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Very quick question about adjectives

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Very quick question about adjectives

Postby steffi.alexa » Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:56 pm

This is very quick and likely very simple. With adjectives when given in vocab lists like 'magnus -a -um', what does it actually mean? It may just be because it's shortly before midnight and I'm not thinking too clearly but I'm a little/a lot lost right now. Is it to do with cases or something else? Okay, the more I think about this the more confused I get haha.
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Re: Very quick question about adjectives

Postby furrykef » Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:58 pm

Adjectives change their declension depending on the gender of the noun they agree with. -a (first declension) is for feminine nouns; -us and -um (second declension) are for masculine and neuter nouns, respectively. There are also third-declension adjectives that are always in the third declension, but they still change their form sometimes; you'll learn about that later.

Hence, magnus, -a, -um means the masculine form is magnus, the feminine form is magna, and the neuter form is magnum. The reason all three are listed is you will sometimes see exceptions, like pulcher, -chra, -chrum (pulcher, pulchra, pulchrum); or in the third declension, there are some examples like ācer, ācris, ācre.
Last edited by furrykef on Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Very quick question about adjectives

Postby steffi.alexa » Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:43 pm

Thanks! I did work it out a few hours after posting, it should have been obvious to me really but I just wasn't thinking. What a waste of however many years of learning languages haha. I couldn't edit my post though as I'm still a new member. But thank you again - your post might help someone else who gets stuck with it too. I have noticed that changing endings is a very common thing in Latin so I'll be making sure I pay very close attention to them in future!
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Re: Very quick question about adjectives

Postby furrykef » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:38 pm

By the way, one thing to be careful about is that the adjectives agree with the gender of the noun, not the declension. "Nauta", for example, is a first-declension noun, but it is masculine, so you would say "magnus nauta" and not "magna nauta". (If, hypothetically, you had a female sailor, that might be a "magna nauta", but in ancient times, sailors were all male, so that situation never arose.)
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Re: Very quick question about adjectives

Postby steffi.alexa » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:48 pm

furrykef wrote:By the way, one thing to be careful about is that the adjectives agree with the gender of the noun, not the declension. "Nauta", for example, is a first-declension noun, but it is masculine, so you would say "magnus nauta" and not "magna nauta". (If, hypothetically, you had a female sailor, that might be a "magna nauta", but in ancient times, sailors were all male, so that situation never arose.)


I'll try to remember that, thanks! Okay, something that I do not understand is what declensions are, I've tried looking it up but I can't seem to find anything that makes sense. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but could you please explain it? There seems to be so much more to learn with Latin than there was with German but hopefully I can crack it! :?

EDIT: never mind, I think it's clicked. Why I try to understand grammar on so little sleep, I don't know. Thanks again for your help!
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Re: Very quick question about adjectives

Postby furrykef » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:44 pm

Don't worry, stuff like that used to confuse me too. Just keep at it and all will become clear. If not, you can always ask us. :)
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Re: Very quick question about adjectives

Postby steffi.alexa » Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:23 am

furrykef wrote:Don't worry, stuff like that used to confuse me too. Just keep at it and all will become clear. If not, you can always ask us. :)


Thanks. Yeah, things seem to get simpler the more I get through Lingua Latina, it's just that after months of revising for my German exams I just want to go and learn all of the grammar in one hit, rather than waiting to see if it explains itself. Plus my knowledge of grammatical terms is pretty awful!
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Re: Very quick question about adjectives

Postby furrykef » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:11 pm

Hehe yeah, I know what you mean. Nowadays I can eat grammatical terms for breakfast most of the time, but I remember never being able to keep them straight in high school. Like I wouldn't be able to remember what, precisely, a "relative clause" or "antecedent" were, or what exactly makes an "appositive" phrase. I guess I had trouble because these things seemed boring and irrelevant at the time. But now that I study several languages, and actually enjoy it, I got into the lingo pretty quickly.
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