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3 Simple Sentences and Dictionary help?

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3 Simple Sentences and Dictionary help?

Postby Sniffy » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:47 am

First Year at University of Dublin Latin 101. I only speak English, I love law, why not... why not... Wish they taught English grammar in school >O<!
Third week in, getting the basics down, its tough, just have to press on wont we?
Right to the point! Lets get straight down with it shall we?

Dictionary entries:
agricola, -ae, m. - farmer. I understand that it is masculine, but does the -ae make it feminine? I really do not understand how the -ae or for other words etc -ii , -i What does all this mean?

Second part, I was given 3 sentences at random to translate... long story short I made an a** of myself.

1. Nōn Fortūna sed sapientia bonīs Remedium malae īrae in bellō dat.
-> He gives good wisdom not fortune to evil men to cure the anger in (of) war.

2. In agrīs agricolae valent, in fōrmā bellae puellae valent.
-> The farmer's wife (or female farmers?) on the farm is well, they are beautiful and charming as well.

3. Exitium bellī terret populum Romānum, sed avāri sunt malī et bellum amant.
-> The destruction of war terrifies the Roman people (men?), but there are greedy men who are evil that love war.

Feedback, corrections, tips. All would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
Sniffy
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Re: 3 Simple Sentences and Dictionary help?

Postby spiphany » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:21 pm

You're right that the endings -a, -ae indicate a first-declension noun, and these generally have feminine gender. However, there is a small subset of 1st declension nouns which are used to describe masculine persons, and these have "natural" gender, i.e., when they have adjectives agreeing with them, the adjectives are masculine. So: bonus agricola, bona puella.

It may help to understand that declensions (noun endings) are not necessarily identical with gender -- Latin has five declensions but only three genders! Gender determines agreement of nouns and adjectives, declensions tells you...well, what endings to put on in what case. It's hard to find parallels in English, since we don't use endings much, but it's a little bit like the way we form a lot of plurals by adding an -s to the end of words, but there are some nouns (children, sheep, mice) which form the plural differently. They're still plural, they just follow a different pattern.

The -a, -ae or -us, -i which you find in the dictionary is just a way of indicating which declension a word belongs to. The standard method is to list the nominative, genitive ending, and gender for nouns. This is enough information to tell you how to decline it in all circumstances.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: 3 Simple Sentences and Dictionary help?

Postby Craig_Thomas » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:26 pm

The dictionary entry for a noun gives you the nominative and genitive singular forms. This is because it is the surest and most efficient way of telling you to what declension the noun belongs. (Note: to what declension, not to what gender.)

A noun with a genitive in -ae is definitively of the 1st declension, as this ending is found in no other declension.

A noun with a nominative ending in -us or -um, and a genitive in -i (or -ii if the nominative ends in -ius or -ium) is definitively of the 2nd declension.

Because space is valuable in a dictionary, the form of the genitive is abbreviated; you see only the ending of the word. In your example, the nominative form is "agricol-a", the genitive is "agricol-ae".
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Re: 3 Simple Sentences and Dictionary help?

Postby furrykef » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:32 pm

Sniffy wrote:agricola, -ae, m. - farmer. I understand that it is masculine, but does the -ae make it feminine? I really do not understand how the -ae or for other words etc -ii , -i What does all this mean?


Dictionary entries are generally given with the nominative, then the genitive form. Very often, the genitive form shares the same stem as the nominative form, so only the suffix changes. The -ae only means that the genitive of "agricola" is "agricolae"; gender doesn't enter into it.

The purpose of providing the noun and its genitive is to allow you to easily identify which declension the word is in. Any word following the -a, -ae pattern is a first-declension noun. Almost all first-declension nouns are feminine, but some words like "athleta", "nauta", and, indeed, "agricola", are exceptions. (Almost all of the exceptions, if not all of them, refer to people or are place names.) Once you know that the word is a first-declension noun, you know that the accusative is "agricolam", its genitive plural is "agricolārum", etc.


1. Nōn Fortūna sed sapientia bonīs Remedium malae īrae in bellō dat.
-> He gives good wisdom not fortune to evil men to cure the anger in (of) war.

Not Fortune but wisdom gives good people the remedy for [lit. 'of'] bad anger in war.

2. In agrīs agricolae valent, in fōrmā bellae puellae valent.
-> The farmer's wife (or female farmers?) on the farm is well, they are beautiful and charming as well.

The farmers flourish [lit. "are well"] in the fields; the pretty girls flourish in beauty. (at least, that's the best I can make of it...)

3. Exitium bellī terret populum Romānum, sed avāri sunt malī et bellum amant.
-> The destruction of war terrifies the Roman people (men?), but there are greedy men who are evil that love war.

Almost. "...but greedy men are evil and love war."
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