Latin for Duolingo: Participles 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:
- Directory of Lessons
- Vocabulary List
- Memrise course for vocabulary
- Memrise course for complete sentences
- Memrise course for verb principal parts
- Previous lesson: Locative and Geography 2

We come to participles in this lesson. Participles are verbal adjectives; they are derived from verbs and so express action and can take objects, but they function as adjectives and so have the endings of adjectives and can modify nouns. I like to describe it to my students as having one foot in Verbland and the other in Nounland. Or alternatively, a participle is a verb that thinks it’s an adjective. The “verbals” in Latin include participles, infinitives, gerunds, and gerundives; they increase the flexibility of Latin syntax, as well as its difficulty. So, congratulations to all who have come this far! You have definitely moved past the beginner phase of Latin.

This lesson will cover Perfect Passive Participles. The PPP is the fourth principal part of a regular, transitive verb, and we have already seen and used it in the Passive voice, lesson 2 not that many lessons ago. We need it, plus a form of the being verb, to form the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect passive. For the example verb “do, dare, dedi, datus, 1 = give”, datus is the PPP. In the link above we learned how “datum est” means “it has been given.” In this lesson we will learn how to use it and other PPPs as adjectives. Since it expresses “perfect” action, the tense is perfect or past; since it is passive, the voice is passive, meaning that the noun it modifies receives the action the participle expresses. Thus “datus, data, datum” is the nominative singular, m, f, n form of this verbal adjective, and the meaning it expresses is “given” or “having been given.” For any PPP, a way to remember the translation is “verbed” or “having been verbed.” You’ll notice that the -us/-a/-um endings are just like 1st/2nd declension adjectives, and participles can be used to modify nouns of any case, number, or gender. You can find a lot of PPPs that made their way into English usage: data, from the nom. plural neuter, “things that have been given;” “date” comes from “datum,” used by scribes to describe when dictation was “given” on x day, month, and year. “Position” comes from “positus”, describing where something has been placed. And “postscript” comes from “post scriptum”, something added “after the thing having been written.”

Of course, with the fourth principal part being used as an adjective, we have just added a vast number of potential adjectives. It helps a great deal to review verbs in their four principal parts: see the above Memrise course for a way to do that. There can sometimes be confusion between adjectival use and verb use of the PPP, but I hope some sample sentences will make that clear. When we see a PPP used as an adjective, remember that it expresses an additional past, passive action besides that of the main verb in the clause.

New Vocabulary
thesaurus, i = treasure
vulnero, 1 = wound, hurt, injure
relinquo, relinquere, reliqui, relictus, 3 = leave, leave behind, abandon
sepelio, sepelire, sepelivi (ii), sepultus, 4 = bury, inter

New Sentences
Piratae thesaurum sepeliverunt. = The pirates buried the treasure.
Rex Londinii sepultus est. = The king was buried in London. (Here sepultus est is perfect tense, passive voice.)
Pirata thesaurum sepultum invenit. = The pirate found the buried treasure. (Here sepultum is a PPP that modifies thesaurum)
Navem relictam video. = I see the abandoned ship.
Vir mortuus magnum thesaurum reliquit. = The dead man left behind a great treasure. (Mortuus is the perfect participle of a deponent verb; these verbs keep the more or less active sense that they already have: “having died”)
Paula vulnerata est. = Paula has been injured.
Paula os fractum habet. = Paula has a broken bone.
Lucia est uxor amata Gaii. = Lucia is the beloved wife of Gaius.
Marcus canem vulneratum adjuvat. = Marcus helps the injured dog.
Puellae territae fugiunt. = The frightened/terrified girls run away.
Pone carnem coctam super mensam. = Put the cooked meat on the table.
Hoc dictum verum est. = This saying (thing having been said) is true. (Here dictum is a substantive PPP, or, a verb that thinks it’s an adjective that thinks it’s a noun.)
Roma, ab hostibus capta, incensa est. = Rome, having been captured by the enemy, was burned. (N.B. here you have capta used in an adjectival participial phrase, and the verb phrase in the sentence is in the perfect tense passive voice “incensa est.” Both participles agree with the subject, Roma, and both express past, passive action, but only “incensa est” is the official verb.)
Corpora militum occisorum sepulta sunt. = The bodies of the killed (slain) soldiers have been buried.
Epistulam ab amico meo missam legi. = I read the letter sent by my friend.
Marcus, a Luciā monitus, ex urbe abivit. = Marcus, having been warned by Lucia, went away from the city.
Liberi, a matre vocati, domum cucurrerunt. = The children, called by their mother, ran home.
Mille milites parati iter fecerunt. = A thousand prepared soldiers marched (made a journey.)
Quinque milia militum paratorum quinque milia passuum aberant. = Five thousand prepared soldiers were five miles away. (the plural milia takes the genitive; literally, five thousands of prepared soldiers, five thousands of paces)
Litterae scriptae manent. = Written letters remain/ the written word endures.
terra incognita = unknown land (from cognosco, cognoscere, cognivi, cognitus + the negative prefix in)
Ab urbē condita (A.U.C) = from the founding of the city (literally from the city having been founded)
Homo doctus in se semper divitias habet. = A learned (educated) man always has riches within himself.

I apologize for the long time since the last of these lessons. In future lessons, I plan to add present active participles and future active participles, which each have their own forms. We will also study a common construction of Latin, the “ablative absolute,” which frequently uses participles. As always, if you have questions about the content of this lesson, let me know with a comment below and I will do my best to answer it. Valete et bonam fortunam!

Next lesson: Participles, Lesson 2

September 12, 2018


[deactivated user]

    I want to learn Latin, thanks!

    September 12, 2018

    This looks very cool, thanks.

    An official Latin course would be so so so sweet!

    September 13, 2018

    Gratias, magister carpelanam!
    Talia documenta iterum in duolingo videre magnificum est. Ego in scolā linguam latinam unum annum didici atque nunc haec documenta utor, ut nova vocabula discam grammaticamque iterem. :-)

    September 13, 2018

    grazie mille, con il più profondo rispetto..

    September 13, 2018

    Would you consider doing an official course if Duolingo accepted it? I'm sure it would be very popular.

    September 14, 2018

    Yes, I would be happy to serve on the team that would bring Latin to Duolingo in an official way. But that decision is not up to me at all. I agree, it would be very popular. Latin is the 4th most commonly studied language in American schools, and at least some knowledge of it is important to professional qualification in fields like medicine, law, and graduate degrees in history and philosophy.

    November 12, 2018

    You should apply to make this on the incubator!

    September 14, 2018

    I used to have Latin at University but all I can remember now are some random words and phrases, a number of wise proverbs and few verses from Aeneid.

    I'm quite busy with studying few other languages right now, but re-learning Latin is very high on my personal "to do" list too, so I will gladly dust off my old grammar books and enrich my knowledge with your excellent posts, as soon as I have some more time.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and for all your hard work here, it is much appreciated :]

    September 13, 2018

    I am a high schooler taking Latin but this is Cool. Keep it up!

    September 14, 2018

    It would be nice if you used macrons, because sometimes they make a difference, e.g urbs condita vs urbe conditā.

    September 13, 2018

    I intend to read your posts but I hope you see this Reading from posts + learning it in Duolingo way would be more fun. I hope you would like to be a contributor.

    January 3, 2019
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