1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Latin
  4. >
  5. "Ego quinque discipulas habeo…

"Ego quinque discipulas habeo."

Translation:I have five students.

August 27, 2019



If I understand correctly, 'discipulas' are female students (first declension plural accusative). If so, would 'discipulos' (decond declension plural accudative) be male students? And what would a mixed (male and female) group of students be?


Yes, discipulas is the accusative plural of discipula (nom. plur: discipulae). Discipulos is the accusative plural of discipulus (nom. plur: discipuli).

Generally speaking, masculine plural forms are used for a group containing one or more males (or masculine objects).


Since romance languages generally skip over females [like French does] it would probably just be "discipulos" but if whoever is speaking has the time for it, like our Latin teachers did at school, it would be: "Salvete discipuli discipulaeque!". "-que" is a suffixed particle when you list stuff and is just translated as "and". There is no genus for a mix of both so you have to take your time and say "[male] students and [female] students.".


In the absolute, one could have considered a neutralisation form with "discipulum" and so "discipula" in the plural accusative. But no...


Of course, if you think about it, the neuter gender implies not having any gender as opposed to having both (hence it's from Latin neutrum, meaning neither).


Females are not "skipped" over, there is a neutral in French, but everybody forgot that the neutral does exist. It almost disappeared, but it remained in some structures.

  • 170

Can you give some examples, please?


Examples of the neutral? Yes, if you know Old French, I could give you examples, about its evolution. For whoever who know a bit of ancien français or moyen français, it's obvious.

People makes the confusion between the grammatical gender, and the real gender, and it's completely different, at least in French, very often it has no link.

When you use "la personne" to refer to a man, it's not the real gender. It's the grammatical gender. When you say that a woman has "un sein", and male organs are feminine, it's not real gender, etc...

The grammatical neuter in French is written often like a masculine. When I say "un enfant" it's neutral. Not un= male!

Read that for instance: https://blogs.mediapart.fr/irma-afnani/blog/011117/lecriture-inclusive-occulterait-elle-le-neutre-grammatical-francais

"Masculine overweight feminine" is only a mnemonic rule, that we say to French pupils or learners, it's not the reality, as it ignores the difference grammatical gender/real gender. But as people know less and less the subtilties of the French langage, they tend to think it's a reality, when it's only a way to remember how to write.

  • 170

Okay, so you're saying that the grammatical classification system known as masculine and feminine doesn't correspond precisely to biological or social gender. Clearly so. That doesn't imply a third grammatical neutral classification, however.


"Masculine overweight feminine" (!). I think you are referring to Le masculin l’emporte sur le féminin (The masculine prevails over the feminine). A similar grammatical generalization in English is (the perhaps more gallant-sounding!) "The masculine embraces the feminine".


Can't you leave Ego out in this sentence?


Yep, ego is only for really strong emphesis, kinda like how you say "I MYSELF did it". The myself is just emphisis


Surely the "ego" is unnecessary?


Yes, unnecessary, and emphatic.


Ego sounds like an anglisicm in this context.

  • 2601

Perhaps. But these early lessons are also teaching us what the pronouns are. It might not be common usage, but it's not wrong.


I dont understand the difference between 'discipulus', 'discipulos', and 'discipula' amd 'discipuli'


Discipulus is masculine and discipula is feminine, both singular. They're also in the nominative case, which means they're the subject of the sentence (So, "the student" in "The student eats food". Discipuli is masculine nominative plural. "The students" in "The students eat food". Discipulos, though, is masculine accusative (direct object) plural. "The students" in "The monster eats the students." Case is something that's pretty confusing at first, but you'll eventually get the hang of it if you keep at it. Don't fret about the why of case or why there are so many different forms at first. Just start getting used to singular vs. plural and later on nominative vs accusative..

Learn Latin in just 5 minutes a day. For free.