Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Latin grammar, latine, I

Proof of Concept

I have written a few times about the idea that virtually all discussion of grammar and the like that currently occurs in a modern language about a classical language would, from a pedagogical viewpoint, be better done in that language.

But how do you do that? There are two challenges. Firstly, one must learn grammatical terms. Second, one must learn to employ them.

In this post and some subsequent ones I will provide proof-of-concept by giving, in Latin, the vocabulary needed and example discussion of how we might easily discuss Latin in Latin. In some parallel posts I will provide a similar introduction to this in Greek.

The great advantage for Latin is that so much of our grammatical vocabulary for Latin is itself Latinate in origin.

So, today, let's talk about nouns.

Here's the classic first line from Caesar's de bello Gallico

Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur.

How might we discuss basic grammar about this sentence? Like this:

in hac sententia quot nomina sunt?
septem sunt, haec: Gallia, partes, Belgae, Aquitani, lingua, Celtae, Galli.
estne Gallia singularis aut pluralis? Gallia est singularis.
femininumne aut masculinum aut neutrum est vocabulum 'Gallia'?
clarum est, vocabulum Gallia est femininum, et in declenatione prima.
in quo casu est 'Gallia', et cur?
verbum 'Gallia' in casu nominativo est, aut nominativus est.
bene, optime! recte respondisti, discipule!
declina vocabulum 'partes':
'partes' est femininum, accusativum, plurale. (f, a, p 'vocabulum')
cur in casu accusativo est?
quia praepositio 'in' cum ablativo aut accusativo iungitur.
cur vocabulum 'unam' ita declinatur?
quod vocabulum 'partem' intelligitur.

Gender - genus, generis (n)
Masculine - masculinus, a, um
Feminine - femininus, a, um
Neuter - neuter, -tra, -trum
Common - communis, e

Case - casus, -us (m)
Nominative - nominativus, a, um
Vocative - vocativus, a, um
Accusative - accusativus, a, um
Genitive - genitivus, a, um
Dative - dativus, a, um
Ablative - ablativus, a, um
Locative - locativus, a, um

Number - numerus, -i (m)
Singular - singularis, -e
Plural - pluralis, -e

Word - vocabulum; verbum
Sentence - sententia, ae (f)
Preposition - praepositio, onis (f)

Declension - declinatio, onis (f)
First - primus, a, um
Second - secundus, a, um
Third - tertius, a, um
Fourth - quartus, a, um
Fifth - quintus, a, um

In some follow up posts, we will deal with adjectives (as a subspecies of nouns) as well as prepositions, verbs, participles, and the rest.

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