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Back to Basics: Nouns Posted by on May 28, 2018 in Latin Language

Salvete Omnes!

Let’s jump right in. Last week’s homework answers are below:

Translate from Latin to English

  1. clamas = you shout
  2.  es = you are
  3.  times = you are afraid
  4.  habetis =you guys are holding/having
  5.  Uocant =They call

Translate from English to Latin

  1. It has =habet
  2. They enter =intrant
  3. You (s.) are afraid =times
  4. I do hide =Celo
  5. We are carrying = portamus

I hope that makes sense to everyone; if not please leave a comment! So let’s dive in!

ENGLISH GRAMMAR CRASH COURSE

In English, we known nouns as a person, place, thing or idea. We use nouns every day, all the time, in every sentence. For example, I ate the waiter’s chicken with a fork.

This particular sentence has four nouns. However, the nouns all have different roles within the sentence. By roles, I am referring to their grammatical purpose of this sentence or the case of nouns.

The subject of the sentence is “I.”

The direct object (that the verb,ate, is referring to) is “chicken.”

The indirect object (that correlate to the direct object) is “fork.”

The possessive noun (who the chicken belonged to) is “waiter’s.”

Now, this is -of course- of simplifying things. But, I hope if you have some or very little grammar understanding that this little dissection has made sense. Now, although all the nouns in the sentence are being used as different parts of the sentence – most of them are spelled the same regardless of their place.  For example, if the noun chicken was the subject or indirect object – in English, we would still spell it as chicken. Therefore, the noun “chicken” spelling does not change based on its use in English.  

This is not true in LATIN.

In Latin, nouns change the way they are spelled depending on their purpose in the sentence. We see this, in English, with the word “I” and “me.” “I” is usually only used as the subject while “me” is used as the direct object or indirect object. For example: I [subject] called the penguin [direct object] to follow me [indirect object].  You wouldn’t say “Me called the penguin to follow I” – that is very poor English.

LATIN NOUNS CASES & GENDER

In Latin, nouns have cases which are as follows [there is a LOCATIVE & VOCATIVE which will be discussed at a later session]:

NOMINATIVE =SUBJECT OF THE SENTENCE

ACCUSATIVE = USUALLY DIRECT OBJECT

GENITIVE =POSSESSIVE

DATIVE = INDIRECT OBJECT

ABLATIVE = USED WITH PREPOSITIONS & OTHER PURPOSES

Please review the following video for more information on this part of English Grammar if this is still difficult to understand.  Now, in addition to nouns changing their spelling depending on their cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, and ablative) – nouns also have genders. This means nouns may be feminine, masculine, or neuter. In terms of noun’s gender – sometimes it is easy to assume such the word daughter in Latin “filia” is a feminine noun, the word serrus meaning male slave is masculine. Not all nouns are so clear cut as the Latin words for stage “scaena” and garland “corona” are feminine but both men and women use these items. In addition, neuter nouns are difficult to guess like “aurum” meaning gold.  So before you assume you can guess the gender of noun based on it meaning – STOP!

 

The way Latin students know the gender of a noun is based on a few things, but for today’s lesson, it is the way the noun is spelled depending on its case. Now, before you start freaking out – it is not as crazy as it sounds.

 

Let’s review two types of Latin nouns:

1st Declension Nouns (feminine nouns 99% of the time ) like “Aul-a” means “pot”

The endings for these nouns are in bold while the root of the noun is not.

Case (singular) Abbreviation Case (Plural) English Translation
Nominative (nom.) aula Nominative (nom. aulae
Accusative (acc.) aulam Accusative (acc.) aulas
Genitive (gen.) aulae Genitive (gen.) aularum
Dative (dat.) aulae Dative (dat.) aulis
Ablative (abl.) aula Ablative (abl.) aulis

 

2nd Declension Nouns (masculine nouns 99% of the time ) like “coqu-us” means “cook”

Case (singular) Abbreviation Case (Plural) English Translation
Nominative (nom.) coquus Nominative (nom. coqui
Accusative (acc.) coquum Accusative (acc.) coquos
Genitive (gen.) coqui Genitive (gen.) coquorum
Dative (dat.) coquo Dative (dat.) coquis
Ablative (abl.) coquo Ablative (abl.) coquis

Now, I know this is  a lot to take in so I will show you a few sentence examples:

  • “Ego porto aulam” which means “I carry the/a pot”

Ego is the NOMINATIVE case, porto is the verb for the 1st person singular (only used for the subject “I”), and aulam is the direct object as you can see it is in the accusative singular case. Please Note: that there is no formal word in Latin for the English articles “the, a, or an” and it is implied as needed in the sentence.

