of the grammar/translation approach versus the reading approach. I was originally taught via the grammar/translation approach. The textbook would introduce a new declension or a new conjugation or a new tense, we'd practice going from singular to plural, Latin to English, English to Latin. Simple enough. Vocabulary lists were memorized, nominatives given and we had to supply genitives, gender, and meaning or, with verbs, principal parts. We all *hated* the day where we had to try to translate the sole story in the chapter. We hated reading Latin because it seemed difficult. It was cracking a secret code. (Ok, I came to like decoding; it was like solving a good algebraic problem.)  When we got to real Latin in level 3 after two years of grammar being shoveled into us, all we did was write out translations in English. That is not reading.

Textbooks like the Cambridge Latin Course, which I use and admittedly love, are reading approach. Ideally they are using repetition and illustration to establish meaning. Grammar is addressed in a section called "About the Language" but they do try not to get too technical. The ultimate goal is to develop reading skills because our goal is solely to read the Latin of dead authors. BUT... unless you are constantly rereading or reinforcing by other means, it just isn't enough input. I personally have created numerous materials focusing on various aspects of the grammar that are demonstrated in the text, bringing them all together in one place so that the multiple examples, which are often spread out in the text, can be seen in one place and thus the concept more fully understood.

Last summer I took great pleasure in combing CLC for examples of certain grammatical structures (ablative of description and ablative of respect among them) so that I could put them all in one place and demonstrate to students that we had seen examples and we could thus now understand this construction, and indeed recognize it when met in Vergil. That is, it would not become another new grammar feature met in AP but one that indeed was there in CLC, met many times, just waiting for analysis and understanding. I took great joy in how brilliant CLC is, how rich with all the grammar we needed in this reading approach even if it is not expressly discussed in the textbook. It's there! It's brilliant!

In fact, when I have heard colleagues state that they think certain passages in CLC are really too difficult and perhaps need embedded readings for students to use as a scaffolding, I have thought to myself, "Well, if you were using my reading methods, if you were training students to read in word order, to metaphrase, to see participial phrases as chunks to be metaphrased, etc etc, then these passages would be doable." Arrogance. Arrogance because what I have been teaching are coping mechanisms that aide in leap frogging true acquisition. Students aren't acquiring mental representations of the language; they are acquiring coping mechanisms for reading/translating. When it comes down to it, I'm still explicitly teaching grammar. It's not in isolation but given in context, but that doesn't mean this isn't still explicitly teaching grammar.

Is teaching explicit grammar necessary? Maybe. That is, it is if we are teaching AP Latin as the culminating Latin experience OR if we expect our students will continue in college and we want to make sure that they will have the skills (i.e., grammar) that professors expect. Or at least that's how it feels to many of us who are currently teaching Latin. I know that the reason why I continue to teach and test grammar concepts (in context) is because of my fear of what the next teacher or professor will think of my student and whether my student will be able to succeed in their classes. It certainly isn't because I think it is the best way to teach Latin.

What we demand of a Latin student is so different than a modern language student. If we do demand output, as in the grammar/translation approach, that output is usually in the form of translating a specific English sentence into Latin and everything must be grammatically correct and spelled perfectly. (And this is why Latin was reserved for the elite for so long and considered something that trains you in precision and logic.) It is rarely any freeflowing composition of our own choosing, in great measure because few of us want to write about fighting and killing, wars, and slavery. Ok, we could use the vocabulary of love poetry, but unless we're writing a commentary on the war against Isis, the language of Caesar may not help us much. We don't learn the vocabulary of our everyday lives so we have little output about such things.  And with the reading approach, there is no real Latin output. Almost all communication in Latin is one-sided: dead Latin speaker to live modern person.

Let's face it: the current design of almost all Latin programs is to get students to a point where they can "read" (too often analyze & decode) ancient authors as quickly as possible. With Spanish, it could be to enjoy reading Spanish novels, or to communicate when you travel, or to be bilingual and thus more employable in any field. Proficiency levels can vary for your needs. It is more welcoming to all. Latin sometimes feels like either you made the Olympic team or you didn't. So long, nothing else for you to read at your level, at least your English grammar and vocabulary improved; glad you had fun.

There is no intermediate or graded material in Latin generally available. We don't send our Latin students home with summer reading assignments or suggestions to watch tv shows (like Spanish can do) or listen to music. Ok, there's plenty of Latin music out there from centuries past, but most choral groups use ecclesiastic pronunciation which is NOT what is generally used in school. Thus it can be impossible to listen to. Even Japanese can encourage students to watch more anime. ha. Summer assignments for Latin generally have been reserved for AP students, and even then it's been about reading an ENGLISH translation of the Aeneid.

Honestly, it had NEVER occurred to me to point my students to extra reading for pleasure. (What is WRONG with me?)  Then again, no teacher of mine ever encouraged me to read extra Latin outside of class.  Latin was something you studied IN CLASS because it was complex with what seemed like an endless list of vocabulary to learn and more complex writing styles with every author. I made A's in Latin in college but that was because I spent hours decoding every single word assigned for class and then going over it all a second time before class. I had dictionaries, grammar books, and translations nearby as I decoded. It took HOURS. That does not make one feel capable of just reading for pleasure. I liked what I was studying, but it wasn't the sort of stuff you could read in bed holding a book in one hand and petting your cat with the other. It was my SUBJECT.

And I hate to confess that it wasn't until this year that I really ventured forth to truly READ FOR PLEASURE in Latin. I read Harrius Potter, Winnie Ille Pu, Commentarii de Inepto Puero, and I'm currently reading Domus Anguli Puensis. When I'm somewhere without a book I have accessed The Latin Library via my phone to read some medieval Latin.  What have I been afraid of?  Extensive reading? Not knowing some of the vocabulary? I'm learning to get over it. I would say that MOST Latin teachers I know that are traditional high school teachers with JCL programs and the like read very little Latin just for the fun of it. We weren't taught how to read extensively or that it was ok not to know every single word. We were taught that being precise mattered and to not demand precision is sloppy work not worthy of a classicist.

And perhaps I'm digressing.  But my point is that we have been teaching Latin as a subject that can only be studied in a school setting.  Maybe we didn't mean to do this or realize that we were doing this, but that is what we have done.  The teachers before us did the same, and probably the teachers before them.

We know--we KNOW--that speaking Latin is part of the natural acquisition process, it activates our passively learned knowledge (forms and functions, etc), and broadens are abilities with the language. And that is from the point of view of someone who learned the grammar first. Friends who are teaching in Georgia using entirely Comprehensible Input are having incredible success with students who, in large numbers, continue on to 4 or 5 years of the language, can speak, write, and read. And most importantly TAKE GREAT PLEASURE IN THE LANGUAGE.
We are about to shift to proficiencies for ALL languages in our Texas standards. And although Latin's proficiency requirement in spoken and written language isn't nearly as high as our reading proficiency level, we will still have them. It's time for us to decide--do we want to continue teaching Latin as a subject that has grades slapped on for perfection, or is it time to treat it as a language? Do we really need to rush to Roman authors, or can we take a little more time to actually help students acquire the language, to build mental representations, and read medieval and humanist authors along the way? I have been to several Latin immersion workshops and have learned and participated in lots of comprehensible input. I know in my heart of hearts that this is the way to go, but I'm having a hard time leaving, even partly, CLC. But I also had a hard time facing that my wonderful reading methods which I have built the whole of my teaching career around, are still nothing more than a coping mechanism for not having true acquisition of the language.

I am not fluent in Latin. Yes, I can read Latin, but not with the kind of fluency that I would like. Picking up a new author can be intimidating. Teaching reading skills for the last 15+ years has made it significantly less intimidating and rather empowering, which is perhaps why I'm suddenly reading more in Latin for pleasure. But I'm not fluent though and I know it, and I read more slowly than I read English. Even still, I am finally comfortable with my proficiency level because I'm beginning to understand why I am at the level I am at. Latin was always a subject, even when I thought I was treating it as a language.

It took me several years of attending Rusticatio (a SALVI event) to develop decent listening proficiency. My speaking proficiency is still not where I want it to be as well because one week of immersion a year is not enough. And any time I have tried to have days of speaking entirely in the target language at school, I have discovered there is still a lot of vocabulary that I need and don't know.

Next year I want to start using Comprehensible Input in my level 1 classes because I want to teach Latin as a language not a subject. I'm excited and terrified. It took me 16 years to develop the quia materials, the quizzes and tests and everything that I use with CLC. I was all about reading methods; I thought that was being about the language, but textbook Latin isn't enough input, even with the best of books. It's not meaningful enough, it isn't engaging enough, and it lacks that quality of purpose that BVP describes so well in his "tasks." (See Episode 24 - Principle 5: The Nature of Tasks.)

I want to teach Latin as a language. I want a deeper, more meaningful relationship with all those who came before me who wrote in Latin for centuries, not just a handful of dead Romans from around the time of Christ. I still can't answer "Why Latin?" to my satisfaction, but that's ok.  Maybe I will discover that along the way.

So I was listening to Tea with BVP, episode 2 I think, and a teacher was saying how she was having great success with a pure Comprehensible Input classroom with students she saw everyday but with the young children she only saw once a week it wasn't working. She felt like she had to do too much reteaching in order to be able to move forward.

Now, I haven't shifted to a Comprehensible Input classroom myself. I am still learning.  I do give a fair number of instructions in Latin, we read aloud a lot in Latin, and other activities.  Admittedly I am still pretty tied to my textbook, the Cambridge Latin Course, but I do try to work in a number of oral/aural activities. One that I like is "musical pairs." You need something students can read in pairs--like a dialogue between two people--and music.  You play the music while students mill about.  When the music stops they have to pair up and read the Latin dialogue. If they get to the end before others do, they start over.  When the music starts again, students stop reading and mill about again.  Repeat a few times.

I have used this with embedded (simplified) readings of dialogues coming up in the day's story to preview it. I make sure the Latin is simple enough with only a couple of glossed words at most. My best students (admittedly, this year's 1st period class) would become quite dramatic at reading these and even my lowest functioning class would get something out of this activity.

Doing these reminded me of a box stuffed in my storage cabinet from when I taught middle school students a decade ago.  The box contains class sets of little mini-dialogues. One was on introducing yourself, another on asking to go to the bathroom, another on answering questions starting with ubi or quis. I was looking at these last week, and thinking that they would be good to use as a mini-warm-up.  And in thinking about this teacher's question on BVP, it might have been a good solution for reviewing from the previous week before jumping into something new.

No question that if you only teach once a week you will HAVE to spiral and review.  And you will have to develop a VARIETY of ways to do this.  I'm not saying I would use these little dialogues for every class.  There would have to be other little things. Or other motivational tasks with a purpose for reviewing something learned for that one day, like "How many people can you introduce yourself to in Latin between now and next week?"  It could be a competition for a prize. Then, the next week, meet students at the door and they cannot enter until going through greetings. In that moment, before even seeing whether students took part in the little competition or not, you will be able to tell how much reviewing you will need to do. But don't make it blatant reviewing.

If numbers are learned, then find things to count. Do surveys the following class of how many people have dogs for pets or cats.  Each time everyone is counting the hands raised (thus reviewing from the previous class lesson on numbers), but maybe you are also adding, "Aemilia canem habet. tu canem habes? ego canem non habeo. ego felem habeo. feli nomen est Julia." That is, you might begin working in 1st, 2nd, 3rd person with a useful verb (without all the grammatical nonsense) plus a direct object/accusative.  Then add to that a little review on "mihi nomen est___" with a bit of a twist by providing the dative for dog or cat. (Remember, shelter vocabulary, not grammar!) Maybe by the 4th week you can tell a story TPRS style. A little one. But maybe a full story will be a few more weeks away.  Are you teaching something that interests the students, keeping it personal? (Yes, their pets, their names, how many.) Maybe it won't be story time until Halloween--and what a treat it could be by that time!

So, I guess what I would have liked to have heard on Tea with BVP would have been something more along the lines of learning how to spiral and how to tie in more closely whatever was learned in the previous lessons. It might seem like you would cover less material over time but in all likelihood it will be of a much better quality and better retained the more you spiral--and most importantly, students will have more joy in the class and stay excited about language learning.

I had a ballroom dance instructor, Richard, who reassured students in the class (all older adults) that we would likely retain only 10% of what he had taught that night over the length of the week, but that it was ok because he would thoroughly review before moving on. Which was true--and he was the best ballroom dance instructor I had. Sadly, he no longer teaches and the other instructors are just not equal to the task at all. The key is that Richard KNEW most people would forget and he taught NOT to the exceptionally talented individuals who would go home and practice but the whole class. He knew the importance of spiraling and building a solid foundation. He believed there was great joy in social dancing (as opposed to ballroom competitions) and that he could teach anyone how to lead and follow and enjoy the music. Other instructors which we have had since have expressed frustration at the amount people would forget... and yet even with their trying to push us farther, they taught us less. (They are not true teachers.)

So I guess the real question is, how realistic are your goals for what you want to accomplish with young children?  We should always be focused on not how much we "cover" but how much they can retain, not to mention how and why they do retain it.

So, next year will mean changes for me one way or another.  My high school is going on block scheduling and I'm hoping to have the Latin 1s back... or... I'm hoping to be teaching exploratory Latin full time to 5th graders in a totally different school district.  Either way, I want to start moving into doing more Comprehensible Input. It's a tricky thing if I stay because I feel like it will also mean dismantling all I have built for the last 10 years--16 years if you count the 6 years I taught middle school Latin.  That was when I began my adventures with the Cambridge Latin Course, began building materials of detail and quality, and began developing my reading methodology. And if I begin using Comprehensible Input more than the textbook at my high school, it may mean going it alone... I'm not sure my colleague has any interest in it.

And maybe that will be a moot point because maybe I will get this other job teaching exploratory Latin.  And either way, I can continue to study everything I can about Comprehensible Input so that I will be ready.

So I've been listening to the Tea with BVP podcast  I only discovered it a couple of episodes before the end of the season, so now I'm starting over. This morning I listened to episodes 1 and 2.  At some point, I believe in episode 1, there was a question about whether to teach pronunciation. The basic answer was no because your students should be able to pick it up by hearing you speak or other native speakers, etc, in a natural way.

I, however, have always said that I can't just ask Cicero how to pronounce a word I have never come across before because he's dead. No one local to me seems interested in speaking Latin conversationally. (I have had to go off to SALVI events like Rusticatio to have quality exposure to spoken Latin in a large quantity--that is 24/7.) The authentic communication I have is in reading what the dead wrote in great measure. We do know how golden age Latin was pronounced (see Vox Latina), so that is not at issue. I have always felt it important to teach pronunciation, syllabification, and accentuation in Latin (but only to count it as extra credit on quizzes--not for a real grade) because students will at some point need to be able to read and hear words (at least in their heads) that no one has pronounced for them before. Perhaps I'm influenced by my phonetics education as a child. Perhaps this is just my own neurotic need that I shouldn't force on others. (Here is a pronunciation guide I created to go with the Cambridge Latin Course.)

In teaching high school, one of my goals with expressly teaching the dividing and accenting of words is so that when we hit poetry meter will be easy and not challenging. Another goal is simply that they can decide how to say a word without my having to say it for them.  And yet...  Have I been wasting a lot of time?

It's not that there aren't other ways in which my students are picking up good pronunciation.  First and foremost, I read everything aloud to them.  With gusto! With dramatics! Students read with me in unison as well.  We also have recitation passages--short snippets from an important story in the chapter/stage which we then use to practice pronunciation. (These are also used to target new grammar in the chapter/stage.) Later each student recites/reads this passage for a pronunciation grade. I would say 98% of students do this really well.

We also have "jobs" at the beginning of class that include reading the agenda which is mostly written in Latin, reading the date (which includes yesterday, today, and tomorrow), as well as being the daily weather person.

(I can't recall why it was foggy and dirty at the time I took this picture, but I believe there was either dust or ash from a fire in the air at that time for some reason that was making the fog weird in the mornings. And yes, it probably should have read decimo sexto for the date and not sedecimo!)

I don't correct too often when students are doing jobs; many self correct or just improve as the year goes on. Many are conscientious of macrons and the role they play in pronunciation, a few admittedly lack interest and are just getting through their job for the day. Most, however, really like doing the jobs. At an awards banquet the other night I overheard one student, when asked to say something in Latin, rattle off, "salvete omnes! vaticinatrix hodierna sum. mihi nomen est Octavia. sol lucet!"

I think... I think if I teach pronunciation in the future maybe I'll just let the students discuss and figure out from previous input and exposure what the difference is between short and long for each vowel, and maybe even accentuation rules. And syllabification is really only necessary for teaching poetry in all honesty, right? And even then, only if you have to expressly teach meter because of AP or IB.  The truth of the matter is that my expressly teaching the rules for pronunciation, syllabification, & accentuation aren't the real reasons why my students have good pronunciation and aren't afraid of reading Latin aloud.  They can do that because we read aloud all the time, because I make my class a place where Latin is heard. They get extra credit points on dividing and accenting words on stage quizzes because I expressly taught the rules.  Big whoop.

I'm not going to give up my personal obsession for macrons on all materials because I want to learn how to say a word the right way from my first encounter with it if possible. Can I read Latin well without macrons? Yes of course. I like picking up my copy of Harrius Potter and rattling on at a natural speed as if I'm reading English and not Latin. There are no macrons; there are often a lot of new vocabulary for words Caesar never new (he never had an automobile after all) and I can guess from experience what is the most likely pronunciation--but I can only do that because I put the demand on myself for careful pronunciation with macrons at all other times.

Perhaps that seems a bit much--but as I said before, Cicero is not here.  I can't just say to someone in the next room, "hey, how do you pronounce nihilominus?" So for Latin, especially when you get to a point when you are in total control of your input (which is often just print material), pronunciation is important. Understanding how it works is important. But maybe as a teacher--especially as a teacher of beginning students--it really isn't a critical topic.  Surely I can use that time better than spending the better part of a class going through my pronunciation sheet (see above)?!

