Latin/2nd Declension Lesson 1

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Salvēte! This lesson continues with the informal, Latin lessons. You might want to check out previous lessons and vocabulary if you’ve missed them.

New Grammar

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Latin nouns are divided into 5 basic classes, called declensions. Within each declension, there are singular and plural endings for each of the 5 cases (really there are 7 but the main 5 are enough to start with!) All of the noun, pronoun and adjective functions are covered by these cases. The key to mastering nouns is to recognize what declension it belongs to, and apply the appropriate endings within that declension for its function in the sentence.

We’ve covered the 1st declension nouns in the previous series of lessons; they are mostly feminine (with some masculine exceptions) and follow the pattern of a, ae for their nom. and gen. endings. Now let’s add the 2nd declension. These nouns divide into either masculine or neuter. Masculine nouns follow the pattern of either us, ī or r, ī for their nominative and genitive singular.

Of the ones ending in –r, some drop the preceding vowel for the genitive – which, just as a reminder, also forms the stem – but some do not; e.g.

ager, agrī; liber, librī; but vir, virī and puer, puerī.

Neuter nouns follow the pattern of um, ī.

Several nouns can have interchangeable masculine 2nd declension endings or feminine 1st declension endings to indicate gender of a person or animal:

ursus / ursa, lupus / lupa, servus / serva, amīcus / amīca

For now, let’s focus on just two cases of the 2nd declension, nominative and accusative. You’ll notice that it is only in these two cases that there is any difference between the two genders. Also, neuter nouns have the same endings in nominative and accusative. This is true for all neuter nouns regardless of declension. And you’ll probably notice the potential confusion between neuter nom./acc. pl. endings of the 2nd declension and the nom./abl. s. endings of the 1st declension: both are -a. The best remedy for this is being very careful to classify your nouns as to declension right when you learn them, and review them frequently, along with the declension endings, until they enter long-term memory.

case name sing. pl. typical use
nominative (m.) -us/-r subject or predicate noun
nominative (n.) -um -a
genitive -ōrum possession, the “of” case
dative -īs indirect object, the “to/for” case
accusative (m.) -um -ōs direct object (also some objects of preps.)
accusative (n.) -um -a
ablative -īs objects of prepositions, etc. “by/with/from” case

New Vocabulary

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Latin English Audio (Classical)
ager, agrī field
amīcus, ī friend
cibus, ī food
equus, ī horse
liber, librī book
medicus, ī doctor
sūcus, ī juice
bellum, ī war
dōnum, ī gift
oppidum, ī town
perīculum, ī danger
vīnum, ī wine

New Sentences

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Gāius Mārcum videt. Gaius sees Marcus.
Vir puerum videt. The man sees the boy.
Nauta est amīcus Paulae. The sailor is Paula’s friend.
Amīcum meum videō. I see my friend.
Puerī virōs vident. The boys see the men.
Agricolae multōs equōs habent. The farmers have many horses.
Agricola agrum videt. The farmer sees the field.
Amīcus agricolae agrōs videt. The farmer’s friend sees the fields. (Or, The friend sees the farmer’s fields).
Multī puerī sūcum bibunt. Many boys drink juice.
Multī puerī multum sucum bibunt. Many boys drink much juice.
Cibus est bonus. The food is good.
Virī cibum edunt. The men eat the food.
Est perīculum! There is danger!
Est bellum in Galliā. There is war in Gaul.
Bellum in Galliā est. The war is in Gaul. (subtle difference but worth pointing out)
Medicus vīnum nōn bibit. The doctor does not drink wine.
Oppidum tuum est magnum. Your town is large.
Oppidum vestrum vidēmus. We see your town.
Sunt multa oppida in Italiā. There are many towns in Italy.
Medicus dōnum puellae dat. The doctor gives a gift to the girl.
Paula et Lūcia dōna puellīs dant. Paula and Lucia give gifts to the girls.


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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)

A note on the lessons: As we introduce the noun declensions and cases systematically, we can focus on learning one grammatical concept at a time. But once we have the first three declensions down we will do some of the simpler topical skills like “food” or “animals” or “family.” We’re introducing some of those vocabulary words as they are applicable so we will have a base to build on.

We recommend going through the lessons sequentially because each new lesson will incorporate some review vocabulary and concepts.

Next lesson: more 2nd declension nouns and the ablative case. Valēte!