Print Story In principio: Latin Summer Fun Challenge - Week 1
Latin
By lm (Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 04:21:16 PM EST) latin, latin fun challenge, et tu brute? (all tags)
All right then, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Scooposphere, grab your copy of Wheelock and let's get started.


Unlike many other introductions to learning classical Latin, this one will give no justification for why one should learn Latin. For those who want to really want to learn Latin, no justification is needed. So let's get right down to the business of learning Latin.

The Latin Summer Fun Challenge will use the 6th edition of Wheelocks's Latin. There is a revised sixth edition which corrects some of the errors in the original 6th edition, none of which are all that important. (The link is actually to the revised edition.) Those with earlier editions of Wheelock should be fine following along. The chapter structure, and most of the exercises, have changed very little. Editions after the first edition mostly added more and different types of practice exercises and self-tutorials. The fifth edition saw the addition of longer reading passages and a small amount of shifting around of grammar, principally introducing the imperfect and future tenses earlier to give students the ability to work with something other than present tense. The changes in the sixth edition were mostly cosmetic, the addition of maps and photographs of artifacts, but also contained a substantial revision of many of the chapter exercises in order to increase clarity.

The Latin Summer Fun Challenge will move through Wheelock at about the speed of one chapter every two weeks. For the first week of each two week segment, a general overview of what Wheelock has to say will be posted along with some tips, tricks, and (where appropriate) links to other resources. The second week of each two week period will see a translation of the practice sentences posted. As there are forty chapters in Wheelock, this will result in not having the entire book completed over the course of the summer. If there is sufficient participation, this will leave the future open to possible future seasonal Latin Fun Challenges.

:: :: ::

Chapter one of Wheelock deals mostly with verbs. Verbs in Latin are a bit complex. This is due to Latin's heritage as a highly inflected language. When a language is highly inflected, the form (morphology) of the words changes according to the grammatical use of those words. By way of contrast, highly analytical languages such as English tend to use auxiliary vocabulary and word order to do the same thing. (Few languages are entirely inflected or entirely analytical.) An example will best illustrate the distinction.

In English, subjects and objects of sentences are most often determined by word order. The subject usually comes before the verb. Object, whether direct or indirect, usually come after the verb.

The dog bites the man.
We know that The dog is the subject and that the man is the direct object because of where they fall in the word order in the sentence. If we changed the order, we would change the meaning of the sentence.
The man bites the dog.
This second sentence means something entirely other than the first. The man is now the subject and the dog is now the object. We can change it even further.
The man the dog bit.
Now, the dog bit is a modifier explaining which man we are talking about. And if we change the order significantly enough, the sentence may not even make sense.
Bit the dog the man.
Admittedly, there are some people who might understand the last of these sentences. I suspect that most of those people are mrgoat.

Verbs in Latin are modified in five aspects in order to designate their grammatical function: person, number, tense, mood, and voice. Person, in Latin corresponds to English use of first, second and third persons. Number, again as in English, varies between singular and plural. These two characteristics will always agree with the subject of the sentence. The remaining three attributes inform how the verb is to be used in a sentence. For the first few chapters, Wheelock holds these latter three aspects constant save for a brief discussion of imperative rather than indicative moods.

Another thing that mystifies many newcomers to Latin is that the subject of the sentence is often implied. A verb unaccompanied by a separate subject in Latin, it can be assumed to have a personal pronoun that matches in number and person as its subject. One only needs to actually insert a pronoun as the subject for stylistic reasons. For example, Descartes infamous statement: Cogitō ergo sum is translated as ``I think, therefore, I am,'' but the Latin does not actually employ a personal pronoun as English requires. Rather, the fact that the verbs cogitō and sum are in their first person, singular form implies the I.

To make things more complex, Latin has not  one but four different conjugations. Chapter one of Wheelock introduces the verbs laudō and moneō as paradigmatic for the first and second conjugations respectively. Unfortunately, the student of Latin will eventually need to memorize each of the four conjugations. The first two conjugations, however, are relatively simple. The present, active, indicative declension of laudō and moneō follow.

laudō    (I praise)
laudās  (you praise)
laudāt   (he/she/it praises)
laudāmus  (we praise)
laudātis     (y'all praise)
laudant     (they praise)

moneō   (I advise)
monēs   (you advise)
monet   (he/she/it advises)
monēmus (we advise)
monētis    (y'all advise)
monent    (they advise)

There are a few important things to point out here. The first is that first person singular first and second conjugation verbs can end in -m rather than -ō. The second is that it is critical to memorize the macrons. Many Latin forms differ only by a macron. (Wheelock's text will also have accent marks. Feel free to ignore or memorize these at your convenience.) The last is that note that the third person forms have no macron on the final vowel like the other forms. This is not because they are third person. Rather, this is because Latin shortens vowels (drops the macron) before the letters m, r and t if they appear at the end of a word and before the letter combinations nt and nd regardless of where they appear in a word.

