Lesson 1: Principles on the Nature of Latin
The Character (or even Genius) of the Latin System
Instructions: Spend 2-3 minutes memorizing the following, and you will save yourself many headaches in your Latin career.
Then go to Lesson 2
- 1. Most modern languages depend on word order for meaning
- In English we say, 'John calls Mary,' but in Latin we can say the same sentence as, 'Mariam vocat Iohanes'
- 2. Latin is essentially different from all other languages
- A Latin sentence might place the subject first or last, before or after the verb, depending on the style of the author
- 3. Latin meaning does not depend on word order or placement
- In Latin, order and placements of words is free (within the limits of a phrase)
- Auxiliary principle: Never begin translating with the first word
- 4. The meaning of Latin words comes from the ending (termination) of the word
- The ending of the words give us what we call the function, telling us if the word is a subject, object, possessive, etc.
- 5a. One must learn the endings to learn the functions
- 5b. One must analyze every word of the sentence
- Auxiliary principle: One needs to read (see) each sentence as a whole
- 6a. Many endings in Latin are identical
- 6b. Therefore one must know vocabulary
- example: "vis" can mean force (noun) or you wish (verb)
Latin Readings for Lesson 1 and 2
First Experience Latin - Fr. Reginald Foster
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