Beginner's tip


Permalink 04:13:52 pm, by Chris Jones Email , 257 words, 2024 views   English (US)
Categories: Vocabulary and Grammar

Beginner's tip

With school starting in the fall, I thought I’d pass on a few beginner Latin tips over the coming weeks, things I’ve picked up from students over the years…

The first tip is one a student gave me some years ago: In a Latin sentence, you can be 99% sure a word ending in -at, -et, or -it is a verb, and 100% sure on a word ending in -nt. For students who naturally stat out with the “find the verb first” approach, that’s not a bad tip; since most sentences are written in the third person, you’re quite likely to “find the verb” much more quickly this way.

Of course, like all crutches it needs to be laid aside (along with the “find the verb” approach) as the student becomes more proficient. But the rubric does raise an interesting question: how many non-verbs can you name which end in -at, -et, or -it (I’ve yet to come across a non-verb ending in -nt). Think about it and click on the link below for my list; if you have any to add, that’s what comments are for…


Non-verbs Ending in -at, -et, or -it:

at - “but”
atat/attat - Exclamation of surprise
dumtaxat - “exactly, so far” (really dum…taxat - “while it holds")
et - “and”
forsit - “perhaps” (really fors sit - “chance might be")
frit - “headgrain?", a hapax legomena in Varro
git - “black cumin” (spice)
sat - “enough”
trit - onomatopoeia for the “squeek” of a mouse.

Compounds in libet (quilibet, quolibet, ubilibet…)
Compounds in licet (ilicet, scilicet, videlicet…)
Pronouns with met suffix (egomet…)


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Qui sciet quae quoque sint modo dicenda, nisi tamen in procinctu paratamque ad omnis casus habuerit eloquentiam, velut clausis thesauris incubabit.

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