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Latin Grammar I, Lesson 03. On the Accidents

To complete this lesson, complete the following tasks:

  1. Study the Prelection to the lesson Introduction.
  2. Study the Introduction for mastery.
  3. Study the Prelection for Rule 1 of Resson 03.
  4. Study Rule 1 for mastery
  5. Continue for rules 2-10.
  6. Review the entire lesson and all memory work.
  7. Complete the lesson Exam.

Prelection

Lesson

Lesson 03, Part I

1. In the previous lesson, we learned the names of the eight parts of speech. We learned that four of them are declined, and four of them are not declined. In this lesson, we will study to become familiar with the “accidents” of the parts of speech.  We’ll learn what this word “accidents” means in a moment.

The lesson begins with an introduction:

There are certain things, which accompany the parts of speech, and are called the “Accidents” of the parts of speech. These include Number, Case, Gender, Declension and Conjugation, Mood, Tense, Person, Figure and Species.

The word “accident” is often difficult for English students to understand, because the word is used to mean a mistake, as “I’m sorry, that was an accident.”  That’s not what the word means here. In Grammar, the word “accident” is used in a philosophical sense, to mean “a property or quality not essential to a substance or object”.  Thus, we see that the “accidents” may also be called the “attributes” of the parts of speech.  In this lesson, we will learn a little about each of these accidents, and then we will study them in detail throughout the rest of the course.

2. The first accident we learn of is number.  We read:

The Numbers of Nouns, Pronouns, Verbs, and Participles are two: Singular and Plural.

We learn that there are two numbers: Singular and Plural. The rule gives us several examples of each:

Singular                    Plural
Noun              musa  (a) muse       musae      muses
Pronoun        ego      I                      nos           we
Verb               amo     I love             amamus  we love
Participle      amans loving one    amantes   loving ones

You are not expected to understand what all of these things mean.  As I said above, our goal in this lesson is to become familiar with the accidents of the parts of speech.  All you need to learn here is that the first accident of the parts of speech is Number, and there are two numbers: Singular and Plural.

Note that the four parts of speech for which examples are given above are the four which we learned are “declined” in lesson 2. Thus, when we look at any of these declined parts of speech, we must be able to identify the number.

3.  The second accident we learn of is Case. We read:

The Cases of Nouns, Participles and some Pronouns are six: Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Vocative and Ablative.

Note, first that three parts of speech have cases: nouns, participles and pronouns.  Verbs do not have cases.

The nominative form of a noun is not, truly a “case”. It is the name (noun) itself, and is changed when different ideas are being expressed in speech.  This is why the second sentence tells us that the nominative form is called the rectus casus, that is “erect” or “regular” case, and the other forms are called “declining” cases—because they have forms derived from the nominative case. Again, you are not expected to understand all of these details at this time. We will be studying case in detail in future lessons. Simply know that there are six cases of nouns, participles and pronouns.

4.  The next accident we learn of is Gender.  We read:

The principal genders of Nouns, Pronouns, and Participles are three: Masculine, Feminine, and Neuter. The Masculine is that to which the pronoun hic is pre-posed, as hic dominus: The Feminine is that to which the pronoun haec is pre-posed, as haec ancilla: The Neuter, is that to which hoc is pre-posed, as hoc mancipium.

The first part of the rule states, “There are three principal genders which are appropriate to a noun, pronoun and participle: Masculine, Feminine and Neuter.”.  It is important to note that gender, in Latin, does not work like gender in English. In English, male animals are “masculine”, female animals are “feminine” and everything else is “neuter”. In Latin, gender is more complicated than that. For example, the Latin words saxum and lapis both mean “stone”, but
saxum is neuter and lapis is masculine. In Grammar, we will learn the rules for gender in Latin, but you should know that the best thing to do to find a word’s gender is to look it up in a Latin dictionary.

This requires a little bit of explanation. First, unlike English and Greek, Latin has no articles. In Greek, the articles are used to mark the gender of nouns:

ὁ πάτερ (ho pater)           the father      masculine
ἡ μήτηρ  ( mēter)         the mother    feminine
τὸ ὄνομα  (to onoma)    the name       neuter

In Latin, this can’t be done, so we use a pronoun that means “this” to do the same job:

hic pater                             this father     masculine
haec mater                         this mother  feminine
hoc nomen                          this name     neuter

Our rule says that the masculine gender isn’t that which simply used for names of men, but that which has the the pronoun hic set before it. That’s actually a backwards explanation because we put hic before nouns because they are masculine, not the other way around. Nevertheless, for beginners in Latin Grammar, that’s a good way to learn about gender.

