Page images
PDF
EPUB

ELEMENTARY LATIN GRAMMAR.

ALPHABET AND ORTHOGRAPHY.

1. The Latin alphabet consists of twenty-five letters namely, a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, JE, Y, z.

Of these, six are vowels—a, e, i, o, u, and y; and the remaining seventeen are consonants.

In writing, the Romans represented the two sounds of i and j by i only; and those of u and v by v only.

2. There are five diphthongs-namely, ae, oe, au, ei, and eu.

Of these, the first three frequently occur; but ei is found only in a few interjections--such as hei, eia, oiei; and eu only in heu, hene, eheu; in ceu, seu, and neu; and in neuter and neutiquam. Oi is found only in oiei; and ui occurs only in the interjection hui, and in the datives huic and cui.

The consonants were probably pronounced uniformly by the Romans in every position. Accordingly, c was sounded as k, though we pronounce it as 8 before e, i, y, ae, and oe. In like manner t was pronounced as pure t, though we now pronounce it as sh when it precedes i followed by another vowel --- as justitia, which we pronounce jus-tish'-i-a.

3. The consonants are divided into two classes - namely, mutes, b, c, d, f, k, p, q, t, v; and liquids, l, m, n, r. Besides these, there are the guttural and the dental aspirates h and s; and the double consonants x and z; x being composed of k, c, or g and s, and z of d and s, yet it is pronounced as s soft.

Qoccurs only before the vowel u, the two being pronounced as ku, though the Romans gave the combination the sound of k alone.

4. When a word ending with a vowel is immediately followed by another beginning with a vowel, there is felt an inconvenience in pronunciation, which is called hiātus. To avoid this, in reading poetry, the final vowel sound is omitted.

Thus in verse, by elision, Sapere aude is pronounced Sapere aude ; Dardanidae e muris, Dardanide muris, &c.

The same elision takes place in poetry when the second word begins with a vowel or h and the first ends in m - thus multum ille is read mult ille.

Capital letters, though generally employed by the Romans until a late period, are now used only as initials.-1. In proper names, and adjectives derived from them; 2. At the beginning of a sentence; and 3. At the beginning of a verse.

When two vowels, which under ordinary circumstances form a diphthong, are to be pronounced separately, the second is marked with diaeresis (") - as poëta, a poet; aër, air.

As a sign of punctuation, the Romans used the full stop only; but in modern editions of the Latin classics the same signs are employed as in our own language.

QUANTITY AND ACCENTUATION OF SYLLABLES.

5. A syllable may consist of a single vowel or a diphthong, or of a combination of one or more consonants with one vowel or diphthong-as i, go; e-go, I; au-ster, south-wind.

6. Syllables are either long or short, only a few being of a doubtful nature, or sometimes long and sometimes short.

The length of a syllable depends upon the vowel which it contains. A long syllable should be dwelt upon about twice as long as a short one; hence two short vowels when united in a diphthong make one long sound.

A long syllable is marked by a horizontal line () above its vowel; a short syllable by an under-curve (); and a doubtful syllable by the union of these two ()--as pēcūniă, homo.

7. A syllable may be long by nature (that is, by the natural length of its vowel) or by position (that is, when its vowel is followed by two or more consonants.) Thus sõl and trādit have o and a long by nature, while fāx and amabūnt have a and u long by position.

8. All syllables containing a diphthong or a vowel which has arisen from a contraction of two others are long—as aedes, à house ; laus, praise ; coelum, heaven ; côgo (contracted for còăgo), I compel; mālo (for măgěvõlo), I will rather; jūnior (for jűvěnior), younger.

9. One vowel immediately followed by another in the same word is short-as dèus, a god; pius, dutiful.

The breathing h in such cases does not affect the length of a syllable-as trăho, I draw; věho, I drive.

10. The vowels of radical syllables retain their natural quantity in derivative and compound words, even when the radical vowel is changed into another-as māter, māternus ; påter, påternus ; ămo, or, 18, 8m inimicitia ; cădo, incido; cãedo, incido.

11. Monosyllabic words ending in a vowel are long-as mē, , ; but the enclitic particles quě, , , , tě (tuté), psě (reapse), and ptě (suoptě), are exceptions.

12. Monosyllabic substantives ending in a consonant are long—as sõl, sun; vēr, spring; fūr, thief; jūs, law; but all other monosyllabic words ending in a consonant are short-_as ŭt, ět, něc, in, åd, qužd, sěd, quis, quot.

The quantity of the final syllables in words of more than one syllable may be found in the chapters on Declension, Conjugation, and Derivation.

13. A syllable naturally short may become long by its vowel being followed by two or more consonants, whether these belong to the same word or to two different words-as amabünt, fāx, dāntis, inferrētque, passūs sum.

The simple consonant j alone makes the preceding vowel long--as mājor, ējus. J was probably, like a and z, pronounced as a double consonant by the Romans.

