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How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb endings?

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How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb endings?

Postby pin130 » Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:48 pm

I've started and restarted learning Latin several times over the last few years. I've used all the books
usually mentioned on this forum for self-learners. Right now I'm close to half-way through Linney's Latin
Class. Already I'm beginning to feel that sense of hopelessness. How do you memorize all those declensions
and conjugations without spending several hours a day and every day doing it. I have tops an hour a day
and there are occasional missed days. Any tips or tricks from one who has succeeded under such conditions?
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby Shenoute » Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:18 pm

I didn't have much trouble memorizing them but I would suggest :

- quiz yourself, i.e. write down and/or recite by heart the declensions and conjugations regularly

- more important and more useful in my opinion (because being able to recite a declension doesn't really mean that you are able to recognize it when it appears in a text), read a lot of very easy Latin like Julia, Carolus et Maria, Cornelia, A New Latin Primer or Ora Maritima.
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby Damoetas » Wed Sep 17, 2014 4:01 am

I suspect part of the problem may be that you're thinking of the endings as things to be memorized, all by themselves, in isolation. Instead, the goal should be to associate them with meaning, and meaning requires a context. So I echo what Shenoute suggested, that you should supplement the rote memorization with lots of reading. Besides that, try memorizing entire Latin sentences, such as, from your textbook or answer key. This way, you'll be learning a complete thought, and the cases and verb forms will all be working together to create this thought. In simple sentences like Marcus Iuliam amat, Agricola filio suo librum dat, etc., you can practice identifying the cases; then look at the bigger picture, and think about the meaning of the sentence as a whole. Say the sentences over and over again, finally without thinking about the labels of the individual cases; let the whole thing just work as a complete thought in your mind, something that you can visualize and picture as it happens.

Learning Latin (or any language) does require hours and hours. There's no shortcut for that, but if you find the right combination of study methods, I think you'll see a lot of progress!
Dic mihi, Damoeta, 'cuium pecus' anne Latinum?
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby Smythe » Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:22 am

pin130 wrote:I've started and restarted learning Latin several times over the last few years. I've used all the books usually mentioned on this forum for self-learners.


Same here. Started up again about 14 weeks ago. Sigh ... Anyways, about four years ago, I had tried memorizing all of them at once (thirty minutes a day writing them all for about a month). Forgot most of them within a few months of not using them (for instance, because I was not using the subjunctive, I had forgotten all the endings by the time I reached the subjunctive in the textbook).

So, this time, I am taking a new approach.
1) I am using a lot of readers (Ora Maritima, Julia, Cornelia, Oxford Latin, and Lingua Latina) to keep me interested and practicing while I trudge through Wheelock's (the practice sentences in that book kinda suck).
2) Every week, I advance a chapter in all of them (takes about an hour a day, every day).
3) Every week, I memorize a new form for all 4.5 conjugations (first week was Present Active Indicative, second was Imperfect Active Indicative, ... Etc.)
4) while driving to and from work, I recite all the verb forms that I have so far learned.

This seems to be working really well. Take it with a grain of salt, though, seeing as how I, too, have stopped and started repeatedly.

One other thing that I have recently done is to write a program that picks a random verb from the list of verbs I have learned and slaps a random ending on it so I can practice recognizing all the different verb forms by sight. I haven't used it a whole bunch yet since I am still in the process of finishing step 3 above. Hopefully, it'll help. If not, I may modify it using Damoetus' suggestion and make it present me with simple sentences plus a random verb form. I am not sure that would be a trivial modification, though.

Just my two cents. Good luck!

-s
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby hlawson38 » Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:21 pm

This is a problem for me too, in my seventies. My memorizing ability seems slower than when young.

I memorize whole words, using example words in each conjugation and declension. I keep this paperback Latin-English dictionary handy:

http://www.amazon.com/Bantam-College-En ... 055359012X

The grammar tables are at the beginning. Traupman uses small print, which gets more words on the page. I have worn out three of these books in my four years of study. But they're cheap. I also have a book of 501 Latin verbs that is sometimes helpful.

From time to time, I use William Whitaker's Words program to test myself. It's also good for checking forms that I don't have so well memorized: the locative and vocative cases, the various imperative forms, and so on.

http://archives.nd.edu/words.html

I keep reading, parsing each sentence as I go, using printed tables or Whitaker when in doubt. Every time I make out a sentence it is a victory. If utterly stumped, I look at a translation, and then try again to parse the sentence.

Finally, I want to add a bit about motivation. I believe that Americans systematically disparage memorization, as if memorizing were an unspeakable torture of the mind. If this affects you, find some way to convince yourself that memorizing is just a useful art, like swimming or riding a bicycle.
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby Dominus Faba » Wed Sep 17, 2014 4:48 pm

Perhaps Oerberg's 'Lingua Latina' would be a better primer than some other books. By his method, paradigms aren't really memorised and then utilised, rather the inflexions are introduced as they are used. The exercises reinforce the usage so that what the memory retains has real meaning for the learner and not just the 'poetry of paradigms'.

Of course, I might just be long-windedly saying that LLPSI works for me, but there's no guarantee it'll work for you...
"O tempora, o mores, o haemorrhois!"
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby klewlis » Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:10 pm

I used to love memorization, and now as I'm older I have a harder time forcing myself to memorize things (laziness, definitely!). I'm trying to get back into that.

For endings it helps me to write them all out repeatedly. Even ones that I *should* have down pat give me trouble sometimes, so it helps sometimes to sit down and write them out again.

