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Latin for Duolingo: Present Tense Verbs, Lesson 3

Welcome back to Latin for Duolingo, where about once a week, those of us impatient for Latin can at least have a basic lesson (but without all the interactive bells and whistles, unfortunately). If you’re just joining us and want to catch up, here are the links you’ll need:
- Directory of Lessons
- Vocabulary List
- Memrise course

New Grammar
This week we continue learning some basic verbs in Latin, this time with the 3rd conjugation. Where 1st conjugation verbs have –are in the infinitive ending and the A is used as a combining vowel in the present tense, and 2nd conjugation verbs have –ēre in the infinitive ending and the E is used as a combining vowel, the 3rd conjugation is marked by –ere in the infinitive ending. The e (without a macron accent) does not continue as a combining vowel in the present tense, but instead we use what I call the “IOU rule”. So for example:
lego = I read
legis = you read
legit = he, she, it reads
legimus = we read
legitis = you all read
legunt = they read

3rd conjugation verbs are probably, numerically, the largest class of Latin verbs. They do not follow one regular pattern for forming the 4 principal parts, so they need to be memorized individually with careful vocab study. They are prone to forming compounds by adding prepositional prefixes (e.g. ad, com/con, re, de, in, per) which change their meaning . And there are quite a few i-stem verbs of this conjugation, which have, you guessed it, an I added to the stem. (We’ll just do one i-stem this lesson; the 1st person singular and the 3rd person plural are where you notice it in the present tense). The good news is that we’ve used a few of these verbs before, and they’re not really that unusual if you have some familiarity with one of the modern Romance languages. Most of these verbs have many derivatives in English. Here are the 3rd conjugation verbs I’ve used in previous lessons:

ago, agere, egi, actus = do, act, drive, give
bibo, bibere, bibi, (bibus/bibitum) = drink
coquo, coquere, coxi, coctus = cook
dico, dicere, dixi, dictus = say, tell
edo, edere, edi, esum = eat (some irregular and alternate forms)
lego, legere, legi, lectus = read
scribo, scribere, scripsi, scriptus = write
(con)sumo, sumere, sumpsi, sumptus, 3 = take, consume (e.g., a meal)

New Vocabulary
curro, currere, cucurri, cursus, 3 = run, hurry
facio, facere, feci, factus, 3 (i-stem) = make, do
mitto, mittere, misi, missus, 3 = send, send off
peto, petere, petivi, petitus, 3 = seek, beg, ask for, aim for
pono, ponere, posui, positus, 3 = put, place, set, put down

quid (interrogative pronoun) = what? (nom. and acc. s.; other inflections to be learned later)
quis (interrogative pronoun) = who? (nom. s. only; other inflections to be learned later)

New Sentences
Quid facis? = What are you doing/ making? (actually asking for information)
Quid agis? = (lit. What are you doing) How are you doing?/ What’s up? (common greeting, courtesy phrase)
Cibum in mensam ponunt. = They put food on the table.
Quis theam meam bibit? = Who is drinking my tea?
Prandium edo. = I am eating lunch.
Ientaculum facio. = I am making breakfast.
Vinum sumimus. = We take (drink) wine.
Avus carnem coquit. = Grandfather is cooking the meat.
Puer currit. = The boy runs.
Ego dico “Salve!” = I say “Hello!”
Amici litteras scribunt. = The friends are writing letters.
Tabulam petimus. = We ask for a menu.
Pacem petitis. = You (pl.) seek peace.
Discipulus libros ponit. = The student puts (down) the books.
Mater epistulam ad Luciam mittit. = Mother sends a letter to Lucia.
Quid pueri faciunt? = What are the boys doing?
Ad ludum currimus. = We are running to school.
Donum Paulae mitto. = I send Paula a gift.
Ubi lac ponitis? = Where do you (pl.) put the milk?
Saccharum in caffeam meam non pono. = I do not put sugar in my coffee.
Gaius et Marcus in agris currunt. = Gaius and Marcus run in the fields.
Diaria legunt, libros non scribunt. = They are reading newspapers, not writing books.
Natura non facit saltum. = Nature does not make a jump.
Solitudinem faciunt; pacem appellant. = They make a wilderness; they call it peace. (A complaint about the foreign policy of the Romans by their victims).

Once again, please feel to write any questions, comments, or corrections below. I will try to respond. Next time we’ll look at 4th conjugation verbs. Valete et habete bonam fortunam!

November 4, 2015



"Cibum in mensā ponunt." why not 'mensam'?


I think you're right, because there's a definite idea of motion toward, it should be the accusative. Cibum in mensa est, sed cibum in mensam ponunt. Corrigendum est!


You should make a post with the links of all your lessons!


That's the Directory of Lessons link up at the top. I include it in every lesson, and if you go to the directory, you can get to any of the lessons from there! The vocabulary list is a Duolingo post that includes all the vocabulary so far, but classified so you can study all words of one type together; e.g., 3rd conjugation verbs. If you want something more interactive, check out the Memrise course. It doesn't include the sentences, but you can practice the vocabulary and some basic grammar, and it's organized in the same sequence these lessons are posted.


“Amici litteras scribunt.” Does this mean letters from the alphabet or a letter? Can it mean both? If you want to say letters that are sent to each other, could you use litteras or would you have to use epistulas?


It could mean either, depending on context: letters of the alphabet, letters that they send in the mail, or even documents of just about any kind.


Can I also be letter? Or would I have to use epistulas?

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