Word order


Blitz Latin rearranges the order to suit modern understanding. This can sometimes cause problems if Blitz Latin has misunderstood the meaning of the words it has rearranged. If a translation is poor sometimes switching to a literal translation can help. The modern west-European languages can largely be translated word-for-word into English, whereas in Latin the word order shows the emphasis that the writer required. The subject, verb and object of a Latin sentence may be placed anywhere within it. Indeed, books about Latin grammar go to great lengths to instruct students in the principles of which Latin word is connected with which other Latin word. You do not find that in books of French or German grammar!
Thus word-for-word translations are impossible from Latin to English. For example, in Italian we can say ‘contro i discepoli di Christo’, a phrase that can be translated word-for-word to give: ‘against the followers of Christ’ (a common theme in the early Christian literature). In Latin this becomes ‘contra Christi cultores’. You may notice that the Latin version has only three words, and their order is different from the Italian/English. Moreover, cultores can mean ‘inhabitants, cultivators, supporters’.