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canis et ovis

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canis et ovis

Postby gluke » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:42 pm

I am just beginning to learn Latin and I don't quite understand the third declension with words such as canis et ovis. My teacher claims that ovis is nominative but it is also genitive and I need help.
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Re: canis et ovis

Postby dtpsu » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:46 pm

What would you exactly like help with? How the words decline, how you can tell what words are in the third declension, or is it something different?
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Re: canis et ovis

Postby paulusnb » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:33 pm

The third declension is the most irregular of declensions. Sometimes the genitive form is the same as the nominative.

The way to keep all nouns straight is this: memorize the genitive. Once you know the genitive (and assuming you know the endings), you can decline any noun. So, if the book says that the genitive is the same as the nominative, then indeed it is. It is ok. The advice I give my students is to accept it and not to think about it.

So, the genitive of rex is regis. It declines as follows (omitting vocative)

rex reges
regis regum
regi regibus
regem reges
rege regibus


This is the third declension masc. and fem. If it is a neut., just know that the accusative will be the same as the nominative and the plural nom. and acc. will end in -a.


Ignore i-stems, unless your teacher wants you to know them.
Last edited by paulusnb on Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him. ~Swift
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Re: canis et ovis

Postby Superavi » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:33 pm

Paul, you say for gluke to ignore the i-stems, but isn't ovis an i-stem? I know some nouns that are supposed to be i-stems lost the i-stem from excessive usage (as is the case with canis), but am not sure with ovis. Does ovis have an i-stem or did it fall out of usage?
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Re: canis et ovis

Postby paulusnb » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:40 pm

Yes, ovis and canis are i-stems. My interpretation of this poster's problems was that he did not understand 3rd declension generally speaking (he was confused about the nom. and gen. being the same). There is no real way to "explain" i-stem without going into mind-numbing rules, one of them being that nouns that end in "is" and have the same number of vowels in the nom. and gen. are i-stem. If the teacher wants him to do that, we can roll, but I would guess he does not, since Lingua Latina eschews niceties such as this. (I am assuming he is part of the Lingua Latin New York group).

But I shall ask, Luke...how much detail are you looking for? There is a type of 3rd declension called i-stem that change the endings slightly. The big thing is that gen. pl changes to -ium instead of -um. Acc pl can sometimes be -is but not necessarily and neut can add an i before the a in 3rd declension i-stem. But these changes are slight, and unless you are composing, not that big a deal. I have had students for three years whom I never mentioned I-stems to, and they were never confused when they came across one in a reading.

Oh yeah, neut i-stems have -i in the ablative.
When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him. ~Swift
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Re: canis et ovis

Postby Superavi » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:05 am

Yeah. I agree that going into too much detail on stuff like i-stems has a chance to just go straight over your head when you are only beginning to learn the concepts. I only mentioned it since the two he gave happened to be i-stems. Had it been two random that weren't i-stems I wouldn't have said anything at all.
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