Just another thing to consider when planning for next year.
I have spent the better part of this weekend not grading quizzes as I should be but buidling a new set of online quizzes for reviewing and understanding Ablatives of Description, Comparison, and Respect.  During this time I'm watching friends post from the Living Latin Institute put on by Paideia in NY and feeling not only a little jealous but admittedly a bit defensive about what I've been working on.

But I'm not currently teaching via Comprehensible Input, I'm using the Cambridge Latin Course and focusing, as I have done for a long time, on reading strategies. The two are not, of course, exclusive. In fact, I am looking for ways to bring the two together in the future. And it may one day be that I will be totally CI in my approach, but for now, I'm a CLC girl.

CLC often gets complaints about not having enough grammar, but truly it's all there.  Sometimes it is discussed in the ABOUT THE LANGUAGE sections, but other times it isn't. Sometimes it is discussed in the LANGUAGE INFORMATION section in the back of the book, sometimes it isn't.  In the case of the Ablatives of Description, Comparison, and Respect, one can find very minimal information of them in the back of the book. One doesn't get a sense of how often one sees them in the text.  Certainly the students have no idea about what they are seeing. CLC would like students to discover patterns for themselves and/or to internalize new constructions after having experienced them multiple times.

However, there are times when the examples are spread out to just a few here or a few there. Sometimes explanations aren't really needed. But there does come a time when students start feeling that there are hundreds of exceptions to how to translate or understand something. And while I often feel more problems are caused by worrying about what would sound "right" in an English translation which could be avoided if we kept our focus IN the Latin, we have to understand the situation from the student's point of view.  That is, sometimes it is worth pointing out exactly what is going on grammatically, especially if we can back it up with multiple examples.  And when we start hitting ablatives that sound better translated with things other than "by" or "with" (the two standby's we learn with declining), to me that is the time to point out the new guys.

I give tests every couple of stages, for the most part, and usually pull together samples just from those stages of whatever needs targetting.  In this case, I decided we needed a closer look at Ablatives of Description, Comparison, and Respect. Combined together I was able to make two 18 question online quizzes regarding identifying the construction and translating.  (They use the same 18 sentences in each.)  While it may seem to the student and other users of these two new quizzes that I'm merely hammering home grammatical features, what I really am trying to do is to force students to read and reread these examples more times than we would have met them just in class.  In class I can count on them seeing the constructions in full context with their work groups (three people each) a couple of times, plus one more time when we go over it again all together in class.  That's maybe three times, four if I'm lucky. With the online quizzes, which I end up using to prep and preview for tests, I hope to force them to see these same sentences at least 2 more times, more if they review them again on their own time at home. I doubt more than 4 or 5 questions will actually make it to the test.  After all, Stages 36 and 37 cover present subjunctives and more on indirect statements--big ticket items. But sometimes it is frustration with the smaller items that can put off students, especially when examples are spread out and one feels you are learning something new each time it comes up.  Hence the need for repetition in context with similar items to focus and engage the students.

So here are the two new items.

1. CLC Stages 36-37: Identifying Ablatives
2. CLC Stages 36-37: Translating Ablatives

Unit Four isn't to be feared; it's to be mined for its wonderful depth of information. Join me in embracing it.

(Originally this was posted on the CLC list earlier today....)

My Latin 3’s are currently in the middle of Stage 37.  Today they began cōnsilium Domitiānī I. There are several things that I like about this story (besides the story line), or rather that I like about the way CLC sneaks stuff in.

There are a couple of ablative of descriptions in this story.  Of course, it isn’t critical that one even talks about them expressly except that they do come up in AP and instead of feeling like you have to cover so many little grammar topics then, why not point them out when they first start appearing?  It’s not like we have to quiz everything.

The thing about these ablative of descriptions is that they’ve been hiding out like ablative absolutes: noun and participle in the ablative—what more does a student look for?  Ok, sometimes set off by a comma but not always, as we well know.  And perhaps you are like me and for the sake of simplification teach students only a couple of ways to translate ablative absolutes (until they truly have a handle on them).  I use “after X had been done” (depending on the time frame of the main verb, naturally), which serves us well.

However, there are times when saying “with X verbed” just sounds better. I had wondered why in the back of my head until one day I realized that there were always parts of the body mentioned.  (I know I made detailed lists of these things this summer, but that is on my personal laptop at home.)

So consider:

dum senātōrēs anxiī inter sē colloquuntur, ingressus est Domitiānus vultū ita compositō ut nēmō intellegere posset utrum īratus an laetus esset.

“with a face composed (in such a way)” or this one:

Cripsus diū tacēbat; superciliīs contractīs quasi rem cōgitāret, oculōs humī dēfīxit.

“with his eyebrows contracted/furrowed” – ablative of description. So how far back do these go?  It seems to me one of the earliest ones was in Stage 31 in salūtātiō I in this sentence:

omnēs, oculīs in iānuam dēfīxīs, patrōnī favōrem exspectābant.

“everyone, with their eyes fixed upon the door,” sounds a whole lot better than “after their eyes had been fixed upon the door.” Yes, I know, the teacher’s manual does encourage us to explore a variety of different ways we could translate ablative absolutes with our students, but I usually follow a bit stricter translation for the simple reason that ablative absolutes are unique. Once you truly understand how they work and how things unfold in a Latin sentence (actions appearing in the order they happen), you can’t help but admire them. But students... well, they need something a little easier to grab onto.

And maybe it’s not worth pointing out the ablative of descriptions that have occurred as if it is critical to know the difference in the same chapter that ablative absolutes are taught (Stage 31).  However, by Stage 37, students are more or less fine with ablative absolutes and sense when something doesn’t seem quite right.  Therefore I did mention that the first two items above from Stage 37 are ablative of descriptions and how translating them is a bit different.  (And, yes, of course there is overlap with ablative absolutes.)

There is something else kind of interesting going on with the first sentence in cōnsilium Domitiānī as well.  Let’s look again:

dum senātōrēs anxiī inter sē colloquuntur, ingressus est Domitiānus vultū ita compositō ut nēmō intellegere posset utrum īratus an laetus esset.

Look this time at the result clause (ut nēmō...esset). I think, and I could be wrong because I’m rushing to finish this before my conference period ends, that this may be the first time we have a result clause not governed by a verb, but instead by a participle (compositō).  This is part of the compacting that I like seeing throughout CLC.  Once a new concept has been given enough time for mastery, it is combined in another concept.  For instance, my Latin 2’s are in Stage 26 and have this sentence from adventus Agricolae in their recitation packet:

mīlitēs, cum Agricolam castra intrantem vīdisset, magnam clamōrem sustulērunt.

We have a nice participial phrase (Agricolam castra intrantem) nested inside a cum clause. Having a result clause governed by a participle is just another normal step up towards classical authors. And this isn’t the only participle governing a clause in the story. Take this sentence:

veritus tamen nē Domitiānum offenderet, verbīs cōnsīderātīs ūsus est:

A little tricky, this one, because it is maybe only the second fearing clause we’ve met, and it’s governed by veritus (not timeō or vereor). In fact, even that second sentence I originally mentioned has a little clause that is dependent on a participle:

Cripsus diū tacēbat; superciliīs contractīs quasi rem cōgitāret, oculōs humī dēfīxit.

I did not mention to my students that the quasi rem cōgitāret is displaying a “contrary to fact, present time” condition; totally unneeded. But it is nice (to me at least) to see quasi hanging off of contractīs.

The bell’s about to ring.  I just wanted to share some observations from today.
A conversation came up on the Cambridge list regarding SALVIOI ROGANTI in Stage 40.  Many had replied, and of course this is definitely the correct answer, but I felt there was more to add.  So here it is:


>>Re line 5: "Salvio roganti" is a dative that goes with "suadebant": different people were recommending different things
to Salvius [who was] asking what should be done.

Actually, there's a little something more here.
One of the things I tell my students to watch for is a dative case when in the midst of conversation. It develops over time in the text, beginning in Stage 11 when we start seeing the dative with respondit and dixit:

  • Marcus Quarto dixit "Afer candidatus optimus est."

  • "minime! Holconius candidatus optimus est," Quartus fratri respondit.

In Stage 23 we are met with this:

  • deinde Memor, qui iam tremebat sudabatque, alteri sacerdoti, "iubeo te," inquit, "omina inspicere."

The "inquit" is buried in the quote, which appears in the next paragraph in the text, so it appears that we have just a nominative and dative (Memor...alteri sacerdoti) without the "said" or "replied" or similar.  It does show up, but at first it doesn't appear to be there.  Admittedly alteri sacerdoti is difficult for students to pick up as dative without pausing to parse unless they are reading with expectation. The expectation is that we have a conversation going on, therefore someone will be speaking TO SOMEONE.
By Stage 32 (and probably sooner) we have datives being moved to the front of the sentence in a conversation. And in this case, we have a qui correlative in the dative:

  • "nemo nisi insanus laborat."
    cui respondit Euphrosyne voce serena, "omnibus autem laborandum est."

And then again:

  • huic Baebii sententiae omnes plauserunt.

And applause is a type of reply.  (And I like the genitive nicely nested inside the dative phrase.)
In Stage 39 we find one of the first (I think) datives with a participle:

  • Publio hoc narranti Domitianus manu significat ut desistat.

Dative up front again, in a conversation of sorts, and we get this wonderful snapshot of the action perfectly. Publius is still reciting his version of the Ovid they were studying and while he is doing this Domitian raises his hand and we end with an indirect command (without a "verb of the head" but certainly it's being communicated).
In fact, it is interesting as we move through the stages how CLC condenses and combines what we know.  In the case above, present participles, datives in conversation, plus an indirect command.  In Stage 40 it is condensed more:

  • Salvio roganti quid esset agendum, alii alia suadebant.

Dative in conversation (though we don't realize we have a conversation sort of thing going on until we get to suadebant, which of course, also takes a dative), present participle which is also a "verb of the head" governing an indirect question, and that indirect question also includes a passive periphrastic.  So cool.
I know I have skipped a lot of examples that would show the progression and development in the way datives are used, but this gives you a small glimpse.  These progressions are interesting to me to chase down, but a bit time consuming.
Don't forget once you are reading Vergil, you have plenty of examples of datives up front, sometimes with participles, and you have to keep in mind that there is a conversation of some sort going on:

  • talia iactanti stridens Aquilone procella / velum adversa ferit (1.102-103)

Anyway.  There's more to Salvio roganti than just accidentally confusing students with something that appears to be an ablative absolute.  It's not that at all. It's about datives, it's about conversations, it's about developing those reading expectations that are critical to moving forward in Latin.  And it's up to us teachers to truly understand what our textbook is doing, to ask these questions, to look for and follow the progressions, and show them to our students so they will develop the skills necessary.
The instructional facilitator at our school sent a few of us an email at the end of last week.  She wanted to pilot a new website/program which allowed for the videotaping of a class and then being able to constructively talk about it afterwards. I warned her that the last week or two before semester exams probably would not yield the best results.  I wasn't doing anything creative or new worth filming.  However she really wanted to try it out NOW.  So I consented.  I'm game.  And I'm not afraid of criticism.  That's how you learn and grow.

Now, let me just add that there's nothing in the lesson that I did that is grand.  I think it is competent. If you use the Cambridge Latin Course it will probably be worth watching. It shows an average day from start to finish.  You will see:

  1. "jobs" - Students doing beginning of the class jobs which include reading the agenda (which is in part or all in Latin), reading the date in Latin (this includes what yesterday and tomorrow are, and neo Latin dating, not ancient Roman dating), being the "weather person" (in Latin), and general announcements about stuff happening on campus (in English).

  2. warm-ups - "praeparationes" which I do via PowerPoint to target grammar constructions or issues that will be met in the day's story

  3. vocab flashcards (yes, yes, not currently the best pedagogy, but it is what I do at this level)

  4. reading the story - In this case we are reading it chorally.  But I do talk about metaphrasing at one point plus I model left to right reading, etc. (Stage 23, epistulam Cephali)

  5. The relationship I have with these students.

Watching the whole thing may not be for you.  Like I said, I don't think it is anything great or brilliant.  Funny at times, perhaps, but that's it.  However, if you create a account (takes a minute), I *believe* you can see this and you may even be able to make comments.  I don't know for sure; I only just got permission to share. You will see a screen like the one below with the video on the left and comments WITH TIME STAMPS on the right.  This is the feature I like.  These time stamps, which the program does automatically when you start to write a comment, allows you to go straight to a section you want to see.  That is, if you read through the notes and find where I talk about metaphrasing, you can then get the time so you can find that place easily in the video.  Or, if you have a question about WHY I do something in the video, you can start typing in the comment box and it will automatically time stamp it for you so I can see what you are asking about.  So easy, so useful.

I am not certain, but I think there is a way you can request permission to comment.  The current comments are just from the person who filmed this (my instructional facilitator) and myself.  But I have no problem in using this for teacher training purposes.  What I would really like to see are vialogues of my friends who are teaching via TPRS/CI so that I can learn more and shift into a more student-centered, Latin immersive (or at least comprehensive input) environment. My personal pedagogy has been on reading theory for so long that I know I will have a difficult time totally shifting over to what is seeming like a better pedagogy--a more inclusive, more complete pedagogy. Thus if you are reading this and you use TPRS or CI, please try out this website/program so there's more for us to see and learn from!

Anyway, here is the link.  It may not work until you create a account.  However, I think you will find it worthwhile just to use yourself.

Or if that doesn't work, try this one (I think it is specifically a link for sharing the video):
I am all about vocabulary in context.  My preference is to find every occurrence of the word in a passage--but sometimes one is pressed for time, especialy when teaching. I constantly feel a strain between what I think would be truly good teaching, and the reality of dealing with the 50 minute hour.  Yes, I rely too much on flashcards, and often feel guilty for using flashcards.  But I'm not at a point where I can more totally away from flashcards and go total TPRS (with a few new words a day). It doesn't fit with the rest of what I do. I need a compromise, and a good one.

I like it when a good idea comes along, one that helps students internalize vocabulary and energizes the class.  We (world language teachers) had an OWL workshop (see earlier post) on Monday.  A lot of this workshop was about getting students in circles and doing things in energetic ways.  Lots of movement.  And apparently kinesthetic connections to vocabulary create one of the strongest links in the brain. I don't doubt that at all. So I'm totally game for everything we are doing in the workshop.

Now today it's Friday.  I wanted to liven things up.  Latin 2s had a new set of vocabulary (my "A" list for Stage 21 in CLC) and I thought it was time to experiment. I got the students in a circle and handed out one vocab flashcard (mine are large--5"X8") to each student. Here's the vocabulary list in question:

  • ā/ab - by

  • barbarus, -a, -um - barbarian, barbaric

  • circum + acc - around

  • dēiciō, dēicere, dēiēcī, dēiectus - to throw down

  • fōns, fontis (m) - spring, fountain

  • gravis, gravis, grave - heavy, serious, grave

  • haruspex, haruspicis (m) - soothsayer, diviner

  • hōra, -ae (f) - hour

  • iubeō, iubēre, iussī, iussus - to order

  • morbus, morbī (m) - illness

  • nōnnūllī, nōnnūllae, nōnnūlla - some, several (not none!)

  • oppidum, oppidī (n) - town

  • perītus, -a, -um - skillful

  • plūs, plūris (n) - more

  • pretium, pretiī (n) - price, worth, value

  • sapiēns, sapiēns, sapiēns (gen: sapientis) - wise

Each student then had to come up with an action for their vocab item. If they were really stuck, they could ask for help from the group. You would start by saying your Latin word (and holding it in front of you), saying what it meant in English, then doing the gesture. Once the gesture is established, no more English. I started with plūs, and did a gesture as if I were piling up something on my hand. Not brilliant, but it served its purpose. We practiced it together a couple of times, and then went to the next person. Some of the best ones were pretium with a gesture of "raining money" (I think that's what it's called); gravis, physically dropping a little lower with each syllable; and haruspex, with grunting noises as you made imaginary cuts to open up where your liver is and then a "hmmm" (in an examination sort of tone) as you look down at your imaginary liver. (We call the haruspex the "divine liver inspector" instead of just a soothsayer or a diviner.)  For oppidum, we made a peak over our heads with our hands and moved it around with each syllable of the word to symbolize the many houses in a town.

Every time we learned a new word we went back around the circle doing all the previous words.

It was HIGHLY engaging, energetic/kinesthetic, and everyone enjoyed it.

I am doing this every time from now on for the first day of a new list of vocabulary.  I know ideally, certainly in a Comprehensible Input/TPRS classroom one is learning fewer words a day and not using flashcards, but I'm not there yet.  I have to find something that works for me, works for the students, works for my curriculum, etc.

Try it.  It feels great--worthwhile and not gimmicky.
So, I will confess that I’m not sure that I had ever really heard of Subjective or Objective Genitives before this summer.  Perhaps that’s an indication that you really need to know the details of grammatical terminology; or more likely it means that I’ve been sloppy for far too long, especially since I’m the teacher.  While I’m not necessarily convinced that it’s worth understanding the difference between the Possessive and the Subjective Genitive (which will be for another post, I hope), I feel that understanding the Objective Genitive is worthwhile, if for no other reason than sometimes you don’t use “of” to translate it. I had this “I should have had a V8” moment—and wondered why I had missed this for so long. There was no need to be “winging it” as I felt I was sometimes in explaining why some genitives just didn’t sound right with “of.”

Truth be told when I think of what my grounding in grammar was, what my go-to reference was before daring to open Gildersleeve and Lodge in college, it was what certamen players rely upon: good old Amsco.  My well-worn Amsco 3-4 only has four things for the genitive: possession, description, partitive, and with certain adjectives (cupidus, perītus, imperītus, and plēnus). And sadly too many of us use texts like this to guide students (at least for certamen) on which grammar items are important instead of what is actually being used in our texts and in our stories. There is no in between, no grammar reference that has an intermediate range of information. After all, reading Gildersleeve and Lodge isn’t for everyone—that’s for sure!

