Latin/Animals Lesson 1

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Salvēte omnēs! Thanks to all of you who are following along with these lessons. If you are just joining us, check out the lessons you’ve missed in the directory, and feel free to use the other resources to the right.

We start some basic lessons on animals today. You may notice that we are not giving a “plurals” lesson. This is because plurals were covered in our separate lessons on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd declensions. Those lessons not only covered singular and plural forms for each of those declensions, but also the five case endings in singular and the 5 case endings in plural for each of the declensions. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s important to review those lessons on the declensions until they are mastered, because there is so much complexity in the Latin declension and case systems compared to English or most of the modern European languages.

New Vocabulary[edit]

Note on gender: animals come in either gender, so it’s probably safe to assume “common” gender (whichever is applicable in a given situation) for all third declension nouns; but if we can’t find a specific listing for common gender, we list what is given in my resources. 1st and 2nd declension nouns are the dominant gender of their declension (usually), and most large animals (where ancient Romans would be able to tell the difference) could have the appropriate ending for their gender; eg,

ursa = she-bear, ursus = he-bear.

Most insects are considered feminine. To make it more confusing, there are words like cattus (m.) and fēlēs (f.) that we just have no explanation for. We don’t want to insult male cats by referring to them with the wrong gender noun, but it may not have been very important to the ancient Romans! We’ll just do my best to get the vocabulary across, but realize that there may be some rules about animal gender that we don’t know, or that are taught differently in different texts.

We have samples of nouns from the first three declensions, even including a few of those 3rd-declension i-stems that can be so pesky. And we can’t believe we haven’t introduced the verb amō (love) yet. It’s one of the most common verbs in beginning Latin texts, so it's probably time!

Latin English Audio (Classical) Notes
formīca, ae ant
herba, ae grass, herb
musca, ae fly
simia, ae monkey, ape simius, ī masculine, but “simia” was apparently used to insult human males
cattus, ī (m.) cat not used as frequently as fēlēs
equus, ī (m.) horse
equa = mare, but used rarely
vīvārium, ī (n.) zoo, animal habitat, game preserve
animal, animālis, animālium (n.) animal
apis, apis, apium (f.) bee
avis, avis, avium (f.) bird
canis, canis (c.) dog
fēlēs, fēlis (f.) cat
mūs, mūris (c.) mouse, rat
ovis, ovis (c.) sheep
amō, 1 love, like, am fond of
aut or

New Sentences[edit]

Latin English Notes
Mūs est parva. The mouse is small.
Formīca et apis parvae sunt. The ant and the bee are small.
Fēlēs aquam bibit. The cat drinks water.
Fēlēs lac bibunt. The cats drink milk.
Puella equum habet. The girl has a horse.
Lūcia equōs amat. Lucia likes horses.
Est avis in vīllā! There is a bird in the house!
Multī (multae) ovēs in agrō sunt. Many sheep are in the field.
Ego fēlēs amō, sed tū canēs amās. I like cats, but you like dogs.
Equus est animal. The horse is an animal.
Avēs pānem edunt. The birds eat bread.
Formīca in saccharō est. The ant is in the sugar.
Mūs cāseum edit. The mouse eats cheese.
Musca mēl edit. The fly eats the honey.
Estne musca aut apis? Is it a fly or a bee?
Equī et ovēs herbam edunt. The horses and sheep eat grass.
Simia nōn est pulchra. The monkey is not beautiful.
Simiam habeō. I have a monkey.
Puerī et puellae simiās in vīvāriō vident. The boys and girls see monkeys in the zoo.
Vīvārium est hortus animālium. A zoo is a garden of animals.
Sunt multa animālia in vīvāriō. There are many animals in the zoo.
Mārcus dē avibus et apibus legit. Marcus reads about the birds and the bees.
Rēx est nōmen canis. Rex is the dog’s name.
Fēlīx est nōmen cattī. Felix is the cat’s name. Fēlīx means “fruitful, happy, lucky” but is really close to fēlēs/felis and so you can see that some of our ideas about cats probably come from ancient times!

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)