:: :: ::

There is a study tip that bears pointing out. In Wheelock, dictionary entries for verbs give several principle parts of the verb. For example, the entry for laudō looks like:

laudō, laudāre, laudāvī, laudātum

These are:

  1. first person singular, present, indicative, active
  2. present, active, infinitive
  3. first person, singular, perfect, indicative, active
  4. neuter, passive, active, singular, participle
The third and fourth of these will not be discussed until well into the mysterious future. But it is absolutely critical that the habit of memorizing all four forms is formed from the very beginning. If all four forms are not memorized now, all the verbs learned between now and when the third and fourth principle parts become significant will have to be effectively memorized all over again.

Lastly, there are three keys to learning any language: repetition, repetition, and repetition. For some people, the easiest way to do this is through flash cards. I, myself, prefer writing. Rather than making flash cards for the verb forms or the vocabulary, I will write each out over and over again until I can write them all from memory. This is painstaking. It is tedious. It also burns the words and the word forms deep into the base of my brain.

And that is all for this week. Next week, translations for the exercises at the end of chapter one will be published.

< His laughter was submarine and profound | Around the floor your trotters shake.... >
In principio: Latin Summer Fun Challenge - Week 1 | 34 comments (34 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
ya'll ? by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 04:44:49 PM EST
Shouldn't that be yunz ? (Not sure how far from Pittsburgh you were..)

Oddly enough, I might know a fellow student of yours at CUA.. Found him on facebook today.. Missed him for a few years after he left my area..

I learned y'all from my Latin professor in Cincy by lm (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 04:49:45 PM EST
He was of Mexican origin and English was his second language. One of his pet peeves with English is the lack of differentiation between singular and plural second person pronouns.

If memory serves me correctly, both of my Greek professors (one from the Netherlands and one from Romania) used the same convention.

As for the CUA student you know, unless he's in the school of philosophy, odds are quite slim that I'll ever meet him. I generally show up to campus for class and immediately bug out afterwards.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
phd church history.. by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 05:01:40 PM EST
So you might share some language classes with him, or he may grade your papers.. (He's "on staff" according to his FB network.. ). Dunno, thought you said something about CU being pretty small, so I figured small world..

[ Parent ]
You're correct about the language classes by lm (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 05:09:01 PM EST
I forgot about that. If he took the French reading course this past semester, I was almost certainly in his class.

But I dunno about the papers. I believe that all of the professors of the graduate level classes correct the term papers themselves.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Atin-Lay Eems-ay Ard-hay by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 04:59:46 PM EST
And-ay onfusing-cay.



Edvondur-gay



"...I almost puked like a pregnant StackyMcRacky." --MillMan
Ooyay igpay. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:07:38 PM EST


[ Parent ]
Very good by R343L (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 05:14:28 PM EST
Perhaps we should for emphasis have every post once every lesson a voice recording of some part of the lesson? My second semester teacher in college had us regularly speak Latin as well as read, write and translate and it greatly aided memorization.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
I'm open to that by lm (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 05:41:33 PM EST
If you would like to do the voice, I'd greatly appreciate it.

I would do it but (a) I sound funny and (b) I don't wanna.

Also, spoken drills were how the Latins instructed themselves.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
hmmm by R343L (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 05:52:50 PM EST
Yes, perhaps we should get one of the Brits to do it. Obviously Latin sounds better with a British accent.

Or I may. I hope I kept my copy of Wheelock ...

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
My latin accent, by ana (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:04:25 PM EST
to the extent that I have one, is liturgical and not classical.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
The snippets of poetry and prose ... by lm (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:08:56 PM EST
... and the end of every chapter would make a very nice reading for a vocal bit.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
So I recorded something for chapter 1 by R343L (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 01:12:39 AM EST
Just some rambling and then a reading of the short paragraph of Horace angsting. But I can't upload it here and don't really have any handy space to put it. Suggestions?

