First Declension

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manderson
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First Declension

Post by manderson » Fri Sep 01, 2006 5:08 am

I have just started Latin in college but I am having a very hard time with Chapter two. I have taken Spanish before and I understand conjugating a verb, but NOUNS? I bought the workbook and use that to try to practice with, but this thing is kicking me in the butt! I need someone to "draw me a picture". Help?
(the class seems to be a bit smarter than I, so I just do the best I can)

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jjhayes84
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Post by jjhayes84 » Fri Sep 01, 2006 3:50 pm

I'm not sure exactly what you're asking, but I'll try to explain how nouns are declined.

We do the same thing in English, you just may have never noticed because it's your native language. You wouldn't say, "John hit he." That doesn't makes sense because he is nominative ( =subject). The correct case here is accusative ( =direct object): "John hit him."

In English, however, we often use other words to put nouns in different cases instead of changing a word's ending/form. So genitive = "of X", dative "to/for X", ablative (~ "by/with/from X"). But in Latin all you need to do is change the ending of the word to put it in the proper case.

That's my humble explanation. I hope it helps.
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manderson
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Post by manderson » Fri Sep 08, 2006 2:24 am

Thanks! Now I am trying to figure out 2nd declension... Ugh!

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Post by klewlis » Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:25 am

manderson wrote:Thanks! Now I am trying to figure out 2nd declension... Ugh!


It's just different forms for the same concept. The usages don't change--it's simply that some words decline one way, and some decline another way. You'll get used to it with time and practice. :)

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Post by Deudeditus » Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:26 am

after a while, it will make sense. don't worry. just memorize them at first, and you'll get the hang of it by the third declension. :D

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Post by bellum paxque » Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:57 am

you'll get the hang of it by the third declension.


And unless you read someone silly like Tacitus or Virgil, you'll never need to worry about learning the 4th and 5th declension. ;)

David
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jjhayes84
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Post by jjhayes84 » Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:44 pm

bellum paxque wrote:And unless you read someone silly like Tacitus or Virgil, you'll never need to worry about learning the 4th and 5th declension. ;)

What do you mean? Don't you think that other authors use nouns of these declensions?
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Post by JRoberts » Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:35 pm

Hi!

Declensions really are just categories.

Imagine:

You have Fish (Nouns).

Within Fish, you have Trout (1st declension).

And then there are all kinds of different trout that, because they share certain characteristics, are all lumped together as "Trout".

You also have salmon, bass, etc....

Nouns are the same way. You have 5 different declensions. These declensions are just different "types" of nouns lumped together because of certain characteristics.

Rosa
Puella
Nauta

These all have in the Nominative case, the letter "A" added to the stem. Thus they have been lumped into the first declension due to their similarities.

But now to your main question: Why do you have to "conjugate" (Decline) nouns?

As jjhayes pointed out, you have "He" and "Him", "to/for him", "by him", etc. based upon what that word "does" in the sentence. Latin does the same. You have Rosa, Rosae, Rosam, Rosas, etc. Latin just takes the "to/for", or the "by, with", etc. and adds it to the end. That way you have one main word, "Ros_", where the ending helps you understand what it "does". So if you can imagine English, instead, doing this: Himto for (to Him), then you are beginning to understand what Latin does. WalkedI himto (I walked to him).

So let's look at a sentence. I praise the girl.

Laudo puellam.

Laudo is in the first person, present, active, indicative. It means I (o) praise (laud). Puellam is a Feminine Singular Accusative. It means "the girl". So: I praise the girl. Does that make sense? Because the accusative is the "Direct Object", that means that it is the recipient of the action of the verb. I praise who? I praise the girl...because of AM. If you changed the "am", you change the meaning of the sentence.

Laudo Rosa. (where the a is short, as in the nominative), would not make any sense. I (the subject) praise (the verb) girl (subject)...?

So instead of having to/for, from/with, of, etc., Latin tacks these "modifiers" onto the end of the noun in order for the speaker/reader/writer to understand what the noun does in the sentence.

I know that's pretty long-winded, but I hope it made things clear :). Good luck!
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Post by manderson » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:43 pm

Thanks for all your help! I am getting it finally! It's slow, but I am getting there...We are going up to Chapter 22 this semester, so I will eventually have to know the 3-5th declensions.
I found a site where someone made a song for each declension (1-3) and as corny as it sounds, it has REALLY helped! LOL
Thanks again everyone! It's good to know that this site is up and active.

