Nothing has changed


Senior Member
Hello everybody,
What's the best way to translate: "Nothing has changed"?
Is it "Nihil mutatum est" correct?

Thanks in advance.
  • Starless74

    Senior Member
    I believe the passive form is better, since muto is mainly transitive in its active form (e.g. "to change something").
    So I think your Nihil (or: nil) mutatum est is correct.
    My Latin is quite rusty, though. :oops:


    Senior Member
    saluete amici ubique!

    In an entry running to about 70 column-cm, OLD (s.v. muto) is quite clear, though somewhat indigestible, about this. nihil mutatum est and nihil [se] mutavit are both acceptable. Unusually (for Latin) no absolutely hard-and-fast distinctions appear to be consistently observed between active, passive, middle, transitive or intransitive usages, in respectable authors ranging from Cicero and Varro to Tacitus and Ammianus, never mind the poets.

    Instinctively and pedantically, though maybe erroneously, my 'feeling' is that nihil mutatum est is stylistically preferable. But having done my lexicographical homework, I cannot insist on that!



    Senior Member
    I think there exists a perceptible difference in meaning between the two uses. The active intransitive use is called by the term unaccusative, and those uses that de-specify the cause of the event are called anticausative. This often produces the effect of alternating unaccusatives: The girl broke the glass. The glass broke; The internet has changed the times. The times changed. Contrast this with The girl laughed. The father **laughed the girl.

    Here's an abstract that outlines the issue, where you can source the relevant terminology for further google searches. Cennamo herself has numerous technical articles on the topic, here's one in the Oxford Guide (p. 967+) (available on LibGen). To cite the abstract:
    the active intransitive mainly occurred with verbs of variable/reduced telicity (e.g., lenire 'soothe', irae leniunt - anger soothes - 'Anger soothes'), with activities (e.g., volutare 'roll', saxa volutant - stones roll - 'Stones roll') and, marginally, with accomplishments lexicalizing a reversible state (e.g., aperire 'open', foris aperit - door opens - 'The door opens').
    She further writes (and this is my impression as well) that the reflexive sē mūtāsse type is specifically a post-Classical development, and that Classically either mūtāsse (anticausative) or mūtātum esse (passive) are normal; a full merger of the three did not occur until the properly Romance stage.