Irregular Verbs

Here you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get help with a difficult passage of Latin, and more.
Post Reply
amans
Textkit Enthusiast
Posts: 360
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:12 pm

Irregular Verbs

Post by amans » Mon Nov 01, 2004 12:41 am

Hi all,

I have read my way through a few Latin grammars and they all offer lists of irregular verbs. Some offer a list of, say, 80, some have more than 500! I wonder what to do: what I'd really like would be to see a system behind it and only memorize the inevitable ones like fero - tuli - latus sum, for instance. Why learn both perficio and afficio? Add any prefix to facio and you get: -ficio, -feci, -fectus sum, right? But some lists have both perficio and afficio... I'd like to boil it down to a manageable, yet comprehensive list. For, I think it is very useful to learn irregular verbs by heart (oftentimes one's knowledge of the irregular verbs in Latin comes in handy when learning other foreign languages), but there's no need to strain more than necessary. Does anyone have a good, reliable list or a guide in this matter - or an opinion on irregular verbs?

User avatar
benissimus
Global Moderator
Posts: 2733
Joined: Mon May 12, 2003 4:32 am
Location: Berkeley, California
Contact:

Post by benissimus » Mon Nov 01, 2004 2:46 am

The books with 100+ verbs cannot possibly be listing the conjugations of only irregular verbs - I believe there are less than 10 Latin verbs, excluding compounds, that do not follow the pattern of a conjugation (technically athematic verbs) There is nothing irregular about facere or its compounds, they follow the standard conjugation of the third conjugation "-io" verbs, regardless of the vowel weakening caused by prefixing (which is useful to memorize but not technically a form of conjugation).

The irregular verbs that come to my mind immediately are ferre (and its many compounds), velle (and its compounds malle and nolle), edere (though it has regular forms as well), esse (and compounds, including posse), ire (and compounds), quire (and nequire), and fieri. Granted, there are quite a few verbs with missing forms, but the forms that they do have are usually regular and it is only a matter of memorizing which forms you can and cannot use if you wish to proceed to that level of composition.

You can save money from not buying books that list the full conjugations of dozens of verbs simply by studying the normal conjugations and the handful of irregulars. Of course, examples are always useful, but even a basic textbook should have plenty of examples for you to study. But if you see a value in those books, go ahead and use them. Just don't forget that most of those verbs in there are simply doing the same thing but with a different stem.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae

amans
Textkit Enthusiast
Posts: 360
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:12 pm

Post by amans » Mon Nov 01, 2004 12:21 pm

Cheers, Benissime,

I agree that books like "501 Latin Verbs Fully Conjugated In All the Tenses" are, mostly, a waste of money.

What I was after in my query was the verbs which have "irregular" stems: most text books have lists of those.

For aperio - aperui - apertus sum seems "irregular" to me: I would have expected *aperivi and *aperitus sum, not aperui and apertus sum. See what I mean? I know that once you have the stems, they follow the regular patterns.

But the stems are not always easy to guess, and what I was basically trying to say was:

By what rules do you construct these difficult stems?

chrisb
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 78
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:08 pm
Location: Newcastle England

Post by chrisb » Mon Nov 01, 2004 4:13 pm

There really are no rules. You learn them as you go. But there are certain patterns. Kennedy's Revised Latin Primer has a good list, sorted into groups with similarities. Most grammars will give you some sort of list, and some dictionaries, e.g. Collins Latin Dictionary plus Grammar.

One way to help is to associate with English words. The supine of the Latin word is often reflected in an English word ending in -tion:

frico -are fricui frictum - friction
torqueo -ere torsi tortum - contortion
pono -ere posui positum - position

You can find groups for English words ending in -ence, and others.

chrisb

User avatar
Episcopus
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 2563
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2003 8:57 pm

Post by Episcopus » Mon Nov 01, 2004 4:23 pm

I am glad that you put ne-quire down there Steven 8)
phpbb

User avatar
klewlis
Global Moderator
Posts: 1605
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2003 1:48 pm
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Contact:

Post by klewlis » Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:18 am

amans wrote:I agree that books like "501 Latin Verbs Fully Conjugated In All the Tenses" are, mostly, a waste of money.
I have this book and it has been an incredible help to me. :)

User avatar
Episcopus
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 2563
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2003 8:57 pm

Post by Episcopus » Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:59 pm

It can only have been of aid if you slack in learning conjugations! It is a recipe for slacking! Slacking I tell you!
phpbb

