Perfect and Future Infinitives, II

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! veniam vestram petō quod tam tardus haec scrībō! 🙂 You may have noticed that, in a normal week, there are blog posts at least five days a week (Monday through Friday), and there’s often a post on Saturday as well. Unfortunately, last week was not very normal, and there were only four posts. I’ll try to do better this time :-), and I appreciate you for continuing to read.

In a normal week, I sit down over the weekend, plan out blog posts for the coming week, and write drafts of the first few by the end of the day on Sunday. That way, Monday’s post is ready to go, and those for Tuesday and Wednesday are usually in pretty good shape … so even if “life intervenes,” as it sometimes does, we’re able to keep to a regular schedule. Then, on Tuesday evenings, I work on the posts for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Somehow that didn’t happen last week … but a lot of “intervening life” did, including a constellation of meetings and other evening activities on Wednesday and Thursday. So that’s why there wasn’t a post on Thursday, and it’s also why Friday’s post wasn’t followed by one on Saturday.

In any case, I had promised you a look at the presentation of the remaining infinitives in the Tres Columnae system, as well as a set of stories that use ōrātiō oblīqua with the non-present infinitives. We’ve already looked at perfect active infinitives last week, so today we’ll consider the perfect passives and deponents. Those are fairly simple once you understand the workings of the perfect participle (and its role in forming the perfect passive and deponent verb system), so we doubt that our learners will have too much difficulty. We’ll begin with a fabella like this:

  • heri Fabius tremōrēs sēnsit.
  • heri tremōrēs ā Fabiō sēnsī sunt.
  • hodiē Fabius sollicitus dīcit tremōrēs heri sēnsōs esse.
  • heri Caeliōla in hortō aliquid mīrī olfēcit.
  • heri aliquid mīrī ā Caeliōla olfactum est.
  • hodiē Caeliōla mātrī dīcit aliquid mīrī heri olfactum esse.
  • tertiā ante diē Caelius Cnaeum vituperāvit.
  • tertiā ante diē Cnaeus ā Caeliō vituperātus est.
  • heri Secunda Prīmae scrīpsit Cnaeum ā Caeliō vituperātum esse.

And then, as usual, we’ll find a quick explanation:

quid novī?

You probably noticed something different about the ōrātiō oblīqua in this fabella, too. Once again, there was a new type of infinītīvus in use:

Its action is marked as completed at the time of the main verb in its sentence or clause, so it’s perfective in aspect.

Its genus, however, is passīvus rather than actīvus.

The Romans called these infinītīvus temporis praeteritī perfectī (et plūsquamperfectī) generis passīvī. English speakers usually call them “perfect passive infinitives” for short.

I’m sure you can imagine the exercises and the self-assessment cycle with which our learners will build up their comfort with the new infinitives. We’ll use a similar cycle, of course, with both the future active and future passive infinitives … yes, even the “rare” future passives, which really are quite common if you read, for example, Cicero’s letters.

Once we know about all the major types of infinitives, we’ll experience them in their full glory 🙂 in stories where various characters recount their escape from Herculaneum (and other characters’ unsuccessful attempts – heu! vae!), describe their current feelings, and explore their plans and hopes for the future.

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • Does it seem reasonable to you to introduce ōrātiō oblīqua in this way, near the end of what might be the equivalent of a “traditional” Latin I course or (depending on the learner’s or teacher’s pacing) the beginning of Latin II?
  • If not, when would you put this concept? And what other changes in our order of presentation do you think we should make?
  • On the whole, how are you feeling about your introduction to the Tres Columnae project?
  • Have you had the chance to explore the Version Alpha Wiki? If so, what do you think … especially now that there are images and audio for much of Lectiō I?
  • And do you think you – or your students – would be interested in subscribing after the end of the free-trial period?
  • And, if so, what type of subscription would you be interested in? And would it make a difference if cost were not an object?

Tune in next time for a summary of your responses, and for an example of a story where all 6 infinitives appear (naturally, we hope) in a meaningful context. And in the meantime, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

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