Anyway, let’s look at what the grammarians say first, then the list of those sentences from CLC (17-40) which I think probably are Objective Genitive, and why we should care.

3.      objective genitive denotes the object of the activity implied by a noun or adjective (metus hostium)

Genitives, Bennett’s new Latin Grammar
195. With Nouns the Genitive is the case which defines the meaning of the limited noun more closely. This relation is generally indicated in English by the preposition of. There are the following varieties of the Genitive with Nouns:--

Objective Genitive, denotes the object of an action or feeling: metus deōrum, the fear of the gods; amor lībertātis, love of liberty

Genitives Gildersleeve and Lodge, p230ff
363. When the substantive on which the Genitive depends contains the idea of an action (nōmen āctiōnis), the possision may be active or passive. Hence the division into
1.The Active or Subjective Genitive: amor Deī, the love of God, the love which God feels (God loves)
2.Passive or Objective Genitive: amor Deī, the love of God, the love toward God (God is loved).
Remarks: The English form in of is used either actively or passively: the love of women. Hence, to avoid ambiguity, other prepositions than of are often substituted for the Passive Genitive, such as for, toward, and the like. So, also, sometimes in Latin, especially in Livy, and later Historians generally: voluntās Servīliī ergā Caesarem: the goodwill of Servilius toward Caesar. Odium in bonōs inveterātum, deep-seated hate toward the conservatives.

Genitives, Hale & Buck p 180ff
354. The Genitive may be used to express the Object or the Application of a Noun, an Adjective, or a Participle used adjectively.
The list of nouns is very large. The adjectives are especially those denoting desire, knowledge, skill, memory, or participation.
rēgnī cupiditāte, by desire of sovereignty
cupidum rērum novārum, desirous of a revolution
cōnscius iniūriae, conscious of wrong-doing
amantissimōs reī pūblicae virōs, firm friends of the state
reī pūblicae iniūriam, the wrong done to the state
excessū vītae, by departure from life
cui summam omnium rērum fidem habēbat, in whom he had the greatest confidence in all matters
praestantiam virtūtis, the preeminence in virtue
a.       Instead of the Objective Genitive depending on a noun, prepositions with the Accusative are often employed, especially ergā, in, and adversus, toward, against.
in hominēs iniūriam, wrong to men; deōrum summō ergā vōs amōre, by Heaven’s great love toward you.
b.      In Ciceronian Latin, only a moderate number of adjectives, mostly expressing or suggesting Activity, take this Genitive. With nouns it is more freely used.
c.       Freer poetic and later Genitive of the Object or of Application. In poetry and later Latin this Genitive is used with greater freedom.
fessī rērum, weary of trouble
integer vītae, upright of life
poenae sēcūrus, safe from punishment
indignus avōrum, unworthy of my ancestors
ēreptae virginis īrā, wrath at the loss of the maiden

Ok, here are the sentences that I think probably contain Objective Genitives.  Some may be wrong but I think most are correct.  You can decide for yourself.  I’ll discuss a few below.

·         20  mandō Quīntō Caeciliō Iucundō cūram fūneris meī.
·         21  multī medicī, ad aulam arcessītī, remedium morbī quaesīvērunt.
·         21  rēx Cogidubnus hūc venit, remedium morbī petēns.
·         23  Memorem ē cūrā thermārum iam dēmōvī.
·         25  Valerius nōs vult custōdēs carceris esse.
·         25  ūna est spēs salūtis.
·         28  Belimicus, spē praemiī adductus, mīlitēs Rōmānōs adiuvābat et incitābat.
·         28  aliī, spē praedae adductī, inter sē pugnāvērunt;…
·         28  mandō C. Salviō Līberālī cūram fūneris meī.
·         28  Belimicus, prīnceps Cantiacōrum, spē praemiī adductus, Salviō summum auxilium dedit.
·         28  Belimicus, metū mortis pallidus, surrēxit.
·         28  Belimicus, venēnō excruciātus, pugiōnem tamen in Salvium coniēcit, spē ultiōnis adductus.
·         29  nūlla spēs salūtis nōbīs ostenditur.
·         29  amōre līberōrum meōrum plūs quam timōre servitūtis afficiēbar.
·         29  amōre līberōrum meōrum plūs quam timōre servitūtis afficiēbar.
·         29  illūc multī senātōrēs, spē favōris Domitiānī, conveniēbant. * two gens
·         30  itaque ambō humum rediērunt, alter spē immortālitātis ēlātus, alter praesentī pecūniā contentus.
·         31  cēterī autem, oculīs in vultum praecōnis dēfīxīs, spē favōris manēbant.
·         31  …aliī spē pecūniae dēiectī invītī discessērunt.
·         32  etiam eī quī spē favōris cēnās magistrātibus dant, rē vērā labōrant.
·         33  labōribus cōnfectus atque spē sacerdōtiī dēiectus, ad vīllam rūsticam abierat ut quiēsceret.
·         34  Epaphprodītus “nōn modo ego,” inquit, “sed etiam Imperātor poenās Paridis Domitiaeque cupit.”
·         34  scīlicet falsa fuerat epistula, mendāx nūntius morbī!
·         34  nunc dēnique intellēxit quis esset auctor exitiī Paridis.
·         35  nūper ego et aliī senātōrēs ab Imperātōre cōnsultī sumus dē poenā illārum Virginum Vestālium quae incestī damnātae erant.
·         36  dīcis amōre tuī bellās ardēre puellās / quī faciem sub aquā, Sexte, natantis habēs. * love for you (your love = amōre tuō)
·         37  ibi mīlitēs nostrī, spē glōriae adductī, victōriam nōmine tuō dignam rettulērunt.
·         37  …omnēs scīmus Galbam cupīdine imperiī corruptum esse;…*or does cupīdō need a genitive?
·         38  est mihi nūlla occāsiō fugiendī.
·         38  est mihi nūlla spēs fugae.
·         40  subitō extrā cūriam īnfestae vōcēs sunt audītae clāmantium sē  ipsōs Salvium interfectūrōs esse sī poenam scelerum effūgisset.
·         40  eīs magnō auxiliō erat L. Mārcius Memor, haruspex et Salviī cliēns, quī, socius quondam scelerum Salviī, nunc ad eum prōdendum adductus est, spē praemiī vel metū poenārum.
·         40  eīs magnō auxiliō erat L. Mārcius Memor, haruspex et Salviī cliēns, quī, socius quondam scelerum Salviī, nunc ad eum prōdendum adductus est, spē praemiī vel metū poenārum.
·         40  patefēcerat enim Myropnous pūmiliō Salvium auctōrem fuisse exiliī Domitiae, Paridis mortis. *split from governing (?) noun (predicatively)
·         40  patefēcerat enim Myropnous pūmiliō Salvium auctōrem fuisse exiliī Domitiae, Paridis mortis. *note chiasmus, double genitive
·         40  quis tam stultus est ut crēdat mē mortem rēgis octōgintā annōrum efficere voluisse?
·         40  intereā Rūfilla, Salviī uxor, dum spēs eius firma manēbat, pollicēbātur sē sociam cuiusque fortūnae futūram esse.
·         40  intereā Rūfilla, Salviī uxor, dum spēs eius firma manēbat, pollicēbātur sē sociam cuiusque fortūnae futūram esse.
·         40  invidia Salviī aucta est suspīciōne Cogidubnum venēnō necātum esse.
·         40  subitō extrā cūriam īnfestae vōcēs sunt audītae clāmantium sē  ipsōs Salvium interfectūrōs esse sī poenam scelerum effūgisset.
·         40  …ille tamen, fīliī salūtis memor, hoc cōnsilium rēiēcit. *two gens

These two sentences, from Gildersleeve and Lodge, offer the kind of explanation that I think would be so helpful to students (since it was so helpful to me):

The English form in of is used either actively or passively: the love of women. Hence, to avoid ambiguity, other prepositions than of are often substituted for the Passive Genitive, such as for, toward, and the like.

And here I thought it was just more of, “eh, sometimes ‘of’ just doesn’t work.”  This is being more specific about WHEN it doesn’t work and WHY it doesn’t work.  And what we are looking for “denotes the object of an action or feeling.”

And when looking for an example of a “feeling,” why not look to spē praemiī adductus? I was never keen on “driven by the hope of a reward,” but hear how much better it sounds when we translate it as “driven by the hope FOR a reward”! There are 16 examples that I’ve pulled which have a form of spēs. I think each and every one of them sounds better with “for” (and remember from a previous post, spē is not really Ablative of Means but Cause/Reason). Here are some examples:

·         25  ūna est spēs salūtis.
There is one hope FOR safety.
·         28  Belimicus, spē praemiī adductus, mīlitēs Rōmānōs adiuvābat et incitābat.
Belimicus, driven on account of his hope for a reward, was helping and inciting the Roman soldiers.
·         28  aliī, spē praedae adductī, inter sē pugnāvērunt;…
Others, driven on account of their hope for loot, fought among themselves;…
·         29  nūlla spēs salūtis nōbīs ostenditur.
No hope for safety is shown to us.
·         31  …aliī spē pecūniae dēiectī invītī discessērunt.
…others disappointed in their hope for money left unwilling(ly).
·         40  eīs magnō auxiliō erat L. Mārcius Memor, haruspex et Salviī cliēns, quī, socius quondam scelerum Salviī, nunc ad eum prōdendum adductus est, spē praemiī vel metū poenārum.
For a great help to them was Lucius Marcius Memor, diviner and client of Salvius, who, as a one-time ally of the crimes of Salvius, now was driven to betray him, from the hope for a reward or from the fear of punishments.
·         40 intereā Rūfilla, Salviī uxor, dum spēs eius firma manēbat, pollicēbātur sē sociam cuiusque fortūnae futūram esse.
Meanwhile Rufilla, the wife of Salvius, while hope him was staying strong,was promising that she would be his partner of whatever fortune.

This last one (with eius) I was never able to translate smoothly into English, even though I understood the Latin just fine, or so I thought. But maybe my lack of understanding about the Objective Genitive and its translations other than “of” was the real problem. Moreover, I like learning that the Objective Genitive has to do with actions and feelings, so that when I see spēs and mētus (and timor) I can already understand that in all likelihood we are dealing with something different from possession, something where “of” might not sound best. Surely the original authors of CLC would not have included so many examples, repeating and repeating the concept, if this weren’t one we were supposed to take note of and help our students to understand. If we just let them guess until something sounds right, it makes Latin seem arbitrary and and even a little vicious to the learner.

Another example which benefits from understanding what the Objective Genitive is would be the Martial epigram about Sextus: dīcis amōre tuī bellās ardēre puellās / quī faciem sub aquā, Sexte, natantis habēs. If tuī was functioning as possession, it actually would be the adjective tuō to modify amōre (“your love”).  That these girls were burning with “love of you” or even “your love” always sounded so wrong to me. But, put in “FOR you” and this epigram totally makes sense, because Sextus can’t be the object of love if he has a face like someone swimming underwater (an image I’m still trying to figure out—are his cheeks totally puffed out like he’s holding his breath or what?).

Looking for a “cure FOR the illness (remedium morbī) sounds so much more logical than a “cure of the illness”—even though it is comprehensible. After all, how many times have you asked for a couple of ibuprofen “of your headache”? No! It’s always “for your headache”! So even though remedium isn’t denoting the object of an action or feeling; it is, however, an “object or application of a noun.” The cure would be applied to the illness, right? What about all the times poena is used—wouldn’t this be about who the penalty was applied to? Consider this sentence: nōn modo ego sed etiam Imperātor poenās Paridis Domitiaeque cupit. The emperor desires punishments FOR Paris and Domitia—he wants the punishments to apply to them, he wants them to be the objects of the punishments.

Of course, ideally we should be trying to teach our students to stay “in” Latin—that the goal of learning Latin is not to translate it into English but to understand what we are reading in Latin through Latin. But I am also a realist; I know how the local big universities teach their classics courses (sadly) and I know that AP wants students who understand and can translate Latin literally.

So, maybe I wouldn’t put this one in the About the Language section, but I think I would certainly include it in the Language Information section at the back of the book, especially if you are going to include the Genitive of Indefinite Price/Value which could be included under Genitive of Description, according to some of the grammarians (see previous post).  I’m not sure I would bother Latin 2 students with this concept, but the Latin 3 students usually have higher aims and crave clarity and information, so I probably will show them.  And the 4s will definitely have this information.

[This was first posted to the Cambridge Latin Course list. FYI]

So I probably only have a couple more of these grammar quests to go after this one. I know we have gotten several new members to the CLC list since I began, so let me reiterate that I’m not doing this because I think CLC needs to “teach more grammar,” but rather that all the grammar we need is really included in CLC.  CLC is our toolbox, we are the master craftsmen/women.  I have taught from CLC for over 15 years now and I am still learning nuances about the Latin language from the text—I am still discovering new tools down at the bottom of the box.  I am clarifying my own understanding of some constructions, and perhaps I am suggesting that some grammar constructs at least be mentioned in the Language Information section at the back of the textbook. But most of all, *I* want to get really good at using those tools myself, in the spoken Latin that I use in class or may write in a story or whatever. (In my opinion there’s nothing worse than seeing teacher-written stories with bad grammar or phrasing! But I’m sure none of us has ever done that!!!!)

For me, it’s not about identifying grammar.  And early on in Latin 1 I may not even use such terms as “direct object” because I know that too many kids turn off their brains because they hear “grammar” and assume they are bad at grammar. However, I would like for my students to have a clear understanding of constructions, whether I call it by grammatical terms or not, so that when they see it in context they can move smoothly through a sentence.  I teach a lot of phrasing, a lot of reading-in-word-order techniques, etc. We do not decode, we do not hunt the verb. We learn to build expectations which help us to disambiguate function/cases more easily.  That is, in a sentence like mīlites Agricolam castra intrantem vīdērunt, not only do we see Agricolam castra intrantem as a unit, but that castra has to be accusative because it is with the present participle and nested inside the noun/participle unit. Nominative is never an option. But I digress…


There are only a handful of examples of what we should call the Genitive of Indefinite Price or Value in the text through Stage 40. I don’t believe it’s ever addressed in an About the Language section (doesn’t warrant it), but it is in the Language Information section for Units 3 & 4 as the last item under the uses of cases for the genitive:

4. Another use is the genitive of indefinite price or value:
id minimī momentī est.
That is of very little importance.

I had been thinking that perhaps other phrases fell under the concept of “indefinite price or value” so I wanted more information.  So here is what the grammarians say:

Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar talks about it under the Genitive of Quality, which we (or CLC) called Description:
345. The Genitive is used to denote Quality, but only when the quality is modified by an adjective:
·         vir summae virtūtis, a man of the highest courage. [But not vir virtūtis.]
·         magnae est deliberātiōnis, it is an affair of great deliberation.
·         magnī formica labōris, the ant [a creature] of great toil
·         ille autem suī iūdicī, but he [a man] of independent (his own) judgement
417. Certain adjectives of quantity are used in the Genitive to denote indefinite value. Such are magnī, parvī, tantī, quantī

[Bennett’s New Latin Grammar doesn’t even mention it or have any examples like it. I suppose that’s because it considers it to be under the umbrella of the Genitive of Quantity (CLC’s Genitive of Description).]

Gildersleeve and Lodge, Genitive with Verbs of Rating & Buying, p 243ff
379. Verbs of Rating and Buying are construed with the Genitive of the general value or cost, and the Ablative of the particular value or cost.
Verbs of Rating are: aestimāre, exīstimāre (rare), to value; putāre, to reckon; dūcere (rare in Cicero), to take; habēre, to hold; pendere (mostly in Comedy), to weigh; facere, to make, put; esse, to be (worth); fierī, to be considered.
Verbs of Buying are: emere, to buy; vēndere, to sell; vēnīre, to be for sale; stāre and cōnstāre, to cost, to come to; prōstāre, licēre, to be exposed, left (for sale); condūcere, to hire; locāre, to let.
380. 1. Verbs of Rating take:
magnī, much; plūris, more; plūrimī, maximī, most
parvī, little; minōris, less; minimī, least
tantī, tantīdem, so much; quantī (and compounds), how much; nihilī, naught
Equivalents of nihilī, nothing, are floccī, a lock of wool, naucī, a trifle, assis, a copper, pilī…and so also huius, that (a snap of the finger), all usually with the negative.
Remarks: tantī is often used in the sense of operae pretium est = it is worth while.

Hale and Buck, Genitive of Value or Price, p 189
356. Indefinite Value or Price* may be expressed by the Genitive of:
1.      Certain Adjectives, especially tantī, quantī, magnī, parvī; plūris, minōris; plūrimī, maximī, minimī.
2.      Certain Substantives not used with serious meaning, especially nihilī, zero¸naucī, a peascod, assis, a copper, floccī, a straw, pilī, a hair, huius, that much (snap of the finger).
haec nōlī putāre parvī, don’t reckon these things of small account; nōlī spectāre quantī homō sit; parvī enim pretī est quī tam nihilī est, don’t consider how much the fellow is worth, for he is of little value who is so worthless; (Note the parallel expressions parvī pretī, quantī, and nihilī.); nōn habeō naucī Marsum augurem, I don’t care a peascod for a Marsian augur.
* The principal verbs with which the construction is used are est, aestimō and exīstimō, putō, habeō, dūcō, faciō, pendō, emō, redimō, vēndō, and vēneō. Aestimō with this construction is rare before Cicero; exīstimō is always rare with it.

The following are all of the examples of the Genitive of Indefinite Price/Value which I could find through Stage 40. I have left highlights in (as I did above) so you can see the notes I made to myself.