I've been on and off with my learning too, so I feel like a perpetual beginner, which really doesn't help. I think consistency would be more valuable than anything, in the long run. And more reading, which I haven't done enough of.

But don't beat yourself up; if you're doing an hour a day most days, you'll get there! I don't even manage that much, usually a couple of hours on weekends and not much during the week (I work too much).
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby pin130 » Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:52 pm

Thanks to the several people who sent me advice. I have tried Lingua Latina, but after several lessons
bog down and eventually give up, only to start over again with some other book at a later date. I might just
try some of the other easy reading books though.
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby hlawson38 » Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:02 am

pin30, I didn't worry about it.

I worked my way Moreland and Fleisher, and didn't worry about whether it all stuck in mind.

Then I got a Loeb classical library of Caesar, and started trying to read sentence-by-sentence. If I couldn't read the sentence even after looking up words, then I read the translation. Most of the time, after reading the translation, the grammar became apparent. At first I had to hold a card over the English translation, but now I can screen out the translation until I need it, just by mental action. If I need a grammar review, I go back to Moreland and Fleisher, or to other grammar books.

Each time I understand a sentence, and its grammar, I count it a victory. These victories happen every day.
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby Vladimir » Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:03 pm

Shenoute wrote: read a lot of very easy Latin like Julia, Carolus et Maria, Cornelia, A New Latin Primer or Ora Maritima.

Oh, thank you very much! These links encourage me to restart learning Latin. For knowing Greek without knowing Latin is a bit strange, isn't it? :)
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby dlb » Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:28 am

Be Practical!!
Use flash cards, carried in the car, read at every stop light, while waiting for the wife, while eating breakfast, ...
Don't get discouraged - eat the elephant one bite at a time.
I have cards for endings, verbs, vocabulary, prepositions, adjectives, ...
It may take a while but one day things will start to click.
Deus me ducet, non ratio.
Observito Quam Educatio Melius Est.
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby jaihare » Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:21 pm

klewlis wrote:I've been on and off with my learning too, so I feel like a perpetual beginner, which really doesn't help.

I think this feeling is much more common than is given voice. Thanks for expressing it. I've noticed it in myself (with Greek), but have never put my finger on it so clearly. A perpetual beginner. Indeed. Thanks. :)
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby ed-lanty » Sat Sep 20, 2014 2:01 pm

Many years ago I taught myself Spanish, went to Mexico and learned to speak and later taught it during graduate studies at the University. I learned that certain of the very complex Spanish verb forms are used all the time while others rarely come up. Once the more common forms are cemented in the mind, the others tend to fall in around it. Third person forms come up most often in reading. The Wheelock books offer a sound suggestion (he calls it a "synopsis") to take, say, third person and run it through all the tenses, moods etc. of a given verb. I do this mentally while taking my morning walk, keeping crib cards in my pocket for when uncertainty arises. Same goes for the noun declensions, which, while slippery, are of a finite number. Yes, getting older makes brute memorization more difficult, but experience gives you strategies to work around this in creative ways.
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby horus92 » Mon Sep 22, 2014 7:07 pm

I would simply chant paradigms in my head or under my breath throughout daily activities. Pay attention to patterns, a lot of stuff is just repeated over and over.
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby Vladimir » Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:59 pm

I think it would be very helpful to learn by heart some Latin poems: thus one can memorize new words as well as grammatical forms. Here I have found the text of the Carmina Burana songs with an English translaion: http://www.tylatin.org/extras/cb1.html
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby ilduce42 » Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:00 pm

One other thing that I have recently done is to write a program that picks a random verb from the list of verbs I have learned and slaps a random ending on it so I can practice recognizing all the different verb forms by sight. I haven't used it a whole bunch yet since I am still in the process of finishing step 3 above. Hopefully, it'll help. If not, I may modify it using Damoetus' suggestion and make it present me with simple sentences plus a random verb form. I am not sure that would be a trivial modification,

Smythe, have you finished the program? I've been looking for just such a thing! Is there anyway you could share it?
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby heavenseden » Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:54 pm

I to start and stop I hope to end that.

1) I use quizlet search verb ending
2) http://www.slu.edu/colleges/AS/language ... -prax.html
3) I am building my own verb dictionary and cross check with verbix.com
4) I use different shades of green to indicate Which conjugation
5) I use music to memorize
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby LateStarter » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:00 am

Here's another two cents since everyone's contributing to this thread.

Use an accompaniment to Wheelock's, such as Dale Grote's Latin, which can act as a guide or at least something else to consult as you go along, and provide additional mental shortcuts in the process.

He will point out such things as the fact that the fourth and fifth declensions really only present further variations of the third declension, which is at least encouraging even if you don't come to find that one particularly helpful.

Free notes for Chapters 1 - 35 (older editions?) are available here:

http://humanum.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/Lexis/Wheelock-Latin/

It's also available everywhere as "A Comprehensive Guide to Wheelock's Latin" (086516486X).

Having no one to consult, this was probably indispensable, or at least prevented the experience of trying and giving up again/more times.
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Re: How do you memorize all those Latin noun and verb ending

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:19 pm

Not sure where this falls in the scheme of excellent suggestions offered so far, but I used to sing my verb paradigms in the shower to the tunes of La Cucaracha and the Mexican hat dance. Try it sometimes – it really works. :) :)
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Semper melius Latine sonat...
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