Introducing Participles, II

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! As I promised in yesterday’s post, we’ll look at the way that Tres Columnae handles the formal introduction of participles today … or, to be more specific, at the introduction of participles as distinct from other adjectives or nōmina. Though we start to see present, perfect, and future participles fairly early as adjectives, we’ll wait until Lectiō XXIV for a formal introduction of the verbal side of participles. By then, our participants are thoroughly familiar with

  • adjective agreement;
  • verbal aspect; and
  • the relationship between aspect and a verb’s stem (i.e., that imperfective-aspect forms are made from the infinitive, while perfective-aspect forms are made from the third or fourth principal part of the verb).

With this background, we think participles will be a relatively trouble-free addition to our learners’ repertoire of forms and constructions.

So we’ll begin with fabellae like these:

  • ōlim Lollia in cēnāculō sedēbat.
  • Maccia cēnāculum intrāvit et circumspectāvit.
  • Maccia Lolliam in cēnāculō sedentem cōnspexit et salūtāvit.
  • Lollius vōcem Macciae Lolliam salūtantis nōn audīvit.
  • hodiē Cāius per viam ambulat.
  • Lūcius per viam currit.
  • Lūcius Cāium per viam ambulantem salūtat.
  • Lūcius, per viam currēns, Cāium salūtat.
  • Lūcius, per viam currēns, Cāium per viam ambulantem salūtat.

And then, as always, we move on to a brief explanation:

quid novī?

From very early in Cursus Prīmus, we’ve seen words like sedentem, ambulantem, and currēns. We treated them as if they were the type of nōmen that English speakers would call an adjective; that is, a nōmen that describes another nōmen. But you may have noticed that sedentem, ambulantem, currēns, and salūtantis are also verba – that is, they’re forms of verbs like sedēre, ambulāre, currere, and salūtāre. Because they’re partly verba and partly nōmina, the Latin word for these types of words is participium.

We move on, as always, to a cycle of self-assessment:

On our normal scale from 1-5, how well could you recognize a participium? Would you like an additional explanation?

You can probably imagine the self-checking exercise that will appear if you say you don’t want an additional explanation, or if you rate yourself at a 4 or 5. If you do want more explanations, or if you rate yourself at 3 or below, you’ll see this:

quid novī?

Take another look at the participia in these sentences:

  • Maccia Lolliam in cēnāculō sedentem cōnspexit et salūtāvit.
  • Lollius vōcem Macciae Lolliam salūtantis nōn audīvit.
  • Lūcius, per viam currēns, Cāium per viam ambulantem salūtat.

You probably noticed another thing about the participia we’ve seen in this Lectiō: they are imperfective in aspect.

  • They’re made from the infinītīvus, the imperfective stem
  • Their action is ongoing (or, at least, not completed) at the time of the main verb in their sentence.

The Roman term was participium temporis praesentis. English speakers usually call them present participles for short.

Of course, there are also perfective-aspect participles, the participium temporis praeteritī. We’ll see some examples of those in the next fabella.

And then, of course, we’ll see this little fabella:

  • Cnaeum Caelius audīvit. Cnaeus enim “vae! heu!” identidem clāmābat.
  • Caelius Cnaeum arcessīvit. Caelius Cnaeum arcessītum castīgābat.
  • Prīma et Secunda in vīllā librōs legēbant. Planesium puellās cōnspexit et laudāvit. puellae laudātae nūruī fābulās nārrābant.

After it, we see this explanation:

quid novī?

Take another look at the participia temporis praeteritī in these sentences.

  • Caelius Cnaeum arcessītum castīgābat.
  • puellae laudātae nūruī fābulās nārrābant.

Now compare them with some participia temporis praesentis:

  • Ūtilis Caelium Cnaeum arcessentem audīvit.
  • Fortūnāta Planesium puellās laudantem audīvit.

Can you see and hear the difference between these two types of participia?

  • The participia temporis praesentis were formed from the infinītīvus, the imperfective stem.
  • The participia temporis praeteritī were formed from the supīnus.

I’m sure you can imagine the self-evaluation cycle. But I do want to show you one of the exercises: you, the learner, will be to choose the right participle to summarize or combine the two sentences, paying attention to the aspect of the verb you’re changing:

Cnaeus in agrīs Ūtilem quaerēbat. Lupus in silvā proximā rem tōtam spectābat.

Lupus in silvā proximā Cnaeum in agrīs Ūtilem ____ spectābat.

quaerentem / quaesītum

In this case, you’ll choose quaerentem because it accurately reflects the time relationship. Cnaeus was searching while the wolf was watching him, so we need an imperfective-aspect participium temporis praesentis.

canēs Lupum olfēcērunt. canēs vehementer lātrābant et Lupum agitāre volēbant.

Canēs vehementer lātrābant et Lupum ____ agitāre volēbant.

olfacientem / olfactum

In this case, you’ll choose olfactum. The dogs smelled the wolf before they started barking, so we need a perfective-aspect participium temporis praeteritī.

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • Do you find this treatment of participles to be helpful, or confusing?
  • More importantly, do you think that learners will find it helpful or confusing?
  • Does it make sense to you to separate the issues of case and number (the nōmen issues, as we’ve called them) from those of aspect and voice (the verbum issues)?
  • And do you want to know what we’ll say about voice of participles? Or are you, perhaps, hoping that we’ll finesse that issue for a bit?

Tune in next time for an actual early story with participles. Then we’ll talk more about voice, and on Friday we’ll return to infinitives with the perfect and future infinitives. Of course, we think you have to talk about participles before you talk about those, since many of them are made from participles! And, in the meantime, grātiās maximās omnibus legentibus! Please keep those comments, emails and Free Trial Subscription requests coming … there’s still a bit of room if you’re interested!

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