Latin/1st Declension Lesson 1

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Salvēte omnēs! We hope you are enjoying these lessons in basic Latin. Here are the links that will help you catch up:

This week’s lesson will formally introduce first declension nouns and a few adjectives. We have already encountered a few 1st declension nouns in our basics lessons, but I think we need to study each new class of words systematically, to be able to recognize the consistent patterns. Expect a few lessons on the first declension, then a few on the second. We will introduce verbs as we need them for now.

New Grammar[edit]

We’ll concentrate on two cases: the nominative (subject) and the accusative (direct object) in both singular and plural. Nominative singular ends in a, nominative plural in ae. Accusative singular ends in am and accusative plural ends in ās. Future lessons will introduce the other cases.

For example:

Nominative Accusative Nom Plural Acc Plural
Mēnsa Mēnsam Mēnsae Mēnsās
Mēnsa

All 1st declension nouns are identified by their genitive singular ending ae, which is listed second in the vocabulary. Almost all are feminine in gender except for those such as nauta and agricola, describing a traditionally male occupation (do not expect obsession with gender equity among the ancient Romans!)

There are a few adjectives that will be used with our nouns; the rule for adjectives is that they must agree in gender, number and case with the nouns they modify. Adjectives of quantity (how large? how many?) usually precede the nouns, whereas adjectives of quality (what kind of?) usually follow them – but as usual with Latin, this is more of a guideline than an actual rule.

New Vocabulary[edit]

Latin English Audio (Classical) Notes
agricola, ae (m.) farmer
cēna, ae dinner
epistula, ae letter, epistle
īnsula, ae island
littera, ae letter
of the alphabet
litterae, ārum (plural) a letter or dispatch; literature
mēnsa, ae table
nauta, ae (m.) sailor
terra, ae land, earth
ūva, ae grape  
more likely, a bunch of grapes – but used in the singular
magnus, a, um great, large
for now we will just use feminine nom. and acc. forms
multus, a, um much, many
as above
videō see  
videō, vidēs, videt, vidēmus, vidētis, vident

New Sentences[edit]

Latin English Notes
Fēmina aquam bibit. The woman drinks the water.
Puellae cēnam edunt. The girls eat dinner.
Nauta terram videt. The sailor sees the land.
Lūcia epistulam scrībit. Lucia writes a letter.
Terra est īnsula. The land is an island.
Paula ūvam edit. Paula eats a bunch of grapes.
Nautae īnsulās vident. The sailors see the islands.
Īnsula est magna. The island is large.
Īnsulae sunt magnae. The islands are large.
Puellae multās litterās legunt. The girls read many letters.
Multae fēminae magnās insulās vident. Many women see the large islands.
Agricola magnam mēnsam habet. The farmer has a large table.
Puellae nautās vident. The girls see the sailors.
Agricolae epistulās scrībunt. The farmers write letters.
Mārcus et Gāius sunt nautae. Marcus and Gaius are sailors.

Practice[edit]

Practice and learn the words and phrases in this lesson
Step one First learn the words using this lesson:
Step two Next try learning and writing the sentencing using this:
Note that the Memrise stage covers the content for all lessons in each stage.
If you are skipping previous stages you may need to manually "ignore" the words in previous levels (use the 'select all' function)

That’s all for this lesson; more first declension nouns and the ablative case in the next lesson. Valēte!