·         18  praesidium tuum operāsque tuās floccī nōn faciō.
*first use “I don’t give a hoot about”
·         19  uxōrem fīliamque floccī nōn facis.
·         21  Britannōs etiam minōris pretiī habeō.
* “I care even less about”
·         21  “es homō magnae stultitiae,” respondit Memor. “aegrōtōs floccī nōn faciō.”
·         22  id minimī mōmentī est, quod in tenebrīs sumus.
*that seems very similar to Latrō being minimae prūdentiae earlier in the stage; it looks like Gen of Description—is there overlap??
·         22  Vilbia, tamen, quae pulchrae et obstināta erat, patrem floccī nōn faciēbat.
·         22  Vilbiam floccī nōn faciō.
·         33  illum psittacum Domitiānī floccī nōn faciō.
·         36  ignōscās petimus, Vacerra: tantī / nōn est, ut placeam tibī, perīre.
·         38  scīlicet dīvitiīs Sparsī corrupta es; amōrem meum floccī nōn facis.

There are ten examples here; 7 are floccī nōn faciō which we are told is the equivalent of “I don’t give a hoot.” I confess, depending upon the class (and especially when the phrase occurs in a story we read in Latin 3) that I sometimes say it means “I don’t give a rat’s ass.”  Before you think me too crude (for school as a professional), I use that phrase because it makes as much sense as “I don’t make (anything) of a lock of wool.” It’s a fun phrase, floccī nōn faciō, and honestly understanding the grammar of it does absolutely nothing for me thus I doubt I would mention it to students unless asked, and even then I’m not sure it’s worth explaining.

In Stage 21 we do have Memor say, “Britannōs etiam minōris pretiī habeo.” The book gives “I care even less about,” which is fine, but it is also, I believe, the only example of pretium in the stage and it is a vocabulary item. So for me, this is the sentence that I want to use on the vocabulary quiz, so I explain the phrase more fully as “I hold of less value/worth.” I have never explained the type of genitive, and probably still won’t, because “of” serves so well. Then again, it wouldn’t hurt to mention our idiom of something to be “of value” and note that it’s not really possession.  Unless you want to say that it possesses value… so maybe.

In Stage 22 we get another great phrase which I wish showed up more: id minimī mōmentī est, quod in tenebrīs sumus. (Like it is truly of the least importance that Gutta has a beard when dressing up as Vilbia!)  I had made a note to myself (see above) about this being so similar to the Genitive of Description (vir minimae prūdentiae) and I probably just considered it as such and never thought twice about it. Of course, now I can see how it is a Genitive of Indefinite Price or Value AND why I thought it was like Genitive of Description (see grammarians above—especially Allen and Greenough plus Bennett). And maybe, since it is Stage 22 where the About the Language section explains Genitive of Description and Partitive Genitives (without calling it that), it would be worth a discussion of the other types of genitives seen so far (not necessarily by name). I can see throwing id minimī mōmentī est and Britannōs etiam minōris pretiī habeō and maybe even floccī nōn faciō up on the screen to see what they would make of them. It is certainly important that they think more broadly about how ideas are expressed in different languages, and this might lead to an interesting discussion.

Or if the discussion isn’t worth the time, you can start working certain expressions into your oral Latin more in class. For instance, I have decided that I’m going to start using id minimī mōmentī est more myself, like when students whine about too many tests on the same day or too much homework from other classes—“id minimī mōmentī est!” And I’m guessing I could use the opposite to say something is very important: id maximī mōmentī est. (But I perhaps I should check to see if that was really used….)

In Stage 36 we get the important one: tantī / nōn est, ut placeam tibī, perīre. I feel like my students and I move through some of the longer epigrams, like this one, too quickly.  Looking at it now makes me realize that this would be an ideal time to pause and discuss the different ways tantum is used—tantum = only, tantus, a, um + ut = so great that (result clause), and now here, tantī est = it is worthwhile (it is of such great value).  (Hmmm… are there others we could include here?) In any event, tantī est is, no pun intended, worthwhile for students to know. So even if we don’t explain what’s going on with the grammar, just having the discussion and maybe, like with id minimī mōmentī est, working it into our oral repertoire will help students to internalize the idiom.

Now, in all honesty, I had been thinking that the following were Genitive of Indefinite Price/Value in one way or another, but realize now that the genitive is functioning differently. Here are first two:

·         30  prō agellō tuō igitur sēstertium vīciēns tibi offerō.
·         30  mē iuvat igitur sēstertium tantum trīciēns ā tē accipere.

The phrases sēstertium vīciēns (2 million) and sēstertium trīciēns (3 million) are simply glossed in the text.  I was thinking that sēstertium was a genitive at first, then realize that it was an accusative, and then was really confused. Luckily, Anne Mahoney from the Latin Best Practices list gave me the answer:

A sestertius is a coin, worth 2 1/2 asses (and the abbreviation HS is
IIS, II et Semis, with a horizontal line through the middle, like the
extra horizontal line in the E for "euro").

Sestertium is the genitive plural (the really old form, like deum rather
than deorum), and mille is understood. So you'd expect "tria millia
sestertium" = 3,000 HS (tria millia sestertiorum), but you actually have
"tria sestertium" -- but that looks funny, so the Romans started making
"sestertia" agree with "tria," giving us a new word "sestertium," neuter
singular, meaning a thousand sestertii.

But THEN, when you use a number ADVERB instead of a regular adjective,
the rule is that it's not 1,000 but 100,000 that's understood. So "ter
sestertium" (*or* "ter sestertia") = ter centena milia sestertiorum =
300,000 HS. And vicies sestertium = 20 x 100 x 1000 HS = 2,000,000
(that is, two million, not twenty million).

Why the adverbs go with hundred-thousands is NOT OBVIOUS AT ALL. This
is one of those points that argues against the view of the Romans as
"logical" and "hyper-rational"!!!

For reference, Allen and Greenough sections 633-634 and the Vicipaedia
article Sestertius, (the
English one doesn't go into this).

FINE.  I am happy to accept the glossed meaning and move on. I will never think twice about these two again!

The other set of genitives that I thought might have been Genitive of Indefinite Price/Value were these:

·         24  “cibum sex diērum tantum parāvī,” inquit susurrāns.
·         24  mox regressus, cibum sex diērum Quīntō et Dumnorigī trādidit.
·         37  mīsitne tribūtum septem annōrum ad aerārium? minimē!

I thought, you know, that cibum sex diērum was literally “food of six days worth” or something, thus it’s a value thing.  Now, of course, I realize it’s another type of Genitive most likely, one I will be writing about tomorrow: the Objective Genitive, which often uses the word “for” and NOT “of”—food for 6 days.  But more on that later. I’m just happy that I understand these three phrases more clearly for what they are and the Genitive of Indefinite Price or Value for what it is.

Actually, this one could be separated out into several different genitives. I found a website ( which had Definition and Material together, which I also realized would include the Genitive of Specification. For my own students I am combining them but will include here what the grammarians have about these.  But first, I want to say that CLC does NOT mention any of these, not even Genitive of Material, which I think is a mistake because the very first instance of a genitive not piggybacking on a prepositional phrase is with a Genitive of Material (cumulum lapidum fulgentium) and it is in Stage 17 (where genitives are introduced).

So first, let’s see what the Grammarians say:

Genitives, Bennett’s new Latin Grammar
195. With Nouns the Genitive is the case which defines the meaning of the limited noun more closely. This relation is generally indicated in English by the preposition of. There are the following varieties of the Genitive with Nouns:--
197. Genitive of Materialtalentum aurī, a talent of gold; acervus frūmentī, a pile of grain

Genitives Gildersleeve and Lodge, p230ff
360. The Genitive Case is the Case of the Complement, and is akin to the Adjective, with which it is often parallel. It is the substantive form of the Specific Characteristic.
Appositive Genitive, or Genitive of Specification.
361.The Genitive is sometimes used to specify the contents of generic words instead of Apposition in the same case; there are two varieties:
1.      Appositional Genitive. – Genitive after such words as, vōx, expression; nōmen, name, noun; verbum word, verb; rēs thing, etc.
nōmen amīcītiae, the name friendship
2.      Epexegetical Genitive – Genitive after such words as genus, class, vitium, vice, culpa, fault.
virtūtēs continentiae, gravitātis, iūstitiae, fideī, the virtues of self-control, earnestness, justice, honour
1.      The former variety is very rare in Cicero, the latter much more common. A special variety is the use of the Gen. after such words as urbs, oppidum, flūmen, etc. This is not found in Plautus and Terrence, occurs perhaps but once in Cicero, and seems to be confined to a few cases in poetry and later prose. Often personification is at work; thus, in fōns Timāvī, Timāvus is a river god, and fōns is not equal to Timāvus.
2.      Examples like arbor abietis, fir-tree, arbor fīcī, fig-tree, etc, occur only here and there
3.      Colloquial, and probably belonging here are: scelus virī, a scoundrel of a man; flāgitium hominis, a scamp of a fellow, and the like. quaedam pēstēs hominum, certain pestilent fellows.

Genitives, Hale & Buck p 180ff
339. Possession or Connection may be expressed by a Genitive attached to a Noun.
Explanatory Genitive
341. The Genitive may be attached to a Noun to define or explain its meaning.
             hoc poētae nōmen, this name of “poet”; Troiae urbem, the city of Troy
Genitive of Material or Composition
349. Material or Composition may be expressed by a Genitive attached to a Noun.
obtortī circulus aurī, a chain of twisted gold; ancillārum gregēs, crowds (composed) of maidservants

The following are the sentences that I think demonstrate what I am calling the Genitive of Definition/Material. I am leaving in the notes I made to myself, which are highlighted.

Piggybacking on Prepositional Phrases (as they were introduced in stage 17).
·         17  tum post cumulum gemmārum sē cēlāvit.
·         19  post multitūdinem puellārum tubicinēs et puerī prōcēdēbant.
·         19 post turbam puerōrum tubicinumque vēnit dea ipsa.
·         19  in hāc multitūdine servōrum erant nōnnūllī Aethiopes, quī hastās in manibus tenēbant.
·         20  nihil dē arte nāvigandī sciunt.
·         22  per silentium noctis thermās intrant Bulbus et Gutta.
·         29  forum ab ingentī multitūdine cīvium cotīdiē complētur.
·         39  in aulā Imperātōris, duo puerī in studiīs litterārum sunt occupātī.
Not Following a Prepositional Phrase (CLC assuming you have seen enough instances and can recognize them without the additional cue.)
·         17  in nīdō mōnstrī mercātor cumulum lapidum fulgentium cōnspexit.
*First instance without a prepositional phrase!
*first with a present participle?
·         19  puellae corōnās rosārum gerunt.
·         19  turba Alexandrīnōrum tōtam viam complet.
·         19  statim multitūdō spectātōrum clāmōrem sustulit.
·         19  corōna rosārum dē mālō nāvis pendēbat.
·         20  rediit, ubi artem medicīnae exercēbat.
·         20  Petrō artem medicīnae in urbe diū exercuerat.
·         21  pōculum vīnī fert.
·         21  in thermīs multitūdinem aegrōtōrum vehementer clāmantium fabrōrumque Memorem absentem vituperantium invēnit.
*2nd present participle used in the gen plural; more challenging because of the adverb.
·         21  in thermīs multitūdinem aegrōtōrum vehementer clāmantium fabrōrumque Memorem absentem vituperantium invēnit.
*3rd present participle used in the gen plural; more challenging because of the accusative object. Both of these (see above) are emphasizing the verbal aspects of the participle. 
·         22  multī mīlitēs vulnera fingunt, quod perīcula bellī vītāre volunt.
·         22  quanta est summa illōrum? (centum, centum et quīnquāgintā, trīgintā, sexāgintā)
*or is this really just Possession? The sum belonging to these numbers?
NB: meaning of summa is different here from gen of description, etc!
·         22  volō tē persōnam Vilbiae agere.
·         23  rēgem prīncipēsque manus armātōrum custōdiēbat.
·         23  “domine,” inquit, “pōculum aquae sacrae tibi offerō.”
·         26  Agricola tamen hīs verbīs diffīsus, Salvium dīligentius rogāvit quae indicia sēditiōnis vīdisset.
·         27  iubē Aulum amphoram vīnī ferre, Pūblicum lucernam āleāsque.
·         27  subitō manum hominum per tenebrās cōnspexit.
·         27  amphoram vīnī ē manibus Aulī ēripuit et vīnum in tunicam fūdit.
·         27  statim manus mīlitum, ā Valeriō ducta, ad horrea contendit.
·         29  spectātōrum tanta erat multitūdō ut eī quī tardius advēnērunt nūllum locum prope arcum invenīre possent.
*gen first
·         29  avium cursus ab auguribus dīligenter notābātur.
*gen first
·         29  Glitus, magister fabrōrum, Haterium lēnīre temptābat.
·         30  ibi sedēbat ōtiōsus Glitus magister fabrōrum.
*not what he’s made of but it does define his job
·         30  tōta ārea strepitū labōrantium plēna erat.
*present participle, 2nd on its own?
·         31  ubīque sonitus labōrantium audiēbātur.
*present participle, 3rd on its own?
·         32  hominēs eiusmodī cīvibus urbānīs nōn placent.
·         32  “ēn Rōmānī, dominī orbis terrārum, ventris Venerisque servī!”
*note chiasmus
·         32  “ēn Rōmānī, dominī orbis terrārum, ventris Venerisque servī!”
*note chiasmus
·         33  mox Dominus noster, rēx glōriae, ad nōs reveniet; ē caelō dēscendet cum sonitū tubārum, magnō numerō angelōrum comitante.
·         34  tandem audīvit Paris strepitum cēterōrum mīlitum domum irrumpentium.
* with present participle and object of participle
·         34  …puerī puellaeque deōrum effigiēs corōnīs flōrum ōrnābunt;
*gen first
·         34  …puerī puellaeque deōrum effigiēs corōnīs flōrum ōrnābunt;
*kind of chiasmus… certainly framing in a way
·         34  Myropnous ubi strepitum pulsantium audīvit pyram incendit.
*present participle
·         34  tum manibus ad caelum sublātīs nōmen Salviī dētestātus est.
·         34  ātrium magnificē ōrnātum erat: ubīque lūcēbant lucernae, corōnae rosārum dē omnib*first time present participle used in the singular us columnīs pendēbant.
·         34  amphoram oleī ē culīnā portāvit quā flammās augēret.
·         36  nōmine Diaulus sum. artem medicīnae nūper exercēbam….
·         36  dīcis amōre tuī bellās ardēre puellās / quī faciem sub aquā, Sexte, natantis habēs.
*present participle, only one used as a substantive in the singular
·         37  initiō huius aestātis, exercitus noster ad ultimās partēs Britanniae pervēnit.
·         38  diēs nūptiārum adest.
·         38  ō mea fīlia, tibi haud lacrimandum est; diē nūptiārum nōn decet lacrimāre.
·         38  chorus musicōrum carmen nūptiāle cantāre incipit.
·         40  septimō annō Domitiānī prīcipātus, C. Salvius Līberālis, quī priōre annō fuerat cōnsul, ab Acīliō Glabriōne falsī accūsātus est.
*double genitive
·         40  eīs magnō auxiliō erat L. Mārcius Memor, haruspex et Salviī cliēns, quī, socius quondam scelerum Salviī, nunc ad eum prōdendum adductus est, spē praemiī vel metū poenārum.
*separated from governing noun (?) (quondam is post-positive?) Separation not used until after a few instances of being used predicatively.
·         40  interim, ut sollicitūdinem dissimulāret et speciem amīcitiae praebēret, Salvium dōnīs honōrāvit, ad cēnam invītāvit, cōmiter excēpit.
·         40  fāma praetereā vagābātur reliquiās corporum in thermīs Aquārum Sūlis repertās esse, dēfīxiōnēs quoque nōmine Cogidubnī īnscrīptās.
·         40  fāma praetereā vagābātur reliquiās corporum in thermīs Aquārum Sūlis repertās esse, dēfīxiōnēs quoque nōmine Cogidubnī īnscrīptās.
·         40  prīmō diē cognitiōnis Glabriō crīmina levia et inānia exposuit.
·         40  postrīdiē Ursus Serviānus, quī cognitiōnī praefuerat, sententiam prōnūntiāvit: nōmen Salviī Fāstīs ēradendum esse;…
·         40  aliī exīstimābant Domitiānī  īram magis timendam esse quam minās accūsantium;…
*present participle
·         40  postulāvit tabulās testāmentī.

Genitives nested inside prepositional phrases or inside noun/adjective pairs.    
·         29  illā nocte Eleazārus, dē rērum statū dēspērāns, Iūdaeīs cōnsilium dīrum prōposuit.
·         30  apud Haterium tamen nūllae grātulantium vōcēs audītae sunt.
*present participle, 1st on its own?
·         32  …sed Euphrosynē ab eiusmodī actīs abhorruit.
·         40  ingēns senātōrum multitūdō in cūriā convēnerat, ubi Gāius Salvius Līberālis accūsābātur.
·         40  diē dictā, magnā senātōrum multitūdō ad causam audiendam in cūriā convēnit.
·         40  eōdem diē mīrum fideī exemplum oculīs populī Rōmānī obiectum est.

Genitives used predicatively? (Separated from the noun it modifies by the verb? I am uncertain what the grammarians mean by “predicatively” and I found the examples unhelpful.)
·         28  Belimice, tē rēgem creō mortuōrum.
·         37  Domitiānus autem nūllum signum dedit neque odiī neque gaudiī neque invidiae.
·         39  ipse tridente suō terram percussit, at ill / intremuit mōtūque viās patefēcit aquārum. (Ovid)
·         40  subitō extrā cūriam īnfestae vōcēs sunt audītae clāmantium sē  ipsōs Salvium interfectūrōs esse sī poenam scelerum effūgisset.
*present participle used predicatively modifying vōcēs and governing an indirect statement.

