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nosco, cognosco

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by Casquilho, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. Casquilho Senior Member

    São Paulo, Brazil
    Portuguese - Brazil
    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"?
     
  2. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    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?)
     
  3. Casquilho Senior Member

    São Paulo, Brazil
    Portuguese - Brazil
    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.
     
  4. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    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.
     
  5. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    cognosco is not con+nosco, but co+gnosco, gnosco being the older form for nosco.
     
  6. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
  7. Casquilho Senior Member

    São Paulo, Brazil
    Portuguese - Brazil
    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?
     
  8. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    “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?
     
  9. Casquilho Senior Member

    São Paulo, Brazil
    Portuguese - Brazil
    The Odyssey, perhaps it was. But I did never read the Aeneid.
     
  10. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Reading, UK
    English - UK
    saluete

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

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    Yes, I understood that it was invented. I was implying that you should invent a context to suit your intention.
    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. Casquilho Senior Member

    São Paulo, Brazil
    Portuguese - Brazil
    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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