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  • John Walker posted an update in the group Group logo of S.P.Q.RatburgerS.P.Q.Ratburger 8 months, 3 weeks ago

    Going toward: accusative. Going away: ablative.

    • I know or think I know that “accusative” is the direct object in an English sentence. What would be an example of the “ablative”?

    • The ablative case https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ablative_(Latin) has many uses. I was speaking of a common use, the “ablative of the place from which”, which would be used to decline the noun for Greece in the sentence “They sailed from Greece to Italy” (Graeciā in Italiam nāvigāvērunt).

      Of course, mother tongue speakers of Latin never thought about the grammar for a moment—they just said what sounded right based upon what they’d heard from others.


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    • I just remember about Shuttle tiles coming off on re-entry: ablation, they called it.


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    • This is interesting. Maybe I need to decline places from where I am from in “Latglish” for fun.

    • >> I just remember about Shuttle tiles coming off on re-entry: ablation, they called it.

      Actually no, or if they called it that they had no idea what they were talking about. “Ablation” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_entry#Ablative) is a technique used in atmospheric entry to dissipate the heat generated from the kinetic energy of the spacecraft by coating its surface with a material which will absorb the heat, char, and release hot gases which will carry away the heat, usually leaving an insulating charred material to further protect from the heat generated by compression of the atmosphere. Ablation has been used from the early days of spaceflight and is the most commonly used means of thermal protection for atmospheric entry. The main disadvantage is that because the ablative material is consumed, the heat shield is not reusable (or can only be reused a limited number of times).

      The Space Shuttle tiles were not an ablative material: they were a passive heat shield made of ceramic tiles which could withstand the heat pulse and not transmit it to the heat-sensitive aluminium structure to which they were attached. Their coming off in the Columbia accident was a structural failure due to damage from collision with foam shed during launch, not a process of ablation.

      I have no idea if or how the term “ablation” in aerospace (and its similar uses in other fields) relates to the Latin noun case.

      See my review of the NASA history publication Coming Home (https://www.fourmilab.ch/fourmilog/archives/2016-04/001607.html) for more details of thermal protection systems for atmospheric entry.


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    • I think of the ablative case as a noun acting as an adverb.
      Basically, it answers the question “how.”

      He arrived with friends.
      How did he arrive? With friends.

      With friends would be in the ablative, as would a lot of other subjects of propositions.


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