Monday, October 11, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: ILLE

Today's word is the pronoun / pronominal adjective, ille-illud-illa. Watch out for the tricky forms, like the genitive illius and dative illi for all three genders. In archaic Latin texts you will find the form written olle rather than ille.

One good way to understand the Latin pronouns is in terms of the three persons: (1) hic is connected to the first person; it is the thing near me, (2) iste is connected to the second person, it is the thing near you, while (3) ille is the thing over there, connected to some third person.

Just as you would expect, you can also find the usual adverbs from this pronoun: illac, "that way," illuc, "to that place, thither," etc.

This pronoun has not given us any English words, but you might be interested in the fascinating role it has played in the history of the Romance languages, and French in particular. To explain the long story briefly (you can read more at Wikipedia), the languages of France can be divided into two groups: the langues d'oc in southern France and the langues d'oïl in the north. These labels are based on the distinctive words used for "yes" in these two language groups: oc in the south, and oïl in the north (which eventually gave rise to modern French oui). Both of these words for "yes" derive from Latin expressions: a simple hoc (i.e. hoc fecit) was the origin of oc, while hoc ille (i.e. hoc ille fecit) gave rise to oïl.

Here are some examples of today's word in Latin sayings and proverbs; for more information, see the page at the Scala Sapientiae, which contains notes on some of the proverbs cited below, as well as additional proverbs:

Qui non habet, ille non dat.

Meum mihi placet, illi suum.

Qui amat periculum, in illo peribit.

Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis.

Omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis.

Per quae sis tutus, illa semper cogites.

Sapiens ille plenus est gaudio.

Si regnum in se dividatur, non potest stare regnum illud.

Nulla scientia melior est illa, qua cognoscit homo se ipsum.

Ego illum periisse dico cui quidem periit pudor.

Cuius regio, illius et religio.

Favet huic, adversa est illi Fortuna.

Illum nullus amat, qui semper: Da mihi! clamat.

Ille hodie, ego cras.

Nunc hunc, nunc illum consumit gladius.

Ille mi par esse deo videtur; ille, si fas est, superare divos.

Bis ille miser est, ante qui felix fuit.

Ille nihil dubitat qui nullam scientiam habet.

Qui se exponit periculo, peribit in illo.

Cornu ferit ille, caveto!

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