Latin Grammar

Welcome to the Latin grammar pages.  Here you will find paradigms for the five noun declensions and four verb conjugations, as well as examples of a number of irregularities.  (Yes, pronouns are declined as well.)  And examples -- yes lots of examples to help you in your study of Latin grammar and syntax.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction (proemium). A few general comments followed by some important remarks about the notation used.
  2. Pronunciation of Latin (pronuntiatio Latina).  Classical Latin, ecclesiastical (church) Latin, Anglo-Latin, and perhaps others.
  3. Parts of speech (partes oriationis)
    1. Nouns (nomina)
    2. Pronouns (pronomina)
    3. Verbs (verba)
    4. Adjectives (adiectiva)
    5. Adverbs (adverbia)
    6. Conjunctions (coniunctiones)
    7. Prepositions (praepositiones)
    8. Interjections (interiectiones)
  4. Compounds
  5. Examples
  6. Latin phrases in English
    a modest collection at best...
  7. Other Latin Resources.  (Links)
  8. Occasionally Asked Questions.  (OAQ)
  9. Acknowledgements.

Other Latin Resources

These links change faster than I can maintain them. Let me know of any errors.  (All links checked on September 25, 2007.)


Sources

  1. Hines, Welch and Hopkinson.  Our Latin Heritage.  1966.
  2. Moreland and Fleischer.  Latin: An Intensive Grammar.  1977.
  3. Humez and Humez.  Latina pro populo.  1976.
  4. Wilson.  Essentials of Latin Grammar.  1995
  5. Goldman and Szymanski.  Latin Grammar for Students of English.  1983.
  6. Prior and Wohlberg.  501 Latin Verbs.  1995.
  7. Traupman.  The New College Latin and English Dictionary.  Bantam, 1966.
  8. Guralnik, editor.  Webster's New World Dictionary.  Second College Edition, 1968.
  9. Morris, editor.  The American Heritage Dictionary.  New College Edition, 1981.
  10. Lewis and Short.  A Latin Dictionary.  Oxford, 1995.
  11. J. Morwood.  A dictionary of Latin words and phrases.  Oxford, 1998.

Occasionally Asked Questions (OAQ)

English version

  1. Q: Is there a FAQ?
    A: Yes, in a manner of speaking.  [faq.html]
  2. Q: When are you going to finish the section on adjectives (or adverbs or compounds or ...)?
    A: I do this both for fun and personal edification. Since I'm not making a profit and I'm not getting course credit, I'm not offering a timetable.  But feel free to continue asking.  And if you know of a site which does a good job of covering the missing material, please send me the URL.
  3. Q: Could you help me translate this short snippet from Latin into English?
    A: I'll try to help.  But I expect to you to show me some work...  (Send me email.)
  4. Q: Will you translate this long passage from Caesar (or Virgil or...)?
    A: Choose one:
    1. No.  I really wish I had that much free time.
    2. No.  You'll learn more if you do your own homework.
    3. No.  There are much better translations in the library.
    4. What's that, you say?  You'll pay me US$10.00 per word + US$1000.00 per hour?  And you'll give me a one-month all-expenses-paid vacation to Europe?  And all this in advance?  Hmmm...  (Send me email, with credit and sanity references!!!)
  5. Q: Do you have an answer key to (whatever)?
    A: No.
  6. Q: Where can I find an answer key to (whatever)?
    A: Try contacting the publisher or searching the online auction sites.
  7. Q: Where are the (expletive deleted) macrons?
    A1: (flippant - classical) Vergil didn't use macrons.
    A2: (flippant - mathematical) Jacobi didn't use macrons.  But he did use the letter J.
    A3: (technical) At the time I prepared this, there was no portable text-based way of writing macrons in html.
    A4: (revised technical) It would be too much trouble to put them in now.
  8. Q: My teacher says Caesar is pronounced "Kai'-sar", my priest says "Chay'-sar" and my parents say "See'-zer".  Who's correct?
    A: It depends.  If you want a good approximation of ancient Roman pronunciation, then your teacher is correct.  For liturgical purposes, your priest is correct.  If you're talking about Caesar in English, then your parents are correct.
  9. Q: Why do academic types always answer a simple question with "It depends."?
    A: It depends.
  10. Q: Why do academic types always answer a question with a question?
    A: Why shouldn't they?
  11. Q: How many academic types does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: Choose one:
    1. It depends on the study that you consult.
    2. What kind of lightbulb?
    3. One to measure the household voltage, one to determine the alternating current frequency, one to determine the right kind of lightbulb based on the voltage and frequency, three to argue over the wattage, one to get to get a graduate assistant to buy the lightbulb, one to get a graduate assistant to put the lightbulb in the socket, and, of course, three to turn the building around.  One more is needed to hire the research assistant needed to count the number of academic types required, and yet another is needed to ponder the underlying combinatorial paradox.
  12. Q: How many Latin teachers does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: Light bulbs weren't invented in Roman times.
  13. Q: When will the Latin version of this OAQ be ready?
    A: See question (2).
  14. Q: What's an OAQ?
    A: See the section heading.

