Latin For Dummies, 2nd edition book cover

Latin For Dummies, 2nd edition

By: Clifford A. Hull and Steven R. Perkins Published: 04-18-2022

Latin can be challenging, but it's also fun to learn this ancient language that is the root to Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, and more. Beginning with Latin you may already know, like carpe diem and quid pro quo, the book walks you through essential Latin grammar and everyday Latin phrases. It also explores how Latin shaped and molded modern languages, including English.

Articles From Latin For Dummies, 2nd edition

page 1
page 2
11 results
11 results
Latin For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 02-25-2022

To get a handle on Latin, you have to study the normal language things like verb conjugations, including those irregular verbs and verb endings. You need to pay attention to noun cases as well, and learn the basic question words and the short words that help you connect your thoughts. As you discover more Latin, you come to realize that its contributions to English are evident in words you use every day, so, even though there are no native Latin speakers anymore, the language lives on.

View Cheat Sheet
Declining a Latin Noun

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

They say that old Latin teachers never die — they just decline. Whether this is true of teachers, declining and declension are facts of life that all Latin nouns must face. A declension is a group of nouns that form their cases the same way — that is, use the same suffixes. To decline a noun means to list all possible case forms for that noun. Latin has five declensions; this article looks at the first two. First-declension nouns The first noun group that uses the same suffixes to form case is, not surprisingly, called first declension. All the nouns in the first declension use the endings shown in Table 1 to indicate case in a sentence. These nouns are masculine or feminine because the first declension has no neuter nouns. Table 1: First-Declension Case Endings Case Singular Plural Nominative -a -ae Genitive -ae -arum Dative -ae -is Accusative -am -as Ablative -a -is Table 2 shows the full declension of the noun puella (pu-ehl-luh), which means "girl." Table 2: Declining a First-Declension Noun Case Singular Plural Nominative puella (pu-ehl-luh) puellae (pu-ehl-ligh) Genitive puellae (pu-ehl-ligh) puellarum (pu-ehl-lah-rum) Dative puellae (pu-ehl-ligh) puellis (pu-ehl-lees) Accusative puellam (pu-ehl-luhm) puellas (pu-ehl-lahs) Ablative puella (pu-ehl-lah) puellis (pu-ehl-lees) Here's an example with the words terra (tehr-ruh; land), agricola (uh-grih-koh-luh; farmer), and puella (pu-ehl-luh; girl):Terram agricolarum puella amat. tehr-ruhm uh-gri-ko-luh-rum pu-ehl-luh uh-muht. Using the case endings to put the nouns in the right position, you can translate this sentence: "The girl loves the land of the farmers." Here's how: Terra (land) ends in -am, so its case is accusative. In other words, it's the direct object. Agricola (farmer) ends in -arum, the plural genitive, which shows possession. Because it's genitive, stick the words of the in front of the noun: of the farmers. Puella (girl) ends in -a, which is the singular nominative case. That makes puella the subject. Amat (love) is the verb. It means "she loves." Put it all together, and you have "Land of the farmers girl loves." Okay; that doesn't read like an English sentence. So put the words in the order they would be in an English sentence — subject, verb, and direct object — throw in a couple articles for good measure, and now you get "The girl loves the land of the farmers." Voila! Second-declension nouns Flamma fumo est proxima (fluh-muh foo-mo ehst prohks-ih-muh). According to the Roman playwright Plautus, "Flame is closest to smoke." In English, you say, "Where there's smoke, there must be fire." And where there's one noun declension, there must be more. Second-declension nouns are a bit more expressive than first-declension nouns because they have two separate sets of endings for masculine and neuter genders. Second declension has few feminine nouns, and these have the same endings as masculine