Latin Language Blog

Latin Sentences Posted by on Feb 18, 2010 in Latin Language

We’re going to take on more subjects and nouns. First take a look at these words:

Sum = I am

Es = you are

Est = his is, she is, it is

Now try translating these sentences.

(1) Est amīcus. (amīcus = friend)

(2) Es dominus. (dominus = lord, master of the house)

(3) Est fēmina. (fēmina = woman, wife)

(4) Sum Cornelia. (Cornelia = Cornelia)

“Est” by itself is ambiguous. However, with context, it can become a little more clear as to the gender of “Est”. In the first sentence, unless specified, “Est” will be translated as “He is”. We won’t go into this in this post, but amīcus is in the masculine singular. That information makes it more likely that “Est” is a “he” instead of a “she” or “it”. In the third sentence, “Est” serves as a “she” because it doesn’t make much sense to say, “He is a woman”. With the second sentence, be careful. The pronoun used was “Es” not “Est”, which makes the sentence, “You are the master of the house”.

The fourth sentence contains a common proper name used for Roman matrons. We’ll see more examples below. See if you can translate the following:

(1) Magister sum. (magister = teacher)

(2) Deus es. (deus = god, deity)

(3) Adulēscēns est. (adulēscēns = young man or woman, youth)

Did you notice anything strange about the word order? In Latin, you don’t have to place the pronoun at the beginning of a sentence. “Magister sum” contains the same meaning as “Sum magister”. In other words they both mean, “I am a teacher”. Also, for the third sentence, unless otherwise indicated, “Adulēscēns est” will probably be translated as “He is a young man”. In Latin, the masculine is usually chosen when there is no clear indication of gender.

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