Lesson 1: Principles on the Nature of Latin

The Character (or even Genius) of the Latin System

Instructions: Spend 2-3 minutes memorizing the following, and you will save yourself many headaches in your Latin career.
1. Most modern languages depend on word order for meaning
In English we say, 'John calls Mary,' but in Latin we can say the same sentence as, 'Mariam vocat Iohanes'
2. Latin is essentially different from all other languages
A Latin sentence might place the subject first or last, before or after the verb, depending on the style of the author
3. Latin meaning does not depend on word order or placement
In Latin, order and placements of words is free (within the limits of a phrase)
Auxiliary principle: Never begin translating with the first word
4. The meaning of Latin words comes from the ending (termination) of the word
The ending of the words give us what we call the function, telling us if the word is a subject, object, possessive, etc.
5a. One must learn the endings to learn the functions
5b. One must analyze every word of the sentence
Auxiliary principle: One needs to read (see) each sentence as a whole
6a. Many endings in Latin are identical
6b. Therefore one must know vocabulary
example: "vis" can mean force (noun) or you wish (verb)
Then go to Lesson 2
Latin Readings for Lesson 1 and 2

First Experience Latin - Fr. Reginald Foster

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