5.  Next we read:

From the three principal genders are derived the Common of Two, to which are pre-posed the pronouns hic and haec, as hic and haec parens;  The Common of Three, to which are pre-posed the pronouns hic and haec and hoc, as hic and haec and hoc prudens; the Epicene, which comprehends either sex under one gender and one article, as hic corvus; Lastly, the Doubtful gender, to which may be pre-posed either of two pronouns, as hic or haec dies.

Here, we learn that a noun may have more than one gender, and therefore have both the masculine and feminine pronouns – hic and haec – set before it. An example is the noun “parent”, which we know can be masculine (the father) or feminine (the mother).

The second gender taken from the three principal genders is the “Common of Three”. Thus, we have here nouns which belong to all three genders.  We will see that this gender is suited to
nouns that are either adjective nouns or are used like adjective nouns. The three examples given are:

vir prudens (wise man), mulier prudens (wise woman), cor prudens (wise heart)
vir nostras (our own man), mulier nostras (our own woman), cor nostras (our own heart)
vir amans (loving man), mulier amans (loving woman), cor amans (loving heart)

This is a lot of information to take in at once, but all you need to see here is that each of these words can be masculine, feminine or neuter in gender, depending on the gender of the substantive noun that they are joined to.

The third gender taken from the three principal genders is the Mixed or Epicene gender. The best way to understand this it to compare it with the “common of two” gender above. There we saw that a noun may be preceded by either the masculine of feminine pronoun to signify a masculine or feminine object, as parens can refer to the male parent (hic parens) or the female parent (haec parens). Here, we find that a single noun, even if only one pronoun is used, signifies either a masculine or a feminine object. We do not have hic et haec passer, but hic passer signifies either the masculine or feminine sparrow.

Here is yet another option in gender: the Doubtful or Uncertain. Again, the best way to understand this is by comparison. For the common of two we saw that a noun can signify masculine object and is preceded by a masculine article or it can signify a feminine object and is preceded by a feminine article. For the Epicene gender, we saw that a noun with a single article can signify either the masculine or feminine. Here we see not that one noun signifies two genders but that the gender of one noun does not seem to be certain and, therefore, is found to be in one gender in some places and another in others. This is the doubtful gender.

Lesson 03, Part II

5.  Next we read:

The Declensions of nouns are five.

  • The First declension, whose genitive singular is ended with the diphthong -AE, as musamusae.
  • The second declension, whose genitive singular is ended with the letter -I , as dominusdomini.
  • The third declension, whose genitive singular is ended with (the) syllable -IS , as sermosermonis.
  • The fourth declension, whose genitive singular is ended with the syllable -US , as sensussensus.
  • The fifth declension, whose genitive singular is ended with the letters E and I, as diesdiei.

Here, we learn about the five declensions of nouns in Latin. Each of the five declensions are identified by the genitive (case) singular (number) ending of any noun. The first declension includes all Latin nouns whose genitive singular form ends in the diphthong AE.  For example, the genitive singular form of the Latin noun musa is musae, which shows us that musa is a first declension noun.  In addition to musa, other nouns of the first declension include: Maria (Mary), Roma (Rome), stella (star), aqua (water), terra (earth), puella (girl), luna (moon), and vita (life). Remember, however, that these are not first declension nouns because they end in A, but because the genitive singular form of each of these words ends in AE.

The second declension includes all Latin nouns whose genitive singular form ends in the vowel I.  The genitive singular form of the Latin noun dominus is domini, which shows us that dominus is a second declension noun.   In addition to dominus, other nouns of the second declension include: deus (god), vir (man), templum (temple), amicus (friend), puer (boy), angelus (angel), principium (beginning), and filius (son). Remember, however, that these are second declension nouns because the genitive singular form of each of these words ends in I.

The third declension includes all Latin nouns whose genitive singular form ends in the syllable IS. The genitive singular form of the Latin noun sermo is sermonis, which shows us that sermo is a third declension noun.  In addition to sermo, other nouns of the third declension include: homo (man), pater (father), mater (mother), frater (brother), soror (sister), pax (peace), corpus (body), urbs (city), and flumen (river). Remember that these are third declension nouns because the genitive singular form of each of these words ends in IS.

The fourth declension includes all Latin nouns whose genitive singular form ends in the syllable US.  The genitive singular form of the Latin noun sensus is sensus, which shows us that sensus is a fourth declension noun.  In addition to sensus, other nouns of the fourth declension include: spiritus (spirit), cornu (horn), and genu (knee).  Remember, however, that these are fourth declension nouns because the genitive singular form of each of these words ends in US.

The fifth declension includes all Latin nouns whose genitive singular form ends in the letters EI. The genitive singular form of the Latin noun dies is diei, which shows us that dies is a fifth declension noun.  In addition to dies, other nouns of the fourth declension include: res (thing), fides (faith), and spes (hope). Remember, however, that these are fifth declension nouns because the genitive singular form of each of these words ends in EI.  Note also that the ending EI here is not a diphthong, but the letters are “separated” as the rule says. The word diei, therefore,  has three syllables: diei, not diei.

Before moving on, we should note that we have seen that same endings may be found in the different declensions. For example, the ending US can be seen in second (dominus), third (corpus) and fourth (spiritus) declension nouns. We must remember that what marks the declension of a noun is its genitive singular ending.

7.  Pronouns in Latin are declined like nouns.  We read:

The pronouns meustuussuusnoster, and vester belong to the first and second declension of nouns: nostras, and vestras belong to the third declension: the remaining pronouns their own have forms.

Some pronouns have endings like nouns of the first and second declensions. Some pronouns have endings like nouns of the third declension. Some pronouns have their own unique forms. We will learn all of these details when we study pronouns later in this course.

8.  Participles are also declined like nouns.  We read:

Participles which end in –ANS and –ENS, belong to (the) third declension, as amans and docensetc. The rest belong to the first and second declensions, as amaturusamaturaamaturumamandusamandaamandum.

There’s no use saying more about these until we’ve had a chance to study them in detail later in this course. What’s important to see here is that your mastery of the five Latin declensions is necessary for more than nouns alone. The more carefully you study the declensions
while studying nouns, the more you will benefit when you move on to study pronouns and participles.

9.  We learned that there are five declensions of nouns in Latin, which are identified by their genitive singular forms, and now we learn that there are four conjugations of verbs, which are identified by the second person singular form of the present tense.  We read:

The Conjugations of verbs are four:

  • The First conjugation, which ends in –AS and –ARE, as amoamasamare. .
  • The Second conjugation, which ends in –ES long and–ERE, as docēodocēsdocēre.
  • The Third conjugation, which ends in –IS short and –ERE, as legolegislegere.
  • The Fourth conjugation, ends in –IS long and –IRE, as audīoaudīsaudīre.

You will not understand all of that now, but we’ll study it in detail later in this course.

It is also important that these are the four conjugations of regular verbs. We will learn that there are other conjugations for irregular verbs.

The first conjugation includes all regular Latin verbs whose second person singular present tense form  ends in the syllable –AS, and whose present infinitive form ends in –ARE. For example, the second person singular form of the verb amare is amas, which means that amare belongs to the first conjugation.  In addition to amare, other verbs of the first conjugation include: laudare (to praise), creare (to create), and ambulare (to walk).

The second conjugation includes all regular Latin verbs whose second person singular present tense form ends in the syllable –ES, and whose present infinitive form ends in –ERE. The word “penultimate” means “next-to-last”, and the rule here says that the next to last syllable is long, which also means it is accented when spoken. For example, the second person singular form of the verb docere is doces, which means that docere belongs to the second conjugation. In addition to docere, other verbs of the second conjugation include: videre (to see), studere (to study), habere (to have), and sedere (to sit).

The third conjugation includes all regular Latin verbs whose second person singular present tense form ends in the syllable IS, and whose present infinitive form ends in ERE. For example, the second person singular form of the verb legere is legis, which means that legere belongs to the third conjugation. In addition to legere, other verbs of the third conjugation include: vivere (to live), agere (to do), ducere (to lead), and discere (to learn).

The fourth conjugation includes all regular Latin verbs whose second person singular present tense form ends in the syllable –IS, and whose present infinitive form ends in –IRE. For example, the second person singular form of the verb audire is audis, which means that audire belongs to the fourth conjugation.  In addition to audire, other verbs of the first conjugatin include: venire (to come), scire (to know), and vestire (to dress).

Lesson 03, Part III

10.  The next accident of verbs we learn of is “mood”.  We read:

The Moods of verbs used and common are four: Indicative, Imperative, Conjunctive and Infinitive: to these some add the Optative, the Potential and the Permissive.

Here we read of the “modes” or “moods” of verbs. When we speak, we say things in different ways
(modes).

