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Latin for Duolingo: Participles, 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:

Today is a special anniversary for me, as I celebrate five years of Duolingo. My streak started the day after Christmas, 2013, when I looked for language learning apps for my new Kindle Fire, and I haven't missed a day since. It seems like a good time to share the long-delayed next lesson in Latin for Duolingo, with apologies for the delay. The lessons are getting a little more involved to prepare, but we still have a lot of ground to cover. Thank you so much to those of you who have been following for so long. I truly hope it these lessons have been helpful to you.

In the previous lesson we looked at the Perfect Passive Participle, or PPP, as it is used both for the perfect passive verb tenses, and in the new-to-us form of adjectival modifier. This lesson we will examine the Present Active Participle. It is always active, and it is essentially identical to a 3rd declension adjective, with just a few quirks. The following sample verbs are shown as participles in nom. s. and gen. s.

Participles formed from sample verbs:
1st Amo – amans, amantis = loving
2nd Moneo – monens, monentis = warning
3rd Mitto – mittens, mittentis = sending (capio – capiens, capientis = taking)
4th Audio – audiens, audientis = hearing

Deponent verbs can have present participles: sequor – sequens (following), orior – oriens (rising; perhaps you remember oriens and occidens as east and west from a previous lesson). Some irregular verbs have this participle as well; volens (willing), nolens (unwilling), ferens (bearing/bringing). The irregular verb “eo” along with its compounds is particularly weird: iens, euntis (going).

Declension of present active participles is similar to 3rd declension adjectives, always having the i-stem endings in nom. and acc pl. n., and gen pl; nom s. n. is the same as m. and f., and acc. s. n. is the same as nom. s. n. The biggest difference is the e ending for ablative s, instead of -i as it is in 3rd decl. adjectives.:
S (m-f/n) || P (m-f/n)
amans || amantes/amantia
amantis || amantium
amanti || amantibus
amantem/amans || amantes/amantia
amante || amantibus

If you spend enough time studying Latin verbs, you will see the roots of many English nouns derived from them. For example, “president” is from the verb praesideo = sit in front of, preside over; literally “praesidens” means “the person sitting in front of/presiding over”. In modern Latin usage “praesidens” and “praeses” are both used to mean someone holding the office of president. An “agent” is a person given authority for acting. A “docent” is a person with teaching responsibilities. Protestants are people who protest. Intermittent, magnificent, convenient, solvent, and evident also derive from participles.

I hope you will forgive me for only inventing a few sentences for this lesson. I am trying to make up for it by giving you several examples of participles used in real Latin texts I have come across. Some of them are appropriate for the Christmas season. I hope all of you had an enjoyable holiday and wish you the best in the new year.

New Vocabulary
praeses, praesidis (also praesidens, praesidentis) = president
praesideo, praesidēre, praesidi, 2 = sit in front of, preside over, protect
reddo, reddere, reddidi, redditus, 3 = give back, restore, render
sapio, sapere, sapivi, 3 = taste of, have sense, understand

New Sentences
Lucia mater amans est. = Lucia is a loving mother.
Marcus avem volantem super montes vidit. = Marcus saw the bird flying over the mountains.
Hoc dicens, Gaius gladium deposuit. = Saying this, Gaius put down his sword. (Hoc is the object of dicens, which is in the nominative to agree with the subject, Gaius.)
Mortui sunt pugnantes. = They died fighting.
Milites hostes fugientes secuti sunt. = The soldiers followed the fleeing enemy.
Eos flumen transeuntes vidimus. = We saw them going across the river.

Homo sapiens = human being; man with understanding, wise man
Modus ponens, modus tollens = Mode of affirming (putting in place), mode of denying (taking away).
Et pastores erant in regione eadem vigilantes, et custodientes vigilias noctis super gregem suum. (Luke 2:8) = And there were shepherds in the same region, staying awake and keeping watch over their flock by night.
Et hoc vobis signum: invenietis infantem pannis involutum, et positum in præsepio. Et subito facta est cum angelo multitudo militiæ cælestis laudantium Deum, et dicentium…(Luke 2:12-13) = And this is a sign to you: you will find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, and placed in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying… (involutum and positum are both perfect passive participles, agreeing with “infantem” in the acc. s. m., laudantium and dicentium are both present active participles, agreeing with “militiae caelestis” in the gen. pl.)
Tunc Herodes videns quonium illusus esset a magis, iratus est valde, et mittens occidit omnes pueros qui erant in Bethlehem. (Matthew 2:16) = Then Herod, seeing that he had been tricked by the wise men, was very angry, and sending, he killed all the boys who were in Bethlehem.
Caput apri defero, reddens laudes Domino. = I bring the boar’s head, rendering praises to the Lord. (from the Boar’s Head carol).
Volens et potens! = Willing and able!
Amantes sunt amentes. (Terence) = Lovers are insane (out of their minds).
Locum tenens = a person/thing holding the place
Deo volente = if God is willing (This is an example of the ablative absolute construction, which, d.v., I hope to explore further in the new year)

Bonam fortunam et laetitiam in novo anno vobis opto!

Edited 8/3/19 : This course has now been migrated to Wikiversity, where it is freely available to all. A new lesson has been added and is available there: Participles 3

December 26, 2018



Tibi festum diem anniversarium exopto! Et gratias tibi semper ago, quod nos optime doces.

December 27, 2018

[deactivated user]

    Thank you so much for posting these! I will definitely go see your other lessons.

    December 27, 2018


    Congrats on the 5 years , and thanks for the Latin lesson.

    December 27, 2018


    Gotta love Latin. Thanks for all you do

    December 27, 2018


    Ceterum censeo: Unfortunately many exceptions and complicated rules.

    December 27, 2018


    Thank you! I will send the link to my friend who wants to learn Latin.

    December 27, 2018


    Please do continue making these lessons.

    March 10, 2019

    [deactivated user]

      Also, please follow me! I tried to follow you, but it seems the Follow button is broken, so maybe it will work if you follow me first.

      December 27, 2018


      Please don't ask for followers in someone's post's discussion. It's very rude, and that's not how you get them.

      December 27, 2018

      [deactivated user]

        Oh my goodness, please know I'm didn't mean to be rude! I don't normally ask for followers at all, but I was just trying to solve a problem. I'm sorry.

        December 27, 2018


        I don't know the whole story, so I'm sorry if I preemptively assumed anything, but I just send out the reminder in general not to do so. Have a nice day. :)

        December 27, 2018
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