But position isn't the only way we show which word is the subject and object of a verb. Now consider this sentence: "Him I like, them I despise". Obviously this sentence has an usual arrangement for rhetorical purposes, but how can you tell who is doing what to whom? Even though English grammar shows grammatical relationship between words in a sentence mainly by position, in many instances a change in the word itself provides you additional help. The word "him", although it comes first in the sentence, is not the subject because its form -- "him" instead of "he" -- is not the one used to indicate that it's the subject of the verb. We use the form "he" to show that. Furthermore, the word "I" is the form we use when the first person is subject of the verb. Hence, the words "he" and "I" change their forms as their grammatical function in the sentence changes. The change in form of a word to show grammatical functions is called "inflection".
The English personal pronouns change quite a lot to show you how they're being used in the sentence. Watch.
FORM FUNCTION I subject my possessor (it owns something me object (something is being done to it) First Person Pronoun we subject our possessor us object you subject your possessor you object Second Person Pronoun you subject your possessor you object he,she,it subject his,her,its possessor him,her,it object Third Person Pronoun they subject their possessor them objectThis inflection (change of form to show grammatical function) in the pronouns is very useful for helping us to understand each other -- although, as you can see, the second person pronoun "you, etc" doesn't inflect nearly so much as the first and third. The plural forms are even identical to the singular forms. We can still get by.
In English, inflection is rather limited, and we rely on position mainly to tell us what the words in the sentence are doing to each other. The only grammatical functions that involve a change in form for all nouns is the possessive case and the plural forms, where we attach an "-s" to the end of the word. (In written English we even include an apostrophe "'" mark to help us see the difference between a pluralized noun and a noun that's in the possessive case.) For example
SINGULAR PLURAL apple subject apples subject apple's possessor apples' possessor apple object apples objectWatch how we combine position with inflection in English to make sense to one another. As you can see, position is the principal guide.
"These apples' [plural, possessor] cores are hard, but apples [plural, subject] are usually soft. When you [singular, subject] buy apples [plural, object], you [singular, subject] should first pick up each apple [object, singular] and bounce it [singular, object] off the floor several times. Then check its [singular, possessor] skin. If it [singular, subject] is bruised, discretely put it [singular, object] back with the other apples [plural, object], making certain that no one [singular, subject] is watching you [singular, object]".Unlike English, languages which rely primarily on inflection of words to show grammatical relationship are called "inflected" languages. English, though it has some inflection, is not an inflected language. Latin, however, is an inflected language, because it relies almost entirely on changes in the words themselves to indicate their grammatical function in a sentence.
The different grammatical functions a word can have in a sentence is called "case". In English there are three recognizable different cases, that is grammatical functions, a word can have: the subjective case, the possessive case, and the objective case. So we say there are three cases in English. In Latin there are six difference cases. Here are the Latin cases. (Don't try to memorize them all at once here. Just read through the list; there will be plenty of time to firm up your familiarity of them.)
LATIN APPROXIMATE ENGLISH EQUIVALENT Nominative (Subjective) Genitive (Possessive Case) Dative (Object of words like "to" or "for") Accusative (Objective Case) Ablative (Adverbial Usages: "by", "with") Vocative (Direct Address)We'll look at the way these cases are used in Latin in the next part of these notes, although some of them won't be difficult at all: the nominative, genitive, and accusative cases are almost the same as their English counterparts. The ablative, dative and vocative will need some explanation. Before then, however, let's look at how a Latin noun inflects to show all these different cases.
Let's look at some English pronouns which inflect to show the three different cases. Do you remember "they, their, them?" The pronoun is inflecting through its different cases, but we can definitely spot a pattern of similarity among the three forms. There is a definite root of the word. The root (that is, the part of the word that contains the meaning of the word) is "the-" to which then the endings "-y", "-ir" and "-m". So we could say that the word is inflecting by adding certain case endings to a stem. The stem contains the core of the meaning of the word, and the endings merely inflect or alter its grammar.
