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Latin for Duolingo: Relative and Indefinite Pronouns, lesson 2

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:

In the last lesson we began the complex process of making sense out of relative pronouns, which are used in relative clauses. A good site for learning the forms of the pronouns is here: : relative pronouns We started with relative pronouns (and review of interrogative pronouns and adjectives) in the nominative and accusative cases. This lesson, we’ll work on the genitive, dative, and ablative cases.

In relative clauses, the relative pronoun refers to a previously expressed antecedent. The gender and number of the pronoun must agree with the antecedent, but the case of the relative pronoun depends on how it is used within its own clause; for example:
Puellas quarum pater heri mortuus est video. = I see the girls whose father died yesterday.
Puellas = acc. pl. fem, this is the direct object of the main clause and the antecedent of quarum. Quarum = gen. pl. fem., agreeing with its antecedent in gender and number, but because it expresses possession it is genitive in the relative clause. As I did last lesson, I’ll highlight the relative clauses in the sentences so you can study them. If you are confused, it may help to make a stand-alone sentence out of the relative clause by substituting the antecedent in its proper usage: “The girls’ father (father of the girls) died yesterday.” To translate into Latin, you would need the gen. pl.: “puellarum” and this is your clue to find the proper pronoun form.

Notes: I use the medieval invention, the letter “j”, when the Latin uses the letter “i” in a consonantal way (e.g., cujus/cuius). I don’t find this a big deal and it helps at least some of us. But if you prefer not to use the letter “j”, I will try to give the “i” version as an alternative in the Memrise course. I realize it is probably the more common usage, worldwide.

Also, I have received reports that the vocabulary list post, linked above, has become inaccessible for many users. I posted in the troubleshooting forum and I have a bug report sent to Duolingo but have not received any guidance back from them. So, after I post this I will add two comments below. If you would like to help me figure out how widespread this problem is, please upvote the comment that applies to you: I get an error message when I click on the vocabulary link; or I am able to access the vocabulary link without problems. It is not necessary to comment, just use your upvote. If it is a widespread problem and I continue to receive no feedback from Duolingo staff, I will upload the vocabulary file to a new post. Thank you!

New Sentences
Cujus liber est? = Whose book is it/that/this?
Cujus calcei sunt? = Whose shoes are these?
Marcus, cujus soror est Lucia, in hoc aedificio laborat. = Marcus, whose sister is Lucia, works in this building.
Gladios hominibus quorum urbs in periculo est dedimus. = We gave swords to the men whose city is in danger.
Puellas quarum pater heri mortuus est video. = I see the girls whose father died yesterday.
Cui bono? = Who benefits? (For whom the good?)
Puer cui nomen est Gaius celeriter currit. = The boy whose name (for whom the name) is Gaius runs fast.
Homo cui pecuniam dedi tunicam rubram gerebat. = The man to whom I gave money was wearing a red shirt.
Quibus rosas das? = To whom do you give roses?
Feminae quibus rosas do sunt magistrae meae. = The women to whom I give roses are my teachers.
Quo Paula abiit? = Where did Paula go? This uses “quo” as the interrogative adverb meaning “where to?”
De quo loqueris? = What are you talking about/ about what are you speaking?/ (or) About whom are you speaking? Here quo is the abl. s. n.(or m.) of the interrogative pronoun.
Culter quo utor est tuus. = The knife that I am using is yours. Utor takes an object in the ablative; so quo is the abl. s. m. of the relative pronoun.
Quocum (quibuscum) loquuntur? = With whom are they speaking?
Qua horā ibit? = At what hour/time will he go?
Urbs in qua Marcus habitat est Roma. = The city in which Marcus lives is Rome.
Liberi quibuscum ludebam sunt amici mei. = The children I was playing with (with whom I was playing) are my friends.

Some “real world” notable sentences using relative pronouns:
Cujus regio, ejus religio. = Whose region, his religion. (The religion of the ruler dictates the religion of the people; from the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, this principle was used to give the prince of each region the authority to decide between Lutheran or Roman Catholic for his and his subjects’ religion).
Gallia est omnia divisa in partes tres, [quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam [qui ipsorum linguā Celtae, nostrā Galli, appellantur.]] = All Gaul is divided into three parts, of which the Belgae inhabit one, the Aquitani another, and those who in their own language are called Celts, in ours, Gauls, the third. This is the famous first line of Julius Caesar’s de Bello Gallico.

Next lesson will deal with some of the tricky indefinite pronouns. Valete!

Next Lesson: Relative and Indefinite 3

May 30, 2017



Please upvote this comment if the following applies to you:

I get an error message when I click on the vocabulary link: Vocabulary List


Please upvote this comment if the following applies to you:

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  • 1536

Thanks for putting this together!

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