14. One syllable in every word is accented, or pronounced more emphatically than the rest. This accent may be marked by either the acute () or the circumflex (^), but neither of these is now used in writing or printing Latin.

Enclitics, and prepositions when placed before the cases which they govern, have no independent accent- aš paterque, tute, per úrbem, propter moenia.

In dissyllables, the accent is on the penultima-as Rómă, homo, léctūs.

In words of three or more syllables the accent is on the penultima, if the ultima be long; but if it be short, the accent falls on the antepenultima, or last syllable but two-as Romānūs, Románās, Métellus, moribīs, cārminibús.

CLASSES OF WORDS, OR PARTS OF SPEECH.

15. The words of the Latin language are arranged in nine classes - namely, Substantive, Adjective, Pronoun, Numeral, Verb, Adverb, Preposition, Conjunction, and Interjection.

16. The first four classes may be comprehended under the common appellation of Nouns. With the exception of some of the numerals, these are subject to inflection, which is called declension. The verb also is subject to inflection, called conjugation. But the remaining four classes, with some of the numerals, are not affected by inflection.

Comparison, which affects the terminations of adjectives and adverbs, is another kind of inflection.

17. Declension, conjugation, and comparison consist chiefly in change of termination—as pater, a father; patris domus, a father's house; colo, I worship; coluisti Deum, thou hast served God: altus, high; altior, higher; altissimus, highest.

The various relations indicated by this change are expressed by separate words in languages which are destitute of inflections, or possess too few to mark those relations.

The Latin language has no article; hence in translating it into other tongues the context must be the guide for supplying this word.

SUBSTANTIVE AND ITS GENDERS.

names

18. A substantive is the name of a distinct and independent existence, whether real or ideal — as mensa, a table; liber, a book; Julius, Julius; virtus, valour; justitia, justice. 19. All substantives are either generic terms or proper

- thus equus, a horse, is a generic term ; and Roma, Rome, is a proper name.

Generic terms are names applied to whole classes of persons or things which have in common cer in qualities and peculiarities; and proper names are appellations given to individuals, mostly without any regard to qualities or peculiarities.

20. All substantives are designations either of living beings or of things; and as living beings are either male or female, their names in language are either masculine or feminine. Hence the names of things naturally destitute of sex should be neuterthat is, of neither gender; but the Latin language, as well as those most nearly allied to it, assigns the masculine or feminine gender even to names of things.

The gender of Latin substantives may be ascertained partly from their meaning, and partly from certain terminations which have been appropriated to certain genders.

It is important to know the genders of Latin substantives, since adjectives, pronouns, and numerals, when united to the substantive, accommodate themselves to it by assuming a termination corresponding with the gender of the substantive-as pater bonus, a good father; filia bona, a good daughter; summum bonum, the chief good.

21. Names of males, rivers, winds, and months are masculine, whatever their terminations may be—as vir, a man; scriba, a scribe; poeta, a poet; aries, a ram; taurus, a bull; Tiberis, the Tiber; Sequăna, the Seine; Auster, south wind; Januarius, January

22. Names of females, whatever be their terminations, are feminine—as femina, a woman; uxor, a wife ; soror, a sister; Socrus, a mother-in-law.

Most of the names of trees, towns, countries, islands, and

• precious stones, are likewise feminine-as cedrus, a cedar; pinus, a pine-tree; Tyrus, Tyre; smaragdus, emerald.

23. Indeclinable substantives, the names of the letters of the alphabet, and all words which, without being substantives, are used as such (except they refer to persons, as in the case of boni, good men), are neuter - -as fas, divine right; gummi, gum; pascha, easter; sinapi, mustard; pondo, a pound.

24. Some substantives denoting persons are used as masculines when gender is not necessarily referred to as hostis, an enemy; testis, a witness; civis, a citizen; parens, a parent. But they are used as feminine when directly designating a female.

25. Some substantives receive different terminations according as they designate male or female beings. Thus many masculine substantives ending in -tor have a feminine termination in -trix, and some ending in us or any other termination have a feminine form in a—as victor, a conqueror, and victrix, a female conqueror; coquus, a male cook, and coqua, a female cook; rex, a king, and regina, a queen. The same is the case with many names of animals--as agnus, a male lamb, and agna, a female lamb; cervus, a stag, and cerva, a hind or doe; equus, a horse, and equa, a mare.

When the sex is not intended to be particularly indicated, the masculine is preferred, according to a principle recognised in all languages.

DECLENSION OF SUBSTANTIVES.

26. Declension is a change of termination in nouns to express the different relations in which they stand to other words in the same sentence - as pater, a father; patris domus, a father's house, or house of a father; patrı, to a father; patre, from or by a father.

CASE.

27. By change of termination the Latin language indicates six great or general relations, and accordingly has six casesnamely, Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Vocative, and Ablative, which are distinguished from each other by appropriate endings. 1. The Nominative expresses the subject of an assertion--as

Deus creavit mundum, God created the world; in which Deus is the subject or nominative.

« PreviousContinue »