  • “Aulas porto” which means  “I carry the pots”

The word “ego” meaning “I” is missing from this sentence. However, the verb shows me from last week’s blog that this is a 1st person singular meaning on its own “I carry.” This is very important to remember as Latin rarely use ego for I but instead infers the subject by the verb. “Aulas” according to the chart is in the accusative plural meaning it is a plural (i.e. more than one) direct object.

  • “sum filia” which means “I am a/the daughter.”

“Sum” is the 1st person singular of the verb meaning “I am.” “Filia is also in the nominative case. This is because the verb “to be” (more on this next month) is a complement to the subject. This will only happen with the verb “to be” in Latin.

  • “Habeo aulas coquorum” which means “I have the cooks’ pots”

“Habeo” is the 1st person singular meaning “I have”, “aulas” is plural accusative meaning “pots” and “coquorum” is plural genitive meaning “of the cooks.”

PREPOSITIONS

In English, there are several prepositions that placed in front of nouns like in, into, towards, with, to, about, etc.. In  Latin,, prepositions require nouns in certain cases.

  • “Ad + accusative” = Towards
  • “In + accusative”  = into or onto
  • “In + ablative” = in or on

Sentence Example:

  • “Coronas in aula celo” means “ I hide the garlands in the pot.”

Let’s break it down. “Celo” is a verb meaning “I hide” since it is 1st person singular (again review the previous post about verbs and ending). “Coronas is a first declension noun because it has an ending with “-as” which is accusative plural which means it is the direct plural object. So far we have – “I hide the garlands” now for the new part “in aula” meaning “in the pot” since aula is the ablative. Now I know what some of you are thinking…

“It could be a nominative” – but the verb does not work for “aula” to be the nominative (or subject). If you tried to translate it – it would say “A pot, I hide, into the garlands”  which sounds okay in English. BUT!!!!  If “Aula” is nominative meaning the “I” – then, in the sentence “I” is referring to pot as if the pot was alive and could think and hide things. The English sentence I constructed up above makes it sound like “I, a human being, hid a pot into the garlands.” If that was the case the Latin sentence would look like “in coronas aulam celo.”

Did you notice I moved the “in” to be in front of the noun it went with? This will be a common practice for most Latin unless you are doing advanced poetry. So the moral of the story is to pay CLOSE CLOSE CLOSE attention to the verb ending, the nominative/subject of the sentence, and all possible cases for verbs.

This month’s homework:

Vocabulary bank:

Please note that nouns are usually shown with the nominative singular endings and then a comma with the genitivie singular endings. 1 stands for first declension and 2 stands for 2nd declension. 

Aul-a,ae 1st fem. = pot Scaena, ae 1f= stage Et = and
Coqu-us, i 2nd mas =cook Sub+ ablative =under Cur = why
Clamo = I shout Uoco = I call Sed = but
Intro = I enter Timeo = I fear Semper = always
Te = you (acc. sing) Si = if Plenus, a, um + genitive = full of
Seruus, i 1m= slave-man Serua, ae 1f – salve-woman

Translate from Latin to English

  1. Coquus aulam filiarum portat.
  2.  Tu clamas, aulas celo.
  3.  Cur me times?
  4.  Coronas et aulas coqui celant sub scaena.
  5.  Fila ad scaenam intrat.

Translate from English to Latin

  1.  They hide the pot, the cooks are afraid.
  2. Why are you carrying the pots?
  3. The pots are full of garlands.
  4. The cook calls the female slaves.
  5. We hide the garlands in the pots.

 

Until next time!

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About the Author:Brittany Britanniae

Hello There! Please feel free to ask me anything about Latin Grammar, Syntax, or the Ancient World.


Comments:

  1. Daniel:

    Hi!
    #4. habetis = you guys , NOT you guy, are holding.(?).
    You guy are holding means; habes. (thou holdest!).

    • Brittany Britanniae:

      @Daniel Thank you for catching the typo. There’s a lot of information in this post and I appreciate the readers for catching things like this.

