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Latin Grammar I, Lesson 12. The Second Declension of Nouns

To complete this lesson, complete the following tasks:

  1.  Study the Lesson for mastery.
  2. Complete all assignment Memory Work.
  3. Complete all lesson Assessments.

Lesson

1. In lesson 03, we were introduced to the “accidents” of the parts of speech.  In that lesson, I said:  “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.”  In this lesson, we begin our detailed study of the declensions of Latin nouns.

In lesson 03, we learned that he 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.

In this lesson, we will study the forms of the Second Declension nouns.

Example Nouns of the Second Declension

2. In our reading, we will find Latin nouns of the second declension whose nominative cases end in the syllables -ER, -IR, -UR, -US, and -UM, as liber (book), vir (man), satur(satyr), populus (people) and praemium (prize).  Remember that what makes these second declension nouns is that their genitive singular form ends in -I.  All of these nouns are declined according to the pattern of the example nouns hic dominus and hoc templum shown below.

The first example noun of the second declension is hic dominus.  The pronoun hic marks the gender as masculine, and the noun is declined as follows:

We see that the ending of the genitive singular form is -I, which marks this declension.

The second declension is like the first declension in the following points:

the dative and ablative forms are the same in both numbers (-o, -is)
the acusative cases end in -M and -S (-um, -os)
the genitive plural case ends in -RUM (-orum)
the nominative nd vocative plural are the same (-i)

The second declension is unlike the first declension:

the nominative and vocative singular have different endings
the vowels U, O and I mark the second declention, rather than A.

Nevertheless, you should feel comfortable with these endings after learning the first declension.

The second example noun of the second declension is the noun hoc templum.  The pronoun hoc marks this as a neuter noun, and it is declined as follows:

We should compare the declension of hoc templum to that of hic dominus and note a few important similarities:

the Genitive, Dative and Ablative cases have the same forms for both nouns
the vowels U and O are prominent in the endings

We should also note the following differences between the declension of hoc templum and hic dominus:

the Nominative, Vocative and Accusative forms are the same in each number (-um, -a)
the vowel -A is used in the endings of several plural forms

All second declension nouns that end in -US will be declined like hic dominus. These include common nouns like filius (son), amicus (friend),

All second declension nouns that end in -UM will be declined like hoc templum. These include nouns like donum, regnum,

Other second declension nouns that end in -IR, ER and -UR, are declined like hic dominus, except that their Nominative and Vocative singular cases differ. Unlike dominus, the endings of the second declension are normally added to the end of nominative case in these nouns, as vir-ipuer-isatur-i, and so on.  Some, like libr-i, change their stem before adding the endings. These are best learned by experience, in Latin Reading.

Substantives and Adjectives

4. After learning the forms of the example nouns of the second declension, we must give attention to the declension of substantives with adjectives.   Adjective nouns have cases just like substantives, so when they are used together, they must always be written with the same gender, number and case. This can be pretty easy when we use adjectives of the second declension.

First, let us consider adjective nouns used with hic dominus:

Let us consider a second declension noun  with a different Nominative case ending:

This gets more complicated when we combine a second declension substantive noun with an adjective noun of a different declension.  Consider this example, where we use an adjective of the third declension (which you will learn in the next lesson).

In the second declension, we must also study the agreement of adjetives with nouns declined like hoc templum.

Again, this gets more complicated when we combine a second declension substantive noun with an adjective noun of a different declension.  Consider this example, where we use an adjective of the third declension (which you will learn in the next lesson).

Remember, substantives and adjectives from different declensions may be joined, but they must agree in gender, number and case.  They may not look the same, but their characteristics must be the same.

Memory Work

To learn the declensions, you must relay on memorization.  Recite the questions and answers below until they are thoroughly memorized.  Rely on the lesson assessments to test your progress.

1. How many different terminations are found in the Nominative case of the Second Declension?
Four:  -er, as hic liber (the book)-ir, as hic vir (the man)-us, as hic dominus (the master)-um, as hoc templum (the temple).