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
[ Parent ]
I was going to offer to host it by lm (2.00 / 0) #19 Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 07:05:44 AM EST
But my domain appears to be gone. I probably ought to have updated my credit card info with my provider when the card program I used switched vendors.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Since it's a fun challenge... by ana (2.00 / 0) #20 Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 07:13:34 AM EST
And the FFC is an "anything you want to do" fun challenge, stuff it here.

This has the added benny of testing ad hoc's upload site well before the FFC deadline. :-)

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
weirdly a total fail by R343L (2.00 / 0) #24 Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 11:21:22 PM EST
First it (I?) failed on the very simple three letter captchas three times. Then finally I got one and it claimed my mime type wasn't valid .. but I'm uploading an mp3 from firefox on mac so I don't see how that can be (tough the mimetype it said I sent was admittedly not on the list).

Well hrm. I'll figure somewhere out ...

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
attention ad hoc infidel.. by ana (2.00 / 0) #25 Wed Jun 10, 2009 at 06:40:59 AM EST
I've PMed ad hoc; maybe his logs will tell him something interesting.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
likely that I'm incompetent by R343L (2.00 / 0) #26 Wed Jun 10, 2009 at 10:11:03 AM EST
Don't tell ucblockhead.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #27 Wed Jun 10, 2009 at 10:16:12 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by ad hoc



[ Parent ]
What was the mime type? by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #28 Wed Jun 10, 2009 at 10:17:10 AM EST
If it's not on the list, it won't be accepted.
--
[ Parent ]
Well do I even have control of that? by R343L (2.00 / 0) #29 Wed Jun 10, 2009 at 10:46:52 AM EST
I think it said "audio/mpg" which seemed odd but .. shouldn't firefox on mac (a pretty standard browser) send the right thing for an mp3?

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
[ Parent ]
It looks as though they're cropping by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #33 Wed Jun 10, 2009 at 07:15:05 PM EST
the acronym MPEG down to 3 letters. I do believe that's my irony meter beeping away in the background there.

[ Parent ]
Yeah by R343L (2.00 / 0) #30 Wed Jun 10, 2009 at 10:51:33 AM EST
audio/mpg  ... just checked again after failing the captcha three times again. I swear to god there is something wrong with me. I rarely pass captchas the first time anywhere.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
[ Parent ]
Try it now by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #31 Wed Jun 10, 2009 at 11:39:19 AM EST
It would really be nice if Macs followed some kind of standard.

Can't help you with the captcha.
--

[ Parent ]
Well later tonight by R343L (2.00 / 0) #32 Wed Jun 10, 2009 at 01:03:56 PM EST
Thanks btw. :)

The captchas are ... well I'm sure it's not your captcha. At least they seem to be only three symbols. Whenever I get one that is like 5+ I just stare in horror because I know I'm going to have trouble.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
Yay! by R343L (2.00 / 0) #34 Wed Jun 10, 2009 at 08:02:49 PM EST
It worked!

I can now embarass myself (even more) on the internets.


"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
Another possibility by lm (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 07:35:41 AM EST
Do it on video and stuff it into You Tube.

You could become world  famous for being that hot Latin woman.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
dear god no by R343L (2.00 / 0) #22 Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 10:07:37 AM EST
:)

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
[ Parent ]
great by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:26:52 PM EST
the use of "laudamus" has a mashup of several Masses by various composers running through my head.
---------
if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
wait a minute by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 06:56:32 PM EST
Bit the dog the man.

this is almost yoda-esque.

"Bit the dog, did the man."

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

Japanese by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 10:13:23 PM EST
It's exactly the opposite of how it would translate in Japanese: The Man the dog bit. Though like Latin, the word order is fluid.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
i prefer russian. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 10:15:08 PM EST
Well... by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 10:19:30 PM EST
One of the things that is cool about Japanese is that there are special markers for the parts of the sentence. So it goes something like:

The man が the dog に bit.

The が says who is doing the biting and the に says who is getting bit.

Suffice to say I need to get Japanese down first before I bite something else off. :-(
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Yes, markers are nice by R343L (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 11:47:35 PM EST
Except when they are left out. Or the subject or object are left out. Sometimes the verb (being replaced by desu or some other general copula).

Have fun!

(Though I admit Latin helped me for Japanese since "standard" word order is pretty similar.)

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
well, it can still be any order, same as latin by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #23 Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 11:01:01 AM EST
mushinu sabaka ukusila (your ordering)
mushinu ukusila sabaka
sabaka ukusila mushinu
sabaka mushinu ukusila
ukusila sabaka mushinu
ukusila mushinu sabaka

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
In principio: Latin Summer Fun Challenge - Week 1 | 34 comments (34 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback