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  5. "Stephanus Marcum visitat."

"Stephanus Marcum visitat."

Translation:Stephanus visits Marcus.

August 30, 2019



How do we know who is visiting who? So far Latin seems to be more about getting meaning from grammar rather than word order, but aside from order, I can't figure out how I would know.


Stephanus Marcum visitat - Stephanus visits Marcus

Stephanum Marcus visitat - Marcus visits Stephanus

See? It is the cases that determine who does what to whom, etc.

The -us ending here shows who is the subject, the 'doer' of the verb, and the -um shows who is the direct object of the verb. The first is called the nominative case, the other the accusative. More on this in the Tips and Notes.

Otherwise, any word order would work in this sentence, rendering the same meaning.


Thank you, I'm still getting used to the idea of doing this with names haha


How do you know which is subject and object it you have a phrase with two nouns with identical accusative and nominative forms, like two neuter nouns?


The word order tells us.

The common pattern, when the verb is not a copula (to be), is SOV. So you have your answer.

When you have a copula, the common pattern is Subject - Verb - Predicate.

So, it also tell us who is the subject, and who is the predicate.

Egs: The thief is a woman, and not The woman is the thief.


Thank you. That's what I thought. So, the word order is only free if the inflections give enough information to allow it. Thanks for the SVP info as well.


No, that's not right. The word order remains very flexible even in those frequent instances where the nominative forms are indistinguishable from the accusative.

But it will always be clear which is the subject and which is the object, thanks to context and common sense, or sometimes thanks to prior experience reading Latin giving you a feel for what is plausible and what is not.

It is actually trickier here on duolingo where we see sentences one at a time without any context. In a really text you should not have a problem -- and if you do, that is a sign that you are reading beyond an appropriate level of difficulty, and that you should look for simpler things to read.



Context :)

Most of the time, neutral nouns are inanimate things : a place, an object, an institution... so it limits the possibilities when searching for a translation that makes sense.


So do all Latin male names end in "-us" so that the case can be changed in this way?


No, not all end in '-us' -- think of Cicero, Caesar, Sulla --, though all do change endings to tell you whether the person is subject or object and whatnot.

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I don't know about all male names, but many are 2nd declension.

declensions 1-3
declensions 4&5


Wait, you get a tips option? I dont have it here. How do you get it?


Marcum is in the accusative case here. I have also seen Marce in some of the past lessons. What case is Marce in?


The vocative, used for when you address someone. In most declensions it's identical to the nominative.

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