The first set above are those that are piggybacking on prepositional phrases to add that additional visual cue that we indeed have genitives at hand. There is only one example in Stage 17, post cumulum gemmārum. There is only one from the 2nd set, those without the visual cue of the prepositional phrase, cumulum lapidum fulgentium. Both of these come from the story mercātor Arabs. This latter example I find curious. To begin with, it is the first example of a genitive occurring without a prepositional phrase. There’s also one in Stage 18, the very last sentence in the chapter (nunc Clēmēns est prīnceps tabernāriōrum). We don’t begin to see genitives without a prepositional phrase regularly until Stage 19. The second curious thing about this example is that it is the first time time we see a genitive with a present participle, fulgentium, which we don’t see again until Stage 21 (more on that in a moment). In fact, we don’t even get present participles until Stage 20. Then again, CLC often sneaks in previews of grammar to come. I’m betting, though, that this one hardly gets noticed.  It is glossed thus we don’t need the visual cue to help students understand that this is a genitive and most students (or teachers) never reread old stories to notice those details.

In Stage 19 we get five examples of the Genitive of Definition/Material with both words for “crowd”—post multitūdinem puellārum, post turbam puerōrum tubicinumque, in hāc multitūdine servōrum, turba Alexandrīnōrum, multitūdō spectātōrum. Students and teachers never question theses phrases being genitives because “of” flows so naturally in the English, but it’s not like these crowds belong to the girls, the boys, the trumpeters, the slaves, the Alexandrians, or even the spectators.  However, they are made up of these people; the crowd is defined by what it is made of.

I’m making a point about “crowds” because it is with multitūdō that CLC throws students a curve ball in Stage 21 with this sentence: in thermīs multitūdinem aegrōtōrum vehementer clāmantium fabrōrumque Memorem absentem vituperantium invēnit. This is the first time we see present participles in the genitive plural once we have formally been introduced to present participles. And in fact in this one sentence we have two of them, and each is demonstrating that half verb/half adjective quality of the participle: aegrōtōrum vehementer clāmantium has an adverb modifying the participle, nested in the middle of the phrase; fabrōrumque Memorem absentem vituperantium has a direct object governed by vituperantium—and even it has its own participle, absentem. (Ok, and I love the Memorem absentem line because of the line in Book 4 of the Aeneid: illum absens absentem auditque videtque.) It’s definitely a loaded sentence. I would like to think that if we as teachers make a big deal of having “crowds OF people” already, this more extended version with a present participle is doable. And if students think that this sentence is overly long and overwhelming, we can remind them that this is exactly the way Cephalus is supposed to feel here—overwhelmed by what he has been ordered to deal with, and certainly people shouting and cursing would be upsetting for him.

The present participles used in the genitive, especially those on their own acting as substantitives with the meaning “of those verbing,” have always interested me. It’s the sort of thing that trips up my students and I have wondered whether there was a better approach to teaching them. If we have discussed with students, whether formally or informally, about Genitive of Definition/Material, then I think these genitives can be easier to recognize. Consider the first example from Stage 30, apud Haterium tamen nūllae grātulantium vōcēs audītae sunt, which has the genitive all by itself nicely nested between the adjective and noun. We can assume that those missing voices of those congratulating him would be of clients, since in the previous paragraph in the story Salvius is being congratulated by clients. And in fact we discover in the next sentence that Haterius hasn’t been allowing clients nor friends into his house.  The next two genitives on their own are tōta ārea strepitū labōrantium plēna erat (later in Stage 30), which is followed fairly closely in Stage 31 with ubīque sonitus labōrantium audiēbātur. If we compared these to the ones in in thermīs multitūdinem aegrōtōrum vehementer clāmantium fabrōrumque Memorem absentem vituperantium invēnit, we could discuss with students that it was necessary to specify that it was the crowd of sick people shouting as opposed to the crowd of craftsmen cursing. But when there is nothing to specify in that regard, one doesn’t need to include virōrum or hominum. There are a few more instances of the present participle in the genitive without a noun acting as a substantive: strepitum pulsantium (34), faciem…natantis (36, Martial; the only singular), and minās accūsantium (40).  Although they are nowhere called “substantives” in the Language Information section, they are remarked upon under Uses of the Participle. (Adjectives used as substantives are not remarked upon whatsoever that I can find, which is disappointing.)

In Stage 22, where we have the difference between Genitive of Possession, Partitive Genitive, and Genitive of Description explained, we also have this one time (at least through Stage 40) occurrence of summa = sum, total.  I think it is worth taking a diversion to discuss with students that we see forms of summus in several different constructions in Latin and the translation does vary depending upon context:

·         22  quanta est summa illōrum?
How great is the sum of those [figures]?
(with a Genitive of Definition/Material or perhaps Possession)
·         22  prope virum SUMMAE VIRTŪTIS stō.
I am standing near a man of the highest/greatest courage.
(in a Genitive of Description)
·         15  intereā Dumnorix, quī summā cum cūrā nāvigābat, circum mētam nāvem dīrēxit.
Meanwhile Dumnorix, who was sailing with the highest/greatest care, steered his boat around the turning point.
(in an Ablative of Manner)
·         29  …ultimae marmoris massae ad summum arcum tolluntur.
…the last blocks of marble are being raised to the top of the arch.
(simple adjective—not sure how better to explain)

In Stage 29 we start seeing Genitives appearing before the noun they modify. The first example is ūnā cum eīs in carcere erant quīnque līberī, QUŌRUM Simōn nātū maximus sōlācium mātrī et aviae fere temptābat, where we are not surprised to find the relative pronoun, which naturally comes first in a relative clause, being in a case that is not normally first in a sentence. The next two examples having a genitive come first are these, and both are Genitive of Definition/Material:

·         29  spectātōrum tanta erat multitūdō ut eī quī tardius advēnērunt nūllum locum prope arcum invenīre possent.
·         29  avium cursus ab auguribus dīligenter notābātur.

Of these two, the very first one harkens back to “crowd” (see above). I do not know whether it is significant, but the first instance of the genitive occurring after the verb and separated from the noun it modifies appears in Stage 28 (Belimice, tē rēgem creō mortuōrum), perhaps to get us used to the genitive being in different places depending on context or emphasis. Placement can also be determined because the genitive doing more than just modifying the noun, such as this substantive present participle:

·         40  subitō extrā cūriam īnfestae vōcēs sunt audītae clāmantium sē  ipsōs Salvium interfectūrōs esse sī poenam scelerum effūgisset.

Not only does it come after the verb, it also governs the indirect statement, sē  ipsōs Salvium interfectūrōs esse, which follows it. This is something I really like about the progression or evolution of constructions in CLC: once you get a handle on the construction, it gets combined with other constructions to make that densely packed periodic Latin that we love (or should love). After all, this sentence has a perfect passive verb with the participle coming after sunt and not before it, a present participle in the genitive plural acting as a substantive which in turn is governing an indirect statement which also contains a condition!

So, let me say that I think that the Genitive of Definition/Material is one of the types of genitives which CLC should mention. Clearly we get by without it because if you know that the genitive means “of” you can easily translate cumulus gemmārum as “a pile of gems” or multitūdō spectatōrum as “a crowd of spectators” etc. But I think it would be a much easier shift in concept when we get to strepitus pulsantium, “the noise of those pounding (on the door)” if we already had this concept in our mind of the genitive defining that pile or that crowd or that noise by explaining what material the pile, the crowd, or the noise is made of. We are, indeed, specifying what the pile consists of, what kind of crowd it is, and even what the noise is from.

If you use the About the Language with students, you may note that in the one in Stage 17 provides this information:

A.    Study the following sentences:
·         ad portum Alexandrīae mox pervēnimus.
We soon arrived at the harbor of Alexandria.
·         in vīllā Barbillī erant multī servī.
In the house of Barbillus were many slaves.
·         mīlitēs Rōmānī per viās urbis incēdēbant.
Roman soldiers were marching through the streets of the city.
[A variation of what is really seen in the model sentences:
 multī mīlitēs per viās urbis incēdunt.]

·         in multitūdine Aegyptiōrum erat senex.
In the crowd of Egyptians was an old man.
·         agmen mīlitum per urbem incēdit.
A column of soldiers is marching through the city.
[I cannot find any use of agmen with a genitive in CLC, not that anything is wrong with this sentence, and mīlitum used in the genitive this way only occurs 3 times (in 24, 27, & 34)].
The words in the boldface are in the genitive case.

I do take issue with the last example because nothing like it is seen in this stage and I believe all examples in the About the Language section should be taken straight from the stories. But I digress. In the About the Language II: More About the Genitive in Stage 22, you will find:

A.    In Unit 2 you met examples of the genitive case like these:
·         marītus Galatēae erat Aristō.
Galatea’s husband was Aristo.
[No, this sentence was not used.]
·         prō templō Caesaris stat āra.
In front of the temple of Caesar stands an altar.
[Actually it was prō templō Caesaris erat āra.]

These are obvious examples of Genitive of Possession. Although not called such here (which I have no issue with), the Language Information section does have Possession identified as a use of the genitive case. The About the Language section in Stage 22 then continues on with examples of Partitive Genitive/Genitive of Quanitity, and Genitive of Description. What is notably absent now are the examples of Genitive of Definition/Material. It’s not in the examples, it’s not mentioned or shown subsumed in another category in the Language Information section. And yet it was important enough to include in the Stage 17 About the Language. Why does it disappear? Why not get students who want to understand the workings of language with that tiny bit of extra information to think on—that genitives can be used to define and specify?

But no matter.  Teachers should always remember that textbooks are merely tools to use and that they as teachers are in charge of what is taught.  I find CLC to be a fantastic tool which I learn more and more from each year, and I have been teaching from it for over 15 years now. We teachers can use our own ingenuity to reinforce what we think is important.

Teachers could have great fun orally engaging students by changing up some of these genitives in an effort to point out that these are Definition/Material when encountering pōculum vīnī (estne pōculum aquae? lactis? CocaColae?) or perīcula bellī (suntne perīcula pacis? scholae? lūdōrum? dormiendī? autoraedam agendī?).  Or if you feel as if you don’t have enough time for such side diversions when reading a story with students, perhaps you could compose a humorous paired reading activity for a “musical pairs” warm-up/ice-breaker for the beginning of class.

Another concern of mine is that not properly addressing the Genitive of Definition/Material could lead to problems later on. I found a page on the internet (which I won’t cite; I am not trying to ridicule the teacher) that had this:

Specification: The purpose of this genitive is to specify or narrow down the meaning of another word. This is also what I like to call the cop-out genitive. If you don't know how to parse the genitive, put this and you just might get it right.

I found this terribly disappointing but not surprising because we all get in a rut of teaching what we feel we need to teach (what’s in the textbook) and not thinking about the rest.  I have been guilty of this laziness—or maybe not laziness but a type of blindess—from time to time, which is why I have been obsessing this summer over ablatives and genitives. The easiest (though time-consuming) part of this project has been going through and finding the sentences with genitives.  The trickier part was labeling them. Sure, I understood what was going on in the sentence, but there’s a reason why those grammarians of past ages got so nitpicky. They wanted complete understanding of how things were functioning—that scientific dissection of language.  We avoid it now because parsing a sentence doesn’t improve your fluency and turns into a totally tedious and mind-numbing drill. It is bad teaching if done constantly. And since the goal of CLC is not producing fluent language but being able to read fluently, the need to understand in order to produce is not necessary.

HOWEVER, piling up example after example after example as I have done, comparing and contrasting, and in the case of CLC, watching the evolution of usage, is truly enlightening.  In my mind I feel like this sort of examination is like future doctors doing dissections for better understanding of human anatomy and all its variations. I love noticing something in CLC, and asking myself, “how long have they been sneaking this in?” or “how are they comparing and contrasting this concept?” and then hunting down the answer.   But I digress.

Teachers jumping from CLC to AP need not feel like they suddenly have to teach all of these structures that we haven’t met before—because we HAVE met them all before.  We don’t have to call it a Genitive of Specification or Material or Definition or Explanation; but we can discuss the concept.  CLC’s strength is learning through reading and the repetitions in the readings.  It’s just that sometimes we aren’t aware of those repetitions or evolutions. I’m hoping these little articles (which I suppose I should really be posting on my old blog which I stopped using a few years back) will raise awareness of how much “grammar” truly is in CLC in an organized way, even if it is never formally addressed in the texts.
Although Partitive Genitives are covered in Stage 22, I thought it might be worth taking a closer look.  So first to the grammarians:

Language Information (CLC Unit 4)
2.      The partitive genitive or genitive of quantity indicates the whole from which a part is taken:
a.       Rūfus est optimus tribūnōrum meōrum.
Rufus is the best of my tribunes.
b.      plūs pecūniae volō.
I want more money.

From Bennett’s New Latin Grammar, 195:
Genitive of the Whole – (partitive) with nouns, pronouns, comparatives, superlatives, and ordinal numbers: magna pars hominum, a great part of mankind; duo mīlia peditum, two thousand foot-soldiers, quis mortālium, who of mortals?, maior frātrum, the elder of the brothers, gēns maxima Germānōrum, the largest tribe of the Germans; prīmus omnium, the first of all
Also used with Nominative or Accusative singular neuter of pronouns or of adjectives used substantively, etc.: quid cōnsilī, what purpose?, tantum cibī, so much food; plūs auctōritātis, more authority; minus labōris, less labor; satis pecūniae, enough money, parum industriae, too little industry.
Also dependent upon Adverbs of place: ubi terrārum? ubi gentium? where in the world?

From Gildersleeve and Lodge:
367. The Partitive Genitive stands for the Whole to which a Part belongs. It is therefore but an extension of the possessive Genitive. It may be used with any word that involves partition, and has the following varieities (368-372):
368. The Partitive Genitive is used with substantives of Quantity, Number, Weight.
maximus vīnī numerus fuit, permagnum pondus argentī, there was a large amount of wine, an enormous mass of silver. in iūgerō Leontīnī agrī medimnum trīticī seritur, on a juger of the Leontine territory a medimnus of wheat is sown. Campānōrum ālam, quīngentōs ferē equitēs excēdere aciē iubet, he orders a squadron of Campanians, about 500 horsemen, to leave the line.
369. The Partitive Genitive is used with the Neuter Singular of the following and kindred words, but only in the Nominative or Accusative.
tantum, so much
multum, much,

paulum, little,
satis, enough,
hoc, this
quantum, as (how much),
plūs, more,
minus, less,
parum, too little
id, illud, istud, that
aliquantum, somewhat,
plūrium, most
minimum, least,
nihil, nothing
idem, the same
quod and quid with their compound

370. The Partitive Genitive is used with numerals both general and special.
            centum mīlitum, a hundred (of the) soldiers, a hundred (of) soldiers
            (centum mīlitēs, a, the hundred soldiers)
            quīntus rēgum, the fifth (of the) king(s)
            (quīntus rēx, the fifth king)
            multī mīlitum, many of the soldiers, many soldiers
            (multī mīlitēs, many soldiers)
371. The Partitive Genitive is used with Pronouns.
iī mīlitum, those (of the) soldiers. iī mīlitēs, those soldiers
illī Graecōrum, those (of the) Greeks
Fīdēnātium quī supersunt, ad urbem Fīdēnās tendunt, the surviving Fidenates take their way to the city  of Fidenae.
372. The Partitive Genitive is used with Comparatives and Superlatives:
            prior hōrum in proeliō cecidit, the former of these fell in an engagement. Indus est omnium flūminum maximus.
Remarks. 2) Instead of the Partitive Genitive with Numerals, Pronouns, Comparatives, and Superlatives, the Abl. may be employed with ex, out of, , from (especially with proper names and singulars), in, among (rare) or the Acc with inter, among, apud: Gallus prōvocat ūnum ex Rōmānīs, the Gaul challenges one of the Romans; Croesus inter rēgēs opulentissimus, Croesus, wealthiest of the kings. With ūnus, ex or is the more common construction, except that when ūnus is first in a series, the Gen. is common.

The following is a breakdown off what I found, stages 17-40. The notes I have highlighted in yellow are really for myself, but thought I would leave them in in case they are beneficial to anyone.

Partitive with pars, partis (I have only separated these out because partitives were introduced several stages before the concept was discussed using the very word pars, partis. I never noticed or thought about it because, hey, genitive = “of” in the simplest of terms. However, maybe it would be worth talking about what’s going on sooner, or leading students to recognize what’s going on sooner.  Note that many of these examples are also using superlatives or general numbers, which also take partitive genitives.)

Piggybacking on prepositional phrase:
·         17  omnēs Graecī ex hāc parte urbis fūgērunt.
·         18  in hāc parte urbis via est, in quā omnēs tabernāriī vitrum vēndunt.
·         18  “sunt multae operae,” inquit, “in illā parte urbis.”
·         19  per partem praediī flūmen Nīlus lēniter fluēbat.
·         23  deinde omnēs in eam partem thermārum intrāvērunt, ubi balneum maximum erat. *first use of is, ea, id as a demonstrative?
·         24  itaque nōbīs festīnandum est ad ultimās partēs Britanniae ubi Agricola bellum ferit.
·         24  vīllam Memoris praetereuntēs, Quīntus et Dumnorix duōs equōs cōnspēxērunt, ad ultimās partēs īnsulae abiērunt.
·         24  postrīdiē, cum Quīntus et Dumnorix ad ultimās partēs īnsulae contenderet, mīlitēs Dumnorigem per oppidum frūstrā quaerēbant.
·         24  dominus meus cum Dumnorige in ultimās partēs Britanniae discessit. *first use of in = to; or indicating into not up to the edge of?
·         31  puella, servō adstante, in extrēmā parte multitūdinis cōnstitit;…
·         35  dīcit Calēdoniōs in ultimīs partibus Britanniae habitāre, inter saxa et undās.
·         37  in hāc epistulā Agricola nūntiat exercitum Rōmānum ad ultimās partēs Britanniae pervēnisse et magnam victōriam rettulisse.
·         37  initiō huius aestātis, exercitus noster ad ultimās partēs Britanniae pervēnit.

