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Latin for Duolingo: Adjectives II, 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:

New Grammar
This lesson introduces comparison of adjectives. We have studied many adjectives in the “positive degree”, or the basic form, such as altus, a, um = high, deep (1st/2nd declension); fortis, e = strong, brave (3rd declension).

The “comparative degree” refers to a comparison of two things: higher, stronger. To form it, take the stem of the positive degree and add –ior for m/f, -ius for n. : altior, altius = higher; fortior, fortius = stronger. Comparative adjectives are declined similarly to 3rd declension adjectives, with a few slight differences. Translation of comparatives is usually with “more” or the –er ending in English; but depending on context “altior” can be translated “rather high” or “a little too high.” There are two ways of forming a comparison clause: with “quam (than)” + a noun in the same case as the thing it is compared to; or with the “ablative of comparison”, where the ablative alone expresses the thing compared to:
Mons altior est quam collis/ Mons altior est colle. = The mountain is higher than the hill.

The “superlative degree” of our example adjectives in English would be highest, strongest, and implies a group of three or more things. Once again, we take the stem of the positive degree, and add –issimus, a, um : altissimus, altissima, altissimum = highest; fortissimus, fortissima, fortissimum = strongest. This then becomes a new, 1st/2nd declension adjective that is declined exactly like any other. Superlative degree adjectives can also be translated as “very high; very strong.”

It would not be Latin if there weren’t several irregular comparisons, and some obscure rules (involving the formation of the superlative in some adjectives). We’ll cover some of them this lesson, and some next. A common grammar exercise at this point is to “compare” adjectives by writing out all three forms: altus, a, um/ altior, altius/ altissimus, a, um. For irregular comparisons I will write out a comparison for reference, but if it is a regularly-formed comparison I won’t. These irregular comparisons will eventually be added to the vocabulary file.
A good online summary of comparison of adjectives can be found here

New Vocabulary/ Irregular Adjective Comparisons
bonus, a, um/ melior, melius/ optimus, a, um = good, better, best
juvenis, e/ junior, junius/ juvenissimus, a, um = young, younger, youngest
malus, a, um/ pejor, pejus (peior, peius)/ pessimus, a, um = bad, worse, worst

Other New Vocabulary
beatus, a, um = blessed, happy (compare felix, laetus)
quam (adv.) = how, than
spero, 1 = hope, expect

New Sentences
Mons altior est quam collis. (Mons altior est colle.) = The mountain is higher than the hill.
Altissimum montem video. = I see the highest mountain (a very high mountain).
Illi montes altiores sunt. = Those mountains are rather high (higher/ a little too high).
Illi montes altissimi sunt. = Those mountains are very high (the highest).
Paula fortior est Luciā. (Paula fortior est quam Lucia.) = Paula is stronger than Lucia.
Marcus fortissimus est. = Marcus is very strong.
Sinistra via longior dexterā (quam dextera) est. = The left road is longer than the right one.
Iter longissimum erat. = The journey was very long.
Tutius est manēre intus. = It is safer to stay inside. (note neuter form to agree with infinitive)
Hic est locus tutissimus. = This is a very safe place.
Gaius brevior Marco (quam Marcus) est. = Gaius is shorter than Marcus.
Brevissima puella in scholā sum. = I am the shortest girl in the school.
Qui senator est senior? = Which senator is older?
Pater meus est junior matre meā. = My father is younger than my mother.
Marcus juvenissimus trium filiorum est. = Marcus is the youngest of three sons.
Gaius senissimus est. = Gaius is very old (the oldest).
Computatrum melius volo. = I want a better computer.
❤❤❤❤ Marcum esse meliorem discipulum quam te. = I think that Marcus is a better student than you. (note accusative with infinitive construction: literally, I think Marcus to be...)
Hic liber optimus est! = This book is very good/excellent/ the best!
Liber secundus pejor (peior) est quam primus (primo). = The second book is worse than the first.
Hoc pessimum est! = This is very bad (the worst)!
Optimam raedam habes. = You have a very good car.
Beatissimus/felicissimus/laetissimus sum. = I am very happy.
Beatius est dare quam accipere. = It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Spero meliora. = I hope for better things.

We will learn more comparatives and superlatives next time. Gratias et bonam fortunam!

Next lesson: Adjectives II, Lesson 3

July 24, 2017


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