Latin IS English!

July 17, 2009

“Now, once and for all: It’s time to get on the bus!”


Word of the Day Image

The Word of the Day for July 17, 2009 is:

omnibus \AHM-nih-bus\ • adjective

1 : of, relating to, or providing for many things at once
2 : containing or including many items

Example Sentence:

At the beginning of the school year, teachers held an omnibus meeting to tie up many of the loose ends that were left unaddressed over the summer.

Did you know?

The adjective omnibus may not have much to do with public transportation, but the noun omnibus certainly does — it not only means “bus,”but it’s also the word English speakers shortened to form “bus.” The noun “omnibus” originated in the 1820s as a French word for long, horse-drawn vehicles that transported people along the main thoroughfares of Paris. Shortly thereafter, omnibuses— and the noun “omnibus” —arrived in New York. But in Latin, omnibus simply means for all.” Our adjective omnibus, which arrived in the mid-1800s, seems to hark back to that Latin omnibus, though it may also have been at least partially influenced by the English noun. An “omnibus bill” containing numerous provisions, for example, could be likened to a bus loaded with people.

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July 15, 2009

More “Troublesome” Latin Coming into English (but only a fractional part)

The Word of the Day for July 15, 2009 is:

Word of the Day Image

fractious • \FRAK-shus\  • adjective

1 : tending to be troublesome : unruly
2 : quarrelsome, irritable

Example Sentence:

The class was fractious and uncontrollable when Mr. Douglas first took over as teacher, but he now has the students disciplined, focused, and ready to learn.

Did you know?

The Latin verb frangere (“to break or shatter) has many modern English relations. Dishes that are fragile can break easily. A person whose health is easily broken might be described as frail. A fraction is one of the many pieces into which a whole can be broken. But fraction also once meant “disharmony” or “discord” — that is, a “rupture in relations.” From this noun sense came the adjective fractious, meaning “unruly” or “quarrelsome.” Though the “disharmony” sense of the noun is now obsolete, fractious is still common today.

May 16, 2009

The States of Being of the Latin “State of Being” Verb: “sum” (6 Tenses)

As with all languages, there are a handful of verbs that, not being “active” (transitive) toward a “direct object” in their meanings and usage, they therefore fall into a category of verbs commonly known as “state of being” verbs, also referred to as “linking” or “intransitive” verbs.  Also, in each of the languages I’ve studied (and surely in many more), the “to be” verb always falls into an “irregular” category of verb structures.  The Latin verb sum = I am . . . is no exception.  Not to worry though, because there are still patterns of “constants” that may be observed among the variables, making this irregular verb more manageable for memorization. So, let’s observe the chart of “The Six (6) tenses of the Latin Verb sum” (PDF also available from sidebar) followed by some comments (below)—

The Six Tenses of the Latin Verb sum

First, it is helpful to notice—via the aid of color—that all but one of the six tenses of sum utilize the same “personal endings” (with the frequent alternation of –o / –m in the 1st person singular).  The Latin “Perfect” tense is the only tense revealing a unique grouping of verb endings (i.e.— ī, isti, it, imus, istis, ērunt). Meanwhile, it stays easy. The “Imperfect,” being a past time tense, conveniently throws us back into that former “era” (verb stem) when things were quite different.  Put the personal endings on, and it’s a done deal! Similarly with the “Future” tense, with a verb stem “eri,” which shows all through the conjugation except in the 1st person singular where, like Jonah inside the whale, the “i” gets swallowed up by the “o” ending.  It’s there (like Jonah); you just can’t see it (him)!

On to the “Perfect system,” which includes all three: the “Perfect,” the “Pluperfect” and the “Future Perfect”—all noticeably formed off the third principal part of this verb . . . Let’s see . . . uh . . . that would be . . . uh . . . Oh, “phooey!” — I can never remember it!  Wait! That’s it! The third principal part isfuī (pronounced “foo-ee”).  So then, the stem used is simply:fu-.  As noted about, the “Perfect” adds to this stem the uniquely used endings: ī, isti, it, imus, istis, ērunt, leaving you with two clues or “flags” to tell you what tense it is.  And finally, utilizing the same fu- stem, the “Pluperfect” and the “Future Perfect” simply add on the “Imperfect” conjugation of sum: eram . . . and the “Future” conjugation of sum: ero . . . , respectively.

So, observe; use discernment; think logically; look for structural patterns and consistencies. If you do, the irregularities of this “irregular” verb will seem less ominous to you.

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

May 15, 2009

“Nothing personal, but this is gonna have to get ‘Personal’ (Pronouns)!”

Okay, this is really going to get “personal.” Personal Pronouns, that is. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd “Personal Pronouns” (PDF, also available from the sidebar) in Latin. For us English folks, that would be “I, you, and he, she, it with all their translated variations as they are used in “objective” (oblique) cases, and go through changes as they become plural as well.

And, these can be made simpler to learn (memorize), if you’ll simply pay attention to many of the consistent, repetitious “patterns” that also occur elsewhere within the whole system of Latin declensions. Also, you can easily observe the self-evident constructional patterns existing between the pronouns themselves, particularly between the structures of the 1st and 2nd personal pronouns.

Latin 1st, 2nd, 3rd Personal PronounsWhen observing the 3rd personal pronoun (is, ea, id = he, she, it . . .), what seems overwhelming at first, doesn’t have to be.  First, learn the triad as a “vocabulary” unit.  Then, looking at the chart, notice that both the Genitive case singular and the Dative case singular forms are identical for all three genders within each respective case.  So, learn each of those once, then use it three times!

Then, remember that a Latin “neuter” declension always repeats its Nominative form in the Accusative. The rest of the cases— with an e prefixed — are simply the “masculine,” “feminine,” and “neuter” case endings already learned when studying the 1st & 2nd declensions.  Pretty straightforward afterall, huh?  So, if you want, you may take it “personally.”  Not a bad idea!

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!

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