Interaxus
Textkit Enthusiast
Posts: 580
Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2004 1:04 am
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Post by Interaxus » Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:03 am

Salvete sodales,
I have this book and it has been an incredible help to me.
I like those verb books too. Try The Big Gold Book of Latin Verbs (555 fully conjugated). It’s even better than 501 Verbs because it provides loads of examples taken from classical authors illustrating various shades of meaning. And unlike the few Model Sentences in 501, all examples are thankfully translated. Here’s one of the 5 examples of ‘aperio’ usage:

amicum an nomen habeas, aperit calamitas. (Anyone for translation?).
It can only have been of aid if you slack in learning conjugations! It is a recipe for slacking! Slacking I tell you!
Bodybuilder Episcopi cry of ’slacker!’ is like an echo from the cruel past when learning had to be difficult to attain moral probity. Sure, some ’aspera’ are fine but why not a bit of ’per voluptatem’ and ’per otium’ on the way to the stars? After all, I come to to read Caesar not to join his bloody army.

The fact is, some people can easily learn by heart, others can’t. Me, I have to slowly internalise the rules as I pick my way through the Latin bramble bush. Put another way, the ’gutta’ slowly but surely makes a dent in that old ’lapidem’.
But if you see a value in those books, go ahead and use them
I appreciate Benissimi more tolerant attitude. If Textkit proves anything, it’s that it takes all types. Unlike in democratic elections, one doesn’t have choose between a rock and a hard place.

Cheers,
Int

User avatar
Episcopus
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 2563
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2003 8:57 pm

Post by Episcopus » Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:41 pm

Vad jag säger, min väl, är bara att man bör ha lärt sig gott för att inte behöva en bok som ska ses på när man vet inte hur kann "facere" bli "fecerint"! Du har rätt att säga att det knappt finns några andra sätt man skulle kunna lära sej dem, men det här språket är svårare än svenska t.ex. därför att man ser bara "vara är var varit" medan latin har så många att det blir så svårt att förstå! Nu åter jag en ägg. LäRA dej GOTT eller du ska bli ihjälslagen! modo ioculor mi niger!
phpbb

Dingbats
Textkit Member
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2004 2:50 pm
Location: Sweden

Post by Dingbats » Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:44 pm

Vad jag säger, min väl, är bara att man bör ha lärt sig gott för att inte behöva en bok som ska ses på när man vet inte hur kann "facere" bli "fecerint"! Du har rätt att säga att det knappt finns några andra sätt man skulle kunna lära sej dem, men det här språket är svårare än svenska t.ex. därför att man ser bara "vara är var varit" medan latin har så många att det blir så svårt att förstå! Nu åter jag en ägg. LäRA dej GOTT eller du ska bli ihjälslagen! modo ioculor mi niger!
You're a fast learner, Episcopus! :) You still have some work to do with the inverted word order in dependent clauses, though.
phpbb

User avatar
Episcopus
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 2563
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2003 8:57 pm

Post by Episcopus » Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:41 pm

hehe så fort att min mor tror ja e sjuk! :) Can you PM about the inverted word order I'm not sure which type you mean (nu...jag / att...inte kan)
phpbb

Interaxus
Textkit Enthusiast
Posts: 580
Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2004 1:04 am
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Post by Interaxus » Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:44 pm

Hej på dej,
Episcop-e! :D

I understand your words but not quite your drift. You seem to say “It’s OK to use books until you’ve mastered the language but Swedish is easier than Latin”. Well, I agree with both statements but where’s the logical connection?

I too am impressed by your Swedish. You’re obviously one of those enviable language learners who can just let it flow and be damned. A word wizard. I’ll leave it to Dingbats to fix some details of construction, idiom, adverb position, imperative, vocab, dots and egg gender.
modo ioculor mi niger!
Passing from ‘yoke’ to joke, I’m not sure about your use of the ‘n’ word … Does it mean ‘denigrator’ in this context? Blackguard? Cheeky bugger?

I’m still not sure if you now have a CD-ROM of Latin grammar in your head and if so what techniques you used to install it. Thwack! Ouch! Perhaps I wasn't paying attention. :cry:

Cheers,
Int

User avatar
klewlis
Global Moderator
Posts: 1605
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2003 1:48 pm
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Contact:

Post by klewlis » Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:52 am

Episcopus wrote:It can only have been of aid if you slack in learning conjugations! It is a recipe for slacking! Slacking I tell you!
well I *am* a slacker in many things... though it is not from lack of motivation, but rather lack of time. :)

Post Reply