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Thread: nosco, cognosco

  1. #1
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    nosco, cognosco

    Hi again!
    Can you please tell me if there is any difference between nosco and cognosco, and which would better translate "get to know", e. g. "He got to know beaches, cities and people"?

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    Re: nosco, cognosco

    Both words mean 'get to know', 'become acquainted with'.
    cognosco is formed from nosco with the prefix con-.
    This prefix makes the sense of the verb stronger and cognosco is the form more frequently used.

    Thus nosco basically means 'get to know', while cognosco basically means 'thoroughly get to know'.

    Both verbs in the perfect tense mean 'know', because if I have got to know something, it follows that I now know it.

    The question arises, what does 'He got to know beaches, cities and people' mean?
    Is the sentence expressing the process of getting to know in the past (imperfect tense) or the fact of having got to know in the past (perfect tense?)

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    Re: nosco, cognosco

    Quote Originally Posted by wandle View Post

    The question arises, what does 'He got to know beaches, cities and people' mean?
    Is the sentence expressing the process of getting to know in the past (imperfect tense) or the fact of having got to know in the past (perfect tense?)
    Hello wandle, thank you for replying.
    I'm not sure if I get the difference, you know, English is not my first language. But the general sense is that he has travelled around the world and got to know many different places and peoples, and now he is back and will tell you about his journey.

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    Re: nosco, cognosco

    Which past tense you need (imperfect, perfect or pluperfect) depends on the context (by 'context', I mean not the general situation, but the actual words of the text surrounding the verb).

    If you could give a couple of sentences, which would be the English version of the Latin, then it would be possible to choose the correct tense.

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    Re: nosco, cognosco

    cognosco is not con+nosco, but co+gnosco, gnosco being the older form for nosco.

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    Re: nosco, cognosco

    Quote Originally Posted by Casquilho View Post
    Hi again!
    "He got to know beaches, cities and people"
    I would guess that you are looking for a Latin version of Odyssey 1,4:

    πολλῶν δ᾽ ἀνθρώπων ἴδεν ἄστεα καὶ νόον ἔγνω.

    ἔγνω is the aorist of γιγνόσκω; Latin would use the perfect novit.

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    Re: nosco, cognosco

    wandle, actually that phrase is invented and I don't have a context for it. What I actually wanted was just an exclamation, "to get to know beaches" (infinitive + accusative, I guess), as when you say daydreaming, "to travel to Italy"...

    fdb, it's a wonderful coincidence that my phrase resembles that line from the Odyssey. What does it mean?

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    Re: nosco, cognosco

    “He saw the cities of many men and got to know their mind”.

    Perhaps it was lurking in your subconscious, together with:

    ...Laviniaque venit
    litora...

    “he came to Lavinia’s beaches” in Aeneid 1,2-3?

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    Re: nosco, cognosco

    Quote Originally Posted by fdb View Post
    “He saw the cities of many men and got to know their mind”.

    Perhaps it was lurking in your subconscious, together with:

    ...Laviniaque venit
    litora...

    “he came to Lavinia’s beaches” in Aeneid 1,2-3?
    The Odyssey, perhaps it was. But I did never read the Aeneid.

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    Re: nosco, cognosco

    saluete

    litora (certe licet), gentes cognoverat, urbes...

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    Re: nosco, cognosco

    Quote Originally Posted by Casquilho View Post
    wandle, actually that phrase is invented and I don't have a context for it. What I actually wanted was just an exclamation, "to get to know beaches" (infinitive + accusative, I guess), as when you say daydreaming, "to travel to Italy"...
    Yes, I understood that it was invented. I was implying that you should invent a context to suit your intention.
    "He got to know beaches, cities and people"
    The fact is that 'he got to know' (English simple past tense) could be translated by any of the three basic Latin past tenses, depending on context: so it cannot be translated without context (unless you ask, say, 'What is the imperfect tense?').

    However, 'to get to know' is the infinitive and that is cognoscere.
    Lucretius expressed the aim of philosophy as rerum cognoscere causas: 'to learn the causes of things' (the Latin is also the motto of Imperial College).

    You could say: litora, urbes, gentes cognoscere.

  12. #12
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    Re: nosco, cognosco

    I think I should have said, "He has got to know beaches etc" for clarity.

    litora, urbes, gentes cognoscere, that sounds beautiful.

    Thank you wandle!

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