Indicative mode:      “I run.”
Imperative mode:    “Run!”
Conjunctive mode:  “I think that I should run.”
Infinitive mode:       “I love to run.”
Optative mode:        “Oh, that I could run!”
Potential mode:       “I may run.”

By “used and common” this rule means that these are the modes most commonly found in the writings of the masters of Latin–but that other modes are possible.

11.  The next accident of verbs we learn of is tense.

The Tenses of verbs are six: the Present, Past Imperfect, Past Perfect, Past Plu-Perfect; Future Imperfect and Future Perfect.

We use the word “tenses” in Grammar, but it may be easier to understand that the word tempora means “times”.  There are three basic times of verbs: Present, Past (praeteritum) and Future. Remember that we will study these things in detail later in Grammar.

Of the Past, there are three kinds:  Imperfect, Perfect and More than Perfect. Imperfect here means that some past action was not necessarily completed, as in, “When Jesus was a child, he obeyed his parents.”  Perfect means that a past action was completed, as in, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”. More than perfect means that at some time in the past, an action was already completed, as in, “When Peter arrived at the tomb, Jesus had risen from the dead.”

Of the future, there are two kinds: Imperfect and Perfect. Future Imperfect means that at some time in the future, an action is not completed, as “Jesus shall reign.” Future Perfect means that at some time in the future, an action will have been completed, as “When we are in heaven, the devil shall have been destroyed.”

12.  We move on to the “person” of pronouns and we read:

The Persons of pronouns are three, the First person ego, the Second person tu; the remaining pronouns are of the Third person, except ipseipsaipsum, and quiquaequod, which can be of any person.

When we learned about verbs above, we learned that there are different persons, and here that topic is explained in more detail. There are three persons:

First person:       a person speaking.
Second person:  a person being spoken to
Third person:     a person being spoken about

In the image on the right, we see John the Baptist (right) speaking to a disciple (center) about Jesus (left). John, speaking, is the 1st  person and says, “I”. The disciple he is speaking to is the 2nd person, to whom he says “you”. Jesus, Our Lord, is the third person, of whom John says “he”.
In the singular, the 1st person is “I”, the second person is “you” or “thou”, and the third person is “he”, “she”, or “it”. In the plural, the 1st person is “we”, the second person is “you all” or “ye”, and the third person is “they”.

The rule goes on to speak of a few pronouns that are exceptions to this rule.  There are some pronouns that can be used for any of the three persons. For example, ipse, can mean “myself”, “yourself” or “himself” depending on the person:

Ego ipse =       I myself (1st person)
Tu ipse =         you yourself (2nd person)
Cicero ipse =  Cicero himself (3rd person)

The same is true for the pronoun qui :

Ego qui =       I who (1st person)
Tu qui =         you who (2nd person)
Cicero qui =  Cicero who (3rd person)

Students should not waste time trying to “understand” this point more than this. It will be studied in detail when we study the declensions of pronouns.

13.  Next, we learn of the persons of verbs:

The Persons of verbs are three: First person, as amo; Second person, as amas; Third person, as amat.

Here we see that when speaking of verbs, “person” has the same meaning it does when speaking of pronouns.

14. Next we learn,

Nouns and participles are of uncertain person, as are infinite verbs, for they assume the person of the word to which they adhere. Vocative cases, however, are always of the second person.

Nouns, participles and verbs in the infinitive mood do not have a person of their own, but take the person of that verb to which they are attached in the sentence. For example, the name Hannibal could be any person:

First person:        I, Hannibal, seek peace.
Second person:   You must die, Hannibal!
Third person:     Hannibal enters Italy.

The only way we can know the person a noun like this is by looking at the person of the verb to which it is attached. The Vocative case is excepted because we use the vocative case when speaking to someone, so it is always second person.

I do not recommend that new students seek to understand more than that at this point. What is important is to know that the person nouns and participles, is uncertain.

14.  Next, we learn of figure:

The Figures of nouns, of pronouns, of verbs, of participles, of prepositions, of adverbs, of conjunctions are two: Simple, as prudens; and Composite, as imprudens.

In Grammar, we learn that “words are made of syllable”, however we find that some words are made of words.  These are called “composite” words.  Any word that can be divided into simpler words is said to be “Composite” in figure.  A word that cannot be so divided is called “Simple”.

15.  The last accident we learn of is Species.  We read:

The species of nouns, pronouns, verbs and adverbs are two: Primitive, as pater; and Derivative, as paternus.

