Latin IS English!

August 26, 2008

“Aggregate” – Another in a “flock” of Latin Words into English


  Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 24, 2008 



aggregate • \AG-rih-gut\  • noun
1 : a mass or body of units or parts somewhat loosely associated with one another *2 : the whole sum or amount : sum total

Example sentence:
“The aggregate of incriminating details unmistakably points towards a conviction,” said the prosecuting attorney.

Did you know?
We added “aggregate” to our flock of Latin borrowings in the 15th century. It descends from “aggregare” (“to add to”), a Latin verb made up of the prefix “ad-” (which means “to,” and which usually changes to “ag-” before a “g”) and “greg-“ or “grex” (meaning “flock”). “Greg-” also gave us “congregate,” “gregarious,” and “segregate.” “Aggregate” is commonly employed in the phrase “in the aggregate,” which means “considered as a whole” (as in the sentence “In the aggregate, the student’s various achievements were sufficiently impressive to merit a scholarship”). “Aggregate” also has some specialized senses. For example, it is used for a mass of minerals formed into a rock and for a material, such as sand or gravel, used to form concrete, mortar, or plaster.


August 14, 2008

A Christian Perspective: “Why Learn Latin?”

Is Latin a “dead” language?  People usually study Spanish or German or Italian or French. These languages belong to a land or people who use them to communicate every day. But, who communicates with Latin every day? What land or people does it belong to?  If no one speaks Latin then WHY do we bother to learn it?

1. Learning Latin makes it easier to learn other languages. Many languages have their roots in Latin. The 5 Romance Languages are direct descendants of Latin and one can learn them more easily once you know Latin.

Italian (Italy)

Spanish (Spain, Mexico)

French (France, Canada)

Romanian (Romania)

Portuguese (Portugal, Brazil)

2. Learning Latin increases our English vocabulary. The more Latin words you know, the more English words you know! More than 60% of our words derive from Latin.

3. Learning Latin improves our accurate and effective use of English. Not only will we have access to more words, but we will also have a better understanding of the meaning of words! We will use them more intelligently. We will be better thinkers, writers and speakers! Latin makes you smarter!!!

4. Learning Latin helps us bear/reflect God’s image. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit communicate with one another through words, language. The very first conversation in the Scriptures takes place between Father, Son & Holy Spirit: ”Let Us make man in Our image . . .”  Because we are created in His image, we are to be communicators after His image.

God communicates with us through words/language. He spoke to Adam & Eve using words, not feelings or telepathy! God continues to speak to us by means of words…the written Word of God and the Living Word, Christ.

God commanded us to subdue all of creation. He told Adam & Eve to serve and guard the garden and to take dominion over all the earth. We are to take dominion over invisible parts of creation (such as words, language, thoughts and ideas) as well as physical creation.

So, in summary, learning Latin helps us achieve the understanding needed to use words in a meaningful and glorious way, so that we may reflect God’s image more truly.

— The above information is gleaned from my sister-in-law’s Latin classroom instruction, which I couldn’t have said better myself! —

Interested in taking a “live, interactive” online Latin class?  Take the POLL here!

August 8, 2008

“The sailor land (he) sees.” (. . . Huh?!) — THE WORD ORDER OF A LATIN SENTENCE

When translating Latin sentences, identify and translate in the following order whenever possible: (1) Subject (Nominative case), then (2) Verb and (3) Direct Object (Accusative case). However, remember, the normal Latin word order in a sentence with a transitive verb (i.e., a verb of “action”) will appear in a different order:

Subject (Nominative case) . . . then Direct Object (Accusative case) . . . then Verb.

—OR, in Latin

Nauta (Nominative for sailor)…terram (Accusative for land)…videt (he sees3rd person sing. of video)


(Literally) The sailor land (he) sees.OR— (English flow) The sailor sees land.

Interested in taking a “live, interactive” online Latin class?  Take the POLL here!

August 2, 2008

“Is everyone getting on your ‘case’ a lot lately?”

To get started learning an “inflected” language—that is, the nouns, pronouns, and adjectives having different “endings” depending on what grammatical function they have in a given sentence—the initial hurdle one must face and soon overcome is to become “friends” with the terminology of these various functions—called “cases”—and to learn their corresponding functions, and therefore how a given Latin word is translated within those respective case functions.

So, there’s no better time than now for everyoneto start getting on your case(s)! Below is a fairly simplified summary overview of the five (5) basic Latin “cases” (excluding the relatively infrequent “Vocative” case) which the beginning Latin student must acquire early on (right-click on the chart image to download to your computer, or for a PowerPoint of the same, click here).  You should become as comfortable with the grammatical concepts shown here as you are with pizza . . . or burgers and fries . . . or ice cream on a hot summer day! (Hint:  Make this part of your regular diet, too!)

To download a PowerPoint presentation on the above chart, including the five (5) Latin noun declensions—click by click—click here. The same is also *permanently available for downloading from the sidebar.  For a PowerPoint presentation of the declension of the 1st Declension Latin noun, terra, click here. For a PDF click here, or go to the sidebar for either.

*(Note: our English word permanentcomes straight from a Latin compound of per = through and maneo = (I) remain. So, the Latin permaneo = last, continue, remain, endure. Hey, it happens all the time: “Latin IS English!”)

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