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2nd Conjugation v. 3rd Conjugation - A Good Rule of Thumb?

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2nd Conjugation v. 3rd Conjugation - A Good Rule of Thumb?

Postby montecristo42 » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:50 pm

Salvete -

First time poster here. I'm working my way through Wheelock's, and it's going fairly well, but I'm having the darnedest time remembering which conjugations the -ere verbs fall into.

I was wondering, is it safe to say that all verbs retaining an "e" in their first principal part (e.g. moneo, valeo, doceo, etc.) will always be second conjugation? And those that do not have an "e" in the first principal part, but have an -ere in the second principal part (e.g. disco/discere, duco/ducere, etc.) will always be third conjugation?

I've tried memorizing them by the difference in pronunciation between the two conjugations, but that's not doing it for me.

Also - I just started with the fourth conjugation and third -io verbs. Venio/Venire/Veni seems particularly troubling to me. If I'm not mistaken, can't "venit" be both third person present tense and also third person perfect tense? Or am I conjugating it incorrectly?

Thanks in advance for any responses.

Valete
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Re: 2nd Conjugation v. 3rd Conjugation - A Good Rule of Thumb?

Postby modus.irrealis » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:53 pm

montecristo42 wrote:I was wondering, is it safe to say that all verbs retaining an "e" in their first principal part (e.g. moneo, valeo, doceo, etc.) will always be second conjugation? And those that do not have an "e" in the first principal part, but have an -ere in the second principal part (e.g. disco/discere, duco/ducere, etc.) will always be third conjugation?

I can't find any exceptions to that -- in fact the sign of the 2nd conj. is -eo, -ere.

I've tried memorizing them by the difference in pronunciation between the two conjugations, but that's not doing it for me.

Personally, I think this is the best approach. If you stress monére and say it with the long e, and dúcere with a short e, once the pronunciation sticks, I find that I don't forget which conj. it is, but if you can just remember the first principal part, then that's enough on its own.

Also - I just started with the fourth conjugation and third -io verbs. Venio/Venire/Veni seems particularly troubling to me. If I'm not mistaken, can't "venit" be both third person present tense and also third person perfect tense? Or am I conjugating it incorrectly?

You're right. Spelling-wise "venit" can be either, but the perfect stem has a long e and the present stem a short e, so they were distinguished in pronunciation. But even without that, I doubt there'll be many contexts where it's truly ambiguous.
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Re: 2nd Conjugation v. 3rd Conjugation - A Good Rule of Thumb?

Postby montecristo42 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:14 pm

"Personally, I think this is the best approach. If you stress monére and say it with the long e, and dúcere with a short e, once the pronunciation sticks, I find that I don't forget which conj. it is, but if you can just remember the first principal part, then that's enough on its own."

I will give this a try as well. I guess I'm more of a visual learner, always have been, so that's why I was looking for another way to memorize which conjugation these -ere verbs fell into.

"You're right. Spelling-wise "venit" can be either, but the perfect stem has a long e and the present stem a short e, so they were distinguished in pronunciation. But even without that, I doubt there'll be many contexts where it's truly ambiguous."

Ah yes, the dreaded "context." But you're right, with practice and enough exposure to Latin passages, context will help.

Thanks for your response!
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Re: 2nd Conjugation v. 3rd Conjugation - A Good Rule of Thumb?

Postby Damoetas » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:33 pm

montecristo42 wrote:I will give this a try as well. I guess I'm more of a visual learner, always have been, so that's why I was looking for another way to memorize which conjugation these -ere verbs fell into.

Being a visual learner shouldn't be any kind of handicap: just learn them with the long marks over the vowels. moneō, monēre neither looks nor sounds anything like dūcō, dūcere, so there's no reason to confuse them on either grounds. And as modus.irrealis says, there's no exceptions: -eō, -ēre will only ever be 2nd conjugation.

Just one additional note: whether you're visual or auditory, make sure that you are learning the correct pronunciation of the words, and that you are actually pronouncing them, at least in your head if not out loud. If you don't do this, it will hold back your ability to read Latin with any kind of fluency. This is because reading (in any language) inherently consists of 1) saying the sounds in your head, and 2) associating those sounds with meaning. I.e. when you read "Servus equum videt," it should actually mean something to you, instead of just being a puzzle or a code that you "solve" to retrieve the English sentence, "The slave sees the horse."
Dic mihi, Damoeta, 'cuium pecus' anne Latinum?
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