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.

October 6, 2008

“Let the Vocabulary Bell RING!”

As a Latin student begins to make progress through the five (5) Latin noun declensions, he or she will soon begin to notice—maybe with some degree of consternation—that there are some noun endings that repeat themselves in different “cases” even within the same declension (e.g, the –ae ending used in three different locations [cases] within the 1st declension).  As well, there may be repetition of the same case ending from one declension to the next, even involving different genders and different cases (e.g., the ī ending that occurs as twice within the 2nd declension masculine [genitive sing. and nom. pl.] and once in the neuter [genitive sing.], and then again in the 3rd declension as a dative singular).  Even the 2nd declension -us masculine nominative singular ending is repeated elsewhere—four times—within the 4th declension noun structures!

But, do not fear and tremble unnecessarily, even over something as seemingly ominous as this!  “Let the vocabulary bell ring inside your head:  when you think about how you first wrote, saw, and said the original form of the word, it will help significantly in directing your brain (the most sophisticated “computer” on the planet) first to the appropriate declension, and then to the appropriate case usage for the context which you are observing.

So, remember:  “Let the vocabulary bell RING!”


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

July 5, 2008

Inalienable (Unalienable) Rights: Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness

  

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 04, 2008 is:

inalienable • \in-AY-lee-uh-nuh-bul\  • adjective: incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred

Example sentence:
“Just because I can use my work e-mail for personal correspondence doesn’t mean I have the inalienable right to do so,” Brian explained.

Did you know?
“Alien,” “alienable,” “inalienable” — it’s easy enough to see the Latin word “alius,” meaning “other,” at the root of these three words. “Alien” joined our language in the 14th century, and one of its earliest meanings was “belonging to another.” By the early 1600s that sense of “alien” had led to the development of “alienable,” an adjective describing something you could give away or transfer ownership of, and “unalienable,” its opposite. By about 1645, “inalienable” was also in use as a synonym of “unalienable.” “Inalienable” is the more common variant today, but it was “unalienable” that was used in the Declaration of Independence” to describe rights like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

** Blogger’s additions: listen to “Declaration” song.  Also, listen to the late President Ronald Reagan—before he was ever President of the United States—during the Barry Goldwater presidential campaign “Cold War” years.


June 7, 2008

An “Impeccable” Choice for the “Word of the Day!”

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for May 31, 2008 is:

impeccable • \im-PECK-uh-bul\  • adjective
1 : not capable of sinning or liable to sin *2 : free from fault or blame : flawless

Example sentence:
Although the restaurant was a bit expensive, we found its memorable cuisine, luxurious decor, and impeccable service to be well worth the price.

Did you know?
The word impeccable has been used in English since at least 1531. It derives from the Latin word “impeccabilis,” a combination of the Latin prefix “in-,” meaning “not,” and the verb “peccare,” meaning “to sin.” “Peccare” has other descendents in English. There is “peccadillo,” meaning “a slight offense,” and “peccant,” meaning “guilty of a moral offense” or simply “faulty.” There is also “peccavi,” which comes from Latin, where it literally means “I have sinned,” and which is used in English as a noun meaning “an acknowledgment of sin.”

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

                 


**Blogger’s Note:  The root Latin word “peccare” also gained significant theological importance via Reformed theologians like Augustine in his treatment on man’s “will” (as discussed by Scottish Puritan Thomas Boston in “Human Nature and Its Fourfold State,” paragraph two). For an even more detailed discussion of the phrases “posse nōn pecarre” ( = “able not to sin”) and “nōn posse non peccare” ( = “not able not to sin,”) and also the heaven-based nōn posse peccare” ( = “not able to sin”), go here.      

Additionally, for a listing of significant Latin theological terms and expressions, click here or download the similar PDF from here or from the sidebar.

May 28, 2008

Wermuth’s “Famous Quotes & Memory Joggers”

Here is an initial listing of classroom teaching quotes or “memory joggers” that are helpful over the entire course of Latin language study. I will add to this list from time to time, and I will also post revised PDF versions of it on the sidebar (opposite).

  1. Always study vocabulary and grammatical structures first before translating exercises.
  2. Make your own vocabulary cards. Write the Latin word not only on the front of the card, but also on the back of the card just above the definition.  This will instill in you a “conditioned” remembrance between the Latin word and its English meaning.  You may also want to include the “conjugation” (if a verb) or the “declension” (if a noun) from which the word originates.
  3. Neuter Latin nouns always repeat their Nominative endings in the Accusative (singular and plural, respectively).
  4. The Latin declined ending “ī” shows up in two declensions (2nd and 3rd) and in three different cases:  Genitive singular (2nd declension masc. & neuter), Nominative plural (2nd declension masc.), and Dative singular (3rd declension, all genders).  Look at the declensions side by side and you’ll readily notice this.  (Of course, what declension the word originates in plus the sentence’s context will help the reader determine which case is occurring.)
  5. The main characteristic (irregularity) of  a 3rd Declension Latin noun is that its true stem does not appear within the vocabulary word (Nom. sing.) itself, but first reveals itself within the Genitive singular form.  (Example:  lex, legis . . .)
  6. 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).
  7. “Stick to your cases!” (when translating Latin sentences)
  8. Q. When you can’t find a subject (Nominative) noun or an adjective functioning as the subject (Nominative “substantive”) of the sentence, where can you always still locate the subject of a Latin sentence?  A. Hanging off the end of the verbal form (i.e., the personal ending) as the subject of the verb and also of the entire sentence!
  9. Don’t be intimidated by grammatical terminology.  For example, “transitive” verbs (Lat. trans = across, over) are verbs that have “action” (i.e. they’re “moving” toward an object).  As a result, we have the “direct object,” which receives the action of these verbs of motion.  Or, as one of my students brilliantly (and simply) stated:  “The subject ‘verbs’ the object.”
  10. Remember, transitive Latin verbs most often are positioned at the end of the sentence (or individual clauses within the sentence).
  11. 1st Conjugation Latin verbs are also known as “a-stems.”  In the 1st person singular, the “a” of the stem is swallowed up by the personal ending “o” (kind of like Jonah inside the whale; he’s there . . . you just can’t see him!)
  12. 2nd Conjugation Latin verbs could very well be termed “e-stems.”
  13. 3rd Conjugation Latin verbs (e.g., mitto, mittis, mittit, mittimus, mittitis, mittunt) present a thematic “i” in their Present Indicative stems, except in the 1st person singular and 3rd person plural. In this respect, they could be called “i-stems.”
  14. The “tense sign” indicator for all conjugations of Imperfect tense Latin Indicative verbs is –ba-.
  15. The “tense sign” indicator for Future tense Latin 1st & 2nd Conjugation Indicative verbs is –bi-.
  16. The “tense sign” indicator for Future tense Latin 3rd & 4th Conjugation Indicative verbs is a thematic “e,”  except for the 1st person singular, where it is an “a.”
  17. Remember:  All  Latin Indicative mode verb tenses except one (the Perfect tense) utilize  the Latin verb endings:    [or]m ,  –s,  –t,  –mus,  –tis, –nt in their formation.   Meanwhile, the Perfect Active Indicative utilizes the following endings:  i,  –isti,  –it,  –imus,  –istis,  –erunt.
  18. There is a significance to the Latin word order within a sentence.  Words at the beginning and end—Subject and Verb, respectively—obviously have prominence. For example, “Genitive” case words (showing possession or description), when moved in front of a word instead of their normal position following the word, signify greater emphasis.  So: “Deus, Pater hominum . . .” ( = “God, the Father of men . . . ”) would be even stronger written “Deus, hominum Pater . . .”

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

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