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Latin for Duolingo: Adjectives, Lesson 1

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

New Grammar
This week we begin a unit on adjectives. Latin adjectives break down into two basic groups: those declined like nouns of the 1st and 2nd declensions; and those declined (more or less) like nouns of the third declension. It is important to remember the rule that an adjective must agree in case, number, and gender with the noun it modifies. I’ve already introduced several adjectives of the 1st/2nd declension variety; they are fairly easy to master because the endings are the same as the nouns of the first and second declension. This week we will focus just on this easier group. To see a complete declension, with masculine, feminine and neuter, here is my attempt at a chart of the endings:

Declension endings for 1st/2nd declension adjectives:
Singular Plural
masc. |fem.| neut. ||masc.| fem.| neut.
nom. us/er | a | um || i | ae | a
gen. i | ae | i || orum | arum | orum
dat. o | ae | o || is | is | is
acc. um | am | um || os | as | a
abl. o | ā | o || is | is | is

For complete declensions and better formatting, see adjective declensions

Adjectives must agree with the noun they modify in case, number, and gender. Adjectives of quantity (how big? how many?) usually precede their nouns, while adjectives of quality (what kind of?) usually follow them... although this rule is bent a lot. (Sometimes in Latin poetry you’ll find an adjective a few lines removed from its noun, but I’ll try to keep our sentences less confusing.) Just be careful – 3rd declension nouns combined with these adjectives can be tricky, and so can those 1st declension masculine nouns.

Adjectives (1st/2nd Declension):
acidus, a, um = sour
altus, a, um = high, tall, deep
bonus, a, um = good
longus, a, um = long
magnus, a, um = large, great
malus, a, um = bad
meus, a, um = my, mine
miser, misera, miserum = wretched, poor
multus, a, um = much, many
noster, nostra, nostrum = our, ours
parvus, a, um = small
pulcher, pulchra, pulchrum = beautiful, handsome
Romanus, a, um = Roman
salsus, a, um = salty, salted
tuus, a, um = your, yours (of one person)
unus, a, um = one (in s. only; gen. unius, dat. uni)
vegetarianus, a, um = vegetarian
vester, vestra, vestrum = your, yours (of more than one person)
(Yes, these above are all review from past lessons! I couldn’t believe it at first. And here are a few new adjectives following):

antiquus, a, um = ancient, old (not of a person if you want to be polite!)
benignus, a, um = kind
calidus, a, um = hot, warm
frigidus, a, um = cold, cool
liber, libera, liberum = free
novus, a, um = new

New Sentences
Roma est urbs magna et antiqua. = Rome is a great and ancient city.
Parvi pueri mala acida edunt. = The little boys eat sour apples.
Malum non est malum. = The apple is not bad.
Lucia benigna theam calidam agricolae frigido dat. = Kind Lucia gives hot tea to the cold farmer.
Homo miser mulierem pulchram in magnā silvā videt. = The poor man sees a beautiful woman in the big forest.
Oppidum antiquum est pulchrum. = The old town is beautiful.
Amicus meus sororem tuam amat. = My friend loves your sister.
Anas nostra felem vestram non amat. = Our duck does not like your cat.
Liberi virorum liberorum longos libros legunt. = The children of the free men read long books. (Liberi came to mean children as “free-born” rather than slaves; liber, libri is a different word meaning book)
Est leo novus in vivario. = There is a new lion at the zoo.
Est leo in vivario novo. = There is a lion at the new zoo.
Multum lac non habeo. = I do not have much/ a lot of milk.
Gaius non est vegetarianus, sed non multam carnem edit. = Gaius is not a vegetarian, but he does not eat much meat.
Marcus multos nepotes habet. = Marcus has many grandchildren.
Alti fratres jus salsum et calidum in culinā nostrā edunt. = The tall brothers eat the salty and hot soup in our kitchen.
Medicus benignus pro bono laborat. = The kind doctor works for free/ for the good of humanity/ donates his work/ performs charity work. (pro bono literally means “for the good” and is used this way in English.)

Next time, we’ll learn the declension for 3rd declension adjectives. Bonam fortunam!

Next lesson: Adjectives 2

October 8, 2015

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