nouns. Table 3: Second-Declension Masculine/Feminine Case Endings Case Singular Plural Nominative -us (occasionally -r) -i Genitive -i -orum Dative -o -is Accusative -um -os Ablative -o -is Note: Some second-declension nouns use -r for the nominative singular form. Two examples of second declension masculine nouns are amicus (uh-mee-kus), the word for "friend," and ager (uh-gehr), the word for "field." Table 4 shows the full declension of the masculine nouns amicus and ager. Table 4: Declining a Second-Declension Masculine Noun Case Singular Plural Singular Plural Nominative amicus amici ager agri (uh-mee-kus) (uh-mee-kee) (uh-gehr) (uh-gree) Genitive amici amicorum agri agrorum (uh-mee-kee) (uh-mee-ko-rum) (uh-gree) (uh-gro-rum) Dative amico amicis agro agris (uh-mee-ko) (uh-mee-kees) (uh-gro) (uh-grees) Accusative amicum amicos agrum agros (uh-mee-koom) (uh-mee-kos) (uh-grum) (uh-gros) Ablative amico amicis agro agris (uh-mee-ko) (uh-mee-kees) (uh-gro) (uh-grees) Second-declension neuter nouns have endings similar to those of the masculine/feminine genders. In fact, because they're so much alike, they can be grouped together in this declension. Pay particular attention to where the suffixes are different (shown in boldface in Table 5). Table 5: Second-Declension Neuter Case Endings Case Singular Plural Nominative -um -a Genitive -i -orum Dative -o -is Accusative -um -a Ablative -o -is Table 6 shows the decline of saxum (suhk-sum), a second-declension neuter noun that means "rock." Table 6: Declining a Second-Declension Neuter Noun Case Singular Plural Nominative saxum (suhk-sum) saxa (suhk-suh) Genitive saxi (suhk-see) saxorum (suhk-so-rum) Dative saxo (suhk-so) saxis (suhk-sees) Accusative saxum (suhk-sum) saxa (suhk-suh) Ablative saxo (suhk-so) saxis (suhk-sees) You can see that the only place where neuter nouns are different is in the nominative singular and nominative and accusative plural forms, which have the endings -um and -a. This presents an interesting situation: The suffix -a can also be a singular ending in first declension. Look at the following sentence:Portat saxa puella in aqua. pohr-tuht suhk-suh pu-ehl-luh ihn uh-kwuh. Portare means "to carry," a saxum is a "rock," puella means "girl," and aqua is "water." But if you know the definitions, you're only halfway to understanding the sentence. The preceding Latin sentence means one of the following translations, but which one? The girl in the water carries rocks.The girls in the water carry rocks.The girl in the water carries a rock.The girls in the water carry a rock.The girl on the rocks carries water.The girls on the rocks carry water.The girl on the rock carries water.The girls on the rock carry water. Remember that word order in Latin plays less of a role in determining meaning than it does in English. The only way to know for certain is to know to what declension each of the nouns belongs, and checking a Latin dictionary can tell you this. Along with the definition and gender, each noun entry gives the nominative and genitive singular forms. You can spot a first-declension noun from a genitive singular ending in -ae, and a second-declension noun from a genitive singular ending in -i. The dictionary entries for the nouns in the preceding Latin sentence look like this: saxum, saxi, n (rock)puella, puellae, f (girl) aqua, aquae, f (water) From this, you can see that saxum is a second-declension word, and both puella and aqua are first declension because of the genitive singular endings (saxi, puellae, and aquae). Knowing this, you can figure out that the correct translation of the sentence is actually "The girl in the water carries rocks." Some second-declension masculine nouns have -ius for a nominative singular ending, and some neuter nouns have -ium. These nouns used a single -i for the genitive singular ending until the Age of Augustus, which began in the first century B.C. After that time, the genitive singular for these nouns became -ii. Most dictionaries retain the older spelling with a single -i, and that is the form you see in this book. You can always determine the declension and gender of a noun just by checking its dictionary entry.

View Article
Latin: Exploring Roman Athletics

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

As one of the first great multicultural societies, the Roman Empire understood something about entertainment. From cathartic tragedies to bawdy comedies to the sands of the arena, the Romans knew how to put on a good show. Juvenal was a first century A.D. Roman satirist who enjoyed poking fun at his own society. He observed that his countrymen had become content with two things: panem et circenses (Saturae, X.78) (pah-nehm eht kihr-kayn-says; bread and circus games). By Juvenal's day, athletic contests had become a favorite means of escape from the realities of life, but in the beginning, they had another purpose. Sacred games Organized athletic competitions had their origins in funerals, particularly of those who died in battle. These competitions were a way to honor the dead with activities taken from the lives they had just left. Many of the contests involved skills necessary in war. For example, in Book 5 of the Aeneid, the hero Aeneas holds funeral games that include a boat race, a footrace, javelin throwing, and boxing. Glory itself was the main prize in such games, and the visible award was a simple palma (puhl-muh; palm wreath). These ludi (loo-dee; games) became a part of various religious celebrations and were connected with different holidays; eventually the Romans celebrated more than forty varieties of games throughout the year. Athletic competition for its own sake was more of a Greek concept than a Roman one. Although the Romans occasionally engaged in Olympic-style contests, the concept of fun for fun's sake — at least in sporting events — never really caught on with most Romans. For athletic entertainment, the gladiatorial shows were by far the most popular. Not for the squeamish: Gladiatorial games The word gladiator literally means "one who uses a sword." Gladius, gladi, m (gluh-dih-us, gluh-dee) is the word for "sword." But Roman gladiators were much more than just sword fighters, and gladiatorial games were much more than just two men fighting to the death. One on one Of course, the sport did include that whole fighting-to-the-death thing, so perhaps that's the place to begin. A gladiator (gluh-dih-ah-tohr) was a trained killer. Whether a prisoner of war, a condemned criminal, a slave, or a freeman who had sworn the auctoramentum gladiatorium (owk-to-rah-mehn-tum gluh-dih-ah-to-rih-um; gladiator's oath), these men were sent to training schools run by a lanista (luh-nih-stuh; trainer). In these schools, they received instruction in how to fight with a variety of weapons. Knowing how to kill was important, but they also had to know how to put on a good show. Fighting in the amphitheatrum (uhm-phih-theh-ah-trum; amphitheater), which was almost identical in construction to the modern stadium, they had to put on a killing display for as many as 50,000 people. The following list shows some of the basic types of gladiators and what distinguished one from another: murmillo, murmillonis, m (mur-mihl-lo, mur-mihl-lo-nihs): Heavily armored with an oblong shield, a short sword, and a full-face protection, these warriors could also be recognized by a crest on their helmets in the shape of a fish. retiarius, retiari, m (ray-tih-ah-rih-us, ray-tih-ah-ree): The retiarius had minimal armor and fought with a trident and rete (ray-teh; net). Thrax, Thracis, m (thrahks, thrah-kihs): You could spot a Thracian from his small, round shield and curved scimitar. These weapons were also symbols of his homeland, Thrace. Samnis, Samnitis, m (suhm-nees, suhm-nee-tihs): Like the murmillo, the Samnite was a heavily-armored warrior, fighting with a short sword and helmet with a visor. His name indicated he was from Samnium, a region in central Italy. Unlike modern boxing where opponents of similar weights fight each other, gladiatorial contests often featured mismatched pairs. A lightly armed retiarius, for example, might go up against a heavily armed murmillo. Part of the excitement came from seeing whether speed or brute strength would win the day. The Noah's Ark of entertainment In addition to men fighting each other, the Romans also liked to watch a venatio (way-nah-tih-o) — a staged hunt. Although people often think of martyrs being fed to the lions (which did in fact occur), a proper venatio involved bestiarii (bays-tih-ah-rih-ee; beast hunters) tracking and killing wild animals in the arena. Imitation hunting areas were set up to add realism, and part of the thrill was in seeing exotic animals. (Zoos hadn't been invented yet.) These hunts became so popular that when the Flavian Amphitheatre (better known as the Colosseum) was dedicated in A.D. 80 under the Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus, 9,000 animals, both tame and wild, were slaughtered. The Flavian Amphitheater became known as the Colosseum because of its proximity to a giant statue of the Emperor Nero called Colossus (koh-lohs-sus; giant statue), which was itself named for one of the so-called Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Colossus at Rhodes. In the Colosseum, the Romans also held mock naval battles called naumachiae (now-muh-khih-igh). The entire floor was flooded, and gladiators fought it out from ships that sailed around the arena. Julius Caesar first gave such a display to the Romans, but that was in 46 B.C., nearly ninety years before the Colosseum was completed. For his naumachiae, he used an artificial lake just outside the city. Free at last In the modern world, the popular athlete is the one who signs a contract for millions. In ancient Rome, the superstar gladiator was the one who simply survived. And if you lived through enough contests, you could win your freedom. A gladiator's symbol of freedom was a wooden sword, the rudis (ru-dihs), which meant that he no longer had to fight. Knowing how to do little else, however, some returned to the training schools as lanistae, and others became bodyguards for the rich and famous. The government provided the gladiatorial games, but up-and-coming politicians would sometimes add their own money to make the games even more spectacular. They did this to plant themselves firmly in the minds of voters. Round and round we go: Chariot racing The Roman chariot race, another ancient form of athletic entertainment, has been immortalized in such films as Ben-Hur. Circenses (kihr-kayn-says), which is the Latin term for these races, took place on an oval track called a circus (kihr-kus), with the Circus Maximus (kihr-kus muhks-ih-mus) in Rome being the largest racetrack, holding around 250,000 spectators. A spina (spee-nah; spine) ran down the middle, and a typical race consisted of anywhere from four to twelve chariots running for seven laps, which were marked by turning a series of egg and dolphin emblems on a pole. The egg symbol was sacred to the mythological twins Castor and Pollux (who were supposedly placed in the heavens as the constellation Gemini by Zeus), and the dolphin was connected with Neptune. The Romans associated all three of them with horses. The teams, factiones (fuhk-tih-o-nays), raced under different colors, and people were fiercely loyal to their favorites. Betting was a major part of this sport, and one way to show your dislike of the emperor was to bet against his favorite color. Originally, chariot races had two factiones, the russae (ruhs-sigh; reds) and the albae (uhl-bigh, whites). Over time, the prasinae (pruh-sih-nigh; greens) and the venetae (weh-neh-tigh; blues) joined the field, and for a brief period, the purpureae (pur-pur-eh-igh; purples) and the auratae (ow-rah-tigh; golds) participated.

View Article
Mastering Latin Ablatives

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Ablatives are to Latin grammar what black holes are to space: They suck in all matter and energy. Well, sort of. Actually, the ablative case is the case for all sorts of time and space-related uses. In other words, this case shows the following: The time when something happens or the time frame within which it happens. The place where or place from which an action takes place. How something was done, called the Ablative of Means. The way in which something was done, called the Ablative of Manner. Ablative Absolute, which is a basic adverbial clause that can show the time, circumstance, or cause of an event. To see what ablatives are all about, check out the following sections. If you're pretty comfortable with English grammar, thinking of ablatives as Latin's version of English adverbial clauses and phrases may help you. They perform practically the same function. What time is it? The ablative case shows the point of time when something happens or the time frame within which it happens. Although several ablative uses require a preposition, these time expressions don't. Consider these sentences: Illo die ad urbem advenimus. ihl-lo dih-ay uhd ur-behm uhd-way-nih-mus. On that day we arrived at the city. Hostes vincemus diebus tribus. hoh-stays win-kay-mus dih-ay-bus trih-bus. We shall conquer the enemy within three days. Another space-time expression involves the accusative case and shows the extent of time or space in which something occurs. For example: Menses duos et milia passuum innumerabilia altum navigaverunt.mayn-says du-os eht mee-lih-uh pahs-su-um ihn-nu-meh-rah-bih-lih-uh uhl-tum nah-wih-gah-weh-runt.For two months and countless miles they sailed the deep. Quo Vadis? (Where are you going?) You also use the ablative case to show the place where or place from which an action takes place. Unlike the time ablatives, these ablatives do require prepositions. The basic prepositions that you use for these ablatives are in (ihn; in, on) sub (sub; under) a, ab (ah, uhb; from, away from) Note: Use a before consonants and ab before vowels. e, ex (ay, ehks; from, out of) Note: Use e before consonants and ex before vowels. de (day; down from) The following sentence covers just about everything: Sciurus in ramo sub umbra ab ave cucurrit et e fronde de arbore cecidit.skih-oo-rus ihn rah-mo sub um-brah uhb uh-weh ku-kur-riht eht ay frohn-deh day-uhr-boh-reh keh-kih-diht.The squirrel on the branch under the shade ran away from the bird and fell out of the foliage down from the tree. The adverb quo (kwo) is an interrogative word that asks "where?" in the sense of "to what place?" In general, however, when you want to show the place to which something is going, use the accusative case and a preposition such as in (ihn) meaning "into," or ad (uhd) meaning "to, toward": Avis ad nidum volabat.uh-wihs uhd nee-dum woh-lah-buht.A bird was flying toward the nest. Everything but the kitchen sink After you understand the primary functions of the ablative case, you can sail through a vast array of classic Latin literature. Ablative of means The ablative of means doesn't require a preposition. It simply involves a word in the ablative case that shows how something was done. For example: Deos deasque et carminibus et ludis honorabamus.deh-os deh-ahs-kweh eht kuhr-mih-nih-bus eht loo-dees hoh-no-rah-bah-mus.We were honoring the gods and goddesses with both songs and games. The Romans had many ways of worshiping their gods, including games that involved athletics and dancing. The Ludi Megalenses (loo-dee meh-guh-layn-says) — Great Games — for example, were held in April to honor the fertility goddess Cybele, also known as Magna Mater (muhng-nuh mah-tehr), the Great Mother. Ablative of manner Similar to the ablative of means, the ablative of manner shows the way in which something was done. It always involves abstract nouns, such as virtue, love, anger, and so on. If no adjective is used, you must use the preposition cum (koom), which means "with:" Templum cum reverentia intravi.tehm-plum koom reh-weh-rehn-tih-ah ihn-trah-wee.I entered the temple with reverence. When adjectives are part of the phrase, then cum is optional: Pontifex magna cum cura victimam obtulit.pohn-tih-fehks muhng-nah koom koo-rah wihk-tih-muhm ohb-tu-liht.The priest offered the sacrifice with great care. Latin usually pulls one word of a prepositional phrase out in front of the preposition itself. For example, if you graduate from college the highest in your class, you're honored summa cum laude (sum-mah koom low-deh). Even though the preposition is in the middle, this phrase still means "with highest praise." Ablative absolute English teachers always say not to use dangling participial phrases. If you never understood what that meant, don't worry. Latin uses them all the time with this construction. Basically, you take a couple of words in the ablative case with no preposition and stick them somewhere in a sentence. This clause is grammatically freed from (ab (uhb) from + solutus (soh-loo-tus) freed) the rest of the sentence, so they just sort of dangle there. Take a look: Caesare pontifice maximo, Romani fastos novos obtinuerunt.kigh-suh-reh pohn-tih-fih-keh muhks-ih-mo, ro-mah-nee fahs-tos noh-wos ohp-tih-noo-ay-runt.With Caesar as chief priest, the Romans obtained a new calendar. You can usually get a rough idea of what an ablative absolute means when you translate using the word with. To smooth things out, however, try something like when or because. Of course, the clause "because Caesar was chief priest" is different from the clause "when Caesar was chief priest," but that just shows how every translation is in some ways an interpretation.