Latin version (Versio Latina)

i. Q: Ubi sunt OAQes?
R: Hoc vide.
ii. Q: Ubi sunt FAQes?
R: Hoc vide.
iii. Q: Ubi sunt ioci orbum lucis?
R: Hoc vide: http://www.google.com/search?q=lightbulb+jokes.
   Et hic: http://www.florilegium.org/files/UNCAT/jokes-msg.html]
iv. Q: Ubi sunt tabulae additionum multiplicationumque?
R: [Imperfecti Sunt!] Hic:
+ i ii iii iv v vi vii viii ix
ii iii iv v vi vii viii ix x xi
iii iv v vi vii viii ix x xi xii
iv v vi vii viii ix x xi xii xiii
v vi vii viii ix x xi xii xiii xiv
. ii iii iv v vi vii viii ix x
ii iv vi viii x xii xiv xvi xviii xx
iii vi ix xii xv xviii xxi xxiv xxvii xxx
v. Q: Ubi est numerus nihil?
R: Insanus esne?  Quae notio barbara, probabiliter Indica!  Nos Romani sapientores sumus!  Nihil [est] non numerus.


Acknowledgements

Thanks to those who have reported errors in these pages.  A special mention in this regard goes to Perry Rapp.   Also a tip of the hat to Russell Ham for catching the error (now fixed) in the page title!  (Alas, Russell, it was merely an oversight on my part and not a devious ploy!)  More error corrections -- thanks to Konstantin Rybakov, Mark Brader, Dorota Grochowska, Patricia Schneider, David Wilkinson, Celia King, G. Leo Sahakian, Andrew Gaylard, Alicia Alexander, Michael Newman, Paul Provence, Joel Forssell, Tigran Aivazian, John Moore, Robert Faulkner, Reinhard Gruhl (for setting me straight about plebs), Matthew Kostovny, Andrew Usher, E. B. Connelly, Dennis Lubbs, Mary Grady, Peter Hannan.

Frankie correctly pointed out that what I called the Past Tense should properly be called the Imperfect Tense.  I have made the appropriate changes to the verb conjugation paradigms and added a few words of explanation that I hope will help those of us who speak English to understand the basic distinction between Imperfect and Perfect.  (Alas! Our forebears seem to have made a royal mess of this part of the English tense system!)  And thanks to Mark Mandel who believes strongly that the distinction between "forbearance" and "forebears" should be maintained in the spelling of the first syllable.  And even though OED may sanction some sloppiness on my part, Mark, I do agree with you.  Alas! I strayed.  (Fixed!)  Marco Cimarosti found one instance where I talked about "person" rather than "declension".  (1000 apologies and 1001 thanks!)  Stephan's keen eye found an instance of a sentence missing its verb. (Alas! I cannot blame the gods for this lacuna in the text.) And Louise Cole found a problem in the evening.

In addition to those who have alerted me to errors, these pages have been greatly improved by the many suggestions that I have received over the years.  Thanks to Eduard Eberbach for some wonderful suggestions for web links to guides to ecclesiatical Latin pronunciation.  (The web is not eternal -- some of those links have passed on.)

For suggestions for the phrases page, thanks be to Graham Dugas, Alex, Anne Gilliland, Katie and "wowNNNN".  (A few more dicta that I do intend to add are still in an email folder...)  And thanks to Randy Lewis for noting that the Praeneste Fibula (the source of the old Latin inscription Manios med fhefhaked Numasioi) is now generally believed to be a nineteenth century fake.  (And yes, it is dicta [nominative plural of dictum], and not dictae.)

Thanks and a tip of the hat to Teemu Peltonen for directing me to the YLE (Finland) Latin internet radio site.

(Log date: March 15, 2010) The Internet Archive WayBack Engine has its first version of this page archived with a date of October 16, 1997.  The page itself says "Last updated: Tuesday, September 16, 1997".  So these pages have been present on the web for over twelve years.

Gratias!
Eric


Blog: econrad.net
Last update: Wed Feb 9 13:06:00 EST 2011