Not with a prepositional phrase:
·         20  Phormiō, quī servōs vulnerātōs sānāre solēbat, tunicam suam sciderat; partem tunicae circum umerum Barbillī dēligāverat.
·         22  Bulbus, quī magnam partem huius colloquī audīvit, surgit.
·         23  maxima pars spectātōrum stābat immōta.
·         29  deinde aggerem ascendērunt, magnamque partem mūnītiōnum ignī dēlēvērunt.
·         29  huius gāzae pars pretiōsissima erat mēnsa sacra, tubae, candēlābrum, quae omnia aurea erant.  gen first
·         35  dē Calēdoniā ipsā omnīnō incertus sum, mī Lupe. utrum pars est Britanniae an īnsula sēiūncta?
·         40  postrīdiē Ursus Serviānus, quī cognitiōnī praefuerat, sententiam prōnūntiāvit: … bonōrum eius partem pūblicandam, partem fīliō trādendam;…*two gens *gen first
Nested inside a prepositional phrase
·                     26  tū enim in ultimīs Britanniae partibus bellum geris et victōriās inānēs ē Calēdoniā refers;…
·                     30  Haterius, cum fabrōs labōre occupātōs vīdisset, Salvium ad aliam āreae partem dūxit.
·                     32  in omnibus vītae partibus moderātus ac temperāns esse cōnābātur.
Partitive with any words that involve partition
·         29  duae enim fēminae Iūdaeae, superstitēs eōrum quī contrā Rōmānōs rebellāverant, fortūnam suam lūgēbant. *a form of is quī pattern
·         29  nōs, quī superstitēs Iūdaeōrum rebellantium sumus, Rōmānīs servīre nōlumus. *a form of is quī pattern
·         37  quis nostrōrum ducum est melior quam Agricola?
·         37  quis nostrum Sulpiciī Galbae exemplum nescit? *vestrum/nostrum used with partitive (when acting as substantive/noun); vestrī/nostrī with objective
·         36  Martiālis, quī iam ūnam hōram recitat, ad fīnem librī appropinquat.

With Numbers Specific and General
·         20  “necesse est vōbīs,” inquit, “magnum numerum arāneārum quaerere.”  *first without pars, partis
·         22  ōlim tria mīlia hostium occīdit.
·         23  magnum numerum armātōrum sēcum dūcit.
·         27  tantus erat numerus mīlitum Rōmānōrum ut Britannōs facile superārent.
·         29  in illā clāde periēunt multa mīlia Iūdaeōrum;…
·         29  post Imperātōrem ambō ībant cōnsulēs, quōrum alter erat L. Flāvius Silva.  *gen first
·         33  hunc Deum vērum quem plērīque vestrum ignōrant, oportet mē nunc vōbīs dēclārāre. *vestrum/nostrum used with partitive (when acting as substantive/noun); vestrī/nostrī with objective
·         37  nōnne audīvistī, mī Glabriō, Imperātōrem ipsum proximō annō multa mīlia Germānōrum superāvisse?
Nested between noun and participle
·         29  cum hanc dīram et saevam rem cōnfēcissent, decem eōrum sorte ductī cēterōs interfēcērunt.
·         33  mox Dominus noster, rēx glōriae, ad nōs reveniet; ē caelō dēscendet cum sonitū tubārum, magnō numerō angelōrum comitante.
Contrast these to Partitive Genitive               
·         24  ūnum ē servīs suīs iussit hanc epistulam quam celerrimē ad Agricolam ferre.
·         27  ūnus ē Britannīs Modestō appropinquāvit ut dēligāret.
·         28  tandem ūnus ex amīcīs, vir callidissimus,….
·         27  cum Strythiō cēnam et amīcōs quaereret, decem Britannī ā Vercobrige ductī, castrīs cautē appropinquābant. (because there were only ten; not part of a whole)

Not with a prepositional phrase
·         22  Modestus, fortissimus mīlitum, adest.
·         28  ego Titum Flāvium Domitiānum, optimum Imperātōrum, hērēdem meum faciō.
·         29  ūnā cum eīs in carcere erant quīnque līberī, quōrum Simōn nātū maximus sōlācium mātrī et aviae fere temptābat. *gen first
·         33  spectātōrum plūrimī eum vehementer dērīdēbant;…*gen first
·         35  Calēdoniī crēduntur ferōcissimī omnium Britannōrum esse, terribilēs vīsū auditūque.
Nested in a noun/adjective phrase
·         35  rēctē dīcis Calēdoniōs omnium Britannōrum ferōcissimōs esse.
Nested in a prepositional phrase
·         36  complūrēs audītōrēs sē convertunt ut Sabidium, quī in ultimō sellārum ōrdine sedet, spectent.

With aliquid
·         21  Quīntus eī multa dē vītā suā nārrābat, quod rēx aliquid novī audīre semper volēbat.
·         21  “sed domine,” inquit Cephalus, “aliquid novī nūntiāre volō.”
·         32  “nōbīs placet, mea Euphrosynē,” inquit, “ā tē aliquid philosophiae discere.”
·         34  “cavendum est nōbīs,” inquit. “aliquid mīrī hīc agitur.”
·         34  Domitia ad aulam quam celerrimē regredī cōnstituit priusquam aliquid malī sibi accideret.
With nihil
·         21  nihil perīculī est.
With nimium
·         21  “dominus nimium vīnī rūrsus bibit,” sibi dīxit lībertus.
With plūs
·         22  iubeō tē plūs vīnī ferre.
·         28  heus! puer! plūs garī!
·         32  Haterius, plausū audītō, oblītus philosophiae servīs imperāvit ut plūs vīnī convīvīs offerrent.
With satis
·         32  sed cōnsul Sabīnus, quem iam taedēbat fābulārum, exclāmāvit, “satis philosophiae!”
·         35  sed satis querēlārum!

Partitive with Adverb of Place, (Quantity, or extent)
·         28  “ubi gentium est?” rogāvit Belimicus.

As you can see by some of my divisions, I wanted to track when genitives stopped appearing (almost) solely as a modifier piggybacking off of prepositional phrases. I also wanted to be aware when they became “nested” in phrases, whether those phrases were participial phrases, between noun and adjective, or between noun and participle.

We first start seeing nested genitives in prepositional phrases (at least with these partitive genitives), in Stage 26 (tū enim in ultimīs Britanniae partibus bellum geris et victōriās inānēs ē Calēdoniā refers;…) when Salvius takes Agricola to task for not understanding that what he is doing in the north has nothing to do with what Domitian really wants (taxes/wealth).  We see another in a prepositional phrase in stage 36 (complūrēs audītōrēs sē convertunt ut Sabidium, quī in ultimō sellārum ōrdine sedet, spectent.)

In Stages 29 (cum hanc dīram et saevam rem cōnfēcissent, decem eōrum sorte ductī cēterōs interfēcērunt.) and 33 (mox Dominus noster, rēx glōriae, ad nōs reveniet; ē caelō dēscendet cum sonitū tubārum, magnō numerō angelōrum comitante.) we see genitives nested in participial phrases. Up to this point we have only been seeing ablatives of agent and means (maybe some ablative of cause) with perfect passive participles or accusatives with perfect active or present active participles.

Another thing I was tracking was when genitives started appearing before the nouns being modified.  I have them grouped here:

·                     29        huius gāzae pars pretiōsissima erat mēnsa sacra, tubae, candēlābrum, quae omnia aurea erant.
·                     29        post Imperātōrem ambō ībant cōnsulēs, quōrum alter erat L. Flāvius Silva.
·                     29        ūnā cum eīs in carcere erant quīnque līberī, quōrum Simōn nātū maximus sōlācium mātrī et aviae fere temptābat.
·                     33        spectātōrum plūrimī eum vehementer dērīdēbant;…
·                     40        postrīdiē Ursus Serviānus, quī cognitiōnī praefuerat, sententiam prōnūntiāvit: … bonōrum eius partem pūblicandam, partem fīliō trādendam;

So, in Stage 29 quōrum accounts for 2 of the 3 genitive-first words. If students are already sensitive to having a variety of cases appear in the relative pronoun (or even just accusatives vs nominatives), this is not too much of a stretch to comprehend. I’m not sure how I want to work this or emphasize this, but genitives all too often jump out in front when least expecting it—so maybe we need to develop that expectation. (Consider the opening lines of the Aeneid: Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris / Italiam,…)

Of course, the fault in this document is that I am not including ALL of the genitives I “hunted” but only the partitives, so we are not seeing other genitives that end up nested or appear in front of what it is modifying.  I might do a separate document that is inclusive later on.  But these observations do give us something to think about. I heavily emphasize reading  by phrases/groups/units in my class. Being able to recognize those chunks and to disambiguate what’s “in the middle” because of known possibilities does improve reading skills. (After all, if I see mīles, castra ingressus, there is no way that I would consider castra to be nominative because you just don’t see nominatives in that position, ingressus is governing it, etc.)

And here’s another thing: PERSONALLY being aware of phrasing and word order makes me a better writer of Latin so that I am exposing my students, even with made up sentences or stories, to the best Latin I can.

There are other ways that these (above) categorical breakdowns can help us as teachers:

·         When students are in groups (or pairs), you can have students determine who goes first by determining quis discipulōrum est nātū maximus? or quis discipulārum est statūrā minima? (EGO!) You can work partitive genitives and ablative of respect at the same time! Or simply quis nostrumquis vestrum…, etc.
·         Have students set up proofs (this is a WAYK thing) or demonstrations showing the difference between something like decem mīlitēs and decem mīlitum (the former showing that we were only ever talking about ten of them, the latter that the remainder of the soldiers are somewhere else). Add to this that when you are talking about just one of the soldiers that you should use ūnus ē mīlitibus. Visually work taking part from the whole—use props, draw a picture, etc.  You can work specific numbers, superlatives, etc, depending upon how you have it set up.
·         Find ways to work phrases like aliquid novī or satis querēlārum into your everyday conversations with students. And surely one can exclaim “ubi gentium…?” the next time something is lost in your room!

Years ago when I was teaching middle school, I had designed some simple downloadable posters for the National Committee for Latin and Greek when I was designing/maintaining their website. ( - I am sure I should redesign many of the items on the page; they were done in 2003).  One was a picture of three monkeys, the ol’ “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” image.  Someone helped me with a translation because I know I didn’t have the same sensitivity to partitive genitives that CLC has given me: nihil malī vidē audī dīc.  Uses a nice partitive genitive.  For the poster go here: There was also a cute bunny saying “quid novī, medice?” ( Another partitive.

Yes, CLC is written so that there is significantly less emphasis on grammar and more on reading, but it doesn’t mean that we as teachers should be sloppy with our own grasp of the details.  We don’t have to share every grammatical detail with students, but we should be keenly aware of what the book is doing, in what progression, and why.

Thoughts? Comments? J
The Ablative of Description sneaks into CLC in Stage 30.  At this point we have had Ablative of Means (and Cause?) for two stages, Ablative of Manner without cum as well as the beginnings of Ablative of Respect for one stage.  Ablative Absolutes show up in Stage 31, and in fact there seems to be a lot of overlap between what look like Ablative Absolutes and Ablative of Description.  Thus time to investigate more fully.

But first, from the grammarians…

Ablative of Quality (Descriptive Ablative). Gildersleeve and Lodge, p 257
400. The Ablative of Quality has no Preposition, and always takes an Adjective or an equivalent.

[Hannibalis] nōmen erat magnā apud omnēs glōriā, the name of Hannibal was glorious in the esteem of all the world. (āgēsilāus) statūrā fuit humilī; Agesilāus was (a man) of low stature. ista turpiculō puella nāsō, that girl of yours with the ugly nose. clāvī ferreī digitī pollicis crassitūdine, iron nails of the thickness of your thumb.

1.      External and transient qualities are put by preferences in the Ablative; Measure, Number, Time, and Space are put in the Genitive only; parts of the body in the Ablative only. Otherwise there is often no difference.
2.      Of unnatural productions cum may be used: agnus cum suillō capite, a lamb with a swine’s head.

Descriptive Ablative, Hale & Buck, p 232
443. Kind or External Aspect may be expressed by the Ablative of a Noun accompanied by a modifier; also, in a few phrases, Situation or Mental Condition.  The construction may be either appositive or predicative.
C. Valerium Procillum, summā virtūte adulēscentem, Gaius Valerius Procillus, a young man of the greatest courage.
C. Gracchus, clārissimō patre, avō, maiōribus, Gaius Gracchus, a man with a distinguished father, grandfather, and ancestors in general.
“sed quā faciēst?” “dīcam tibi: macilentō ōre, nāsō acūtō, corpore albō, oculīs nigrīs.” But of what appearance is he?” “I’ll tell you: he is a man with a spare face, a sharp nose, white skin, and black eyes.”
relīquit quōs virōs! quantō aere aliēnō! What men he left behind him! How deep in debt (in how great debt)! (Situation)
equidem cum spē sum maximā, tum maiōre etiam animō, I for my part am in a state not only of the greatest hope, but of a still greater determination. (Mental Condition)

Ablative of Quality, Bennett’s New Latin Grammar (on the SPQR ap)
224. The Ablative, modified by an adjective, is used to denote quality; as,--
puella eximiā formā, a girl of exceptional beauty; vir singulārī industriā, a man of singular industry.
1.      The Ablative of Quality may also be used predicatively; as, --
est magnā prūdentiā, he is (a man) of great wisdom; bonō animā sunt, they are of good courage.
2.      In place of the Adjective we sometimes find a limiting Genitive; as,--
sunt speciē et colōre taurī, they are of the appearance and color of a bull
3.      In poetry the Ablative of Quality sometimes denotes material; as,--
scopulīs pendentibus antrum, a cave of arching rocks

Language Information section in CLC Unit 4
5. The ablative of description usually refers to the physical qualities of a person:
            praecō erat homō malignīs oculīs. The herald was a man with spiteful eyes.

Here then are the sentences I found in the text:

·         30  Salvius pavōre paene cōnfectus clausīs oculīs ad sēdem haerēbat.
·         31  quae tamen, clāmōribus fabrōrum neglēctīs, vultū serēnō celeriter praeteriit.
·         31  aliī, scissīs togīs ruptīsque calceīs, per lutum lentē ībant.
·         31  omnēs, oculīs in iānuam dēfīxīs, patrōnī favōrem exspectābant.
·         32  Euphrosynē autem, ad iānuam triclīniī vultū serēnō prōgressa, convīvās pugnantēs ita adlocūta est…
·         33  sed priusquam ille plūra ageret, vir quīdam  statūrā brevī vultūque sevērō prōgressus magnā vōce silentium poposcit.
·         33  oculīs in eum statim conversīs, spectātōrēs quis esset et quid vellet rogābant.
·         33  oculīs in eō fīxīs fābulam intentē spectābat.
·         33  Domitia contrā, quae quamquam perterrita erat in lectō manēbat vultū compositō, Olympō imperāvit ut aliquōs versūs recitāret.
·         34  tum manibus ad caelum sublātīs nōmen Salviī dētestātus est.
·         37  dum senātōrēs anxiī inter sē colloquuntur, ingressus est Domitiānus vultū ita compositō ut nēmō intellegere posset utrum īrātus an laetus esset.
·         37  Crispus diū tacēbat; superciliīs contractīs quasi rem cōgitāret, oculōs humī dēfīxit.
·         40  Salvius, iam metū cōnfectus, ad cūriam lectīcā vectus est; fīliō comitante, manibus extentīs, Domitiānō lentē ac suppliciter appropinquāvit.
·         40  quī Salvium vultū compositō excēpit; crīminibus recitātīs, pauca dē Salviō ipsō addidit:…
·         40 vōce ferōcī, vultū minantī, oculīs ardentibus, verbīs īnfestissimīs Salvium vehementer oppugnāvit.

One reason why I confess I hadn’t really noticed that we had Ablative of Description in CLC is that for the most part they show up around the time we learn Ablative Absolutes. And the vast majority of the example above are with participles. While some clearly are not Ablative Absolutes from position and usage, others may well be. There’s overlap (or is there?), which is probably no big deal at all. And it’s not like you can’t understand the Latin without knowing what you are seeing is Ablative of Description. Yet, if you leap into AP Latin in year 4, you will want to squeeze every well-demonstrated construction out of this textbook series, whether it’s discussed expressly in the book or not.

The first Ablative of Description we meet is in Stage 30 when Salvius is being raised on the crane to see the view of the city. Salvius pavōre paene cōnfectus clausīs oculīs ad sēdem haerēbat. Because we have yet to meet Ablative Absolutes, neither myself nor my students considers this participle-noun pair to be anything other than that, and since it’s in the ablative and we have learned that ablatives without a preposition can be “by” or “with,” it is very easy to arrive at “with his eyes closed.”

Now in Stage 31, where we meet the Ablative Absolute, we get three Ablatives of Description, and two of those look more like Ablative Absolutes.  I am sure that I am not alone in working very hard to teach the concept of Ablative Absolute.  I actually really like Ablative Absolutes and I try to convey how cool Ablative Absolutes are to my students.  I am also stricter with what I allow for translations (certainly at first) than what you will find in the teacher’s guide for CLC.  I start with “after X had been done” and “while X was being done,” and then start tweaking this when Ablative Absolutes with deponents are introduced, when I usually say that sometimes it just sounds better to say for fīliō comitante “with his son accompanying” than “while his son was accompanying.” If we come across phrases that don’t sound natural, I will focus on the Latin and what is going on in the Latin (that it is “absolutely on its own”), etc.

Late in the year last year I realized that the reason some sounded odd or wouldn’t fit my “after X had been done” was because these weren’t just Ablative Absolutes (or maybe not at all) but (also) Ablative of Description. Of the instances listed above, only vultū serēnō in Stage 31, statūrā brevī vultūque sevērō in Stage 33, and vōce ferōcī in Stage 40 do not have participles. Let’s look at those first. “With a calm expression” is easy and thus easily overlooked (the old “try ‘by’ or ‘with’” method), but the next one, statūrā brevī vultūque sevērō, is one of those that’s easier to understand in Latin than (for students) to put into English—“with a short stature and a severe face” can work, but I have never been described as “with a short stature” for all of my 5 feet.  “Short in stature” but that will seem too loose for students.  After all, they want a simple X = Y sort of thing. If I had been thinking all along that these were Ablative of Description, I could at least give students something more to grasp—to expect this especially when describing a person, particularly body parts—so they don’t think that ablatives can just do what they want wherever they want in a sentence.