View Article
Understanding Latin Legalese

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Most lawyers love to throw around Latin phrases. The reason for this is that ancient Rome's legal system has had a strong influence on the legal systems of most western countries. After all, at one time, the Romans had conquered most of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. The Roman motto was divide et impera (dee-vee-deh eht im-peh-rah) — "divide and conquer." As they conquered nations, they set out to "Latinize" the "barbarians" (anyone who wasn't Roman). Their goal was to teach them how to think, act, and be like real Romans. As the Roman Empire slowly crumbled and disappeared, the new orders in all these lands gradually adapted the existing legal system. England (and most of its former colonies) and the United States of America use a variation of the old Roman law called "Common Law." This is why lawyers today love those Latin phrases! (Well, that and the fact that you can't get out of law school without mastering them.) This article gives you the information that you need to make sense of what your lawyer, judge, or parole officer is saying. Knowing what a sentence or phrase, like "The case is now sub judice (sub you-dee-kay)" or "What you are proposing is contra legem (kon-trah lay-ghem)," means, can help — even when you're just watching Court TV or The Practice. English legal terms are full of Latin words and phrases. Several of these terms are so common, you use them today without any problem or confusion. Take these words for example: alibi (ah-lee-bee; elsewhere, at another place). If you're asked to provide an alibi for your whereabouts, you know that you need to tell where you were when a crime occurred to prove that you couldn't have been the one who did the awful deed. alias (ah-lee-ahs; at another time, otherwise). Today, alias often refers to an alternative name people generally use to conceal their identity. "John Smith alias Henry Taylor alias Clyde the Hustler" means John Smith is otherwise known as Henry Taylor who is otherwise known as Clyde the Hustler. per se (purr say; by itself). Also meaning "as such" in English usage, per se is used casually in English conversations: I didn't call him stupid, per se. I simply said he had plenty to learn. versus (wer-soos; turned). Often abbreviated as vs., the more common English meaning is "against" or "in contrast to": In the case Roe versus Wade, privacy in cases of abortion was an issue. Table 1 lists other common Latin words used in English courts and legal proceedings. (Keep in mind that the pronunciation here shows how the Romans would have pronounced these words.) Table 1: Common Latin Words Used Today Word Pronunciation Original Meaning Modern Meaning affidavit uhf-fee-day-wit he pledged a sworn, written statement bona fide boh-nuh fee-day (in) good faith sincere, genuine habeas corpus ha-bay-us kor-pus may you have the body bring a person before a court per diem pur dee-em per day, by the day daily pro bono pro bo-no for the good done for free for the public good status quo stuh-toos kwo the existing condition or state of affairs how things are currently sub poena soob poi-na under the penalty an order commanding a person to appear in court under a penalty for not appearing The following sections offer more Latin words used in courts today. Like the preceding words, you may have heard many of these words already; you may even be using them without knowing what they really mean. Don't worry. Many of those using them don't know either. Common courtroom Latin Many of the terms that lawyers and other legal folk use have come down to us in their original Latin forms. Table 2 lists some of the more common Latin words that are still used today. The following list has even more examples: ex officio: This word would appear in a Latin sentence such as the following: Imperator erat ex officio quoque dux exercitus.eem-pe-ra-tawr e-rut eks off-ee-kee-oh kwo-kwe dooks eks-er-key-toos.The emperor was by virtue of his position also the leader