Friday, November 26, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: ITAQUE



Today's word is ITAQUE, a word that may be most familiar to you from the vociferous arguments about its pronunciation on the various Latin online discussion boards.

Here's an overview of the problem:

There is a Latin adverb ita, meaning "thus" or "so," and like any other word in Latin, you can add the particle -que on to the end of the word. The result: ita-que, meaning "and thus" or "and so." Most people pronounce this with the stress on the second syllable, itáque, following the rule for the pronunciation of enclitics (although this is a rule people love to argue about).

There is also itaque regarded as a word of its own where -que is no longer supplying the additive sense of "and" (as also in denique, undique, etc.). The meaning of the word is still essentially the same as ita ("thus," "so," "therefore," etc.), but it is no longer carrying out the function of providing a conjunction between two clauses. Because the -que is not perceived as an enclitic, the stress is on the first syllable: ítaque.

Now, I am not the kind of person to worry about Latin pronunciation ... but for those of you who do worry about it, whenever you see itaque in a text at the beginning of a clause, you have to ask yourself: is this ita-que (itáque), or is it itaque (ítaque)...? Based on the context, is there a need for itaque to be doing the work of a conjunction (itáque), or is it just expressing a sense of logical consequence or conclusion (ítaque)? If the word itaque appears anywhere other than in first position in the sentence or clause, you can safely assume you're dealing with ítaque, but if you're looking at the beginning of a clause or sentence you need to study its connection to the previous clause or sentence and see what connection there might be.

Just practically speaking, though, when in doubt, pronounce the word ítaque, and no one is likely to be offended (although, when it comes to Latin pronunciation, there are some folks out there - mirabile visu - who have a powerful desire to be offended no matter what you might say).

Here are some examples of itaque in some Latin proverbs and sayings:

Vigilate itaque, quia nescitis diem, neque horam.

Optimum est itaque ad primum mali sensum mederi sibi.

Concupiscentia itaque sapientiae deducit ad regnum perpetuum.

Remota itaque iustitia, quid sunt regna nisi magna latrocinia?

Of course, because a word like itaque is more commonly found in the flow of ideas from sentence to sentence, you won't find many examples in the proverbs. So, to make up for that lack, here are ten very short Aesop's fables that show the use of itaque. These fables are taken from my Mille Fabulae et Una book (available in PDF format gratis here), so the numbering follows the numbering in that book:

141. Hyaenae, Masculus et Femina
Hyaenas singulis annis naturam mutare ferunt, et qui modo mas fuit, deinde in feminam converti. Cum olim itaque hyaena masculus contra Naturae leges cum femina coire vellet, “Heus tu,” illa ait, “ne quid tale facias; haec eadem enim mox ipse patieris.”

191. Castor et Venator
Castor est animal in paludibus sese nutriens, cuius testiculi variis medelis utiles esse dicuntur. Itaque cum quispiam eum sequitur, venationis causam non ignorans, fugit ad speluncam ubi, ab hominum conspectu canumque odoratu securus, testes dentibus exscindit et venatoribus appropinquantibus relinquit, et hoc pacto se securum praestat.

249. Asinus Res Sacras Portans
Asinus quidam res sacras portabat, ratus sese venerari homines. Itaque erectus incedebat, tamquam sibi tus illud atque carmina acciperet. Cuius errorem cum mox vidit aliquis, “Mi asine,” inquit, “istam vanitatem tibi excute. Non te, sed istas res sacras caerimoniis colunt; isti divo haec religio debetur.”

439. Corvus et Vulpes Mortem Simulans
Esuriens vulpes, ut aliquam simplicem avem fallere posset, abiecit se in viam, quasi mortua esset, ne vererentur illae advolare ad se. Corvus autem intuitus illam diligentius, spirare vulpem animadvertit. Itaque circumvolitans, “Non meus,” inquit, “oculus minus est subdolus quam cor tuum.”

584. Crocodilus et Homicida
Caedem quidam fecerat, eumque propterea hominis interfecti cognati persequebantur. Ad Nilum itaque cum pervenisset, leonem obvium videns ac timore correptus, in arborem adscendit. Ibi vero cum anguem summis in ramis delitescentem invenisset, novo metu perculsus, se in flumen proiecit, ibique a crocodilo devoratus est.

600. Rana et Leo
Ranam magna vi crocitantem cum leo olim audisset, ad eam vocem protinus sese convertit, magnum aliquod animal esse arbitratus. Paulisper itaque cum substitisset, ubi illam ex palude prodeuntem adspexit, accedens illico proculcavit, haec intra se aiens, “Neminem, re nondum perspecta, vox audita conturbet; nec quispiam, antequam viderit, ab ullo deterreatur.”

611. Ranae Duae et Puteus
Ranae duae in palude quadam degebant. Aestivis autem diebus cum arefacta palus esset, ea relicta, sibi aliam quaesiverunt. Nec longius progressae, profundum puteum invenere. Altera itaque, ut eo una descenderent, proponebat; sed altera “Verum,” inquit, “si hic etiam aqua defecerit, quonam pacto remeare poterimus?”

616. Serpens et Feles
Serpens et feles in quadam domo pugnabant. Inquilini itaque mures, qui ab utrisque continuo devorabantur, ubi decertantes eos videre, cavis illico exiere suis. Ipsi vero simul ac mures videre, iris sepositis proeliisque dimissis, omnes in illos conversi sunt.

655. Cicada et Auceps
Auceps, audita cicada, magnam aliquam praedam capturum se speravit, quam, cum forte praeteriret, aestimabat ex cantu. Sed cum arte adhibita cepisset, nihil quidem praeter cicadae cantum reportavit. Tunc itaque opinionem incusavit, quod mendax multis in rebus ferret iudicium.

766. Iuppiter et Apollo
Iuppiter et Apollo de iaculandi arte contendebant. Phoebus itaque cum arcum intendisset sagittamque emisisset, Iuppiter tantum spatii uno gressu confecit quantum Apollinis emissa sagitta.

773. Iuppiter et Serpens
Cum Iuppiter nuptias celebraret, animalia cuncta, suis quaeque pro viribus, ei munera obtulerunt. Serpens itaque, rosam decerptam ore ferens, ad Iovem accessit, qui simul ac eum vidit, “Ceterorum,” inquit, “omnium dona excipio, sed tuo ab ore nihil prorsus sumo.”

1 comment:

Elias said...

Wonderful explanation, helped me a lot (discipulus sum)!

Gratias tibi ago,

Elias