This is precisely how Latin nouns show their different cases: they add additional letters to the end of the basic form of the word. This basic form that does not change throughout its inflection is called the "stem". There are, consequently, two parts of a Latin word that you must note: the stem and the case ending. The stem contains the meaning of the word and its gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter). The case ending will tell you (1) how the noun is being used in its sentence, and (2) whether the noun is singular or plural. Let's watch a the Latin noun "puella" (girl) as it inflects through its different cases:
SINGULAR APPROXIMATE ENGLISH TRANSLATION NOMINATIVE puella girl GENITIVE puellae of the girl DATIVE puellae to/for the girl ACCUSATIVE puellam girl ABLATIVE puella by/with the girl VOCATIVE puella girl PLURAL NOMINATIVE puellae girls GENITIVE puellarum of the girls DATIVE puellis to/for the girls ACCUSATIVE puellas girls ABLATIVE puellis by/with the girls VOCATIVE puellae girlsThe stem of the Latin word is clearly visible. It's "puell-" to which different endings are being attached. The endings are:
SINGULAR PLURAL NOMINATIVE -a -ae GENITIVE -ae -arum DATIVE -ae -is ACCUSATIVE -am -as ABLATIVE -a -is VOCATIVE -a -aeThere are many other nouns in Latin which follow this same pattern of case endings when they inflect. This pattern of endings is called the "first declension" (deh CLEN shion) and you can see the strong presence of an "-a-". There are four other declensional patterns in Latin, but a noun will belong to only one of them. Hence we can say that "puella" is a first declension noun. The other declensions are called, not surprisingly, the second, third, fourth and fifth declension, and are distinguished form one another in part by the thematic, or characteristic, vowel that appears in its endings.
A language whose nouns show their grammatical function in the sentence by changes in the noun itself, and not by position, is called an inflected language. The different grammatical functions a language recognizes are called cases. In English, there are three cases. They are the subjective, the possessive, and the objective. In Latin there are six cases. They are the nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, ablative and vocative cases. A Latin noun has two parts which you must note: it has a stem, which contains the noun's basic meaning and its gender; and it also has a case ending which tells you the noun's case and its number. A pattern of endings which are added to the end of a noun to show its grammatical function is called a declension. Each noun in Latin belongs to one declension. The declensions are called the first, second, third, fourth and fifth declensions.
SINGULAR STEM + CASE ENDING = INFLECTED FORM N/V. pecuni + -a = _______________ GEN. pecuni + -ae = _______________ DAT. pecuni + -ae = _______________ ACC. pecuni + -am = _______________ ABL. pecuni + -a = _______________ PLURAL STEM + CASE ENDING = INFLECTED FORM N/V. pecuni + -ae = _______________ GEN. pecuni + -arum = _______________ DAT. pecuni + -is = _______________ ACC. pecuni + -as = _______________ ABL. pecuni + -is = _______________Let's try a few more paradigms. Decline the noun "patri-" (fatherland) and vit-" (life).
SINGULAR patri- vit- N/V. _______________ _______________ GEN. _______________ _______________ DAT. _______________ _______________ ACC. _______________ _______________ ABL. _______________ _______________ PLURAL N/V. _______________ _______________ GEN. _______________ _______________ DAT. _______________ _______________ ACC. _______________ _______________ ABL. _______________ _______________
patria, -ae (f) pecunia, -ae (f) poeta, -ae (m) agricola, -ae (m)Now look up the following nouns in your dictionary and write out the grammatical information you are given.
ENGLISH FULL ENTRY DECLENSION STEM band _________________________ _____ __________ brother _________________________ _____ __________ care _________________________ _____ __________ city _________________________ _____ __________ day _________________________ _____ __________ dread _________________________ _____ __________
THE CASES Nominative the subject of a verb Genitive use "of" or "-'s" ("-s'") for the plural Dative use "to" or "for", or put the noun before the direct object Accusative the direct object of a verb or object of a preposition Ablative use the prepositions "with" or "for" Vocative use the English "hey" or "Oh"
Would it be of any use, now,' thought Alice, `to speak to this mouse? Everything
is so out-of-the-way down here, that I should think very likely it can
talk: at any rate, there's no harm in trying.' So she began: `O Mouse,
do you know the way out of this pool? I am very tired of swimming about
here, O Mouse!'
(Alice thought this must be the right way of speaking to a mouse: she had never done such a thing before, but she remembered having seen in her brother's Latin Grammar, `A mouse--of a mouse--to a mouse--a mouse--O mouse!' The Mouse looked at her rather inquisitively, and seemed to her to wink with one of its little eyes, but it said nothing.
