Latin/Participles Lesson 1

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Salvēte omnēs! Welcome back to Latin for Wikiversity. Here you can peruse a new lesson in Latin, in a simple format. If you would like to catch up, you can find a directory of lessons, a classified vocabulary list, and Memrise courses at the links on the right.

We come to participles in this lesson. Participles are verbal adjectives; they are derived from verbs and so express action and can take objects, but they function as adjectives and so have the endings of adjectives and can modify nouns. I like to describe it to my students as having one foot in Verbland and the other in Nounland. Or alternatively, a participle is a verb that thinks it’s an adjective. The “verbals” in Latin include participles, infinitives, gerunds, and gerundives; they increase the flexibility of Latin syntax, as well as its difficulty. So, congratulations to all who have come this far! You have definitely moved past the beginner phase of Latin.

New grammar

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This lesson will cover Perfect Passive Participles. The PPP is the fourth principal part of a regular, transitive verb, and we have already seen and used it in the Passive voice, lesson 2 not that many lessons ago. We need it, plus a form of the being verb, to form the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect passive. For the example verb

, dare, dedī, datus, 1 = give”

datus is the PPP. In the link above we learned how “datum est” means “it has been given.” In this lesson we will learn how to use it and other PPPs as adjectives. Since it expresses “perfect” action, the tense is perfect or past; since it is passive, the voice is passive, meaning that the noun it modifies receives the action the participle expresses. Thus

datus, data, datum is the nominative singular, m, f, n form of this verbal adjective,
and the meaning it expresses is “given” or “having been given.”

For any PPP, a way to remember the translation is “verbed” or “having been verbed.” You’ll notice that the -us/-a/-um endings are just like 1st/2nd declension adjectives, and participles can be used to modify nouns of any case, number, or gender.

You can find a lot of PPPs that made their way into English usage: data, from the nom. plural neuter, “things that have been given;” “date” comes from datum, used by scribes to describe when dictation was “given” on x day, month, and year. “Position” comes from positus, describing where something has been placed. And “postscript” comes from post scrīptum, something added “after the thing having been written.”

Of course, with the fourth principal part being used as an adjective, we have just added a vast number of potential adjectives. It helps a great deal to review verbs in their four principal parts: see the Memrise course for a way to do that. There can sometimes be confusion between adjectival use and verb use of the PPP, but I hope some sample sentences will make that clear. When we see a PPP used as an adjective, remember that it expresses an additional past, passive action besides that of the main verb in the clause.

New Vocabulary

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Latin English Audio (Classical) Notes
thēsaurus, ī  treasure
vulnerō, 1 wound, hurt, injure
relinquō, relinquere, relīquī, relictus, 3 leave, leave behind, abandon
sepeliō, sepelīre, sepelīvī (ii), sepultus, 4 bury, inter

New Sentences

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Latin English Notes
Pīrātae thēsaurum sepelīvērunt. The pirates buried the treasure.
Rēx Londīniī sepultus est. The king was buried in London. Here sepultus est is perfect tense, passive voice.
Pīrāta thēsaurum sepultum invēnit. The pirate found the buried treasure. Here sepultum is a PPP that modifies thēsaurum
Nāvem relictam videō. I see the abandoned ship.
Vir mortuus magnum thēsaurum relīquit. The dead man left behind a great treasure. Mortuus is the perfect participle of a deponent verb; these verbs keep the more or less active sense that they already have: “having died”.
Paula vulnerāta est. Paula has been injured.
Paula os fractum habet. Paula has a broken bone.
Lūcia est uxor amāta Gāiī. Lucia is the beloved wife of Gaius.
Mārcus canem vulnerātum adjuvat. Marcus helps the injured dog.
Puellae territae fugiunt. The frightened/terrified girls run away.
Pōne carnem coctam super mēnsam. Put the cooked meat on the table.
Hoc dictum verum est. This saying (thing having been said) is true. Here dictum is a substantive PPP, or, a verb that thinks it’s an adjective that thinks it’s a noun.
Rōma, ab hostibus capta, incēnsa est. Rome, having been captured by the enemy, was burned. N.B. here you have capta used in an adjectival participial phrase, and the verb phrase in the sentence is in the perfect tense passive voice incēnsa est. Both participles agree with the subject, Rōma, and both express past, passive action, but only incēnsa est is the official verb.
Corpora mīlitum occīsōrum sepulta sunt. The bodies of the killed (slain) soldiers have been buried.
Epistulam ab amīco meō missam lēgī. I read the letter sent by my friend.
Mārcus, a Lūciā monitus, ex urbe abīvit. Marcus, having been warned by Lucia, went away from the city.
Līberī, a matre vocatī, domum cucurrērunt. The children, called by their mother, ran home.
Mille mīlitēs parātī iter fēcērunt. A thousand prepared soldiers marched (made a journey.) ī
Quīnque mīlia mīlitum paratōrum quīnque mīlia passuum aberant. Five thousand prepared soldiers were five miles away. The plural milia takes the genitive; literally, five thousands of prepared soldiers, five thousands of paces.
Litterae scriptae manent. Written letters remain/ the written word endures.
terra incognita unknown land from cognōscō, cognōscere, cognōvī, cognitus + the negative prefix in
Ab urbē condīta (A.U.C) from the founding of the city literally from the city having been founded
Homō doctus in sē semper dīvitiās habet. A learned (educated) man always has riches within himself.


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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)

In future lessons, we plan to add present active participles and future active participles, which each have their own forms. We will also study a common construction of Latin, the “ablative absolute,” which frequently uses participles. As always, if you have questions about the content of this lesson, let me know with a comment on the discuss page and we will do our best to answer it. Valēte et bonam fortūnam!