Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Beware the Latin Perfect!

I have a completely borked relationship with Latin. There are red flags everywhere. Here's one. The Latin perfect tense does the work of two categories: the present completed and the past simple! Spock this chart:

Notice how vidi can be translated either as "I have seen" or "I saw." In narrative, I have found the "I saw" pattern to be the more common one. Here are a few examples from Mark 14-15:

exierunt = they went (not they have gone)

veniunt = they came

assumit = he took

invenit = he found

oravit = he prayed

adduxerunt = they led

audivimus = we heard

interrogavit = he interrogated

How Latin managed to survive without what in Greek is called the aorist indicative is beyond me.