of the army. Today, you see or hear this word in a sentence like this:The headmaster of the school is ex officio also a member of the school board. persona non grata: This word would appear in a Latin sentence such as the following: Post caedem Caesaris, Brutus erat habitus persona non grata Romae.post ki-dem ki-sa-ris, broo-tus e-rut ha-bee-tus per-sow-na non gra-ta rom-igh.After the assassination of Caesar, Brutus was regarded a persona non grata in Rome. Today, you see or hear this word in a sentence like this:After his conviction for embezzling funds, John was treated like a persona non grata by his former colleagues. You can hear these words and other words (shown in Table 2) in many places — particularly on TV or in the movies. They're common enough that the audience can get the gist of their meaning and still follow the story line, but they're obscure enough to make the actors sound like experts in the law. (In the movie Silence of the Lambs, did you know what Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lechter means when he says to agent Starling, "Quid pro quo, Clarese. Quid pro quo"? If you look at Table 2, you will!) Table 2: Latin Words Used in English Courts Word Pronunciation Original Meaning Modern Meaning ad hoc ad hok to this for a specific purpose, case, or situation corpus delicti kor-pus de-lick-tee body of the crime material evidence in a crime de facto day fak-toe from the fact in reality; actually; in effect de iure day you-ray from the law according to law; by right ad infinitum ad in-fee-nee-toom forever forever in absentia in ab-sen-tee-ah in (his/her) absence in (his/her) absence in camera in ka-me-rah in a room in private; no spectators allowed in loco parentis in lo-ko pa-ren-tis in the place of a parent in the place of a parent ipso facto eep-so fak-toe by the fact itself by that very fact locus delicti low-koos day-lick-tee scene of the crime scene where a crime took place modus operandi moh-dus o-per-un-dee mode of working method of operating nolo contendere no-lo kon-ten-de-re I do not wish to contend a plea by the defendant that's equivalent to an admission of guilt (and leaves him subject to punishment) but allows him the legal option to deny the charges later prima facie pree-mah fah-key-ay at first face at first sight pro forma pro for-ma for the sake of form done as formality, done for the show quid pro quo kwid pro kwo this for that something for something; tit for tat; an equal exchange Less common Latin phrases We often refer to the language that lawyers use as legalese because it has so many Latin phrases and words. Table 3 lists a few of the less common Latin phrases that you're likely to hear only if you — or someone you know — actually ends up in a court of law. Table 3: Other Latin Legal Terms Word Pronunciation Original Meaning Modern Meaning a mensa et toro ah men-sa eht to-row from table and bed legal separation casus belli ka-soos bel-lee occasion of war an event that justifies a war cui bono coo-ee bo-no for whom the good whom does it benefit? (in) flagrante delicto in fla-gran-tay day-lick-toe while the crime is burning red-handed, in the act inter alia in-ter ah-lee-ah among other things among other things mutatis mutandis moo-tah-tees moo-tun-dees having changed what must be changed after making the necessary changes non compos mentis non kom-pos men-tis not of sound mind mentally incompetent obiter dictum oh-bee-ter deek-toom something said in passing something a judge says in arguing a point, but has no bearing on the final decision onus probandi oh-nis pro-bun-dee burden of proving burden of proof pendente lite pen-den-tay lee-tay while judgment is pending a case in progress res ipsa loquitur rays eep-sa lo-kwee-tur the matter itself speaks it goes without saying sine qua non see-nay kwa non without which not an indispensable condition; a prerequisite sine die see-nay dee-ay without a day postponed indefinitely sub judice sub you-dee-kay under the judge pending judgment ultra vires ool-trah wee-rays beyond strength outside one's jurisdiction