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Post by bellum paxque » Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:24 am

bellum paxque wrote:
And unless you read someone silly like Tacitus or Virgil, you'll never need to worry about learning the 4th and 5th declension.

What do you mean? Don't you think that other authors use nouns of these declensions?


Er... yes, I think they use these nouns, but I was trying (and failing) to make a joke. The kernel of the joke was that these declensions are considerably less common (except for one or two words) than the others.

David

PS - Tacitus and Vergil aren't really silly, by the way.
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Post by jjhayes84 » Sun Sep 10, 2006 6:52 pm

Sorry I didn't pick up on the humor and yes, fourth and fifth decl. nouns do seem to be rare in the authors I've read. In fact, the only time they throw me off is when I see an "-us" ending on a word I've never seen before and I just assume it's nom. s., but it could be any number of things because it turns out to be a fifth decl. noun.
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Post by Trulala » Thu Jan 25, 2007 3:19 am

I'm studding myself, now I'm on 13 lesson. my problem also is that English is not my native language. But in my language we have declinations, so t was not difficult to get in. more difficult was to understand in English translations which prepositions means which declinations :) I hate this English preposition.
Always had problems with them. Only problem in Latin declinations for me, are 3 declination, demonstratives declination and sometimes I mess Accusative and dative.

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Post by dimrub » Sun Jan 28, 2007 7:49 pm

Yep, my mother tongue is Russian, and I'm frequently asking myself whether I've done the right thing when I picked up an English language book. Well, too late now - I'm on lesson 20, there's no turning back, but for others, whose mother tongue is Russian - I would definitely recommend a Russian language text book. Russian is much more close to Latin (grammatically, that is) than English.

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Post by Trulala » Mon Jan 29, 2007 5:19 am

Don't agree with you.
I speak Russian much better than English (but don't know grammar at all)
I was looking for Russian textbooks for Latin, but have not found good ones.
не длÑ￾ филологов отличников.

And because of English grammar is so easy, English speakers hardly understand more difficult grammars, and for them it is explained very carefully. The only problems I met, were:
1. I'm not good at English prepositions.
2. below I have discution about Perfect tense.

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Post by dimrub » Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:17 pm

Yep, the lack of good self-study books in Russian is indeed a predicament. But the Russian declensions and conjugations map so well to Latin it is a pity not to use it as a mnemonic device. But then I did learn Russian grammar in a systemized way (though a long time ago now).

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Post by EgoIoYoEu » Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:14 pm

Yeah. Russian is notoriously similar to Latin in declension. But, like Latin, it is a very efficient language. Not one I speak (though I understand chunks due to a hurried course in Serbo-Croatian), maybe later. I also like the Cyrillic alphabet, which I can read haltingly.

But, such a language as Russian says a lot about the people who speak it. Industrious, not given to waste, and efficient. At least, in the Russians I know.
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Post by edonnelly » Wed Jan 31, 2007 6:04 pm

EgoIoYoEu wrote:Yeah. Russian is notoriously similar to Latin in declension. But, like Latin, it is a very efficient language. Not one I speak (though I understand chunks due to a hurried course in Serbo-Croatian), maybe later. I also like the Cyrillic alphabet, which I can read haltingly.

But, such a language as Russian says a lot about the people who speak it. Industrious, not given to waste, and efficient. At least, in the Russians I know.


Is Russian really efficient? I heard a speech once by a US cold-war negotiator who said one of the tactics they would occasionally do to irritate the Russians was to speak quickly because it took 25-33% (I can't remember which he said) more words to say something in Russian than English, and their translators would have trouble keeping up. When the Russians would try to do the same thing to "us," it would fail because it took less time for our translators to say the things in English.

Since I never thought of English as particularly efficient, I always assumed Russian to be rather inefficient.
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Post by dimrub » Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:05 am

While there may indeed be metrics that compare the redundance of English and Russian, I think it mostly depends on the choice of words and on the topic of conversation. Notably, there is no single word for 'privacy' in Russian (some would draw a conclusion about the lack of corresponding concept in the Russian speaking society) , hence one is forced to look for a substitute using several words instead of just one. On the other hand, there are certainly concepts that are more concisely expressed in Russian than in English (though nothing I recall out of hand).

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