`Perhaps it doesn't understand English,' thought Alice; `I daresay it's a French mouse, come over with William the Conqueror.' (For, with all her knowledge of history, Alice had no very clear notion how long ago anything had happened.) So she began again: `Ou est ma chatte?' (Where is my cat?) which was the first sentence in her French lesson-book.
The Mouse gave a sudden leap out of the water, and seemed to quiver all over with fright. `Oh, I beg your pardon!' cried Alice hastily, afraid that she had hurt the poor animal's feelings. `I quite forgot you didn't like cats.'
"A red leaf with a brown stem fell off the tall tree onto the flat ground".There is no question about which adjectives are modifying which nouns. No one, except perhaps a deconstructionist, would think the author is trying to say that the ground is red or that the stem is flat. Position makes this clear. In Latin, however, where position is not so important, adjectives have to be put together with their nouns differently. Instead of using position, Latin adjectives take on some of the characteristics of the nouns they're modifying: i.e., they undergo changes to match the noun they're modifying.
So what properties do nouns have in a Latin sentence. Well, they have case -- they have to have case to work in the sentence -- and they have number (singular or plural) and they have gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter). Remember this about gender: a noun can change its number and case, but it can only have one gender; it cannot change its gender. So each noun has number, gender, and case. An adjective has to be able to acquire the number, gender, and case of the noun it's modifying. So how does it do that? It does it by declining. And in this respect it resembles a noun: nouns decline to get different numbers and cases; so do adjectives. But there is an important difference. Latin nouns are either masculine, feminine or neuter, and they can never change their gender. The noun "porta, -ae (f)" is forever feminine. The noun "poeta, -ae (m)" is forever masculine, etc. But for adjectives to be useful, they have to be able to become any one of the three genders; i.e., adjectives have to be able to be masculine, feminine or neuter to match the gender of the noun they're modifying. And how do they do that? They accomplish this by using endings from different declensions (and you'll learn these other declension in the next couple of chapters). So here are two critical differences between adjectives and nouns: (1) each adjective can have any of the three genders, but each noun can have only one gender; (2) each noun will belong only to one declension, but adjectives can span declensions. You'll see much more of this later, but for now you need to know that adjectives use endings of the first declension to become feminine, and, therefore, to modify nouns which are feminine in gender. So try this. Decline the expression "big rose":
magna rosa N/V. _______________ _______________ GEN. _______________ _______________ DAT. _______________ _______________ ACC. _______________ _______________ ABL. _______________ _______________ N/V. _______________ _______________ GEN. _______________ _______________ DAT. _______________ _______________ ACC. _______________ _______________ ABL. _______________ _______________Now look at these endings for the adjective and the noun. They look alike, don't they. But this is dangerously deceptive. Get this in your head: agreement means same number, gender, and case, not look-alike endings, even though in this limited example and in all the examples in this chapter they do look alike. Consider this problem. The noun for poet is a masculine noun in the first declension: "poeta, -ae (m)". Now, for an adjective to agree with it, it must have the same number, gender and case. Right? But adjectives with first declension endings are masculine. So, will the endings of an adjective modifying the noun "poeta" be the same as those as "poeta". I.e., will the pattern for "great poet" look like this?
SINGULAR magna poeta N/V. magna poeta GEN. magnae poetae DAT. magnae poetae ACC. magnam poetam ABL. magna poeta PLURAL N/V. magnae poetae GEN. magnarum poetarum DAT. magnis poetis ACC. magnas poetas ABL. magnis poetisThe answer is "no", because the forms "magna, magnae" etc. are feminine in gender because adjectives use first declension endings to become feminine in gender but the noun "poeta" is masculine. Therefore the adjective will have to use endings from another declension and the forms will not look alike. You'll see all this in the next two chapters. But remember: agreement means having the same number, gender, and case, not having the same endings. Okay?
tua, mea The words "tua", which means "your" and "mea", which means "my" are the first and second person singular possessive adjectives, and they consequently must "agree" in number, gender and case with whatever is being possessed. "tu-" and "me-" are the stems of the word, and the "-a" is the adjectival suffix. What causes students concern is that they can't quite bring themselves to make the adjectival suffix of the singular possessive adjectives plural. For example, they balk at "meae rosae" (my roses), because they assume somehow that the entire word "me-" must become plural. This isn't necessary. Think of it this way: the "me-" or "tu-" part of these words refer you to the person doing the possessing, the adjectival suffix refers to whatever is being possessed.12/31/92