The last of these, vōce ferōcī, actually comes in a string of ablatives—the very string that woke me up to what I was so poorly explaining to students: vōce ferōcī, vultū minantī, oculīs ardentibus, verbīs īnfestissimīs Salvium vehementer oppugnāvit. By Stage 40 students are fairly efficient at recognizing present participles used in Ablative Absolutes but “while his face was menacing” and “while his eyes were burning” just don’t make sense.  For many years I have brushed this aside as “sometimes it just sounds better saying ‘with’—‘with a threating expression, with burning eyes’” and not given it a second thought.  But this year it suddently dawned on me that we have a string of Ablative of Descriptions, describing Quintus’ attack on Salvius in court.  The fourth ablative verbīs īnfestissimīs I take as an Ablative of Means.  And it almost doesn’t matter—we get the picture, we see Quintus in our head as he goes after that rat bastard Salvius!

But here’s where it makes a difference to me: the book has been sneaking in Ablative of Descriptions along with Ablative Absolutes all along; being able to discern the function would help with understanding.  If I armed students with the knowledge that descriptions, particularly those involving body parts, were governed by the ablative and sometimes looked like Ablative Absolutes or even were in a way Ablative Absolutes but sounded better translated as “with” or similar, it could help.

I have never liked the “eyes fixed” phrases, though I totally comprehend them. I was always trying to treat them solely as Ablative Absolutes.  But let’s look at them:

omnēs, oculīs in iānuam dēfīxīs, patrōnī favōrem exspectābant. (31)
oculīs in eum statim conversīs, spectātōrēs quis esset et quid vellet rogābant. (33)
oculīs in eō fīxīs fābulam intentē spectābat. (33)

Translated as pure Ablative Absolutes (or at least how I do it), “after their eyes had been fixed onto the door” or “after their eyes had immediately turned onto him” or “after her eyes were fixed on him” all sound bizarre.  (Images of eyeballs being nailed to the door…)  No matter; the phrase is functioning separately from the main clause—or set apart from the main clause, as Ablative Absolutes are. But if we acknowledge that these are also functioning as Ablative of Description with a part of the body, in this case eyes, students can have a more concrete feeling of how to deal with these phrases—“with their eyes fixed onto the door” etc. Yes, of course, I could give them more variables for understanding the Ablative Absolute from the beginning, but I find that it is easier in general to start narrow and then broaden interpretations.  And actually, now that I’m staring at these sentences, I don’t really feel like their eyes had to be fixed on the door first in order wait for the favor of their patron.  Surely this was going on WHILE they were waiting? And surely their eyes were turned WHILE they were asking who the guy was?  And surely Domitia was staring at Paris the whole time he was doing his pantomime? So then these are not Ablative Absolutes.

Another sentence that really bothered me in Stage 31 where Ablative Absolutes are introduced is this one: aliī, scissīs togīs ruptīsque calceīs, per lutum lentē ībant. Again, like the oculīs fīxīs phrases, it’s like they tore their togas before trekking through the mud as if serving a penance. This is describing their lowly status!  Ablative of Description.  I could go through the rest in a similar fashion and you would see what I mean about these hidden Ablative of Descriptions that seem to be disguised as Ablative Absolutes if one is just looking at it being a noun and participle in the ablative case together. Meaning of course is so important.  And yes, from the context many if not most students will have understood what these phrases meant, even if they weren’t sure of why.  But now I have more to offer them and it will prepare them better for those Ablative of Description that come up in AP literature.
I have honestly never given much thought to the Ablative of Respect.  It always struck me as one of those ablatives that would get glossed if needed or I would just fudge my understanding. But I think this is one that is worth discussing with our students in helping them to understand yet another ablative that has no governing preposition.

First, what the grammarians say:

Ablative of Respect, Gildersleeve and Lodge, p 255ff
397. The Ablative of Respect or Specification gives the Point From Which a thing is measured or treated, an is put in answer to the questions “From What Point of View? According to What? By What? In Respect of What?

Dīscrīptus populus cēnsū, ōrdinibus, aetātibus, a people drawn off according to income, rank, (and) age. Ennius ingeniō māximus, arte rudis, Ennius in genius great, in art unskilled. Animō īgnāvus, procāx ōre, coward of soul, saucy of tongue.
Noteworthy are the phrases: crīne ruber, red-haired; captus oculīs (literally, caught in the eyes), blind; captus mente, insane; meā sententiā, according to my opinion; iūre, by right; lēge, by law; and the Supines in (436*).

398. The Ablative of Respect is used with the Comparative instead of quam, than, with the Nominative or Accusative; but in the classical language mainly after a negative or its equivalent.

Tunica propior palliōst, the shirt is nearer than the cloak. Nihil est virtūte amābilius, nothing is more attractive than virtue. quid est in homine ratiōne dīvīnius? what is there in man more godlike than reason?

*436. The Ablative Supine is used chiefly with Adjectives, as the Ablative of the Point of View From Which (397). It never takes an object.

Mīrābile dictū, wonderful (in the telling) to tell, vīsū, to behold.
id dictū quam rē facilius est, that is easier in the saying than in the fact (easier said than done).

Ablative of the Respect in Which, Hale & Buck, p 231ff

441. The Respect in Which the meaning of the Verb or Adjective is to be taken is expressed by the Ablative, regularly without a Preposition. This Ablative answers the question, In what? Wherein?
cum virtūte omnibus praestārent, since they surpassed all in bravery; numerō ad duodecim, about twelve in number; alterō oculō capitur, is blinded in one eye; maiōrēs nātū, the elders (greater in respect of birth); Similarly with maximus, minor, and minimus, oldest, younger, youngest.

Ablative of Specification. Bennett’s New Latin Grammar

226. The Ablative of Specification is used to denote that in respect to which something is or is done; as,--

Helvētiī omnibus Gallīs virtūte praestābant, the Helvetians surpassed all the Gauls in valor; pede claudus, lame in his foot

1.      Note the phrases:--
maior nātū, older (greater as to age); minor nātu, younger
2.      Here belongs the use of the Ablative with dignus, worthy, indignus, unworthy, and dignor, deem as worthy of; as—
dignī honōre, worthy of honor; fidē indignī, unworthy of confidence; mē dignor honōre, I deem myself worthy of honor.

Language Information CLC Unit 4, p 324

10. The Ablative of Respect indicates in what respect something is true:
architectus Haterius id exstrūxit. An architect named Haterius built it.

(The Ablative of Respect is not mentioned at all in Cambridge’s A Student’s Latin Grammar.)

Here are the sentences from CLC that use Ablative of Respect:

·         29  ūnā cum eīs in carcere erant quīnque līberī, quōrum Simōn nātū maximus sōlācium mātrī et aviae ferre temptābat.
·         30  quīntō diē uxor, Vitellia nōmine, quae nesciēbat quārē Haterius adeō īrātus esset, eum mollīre temptābat.
·         32  “haec puella,” inquit glōriāns, “est philosopha doctissima, nōmine Euphrosynē.”
·         33  Iūdaeus erat, Tychicus nōmine, cliēns T. Flāviī Clēmentis.
·         33  simul pūmiliō, Myropnous nōmine, tībīcen atque amīcus Paridis suāviter tībiīs cantābat.
·         33  subitō servus, nōmine Olympus, quem Domitia iānuam ātriī custōdīre iusserat, ingressus est.
·         34  paucīs post diēbus Domitia ancillam, nōmine Chionēn, ad sē vocāvit.
·         35  quam aliī, mīrābile dictū, spectāculum splendidissimum vocābant.
·         35  Calēdoniī crēduntur ferōcissimī omnium Britannōrum esse, terribilēs vīsū audītūque.
·         36  amīcī meī dīcunt poētam quendam, Fīdentīnum nōmine, meōs libellōs quasi suōs recitāre.
·         36  nōmine Diaulus sum.
·         37  ego enim prīmus ā Domitiānō sententiam rogābor, quia cōnsulāris sum nātū maximus..
·         37  mīsit Agricola nōbīs litterās verbō speciōsās, rē vērā inānēs.
·         37  ille tamen nec verbō nec vultū sēnsūs ostendit.
·         37  Agricola, meā sententiā, revocandus, laudandus, tollendus est.
·         38  ita vērō! aetāte flōret.
·         39  alter puer, Titus nōmine, fābulam nārrāre cōnātur; alter, nōmine Pūblius, intentē audit.
·         39  Quīntiliānus verētur nē Pūblius, quod minor nātū est, nārrātiōnem excipere nōn possit.

Ablative of Comparison
·         37  priusquam Crispus respondēret, A. Fabricius Vēientō, cēterīs paulō audācior, interpellāvit.
·         37  tum Messālīnus, simulatque haec Epaphrodītī verba audīvit, occāsiōne ūsus, “satis cōnstat,” inquit, “nūllōs hostēs ferōciōrēs Germānīs esse, nūllum ducem Domitiānō Augustō esse meliōrem.
·         37  tum Messālīnus, simulatque haec Epaphrodītī verba audīvit, occāsiōne ūsus, “satis cōnstat,” inquit, “nūllōs hostēs ferōciōrēs Germānīs esse, nūllum ducem Domitiānō Augustō esse meliōrem.
·         39  ille tamen fortius frātre incipit.

Ablative with Dignus

·         37  ibi mīlitēs nostrī, spē glōriae adductī, victōriam nōmine tuō dignam rettulērunt.
·         38  virum quendam cognōvī quī omnī modō fīliā tuā dignus est.

The first instance of the Ablative of Respect is in Stage 29, one stage after the introduction of Ablative of Means (though not identified as such), and which students probably just see as another weird ablative, not sure what it’s doing.  In fact, the guess work is removed from students by glossing, with nātū maximus being translated as “eldest.”  This follows a sentence which gives another form of natus and might be confusing for students:

altera erat anus exāgintā annōrum, altera mātrōna trīgintā annōs nāta. ūnā cum eīs in carcere erant quīnque līberī, quōrum Simōn nātū maximus sōlācium mātrī et aviae ferre temptābat.

After this initial Ablative of Respect which escapes with glossing, we have at least 6 examples with nōmine (named/by name), which students easily accept. Then we meet supines, which really only appear in Stage 35. I was always taught to just get used to the idiom “wonderful to say” and accept that this is just the way this little oddity of Latin works. For me, it is nice to understand that it fits into a larger picture of how ablatives function.

Stage 37 we see nātū maximus again, and later a sentence in which understanding the concept of Ablative of Respect might be helpful: mīsit Agricola nōbīs litterās verbō speciōsās, rē vērā inānēs. “Agricola sent to us a letter impressive in word but empty in true matter.” And surely this is also an Ablative of Respect: ille tamen nec verbō nec vultū sēnsūs ostendit. “He however showed his feelings neither in word nor expression.”
Gildersleeve and Lodge say that meā sententiā, also found in Stage 37 is an Ablative of Respect. And surely the little sentence, aetāte flōret, glossed as “to be in the prime of life,” could be seen as “he’s flourishing in respect to age” though that would be cumbersome.

I can see how Ablative of Comparison and even using the ablative with dignus can be included in Ablative of Respect and thus included lists with those above.  I do want to point out that there are two sentences that are together in Stage 39 where both use the comparative, the first strikes me as a more traditional Ablative of Respect (minor nātū), while the second makes me think Ablative of Comparison (fortius frātre incipit). Here they are in full:

Quīntiliānus verētur nē Pūblius, quod minor nātū est, nārrātiōnem excipere nōn possit. ille tamen fortius frātre incipit.

I am sure CLC has these together on purpose as a contrast. I just think that’s worth noting. And I now really think that it’s worth explaining Ablative of Respect, at least to my Latin 3’s.  It helps with understanding that you can use other words because of the different ways in which the ablative is functioning—and that it doesn’t just need to be guess work.

And as always, all of these things are taken in while reading in word order, understanding phrasing, and rereading as needed. 
Let’s go back to something simple, Ablative of Manner. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever required students to know that term because it always seems pretty straight forward. After all, who hasn’t hear of cum laude, magnā cum laude, maximā cum laude, and summā cum laude? It’s not so foreign as dealing with, say, ablative absolutes, so why bother if you aren’t playing certamen at JCL?!

But it dawned on me towards the end of last year that in later stages the cum had all but disappeared. Students didn’t notice or comment, nor did I.  However, students at times were struggling with all the ablatives (hence what started this summer’s project) so I wanted to see what I could find regarding Ablative of Manner through Stage 40.  So here is the list, which may be imperfect:

·         15     prīncipēs, quī effigiem portābant, ad rogum magnā cum dignitāte prōcessērunt.
·         15     intereā Dumnorix, quī summā cum cūrā nāvigābat, circum mētam nāvem dīrēxit.
·         17     deus ibi magnā cum dignitāte sedet.
·         23     servī magnā cum difficultāte Cogidubnum in balneum dēmittere coepērunt.
·         24     cum equitēs corpus Domnorigis īnspicerent, Quīntus, graviter vulnerātus, magnā cum difficultāte effūgit.
·         25     mī Strythiō, quamquam occupātissimus es, dēbēs maximā cum dīligentiā mē audīre.
·         25     nōbbīs necesse est summā cum dīligentiā Vercobrigem custōdīre.
·         26     tē iubeō hunc hominem summā cum cūrā interrogāre.
·         29     postrēmō magnā vōce populum Rōmānum dētestātus sē ipsum cultrō trānsfīxit.
·         30     tum fabrīs imperāvit ut fūnēs, quī ad tignum adligātī erant, summīs vīribus traherent.
·         31     “abī, sceleste! nēmō alius hodiē admittitur,” respondit praecō superbā vōcē.
·         31     hīs verbīs audītīs, praecō, quī Eryllum haudquāquam amābat, magnā vōce,…
·         31     nōs decet rēs adversās aequō animō ferre.
·         32     magnā vōce eam appellat.
·         32     Haterius blandīs et mollibus verbīs Sabīnum adloquēbātur, ut favōrem eius conciliāret.
·         32     amphorīs inlātīs, cellārius titulōs quī īnfīxī erant magnā vōce recitāvit, “Falernum Hateriānum, vīnum centurm annōrum!”
·         32     cui respondit Eyphrosynē vōce serēnā, “omnibus autem labōrandum est.”
·         32     nihilōminus, quia Stōicus erat, rēs adversās semper aequō animō patiēbātur; neque deōs neque hominēs dētestābātur.
·         33     sed priusquam ille plūra ageret, vir quīdam  statūrā brevī vultūque sevērō prōgressus magnā vōce silentium poposcit.
·         33     domō eum trahēbant magnā vōce clāmantem:…
·         33     Myropnous haudquāquam perturbātus, ubi Ephaphrodītus appropinquāvit, tapēte magnā vī dētrāxit.
·         34     quibus vīsīs, ancilla timidā vōce, “cavendum est nōbīs,” inquit.
·         34     post statuās sē cēlābat mīlitēsque vōce blandā dērīdēbat.
·         38     virum quendam cognōvī quī omnī modō fīliā tuā dignus est.
·         38     nuptiās crāstinās nūllō modō vītāre possum.

The first use is in Stage 15, I believe, and this may also be the first time that and adjective has appeared in front of a preposition in a prepositional phrase.  Through Stage 26 they appear in the same format and cause no problems for students.

In Stage 29, one stage after the introduction of the Ablative of Means (not by name) (and perhaps Ablative of Cause—see previous posts), cum disappears. Students don’t react; after all, it’s Ablative so “by” or “with” does the trick in most cases, right? The only time cum shows up again in something that at first glance might look like Manner is in Stage 33:

quibus dictīs, Epaphrodītus ad tapēte cum magnō clāmōre sē praecipitāvit.

But the word order is different with cum in front and I think what we really have here is Accompaniment. Compare it with this sentence from Stage 39:

simulatque Notus ēvolāvit, nimbī dēnsī ex aethere cum ingentī fragōre effūsī sunt.

where a thing (fragor) is governed by cum because “the crash” (of thunder) accompanied the thunderstorm. This is a subtle thing, which in English doesn’t really sound different in translation, and maybe not worth bringing to the attention of students, but for the student who has learned that people get prepositions and things don’t, having a full understanding of what’s happening here is worthwhile.

One last sentence is worthy of attention when discussing Ablative of Manner. In Stage 40 we have

vōce ferōcī, vultū minantī, oculīs ardentibus, verbīs īnfestissimīs Salvium vehementer oppugnāvit.

I had pondered whether this would be considered Ablative of Manner or Ablative of Means, not that it matters if you are simply checking English translations because you would translate both using “with.”  In all the other examples of the Ablative of Manner that I have provided above, the adjective came first. Here the adjective is second. Ok, adjectives of size and number usually precede the noun being modified, which would explain magnā, maximā, summā, etc.  But that wouldn’t explain aequō animō nor timidā vōce. So now I’m wondering whether it’s traditional for the adjective to come first in Manner? And if that’s so, then verbīs īnfestissimīs is Means. And this particular question may never ever come up with my students. No one may care because they comprehend the sentence which is most important. But in case I am asked, or in case I want to insure that when I am addressing them in Latin or even conversing with them in Latin, I want to have the idiom right.

So is any of this worth pointing out explicitly to students? Maybe.  If, for instance, I did make a bigger deal about Ablative of Manner earlier on, I could then point out in Stage 29 that the easy Ablative of Manner is in a flimsy disguise now without cum.  Just to raise awareness. After all, in Stage 26 students get their first Ablative Time When (trēs continuōs diēs labōrābant; quārtō diē Sīlānus adventum Agricolae nūntiāvit.) even though it is not discussed in the About the Language section until Stage 28. From a student’s point of view there are a lot of ablatives doing things without prepositions suddenly and any clarity may be greatly appreciated.
I think sometimes we as teachers may have blinders on with regards to some things that we perceive as simple because of the order of information we were taught in the grammar-first method. One of these, I think, is ā/ab = from, away from.  I notice that I rely a lot on context—as we should—but maybe too often and expect my Latin 2’s to have no problem with it.  And many do not.  But of course, we all have those students in Latin 2 who are just there to get their two years of credit. They don’t see what we think of as “easy” often. After all, just memorize the possible meanings of the prepositions and apply, right?