Species, like figure, is easy to understand. Any word that is made by adding a prefix or suffix to an existing word is called “derivative”.  We can see that the Latin adjective paternus is derived from the primitive noun pater; that the pronoun tuus is derived from the primitive pronoun tu; that the verb calesco is derived from the primitive verb caleo and that the adverb clanculum is derived from the primitive adverb clam.

Conclusion

In this lesson, we have covered a lot of material, but it is not expected that students will “master” this material at this time.  In fact, mastering this material will be our goal throughout this Latin Grammar course.  Students should complete the memory work below and be familiar with the accidents of the parts of speech.  This will allow us to move forward with a vocabulary that we can use to study these things in detail.

Memory Work

Part I. 

1. What are the accidents of the parts of speech?
(There) are certain things, which accompany (the) parts of speech, and are called the “Accidents” of the parts of speech. These include Number, Case, Gender, Declension and Conjugation, Mood, Tense, Person, Figure and Species.

2. What do we learn of Number?
The Numbers of Nouns, Pronouns, Verbs, and Participles are two: Singular and Plural.

3. What do we learn of Case?
The Cases of Nouns, Participles and some Pronouns are six: Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Vocative and Ablative.

4. What do we learn of Gender?
The princial genders of Nouns, Pronouns, and Participles are three: Masculine, Feminine, and Neuter. The Masculine is that to which the pronoun hic is pre-posed, as hic dominus: The Feminine is that to which the pronoun haec is pre-posed, as haec ancilla: The Neuter, is that to which hoc is pre-posed, as hoc mancipium.

5. What other Genders are derived from these three?
From the three principal genders are derived the Common of Two, to which is pre-posed the pronouns hic and haec, as hic and haec parens;  The Common of Three, to which are pre-posed the pronouns hic and haec and hoc, as hic and haec and hoc prudens; the Epicene, which comprehends either sex under one gender and one article, as hic corvus; Lastly, the Doubtful gender, to which may be pre-posed either of two pronouns, as hic or haec dies.

Part II.

6. What do we learn of the Declension of Nouns?

The Declensions of nouns are five. The First declension, whose genitive singular is ended with the diphthong -AE, as musamusae. The second declension, whose genitive singular is ended with the letter -I , as dominusdomini. The third declension, whose genitive singular is ended with (the) syllable -IS , as sermosermonis. The fourth declension, whose genitive singular is ended with the
syllable -US , as sensussensus. The fifth declension, whose genitive singular is ended with the letters E and I, as diesdiei.

7. What do we learn of the Declension of Pronouns?
The pronouns meustuussuusnoster, and vester belong to the first and second declension of nouns: nostras, and vestras belong to the third declension: the remaining pronouns their own have forms.

8. What do we learn of the Declension of Participles?
Participles which end in –ANS and –ENS, belong to (the) third declension, as amans and docensetc. The rest belong to the first and second declensions, as amaturusamaturaamaturumamandusamandaamandum.

9. What do we learn of the Conjugation of verbs?
The Conjugations of verbs are four: The First conjugation, which ends in –AS and –ARE, as amoamasamare. The Second conjugation, which ends in –ES long and–ERE, as docēodocēsdocēreThe Third conjugation, which ends in –IS short and –ERE, as legolegislegere. The Fourth conjugation, ends in –IS long and –IRE, as audīoaudīsaudīre.

Part III

10. What do we learn of the Moods of verbs?
The Moods of verbs used and common are four: Indicative, Imperative, Conjunctive and Infinitive: to these some add the Optative, the Potential and the Permissive.

11. What do we learn of the Tenses of verbs?
The Tenses of verbs are six: the Present, Past Imperfect, Past Perfect, Past Plu-Perfect; Future Imperfect and Future Perfect.

12. What do we learn of the Person of Pronouns?
The Persons of pronouns are three, the First person ego, the Second person tu; the remaining pronouns are of the Third person, except ipseipsaipsum, and quiquaequod, which can be of any person.

13. What do we learn of the Person of Verbs?
The Persons of verbs are three: First person, as amo; Second person, as amas; Third person, as amat.

14. What do we learn of the Persons of Nouns and Participles?
Nouns and participles are of uncertain person, as are infinite verbs, for they assume the person of the word to which they adhere. Vocative cases, however, are always of the second person.

15. What do we learn of Figure?
The Figures of nouns, of pronouns, of verbs, of participles, of prepositions, of adverbs, of conjunctions are two: Simple, as prudens; and Composite, as imprudens.

16. What do we learn of Species?
The species of nouns, pronouns, verbs and adverbs are two: Primitive, as pater; and Derivative, as paternus.