Friday, November 10, 2006

Latin Via Proverbs 2

Like the proverbs in Group 1, the proverbs in Group 2 contain only first declension nouns and adjectives. This time, however, they are not all singular nouns. There is one proverb with plural nouns, so watch out! See the previous post for notes about first declension nouns and notes about nouns in general.

I should also say a few words here about noun-adjective agreement. When an adjective modifies a noun, the adjective must have the same gender, case, and number as the noun does. Remember that nouns have a fixed gender that never changes, but adjectives come in all three genders: feminine, masculine and neuter. To use an adjective together with a noun, you have to know the gender of the noun in order to choose the right form of the adjective. In addition, the adjective must match the case and number of the noun, as it is used in a particular sentence.

I hope these notes will help you tackle this group of proverbs in Latin Via Proverbs. Please note: to read the proverbs in Latin, you need to acquire a copy of the book from! What I am providing here in the blog are notes to help people who are making their way through the book either in a Latin class or on their own.

Group 2

12. The well-worn way is the safe way. (Yes, the English word "trite" comes from the Latin adjective trita, but the Latin word does not have the same negative connotations. The well-worn way is safe because it has been trodden by many before you: that is a good sign, showing that the way is tried and true!)

13. The ancient way is a safe way. (This proverb reflects the high value that the Romans placed on tradition and their veneration for ancient things, along with their suspicion of new-fangled things. Notice that the predicate of the sentence is via est tuta. The adjective tuta and the adjective via form a single noun phrase, despite the fact that the verb est has been dropped there in-between them.)

14. Innocence is safe everywhere. (The word ubique is an adverb. Note also that the Latin word innocentia means literally "not-doing-harm." The message is that if you do no harm, no harm will come to you, and that this is a universal rule, one which applies everywhere, ubique. And yes, ubique is where we get the English word "ubiquitous.")

15. Innocence is eloquence. (In other words, innocence speaks for itself! You will find a commentary on this saying at the Latin Audio Proverbs blogs.)

16. Eloquence is (my) arrow. (I've got a commentary on this proverb at the Latin Audio Proverbs blog.)

17. A story, but a true one. (This is a delightful saying. On the one hand, it can be used to refer to a story that is true, but it is also the family motto of the Storey family, based on an elegant play on words.)

18. Public rumor is not always baseless. (This saying always makes me think of the wonderful website where you can go to find out which urban legends are, in fact, true.)

19. Deep water is still. (Compare the similar English proverb: "Still waters run deep.")

20. The best medicine is moderation. (I've got a commentary on this proverb at the Latin Audio Proverbs blog. You can find some other Latin proverbs about doctors and medicine at Bestiaria Latina.)

21. True friendships are eternal. (This is a saying from Cicero's De Amicitia.)

This blog post is part of an evolving online guide for users of the book Latin Via Proverbs.

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