View Article
Useful Little Latin Words

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

In Latin, as in other languages, little words can mean a lot. How can you make a point without being able to say, “I see your point, but . . .?” The short Latin words in the following table provide some crucial transition words: Word Meaning et (eht), atque (uht-kweh), ac (ahk), que (kweh) and sed (sehd) but autem (ow-tehm) however aut (owt) or sive . . . sive (see-weh, see-weh) whether . . . or neque (neh-kweh), nec (nehk) and not ita (ee-tuh), sic (seek), tam (tuhm) so si (see) if nisi (nih-sih) if . . . not

View Article
Common Irregular Latin Verbs

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Like any language, Latin has regular and irregular verbs. Regular verbs follow common rules when you conjugate them; irregular verbs follow their own rules. The following table shows some of the most used irregular verbs, their conjugations, and pronunciations: Verb Meaning fero, ferre, tuli, latus (feh-ro, fehr-reh, tu-lee, lah-tus) to bear, carry sum, esse, fui, futurus (sum, ehs-seh, fu-ee, fu-too-rus) to be volo, velle, volui (woh-lo, woh-leh, woh-lu-ee) to want nolo, nolle, nolui (no-lo, no-leh, no-lu-ee) not to want malo, malle, malui (mah-lo, mah-leh, mah-lu-ee) to prefer eo, ire, ii, iturus (eh-o, ee-reh, ih-ee, ih-too-rus) to go

View Article
Latin Noun Cases

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

In Latin, what form a noun takes depends on how it’s being used. You use different forms of a noun if it’s a subject, another if it’s an indirect object. The following table lists noun cases and uses. Basic Noun Case Uses Nominative subject Genitive possession Dative indirect object Accusative direct object, place to which, extent of time Ablative means, manner, place where, place from which, time when, time within which, agent, accompaniment, absolute

View Article
Latin Question Words

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Being able to ask questions is an important part of learning any language. Latin question words are listed in the following table. Use them and you can sound both knowledgeable (not many people can speak Latin) and puzzled (because they are questions after all). Word Meaning cur? (kur) why? ubi? (u-bee) where?, when? quis? (kwihs) who? quid? (kwihd) what? quantus? (kwuhn-tus) how great? quot? (kwot) how many? qualis? (kwuh-lihs) what kind of? agent, accompaniment, absolute

View Article
Counting On — and Pronouncing — Roman Numerals

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Actual Latin speakers — or more truthfully writers — used Roman numerals instead of the Arabic system English speakers use today. But Roman numerals are still in use, probably most notably in counting Super Bowls and in copyright dates. The following table shows you the basic numbers, the Latin, and the pronunciation: Roman Numeral Latin English I unus (oo-nus) one II duo (du-oh) two III tres (trays) three IV quattuor (kwuht-tu-ohr) four V quinque (kween-kweh) five VI sex (sehks) six VII septem (sehp-tehm) seven VIII octo (ohk-to) eight IX novem (noh-wehm) nine X decem (deh-kehm) ten L quinquaginta (kween-kwah-gihn-tah) fifty C centum (kehn-tum) one hundred D quingenti (kween-gehn-tee) five hundred M mille (mihl-leh) thousand

View Article
page 1
page 2