When Ablative of Means is introduced in Stage 28 (but at no time called that in the About the Language section in that stage), I make a big deal about contrasting it with the Ablative of Agent. I’m sure we all do.  And yet, this is also the stage where we see a significant jump in ā/ab being used as “from, away from.” I hardly address it; I brush those phrases off as insignificant.  But I don’t think they are anymore. Stage 21 is where we get Ablative of Agent although it’s not addressed in the About the Language, which is fine, because the focus is on the perfect passive participle. And I don’t make a big deal about the Ablative of Agent until we have the Ablative of Means for contrast.  Yet surely I could have been highlighting way before Stage 28 about the difference between Agent and Separation, even if not calling the ablatives by their “names”?  Part of the problem was that at that time I really did not even think of it as any particular type of Ablative, but simply just that this was one of those times you use “from.”  (Part of my being sloppy in my own thinking about Ablatives, admittedly.)  Are these all Place from Which (Whence), even with people? Ablative of Separation? How are these truly categorized and why and what is the thinking behind it?

And before I dive into anything more, let me reemphasize that what I am talking about is not about learning grammatical terms for grammar’s sake, but for clarifying my own understanding and that of my students about what is really going on in the Latin.

So back to the grammarians first:

Ablative of Place Whence. Ablātīvus Sēparātīvus. Gildersleeve and Lodge, p 249ff

1.      The Ablative answers the question Whence? and takes as a rule the prepositions ex, out of, , from, ab, off.
(Eum) exturbāstī ex aedibus?, did you hustle him out of the house? Arānēā dēiciam dē pariete, I will get the cobwebs down from the wall. Alcibiadem Athēniēnsēs ē cīvitāte expulērunt, the Athenians banished Alcibiades from the state. dēcēdit ex Galliā Rōmam Naevius, Naevius withdrew from Gaul to Rome. unde dēiēcistī sive ex quō locō, sive ā quō locō (whether out of or from which place), eō restituās.
2.      The prepositions are often omitted with Verbs of Abstaining, Removing, Relieving, and Excluding; so regularly with domō, from home, rūre, from the country.
With Persons a preposition (chiefly ab) must be used.
(Verrēs) omnia domō ēius abstulit, Verres took everything away from his house. ego, cum Tullius rūre redierit, mittam eum ad tē, when Tullius returns from the country, I will send him to you.
Compare Aliēnō manum abstineant, let them keep their hand(s) from other people’s property, with [Alexander] vix ā sē manūs abstinuit, Alexander hardly kept (could hardly keep) his hands from himself (from laying hands on himself).
Compare Lapidibus optimōs virōs forō pellis, you drive men of the best classes from the forum with stones, with istum aemulum ab eā pellitō, drive that rival from her.
Compare omnium rērum nātūrā cōgnitā līberāmur mortis metū, by the knowledge of universal nature we get rid of the fear of death, with tē ab eō līberō, I rid you of him.
Compare Amīcitia nūllō locō exclūditur, friendship is shut out from no place, with ab illā exclūdor, hōc conclūdor, I am shut out from her (and) shut up here (to live with her).
NOTES. [I’m only including 2 here because G&L do go on in great detail.]
3. Of compound verbs with the Abl, Cicero shows only sē abdicāre (principally technical), abesse (rarely), abhorrēre (once); abīre (in technical uses = sē abdicāre), abrumpere (once), absolvere, abstinēre (intrans. without, trans. more often with, preposition), dēicere (with aedīlitāte, etc), dēmovēre (once), dēpellere, dēsistere, dēturbāre; ēdūcere (rare); efferre (rare); ēgredī; ēicere; ēlābī (rare); ēmittere (Caesar); ēripere (rare; usually Dat.); ēvertere; excēdere; exclūdere; exīre (rare); expellere; exsolvere; exsistere (rare); exturbāre; interclūdere; interdīcere (alicuī aliquā rē; also alicuī aliquid); praecipitāre (Caesar); prohibēre; supersedēre.
6. The place Whence gives the Point of View from which. In English a different translation is often given, though not always necessarily; ā tergō, in the rear; ex parte dextrā, on the right side; ab oriente, on the east; ā tantō spatiō, at such a distance; ex fugā, on the flight; ā rē frūmentāriā labōrāre, to be embarrassed in the matter of provisions.

3.      The prepositions are also omitted with kindred Adjectives. [I’m skipping the details on this.]
391. Names of Towns and Small Islands are put in the Ablative of the Place Whence. [I’m skipping the details on this.]

The Separative Ablative, Hale & Buck, p 212ff
(Hale & Buck are quite lengthy on the Separative Ablative, so I will be skipping a bit.)

Ablative with Separative Prepositions
405. The Ablative is always used with the Separative Prepositions ā, āb or abs, , ē or ex, sine.
406. The Separative Ablative with a Preposition is used to express a variety of ideas. Notice especially:
1.      The Agent of the Passive Voice, with ab
2.      The Point of View from Which, with ab or ex (our English conception is generally that of the place where). Thus:
ā tergō, ā novissimō agmine, etc., (from) on the rear
ā latere, (from) on the side
ā fronte (from) on the front
ex (ab) hāc parte, (from) on this side
ex (ab) utrāque parte, on both sides, etc, etc
initium capit ā, begins (from) at, etc, etc
3.      The Condition or Situation from or out of Which, with or ex: ex vinculīs causam dīcere, to plead his cause in chains; fīēs dē rhētore cōnsul, from professor, you shall become consul
4.      The Material of Which a thing is made, with ex (also, in poetry, with ): factae ex rōbore, made of oak; pōcula ex aurō, cups of gold; fuit dē marmore templum, there was a temple of marble.
Ablative with Verbs of Separation
408. Verbs of Separation take an Ablative. The Preposition, if employed, is ab, , or ex. The general usage in Ciceronian prose is as follows:
1.      The Preposition is freely omitted with Verbs of literal Separation, if themselves containing a separative Preposition (ab, dē, or ex).
castrīs ēgressī, going out from the camp
ē castrīs ēgressī, going out from the camp
2.      The Preposition is freely omitted with Verbs expressing either literal or figurative Separation, if in very common use in both senses.
dē mūrō sē dēiēcērunt, leaped from the wall (threw themselves down from)
mūrō dēiectī, driven down from the wall
nē dē honōre dēicerer, that I should not be deprived of the honor (driven from it)
eā spē dēiectī, deprived of this hope
3.      The Preposition is regularly omitted with Verbs expressing figurative Separation only.
magistrātū, sē abdicāvit, abdicated (resigned from) his office
proeliō supersedēre, to refrain from battle
410. Remarks on the Ablative with Verbs of Separation.
1.      With most Verbs of Separation, whether literal or figurative, a preposition is used with words denoting persons.
manūs ā tē abstinēre, to keep their hands off from you
2.      The poets freely use the Ablative without a preposition in any combination expressing or suggesting separation. This is true even if no verb is employed, and even if the word used denotes a person.
adsurgēns flūctū, rising from the wave
antrō lātrāns, barking from the cave
marītī Tyrō, suitors from Tyre
dēiectam coniuge tantō, robbed of so great a spouse
[There’s more, but that’s more than enough.]
One last thing I found elsewhere in Gildersleeve and Lodge on p 216, section 339, which speaks to idiom and usage:
This then is not the only way,
For it is also right to say,
docēre and cēlāre dē,
interrogāre dē quā rē.
pōscō, I claim, and flāgitō,
and always petō, pōstulō,
take aliquid ab aliquō,
while quaerō takes ex, ab, dē, quō.

Ablative of Separation, Bennett’s New Latin Grammar (which I’m accessing via the SPQR ap).
400. Words signifying Separation or Privation are followed by the ablative.
401. Verbs meaning to remove, set free, be absent, deprive, and want, take the Ablative (sometimes with ab or ex):--
1.      oculīs sē prīvāvit, he deprived himself of eyes
2.omnī Galliā Rōmānīs interdīcit, he (Ariovistus) bars the Romans from the whole of Gaul.
3.      eī aquā et īgnī interdīcitur, he is debarred the use of fire and water.
4.      voluptātibus carēre, to lack enjoyments
5.      nōn egeō medicīnā, I want no physic
6.      levāmur superstitiōne, līberāmur mortis metū, we are relieved from superstition, we are freed from fear of death.
7.      solūtī ā cupidiātibus, freed from desires
8.      multōs ex hīs incommodī pecūniā sē līberāsse, that many have freed themselves by money from these inconveniences.
402. Verbs compounded with ā, ab, , ex, (1) take the simple Ablative when used figuratively; but (2) when used literally to denote actual sepārātion or motion, they usually require a preposition:--
1.      (1) cōnātū dēsistere, to desist from the attempt
2.      dēsine commūnibus locīs, quit commonplaces
3.      abīre magistrātū, to leave one’s office
4.      abstinēre inūriā, to refrain from wrong
5.      (2) ā prōpositō aberrāre, to wander from the point
6.      dē prōvinciā dēcēdere, to withdraw from one’s province
7.      ab iūre abīre, to go outside of the law
8.      ex cīvitāte excessēre, they departed from the state. [But cf. fīnibus suīs excesserant, they had left their own territory.]
9.      ā magnō dēmissum nōmen Iūlō, a name descended (sent down) from great Iulus
a. Adjectives denoting freedom and want are followed by the ablative:--
1.      urbs nūda praesidiō, the city naked of defence
2.      immūnis mīlitiā, free of military service
3.plēbs orba tribūnīs, the people deprived of tribunes
4.      ā culpā vacuus, free from blame
5.      līberī ā dēliciīs, free from luxuries
6.Messāna ab hīs rēbus vacua atque nūda est, Messana is empty and bare of these things.
[There’s more regarding Abl of Source and Abl of Material.]

So what is going on in CLC and should we address it or not with our students?  Since I was originally looking specifically for uses of ā/ab, I did not go back further than Stage 14. Of course, other prepositions of separation (dē, ex) were seen in Unit 1.  Here are the sentences I’ve pulled out for consideration:

·         14     haec vīlla ab urbe longē abest.
*first use of AB (away from)
·         15     ā tergō Belimicus, gubernātor Cantiacus, nautās suōs vituperābat.
·         17     Barbillus hās gemmā ā mercātōre Arabī ēmerat.
·         18     omnēs igitur tabernāriī auxilium ā mē petunt.
*first instance of auxilium…petere
·         18     quondam, ubi ā templō, in quō cēnāverat, domum redībat, amīcum cōnspexit accurrentem.
·         20     hoc ūnum ā tē postulō.
·         20     nunc tandem veniam ā Rūfō petō.
·         20     do, legō Helenae, fīliae Aristōnis et Galateae, gemmās quās ā mercātōre Arabī ēmī.
·         22     Modestus tamen puellam retinēre nōn potest, quod auxilium ā deā petīvī.
·         26     iubeō tē ad Cogidubnī aulam īre, veniamque ab eō petere.
·         28     L. Marcius Memor, ubi aeger ad thermās vēnī, ut auxilium ā deā Sūle peterem, benignē me excēpit.
·         28     Belimicus enim mē ab ursā ōlim servāvit, quae per aulam meam saeviēbat.
·         28     pecūniam ā Britannīs extorquēre statim coepit.
·         28     dolus malus ab hōc testāmentō abestrō!
·         28     decimō diē, iterum profectus, pecūniās opēsque ā Britannīs extorquēre incēpit.
·         28     Belimicus autem, quamquam prō hōc auxiliō multa praemia honōrēsque ā Salviō accēpit, hadquāquam contentus erat.
·         28     “mī Salvī, multa et magna beneficia ā mē accēpistī.”
·         28     num quicquam ab illō spērāvistī?
·         29     cūr tum ā morte abhorruī?
·         29     ille igitur fabrīs, quamquam omnīnō dēfessī erant, identidem imperābat nē labōre dēsisterent.
·         30     melius est tibi ad Salvium īre blandīsque verbīs ab eō hunc honōrem repetere.
·         30     et amīcōs et clientēs, quī vēnērunt ut tē salūtārent, domō abēgistī.
·         30     quid aliud ā Salviō accipere cupis? p 194
·         30     mē iuvat igitur sēstertium tantum trīciēns ā tē accipere.
·         31     aliī spē pecūniae dēiectī invītī discessērunt.
·         32     servus eam hortātus est ut praecōnem dōnīs corrumperet; sed Euphrosynē ab eiusmodī factīs abhorruit.
·         32     nōbīs placet, mea Euphrosynē,” inquit, “ā tē aliquid philosophiae discere.”
·         33     domō eum trahēbant magnā vōce clāmantem:…
·         33     tū autem, Paris, fīlius diabolī, nisi vitiīs tuīs dēstiteris, poenās dabis. nūlla erit fuga.
·         33     quae cum prōnūntiāvisset, Tychicus multīs verberibus acceptīs domō ēiectus est.
·         34     auxilium igitur ab amīcō C. Salviō Līberāle petīvit.
·         35     litterae cotīdiē ā Britanniā exspectantur, ubi Agricola bellum contrā Calēdoniōs gerit.
·         35     gaudiō enim afficiēbar, quod tam diū epistulam ā tē exspectābam; dolēbam autem, quod tū tot labōribus opprimēbāris.
·         35     ille mē iussit vīnō abstinēre, medicīnam sūmere.
·         36     ūnus audītor tamen, M’ Acīlius Glabriō, tālī adulātiōne offēnsus, nōn modo plausū abstinet sed ē sellā surgit ut ex auditōriō ēgrediātur.
·         38     ō Helvidī, ēripe mē ex hīs malīs!
·         38     tē ex hīs malīs ēripiam, sīcut tū modo precābāris.
·         38     servī, ut mōs est, puellam ā mātre abripiunt.
·         38     quī, domō ēgressus, Pōllam ita appellat:…
·         39     …madidīs Notus ēvolat ālīs; barba gravis nimbīs, cānīs fluit unda capillīs.
·         39     omnia pontus erant, dēerant quoque lītora pontō.
·         40     Domitia autem, iam ab exiliō revocāta atque in favōrem Domitiānī restitūta, intentē ultiōnem adversus Salvium meditābātur.
·         40     quibus audītīs, Salvius spērāre coepit sē ē manibus accūsātōrum ēlāpsūrum esse.
·         40     cum autem sēcrētīs Domitiae precibus veniam ā prīncipe impetrāvisset, Salvium dēserere cōnstituit; dēnique mediā nocte ā marītī cubiculō ēgressa domum patris suī rediit.
·         40     cum autem sēcrētīs Domitiae precibus veniam ā prīncipe impetrāvisset, Salvium dēserere cōnstituit; dēnique mediā nocte ā marītī cubiculō ēgressa domum patris suī rediit.
·         40     mīlitēs igitur, ā tribūnō iussī, Salvium ē balneō extrāxērunt, et, dēligandīs bracchiīs vulnerātīs, sanguinem suppressērunt.
·         40     postrīdiē Ursus Serviānus, quī cognitiōnī praefuerat, sententiam prōnūntiāvit: nōmen Salviī Fāstīs ērādendum esse;…

If I had made a bigger deal about the idea of ab meaning “from” (“And notice, class, that there’s always this idea of separation going on—whether it’s the house being far away from London, or the gems being separated from the merchant upon purchase, or seeking help from someone…”), then perhaps I could better work in the contrast between ab meaning “by” in Stage 21 when we get the Ablative of Agent and meaning “from” which students would have experienced only 8 times, and rather spread out.  Instead, I admittedly focused on just what Stage 21 was using (Agent). By the time we reach Stage 28, we have only had two additional instances of Separation (using ab). The focus in Stage 28 I have always thought of as Ablative of Means, though now I see that even some of those may be better identified as Ablative of Cause (see yesterday’s missive), and I have only contrasted Means with Agent.  Yet in Stage 28 alone there are 8 examples of Separation.  I just wasn’t seeing them (probably because to me those were the “easy” ones).  And it may be worth noting that the vast majority of these are Separations from people, five of those using auxilium…petere.

Up until Stage 29 all Ablative of Separations had been with a preposition. In Stage 29 we get nē labōre dēsisterent, which may also be one of the first instances of a negative indirect command—thus drawing the student’s attention in two directions (in my opinion). In Stage 30 we have domō abēgistī, but then domus rarely has a preposition, so that’s its own trick to learn. In Stage 33 we have domō eum trahēbant, nisi vitiīs tuīs dēstiteris, and domō ēiectus est.  In Stage 35 we get vīnō abstinēre, and in 36 plausū abstinet. Surely we could be building on the idea of separation and verbs that indicate separation with abstaining and ceasing (and others), especially since neither have prepositions?

One last thing.  I never really liked the phrase spē …dēiectī (which I feel appears more than the one time that I spotted in Stage 31).  I admittedly was always double checking whatever the English idiom was that they provided as a definition because I never understood the structure of this. But of course, if it is Separation because of dēiectī or Cause because of spē (or, hey, a little bit of both?) I have a much greater understanding which I can more easily put into English without memorizing a definition.  I never had problems with it in Latin, you understand, though that was probably on the intuitive side and not real understanding for what was going on.

Anyway. CLC has so many wonderful examples that when examined in groups or as a whole lead to clarity.  The sharp student that absorbs everything the first time (I was never really that student) probably won’t need to see so many examples together in order to understand the concept.  But perhaps many of our students do need to see those examples and have the repetitions pointed out.  In any event, I think it is unfortunate that nowhere in the textbook is a discussion of ablatives governing ideas of separation. It is not the first meaning of the ablative that I jump to when it doesn’t have a governing preposition, unless the verb has a prefix (ex-, ab-, de-) that make me consider it. Getting the preposition “off of” the verb won’t work in some circumstances, such as in the example above in the Hale & Buck section, antrō lātrāns, barking from the cave.