Latin for Duolingo: Relative and Indefinite Pronouns, lesson 1
Salvete omnes! Welcome back to Latin for Duolingo. This is an ongoing, unofficial course in Latin; if you would like to catch up with previous lessons, you can find a directory, a classified vocabulary list, and Memrise courses at these links:
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Thank you for your patience as I took a few weeks to deal with a busy schedule, and think about how best to proceed. We are at an intermediate point in this course, where it becomes increasingly difficult to teach just one point at a time systematically. I’ll do my best to cover the basics of grammar, but if you spot areas that need more clarification, or a mistake, please note them in the comments section. This lesson I want to return to pronouns. We’ve studied them before:
Pronouns are tricky: I highly recommend review of the lessons above. This lesson will cover nominatives and accusatives of relative pronouns (and review interrogative pronouns and adjectives), and I’ll hope to get to the other cases next time, and indefinite pronouns the lesson after that. A good summary of Latin relative and indefinite pronouns can be found here: relative pronouns
It can be confusing because there are some pronouns that can be adjectives, and sometimes adjectives are used as pronouns. For now, there are two paradigms we need to know: qui/quae/quod is the relative pronoun, used in relative clauses. But we have seen it used as an interrogative adjective, and I’ll repeat a few sentences from the questions lesson to demonstrate that. And quis/quid is the interrogative pronoun, also used in the questions lesson, but it is the basis of some of the indefinite pronouns we will be learning. Both are declined in full at the Dickinson website linked above. You’ll note that they have the same forms in the plural, and there is some overlap in usage. I won’t be able to note every possible variant translation here, but feel free to ask if you aren’t sure. You’ll note that, whatever the case of the antecedent (the noun that the pronoun takes the place of), the relative pronoun has to have the case that is proper for its function in its own clause.
When I teach this concept in the classroom, we spend a lot of time diagraming/parsing sentences on the board. It might help to take a sample sentence and mark it up similarly if you are confused:
Rosas puellae quae currit dedi. = I gave roses to the girl who is running.
Rosas | puellae | [
quae | currit] | dedi.
rosas = acc. pl “roses” | puellae = dat. s “to the girl” |
quae = nom. s. f. relative pronoun, antecedent is puellae, “(she) who” |
currit = 3rd s. pres., verb of relative clause, agrees with subject pronoun quae, “(she) runs” | dedi = 1st s. perf., verb of main clause, “I gave”
As Latin sentences get longer, I like to “clausify” them by putting brackets around each subordinate clause to distinguish it from the main clause, and then look for the antecedents of the relative pronouns. The antecedent is almost always right before the relative clause. At the least I encourage you to look for the subordinate relative clause and put mental brackets around it. I will try to highlight every subordinate clause in this lesson; I hope that helps.
qui, quae, quod = who, which, whose, whom, what, that (relative pronoun/ interrogative adjective)
quis, quid = who, what (interrogative pronoun)
Quis est? = Who is it? (Who is he/she?)
Quis loquitur? = Who is speaking?
Qui homo est? = Which man is it (is he)?
Quae femina est? = Which woman is it (she)?
Quid est? = What is it?
Quid? (or even “Quid est quod?”) = What?/ How?/ Why? (and many other variations)
Quod diarium est tuum? = Which newspaper is yours?
qui dormit frater meus est. = The boy who is sleeping is my brother.
qui clavichordo bene canit habeo. = I have a friend who plays the piano well.
Qui non est hodie, cras minus aptus erit. = He who is not ready today will be less so tomorrow.
Qui me amat, amat et canem meum. = He who loves me, loves my dog too.
quae currit dedi. = I gave roses to the girl who is running.
quae currit est Paula. = The girl who is running is Paula.
quod mihi placet est difficile. = The work that I like is difficult.
Qui estis? = Who are you (pl.)?
Qui calcei tibi placent? = Which shoes do you like?
qui pugnabant vidi. = I saw the boys who were fighting.
quae clamabant audiverunt. = They heard the girls who were shouting.
Quae nocent saepe docent. = The things that hurt often teach.
qui se vincit in victoriā. (Publilius Syrus) = He conquers twice who conquers himself in the hour of victory.
Quem vidisti? = Whom did you see?
quem heri legi. = Here is the book that I read yesterday.
Quam stolam amas? = What dress do you like?
quam vides soror mea est. = The girl (whom) you see is my sister.
quod Marcus edit malum erat. = The apple that Marcus ate was bad.
Cum omnibus discipulis
quos vidi locutus sum. = I spoke with all the students whom I saw.
Cum omnibus puellis
quas vidi locuta sum. = I spoke with all the girls whom I saw.
quae mihi dixisti audivi. = I heard everything (all things) that you said to me.
As always, I appreciate those of you who are following along with these lessons. In another week or two we’ll look at the other three cases of relative pronouns. Bonam fortunam!
Next Lesson: Relative and Indefinite Pronouns 2