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Latin for Duolingo: Family, Lesson 2

Avete omnes! Welcome back to Latin for Duolingo! If you’re just joining us and want to catch up, here are the links you will need:

I’ve been posting a new lesson every week for the last six months, and hope to continue until there is officially a Latin course in the incubator. Last week, we learned some common words for family members; we’ll continue this week. Now, Latin is known for its fine detail, and family terminology is no exception. There are different words for aunts, uncles, and cousins, depending on whether they are on the father’s side or the mother’s side. But some details are a little fuzzy; for example, the same word, “nepos,” can mean grandson or nephew, or even a general “descendant”. So as always, stay flexible, and review the case endings for those first three noun declensions.

New Vocabulary
amita, ae = aunt (father’s sister)
consobrina, ae/ consobrinus, i = cousin (on mother’s side) (strictly, mother’s sister’s child)
matertera, ae = aunt (mother’s sister)
nuptiae, arum = wedding, marriage, nuptials (1st declension noun used in plural)
avunculus, i = uncle (mother’s brother)
patruus, i = uncle (father’s brother)
matrimonium, i = marriage, wedding
mulier, mulieris (f.) = woman (femina is also used)
nepos, nepotis (m. or common in plural) = grandson, grandchild, nephew, descendant
neptis, neptis (f.) = granddaughter
patruelis, patruelis (c.) = cousin on father’s side (strictly, child of father’s brother)
dicit = he/she says (from the 3rd conjugation verb dico)
itaque (conj.) = therefore, and so

germanus, a, um = own, genuine, full (this adjective came to mean a full brother or sister or a first cousin; someone of one’s own blood. It’s not used much in most Latin textbooks, but it explains the derivation of the words for brother and sister in Spanish and Portuguese. The capitalized version of this adjective does mean “German, from Germany,” but I don’t know how the two usages are related). Just a bit of extra information – I won’t be using it in our sample sentences this week.

New Sentences

Avus meus et avia mea multos nepotes habent. = My grandfather and my grandmother have many grandchildren.
Matrimonium nostrum est bonum. = Our marriage is good.
Nepos meus est filius filiae meae. = My grandson is the son of my daughter.
Meus avus est pater matris meae. = My grandfather is my mother’s father.
Avia dicit, “Neptis mea est pulchra!” = The grandmother says, “My granddaughter is beautiful!”
Alta mulier est matertera nostra. = The tall woman is our aunt/ mother’s sister.
Sunt multae mulieres pulchrae in familiā nostrā. = There are many beautiful women in our family.
Amitam meam in nuptiis patruelis mei video. = I see my aunt/ father’s sister at my cousin’s wedding.
Puella dicit, “Consobrinas meas (sed non consobrinos) amo!” = The girl says, “I love my girl cousins (but not my boy cousins)!”
Patruus meus est frater patris mei. = My uncle is my father’s brother.
Avunculus Gaius est frater matris meae. = Uncle Gaius is my mother’s brother.
Patruus meus liberos non habet; itaque patrueles non habeo. = My uncle/ father’s brother does not have children; therefore I do not have cousins.
Familia supra omnia. = Family above everything.

I hope you have enjoyed this lesson in family terminology. For next lesson, I am considering the following categories: adjectives, present tense verbs, pronouns, possession, or questions. We could also do the 4th declension and 5th declension of nouns. If anyone has strong preferences please comment below and I will go with what is most popular first; all of them are things I hope to get to eventually.

Valete et bonam fortunam!

Next lesson: Adjectives lesson 1

October 1, 2015



What's the difference between "ave" and "salve" and "vale"? It's been so long I don't remember.


I use "ave" and "salve" interchangeably for "hello/hi/salutations" and "vale" for "goodbye/farewell." Salve and Vale both have the idea of health attached to them. But there is a lot of overlap. The Common Phrases lesson has a little more detail.


So confused with this mea, mei, maea, etc. thing. Why can't I translate "My uncle is my father’s brother" to "Patruus meus frater patris meis est"?


Studying the lesson on adjectives now and realise how premature this question was haha -- been saving it for ages hoping we'd get there!

It's "mei" here because meus is 3rd declension adj, genitive, masculine, singular, right?


Meant 2nd declension adj.


Could be 1st declension, but here "pater" is masculine, so 2nd... Yes?


Yes! Patruus (nom. s. of a 2nd decl. masc. noun "uncle", subject) meus (nom. s. masc. of 1st/2nd decl possessive adjective "my" modifying subject) est (3rd s. present tense of linking verb sum, "is") frater (nom. s. of 3rd decl. masc. noun "brother", predicate noun) patris (gen. s. of 3rd decl. masc. noun "of father/ father's", possessive) mei (gen. s. masc. of 1st/2nd decl. possessive adjective "my" modifying possessive patris). There's a good reason we don't parse every word of every Latin sentence out this way, but there's no question that the process sharpens our critical thinking skills -- if it doesn't kill us first!


Hoho amazing! This course is a masterwork! Prefer learning things this way tbh. Since starting uni (law) I’ve come across so many latin words, phrases, passages, and I really badly want to understand without having to Google everything. Now I won't have to spend £1500 I don't have on a summer course. Really grateful. Thanks for your unbelievable dedication :))

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