2. How are Second Declension nouns with Nominative in-er and -ir declined?
As hic liber and hic vir: with Genitive in -i; Dative in -o; Accusative in -um; Vocative like the Nominative; Ablative in -o.  In the plural, Nominative in -i; Genitive in -orum; Dative in -is; Accusative in -os; Vocative like the Nominative; Ablative in -is.   In short:  -er/-ir-i-o | -um-er/-ir-o || -i-orum, -is | -os-i-is.

Note:  Nouns ending in -er sometimes add the declension ending to the –er ending (as puerpueri), and sometimes drop the –e– (as liberlibri).

3.  Decline the Second Declension nounhic Liber.  (State the case name, the Latin form and the English.)
Singular:  Nominative, hic liber, the bookGenitive, libri, of (the) bookDative, libro, to (the) Book; Accusative, librum, (the) book; Vocative, O liber, O book; Ablative, a libro, from (the) book. Plural: Nominative, libri, (the) booksGenitive, librorum, of (the) booksDative, libris, to (the) booksAccusative, libros,(the) books; Vocative, O libri, O books; Ablative, a libris, from (the) books.  In short:  liberlibrilibro librumO libera libro || librilibrorum, libris librosO libria libris.

4. How are Second Declension nouns with Nominative in-us declined?
Nouns that end in -us have the Nominative in -us, as dominus, a master; Vocative, O domine, O master, except DeusO Deus, O God.  In short:  -us-i-o | -um-e-o || -i-orum, -is | -os-i-is

5.  Decline the Second Declension noun hic Dominus.  (State the case name, the Latin form and the English.)
Singular:  Nominative, hic dominus, a master; Genitive, domini, of a masterDative, domino, to a master; Accusative, dominum, a master; Vocative, O domine, O master; Ablative, a domino, from a master.   Plural: as liber.  In short:  dominusdominidomino dominumO dominea domino dominidominorum, dominis dominosO dominia dominis.

Note:  Questions 6 and 7 below do not need to be memorized, but should be studied.

6.  How are Second Declension Proper nouns with Nominative in -ius declined?
Proper Nouns that end in -ius, have the Vocative in -i, as AntoniusO Antoni. To this we may add filius (a son), O fili  In short:  -ius-i-o | -um-i-o || -i-orum, -is | -os-i-is.

7.  How are Second Declension nouns with Nominative in -eus declined?
Nouns that end in -eus, have the Vocative in -eu, as OrpheusO Orpheu.  In short:  -eus-i-o | -um-eu-o || -i-orum, -is | -os-i-is.

8.  How are Second Declension nouns with Nominative in -um declined?
As hoc templum: with Genitive in -i; Dative in -o; Accusative and Vocative like the Nominative; Ablative in -o.  In the plural, Nominative in -a; Genitive in -orum; Dative in -is; Accusative and Vocative like the Nominative; Ablative in -is.  In short:  -um-i-o | -um-um-o || -a-orum, -is | -a-a-is.

9.  Decline the Second Declension noun hoc Templum.  (State the case name, the Latin form and the English.)

Singular:  Nominative, hoc templum, a templeGenitive, templi, of a templeDative, templo, to a temple; Accusative, templum, a temple; Vocative, O templum, O temple; Ablative, a templo, from a temple.   Plural:  Nominative, templa, temples; Genitive, templorum, of temples; Dative, templis, to temples; Accusative, templa, temples; Vocative, O templa, O temples; Ablative, a templis, from temples.  In short:  templumtemplitemplo templumO templuma templo || templatemplorum, templis templaO templaa templis.

10.  What is special about Second Declension nouns ending in-um?
All Second Declension nouns ending in -um are of the Neuter gender.

11. What special rules apply to the declension of Neuter Nouns?
Neuter Nouns, in any declension, have three cases alike in both numbers:  the Nominative, the Accusative and the Vocative, which always end in -a in the Plural, except for the words ambo and duo, which end in -o.

12. Summary of the Second Declension:

SINGULAR
example nounsNomGenDatAccVocAbl
hic liber-er-i-o-um-er-o
hic vir-ir-i-o-um-ir-o
hic dominus-us-i-o-um-e-o
hoc templum-um-i-o-um-um-o
PLURAL
Masculine Nouns-i-orum-is-os-i-is
Neuter Nouns-a-orum-is-a-a-is

Examination

Lesson 12 Exam