Understanding Latin Translation in English (OCR GCSE Latin) Watch

username2923944
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#1
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#1
So, this is starting to really frustrate me now. I've learned and almost completely understand (I make a few errors every now and then) the different froms of verbs (Present, Perfect, Imperfect, Pluperfect, Future, active & passive, PAP, PPP, Future Participles, etc. ) and all the noun cases but still can't put together sentences that make sense. I'm really struggling to quite understand how.

For example, this sentence (taken from 'Essential GCSE Latin by John Taylor [2nd Edition]): p177 (Translation 9)

dum Romani contra Latinos pugnant, Manlius Torquatus exercitum ducebat; filius eius, Titus nomine, equitibus praeerat.

I get: While the Romans fight against the Latins, Manlius Torquatus was leading the army; his son, Titus by name, had charge of the cavalry.

It doesn't quite make sense and I'm not sure to what extent I can make it into more understandable english without losing marks. Unless I made a mistake somewhere. This sentence isn't quite what I meant as there are others that present my question better which I can't find at the moment but I'll add if I do. Please help, thank you.
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username2770874
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You shouldn't lose marks for making some small alterations to make your translation more natural English:
- Titus nomine can be translated as “named Titus"
- fought against the Latins? Idk the context so this might be right, but maybe just keep it as Latinos. I've never heard of the Latins.
- you translated the first clause in the present - which it is, so fair enough. However in Latin texts you'll sometimes find a present sentence in a past tense text. Writers used this to emphasise the action in a passage by making it seem like it's happening right now. So you can interpret this as a literary technique rather than taking it literally.

So you'd end up with
While the Romans fought against the Latins, Manlius Torquatus was leading the army; his son, named Titus, had charge of the cavalry.

While the Romans fight against the Latins, Manlius Torquatus was leading the army; his son, Titus by name, had charge of the cavalry.

Hope this helped!
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Classics_Teacher
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You're pretty much spot on, but I'd agree with the above poster - something like 'named Titus' or 'called Titus' would be better in more natural English than 'Titus by name'. Likewise, dum + a present tense verb is used in a sense called the historic present or vivid present, and hence it's better to translate it as a past tense.

N.B. The Latins were simply a tribe that lived in part of Italy.

Hope this helps!
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username2923944
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Thank you for the responses! They were very helpful, I think I now understand.
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5amer21
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If its set text you're better off memorising the translation because poets write differently and so you wont get the correct translation.
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