  2. David L. Crockett:

    This has nothing to do with the current blog, but…..has anyone heard of a comical, rhyming poem entitled, “Unus Canus et Duo Puer”? It tells the story of a dog and two boys on a coon hunt during a moonlit night. It is partly in Latin, partly in English and partly in rhyming, ‘made up’ Latin (not ‘Pig-latin’). The first line and ½ is all I can recall, “The nocht was lit by lux of Luna, ’twas a night most opportuna for a possum or a coona. Unus canus et duo puer, the former of which there was none truer,…..”. That’s all I can remember.
    I heard this from my high school Latin teacher many, many years ago. Have had no success finding it on the internet. It is possible my teacher, or someone she knew, wrote it but never published it. What a shame as it was quite clever, despite what little I recall.
    It’s been over 60yrs. and no luck finding a copy.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Id est quod id est.

    e-mail: davy.alamo@yahoo.com

  3. David L. Crockett:

    This has nothing to do with the current blog, but…..has anyone heard of a comical, rhyming poem entitled, “Unus Canus et Duo Puer”? It tells the story of a dog and two boys on a coon hunt during a moonlit night. It is partly in Latin, partly in English and partly in rhyming, ‘made up’ Latin (not ‘Pig-latin’). The first line and ½ is all I can recall, “The nocht was lit by lux of Luna, ’twas a night most opportuna for a possum or a coona. Unus canus et duo puer, the former of which there was none truer,…..”. That’s all I can remember.
    I heard this from my high school Latin teacher many, many years ago. Have had no success finding it on the internet. It is possible my teacher, or someone she knew, wrote it but never published it. What a shame as it was quite clever, despite what little I recall.
    It’s been over 60yrs. and no luck finding a copy.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Id est quod id est.

    e-mail: davy.alamo@yahoo.com

  4. Ikui:

    Since when is « I » a noun ?
    This post is full of grammatical mistakes.
    If one does not understand grammar, one should not talk/teach about it.

    • Brittany Britanniae:

      @Ikui Thank you for your input. Where does it say in the post that I is noun? It is the subject of the sentence. This must be a typo but any other errors please let me know. I have studied Latin for over 10 years.

  5. Brittany Britanniae:

    From a Lexicon: post with acc.

    1 post.—Of place, behind :(ex.) post urbem in viā Pompeiā: post tergum, Cs.: post montem se occultare, Cs.: post equitem sedet atra cura, H.

    —Of time, after, since :(ex.) post factam iniuriam, T.: aliquot post mensīs, some months later : maxima post hominum memoriam classis, since the memory of ma

  6. Jose B. Martin:

    Salvete omnes, amici! Vobis gratulor hanc pagellam latine scribendo incipientibus. Aliquas saltem lineas in nostra venerabile lingua occidentale quotidie vobiscum exarare voluerim. Necesse ut nos aliquo sermone sic dicto “romanico”, (et magna in parte anglico etiam) colloquentes nostro honori Eam servemus et sicut veterem matrem dignissimam curemus. Ego quidem opinor Catholicam Ecclesiam transacto saeculo valde funestum errorem egisse cum Eam ex caeremonis exclusit. Hebraei, graeci, maronitae suam linguam propriam servaverunt, nos vero a nostris ipsis ductoribus destituti sumus. Templa plures mulieres virosque sibi auxerunt? Minime. Lingua latina non populos alienabat; digna erat, et, etsi partim tantum intellecta, animorum certe sublimes emotiones exaltabat.

    Si quidam est qui mecum vicissim litteras latine velit permutare, dicat quaeso et ad electronicum meum domicilium nuntia sua mitat. Ei gratias humanissime agam. Lingua latina ‘mortua’ solum dici potest si Eam mori nos indigni permitimus! Bene omnes cum Ea valeatis, amici!

  7. Mary McC:

    Tristan: The first error occurs in the statement “This particular sentence has four nouns” and subsequent listing of “l, chicken, waiter’s, fork”. As we all know, “I” is a PRONOUN.
    The second error is in referring to “fork” as an indirect object; it is an OBJECT OF THE PREPOSITION.

    • Brittany Britanniae:

      @Mary McC Thank you so much for your feedback. It is clear that I is a pronoun but without getting into pronouns- it was left simplified. The same is true of the noun “fork;” it is the object of the preposition but without opening a can of worms about objects of prepositions (different cases in Latin depending on the preposition).


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