Language Learners' Library

Vocabulary, uninflected

hag venēfica
(I) hunger ēsūriō
goblin mōnstrum
rags pannus
(I) rend scindō

spirit phantasma
(I) stand stō
naked nūdātus
man vir
book cōdex

moon lūna
(I) defend dēfendō

Vocabulary, inflected

hag venēficae (dat.)
it hungers ēsūrit
goblin mōnstrō (dat.)
rags pannum (acc.)
it would rend scinderet

spirit phantasma (nom.)
it stands stat
naked nūdātus (agreeing with vir)
man vir (acc.)
book cōdice (abl.)

moons lūnārum (gen.)
it shall defend dēfendō


Venēficae et ēsūrit mōnstrō
Ad* pannum scinderet
Phantasma stat juxta vir nūdātus
In cōdice lūnārum dēfendō.

This was fun because I get to put the first word, venēficae, in the dative because of the very last word, dēfendō. eg. “Against the hag…”

  • This is probably wrong, I don’t know the grammatical structure here

aka. giving Sanonius a tension headache

Good afternoon Sanonius o/


Quite so. When translating stuff, you gotta structure it at first, thoroughly. What is the subject in your sentence? What are predicates? And so on. So, the Goblin is hungry, but the Spirit is the one doing the defending against the goblin. What now? That’s where subordination of clauses comes into play. The spirit defends against a goblin. The goblin hungers. The spirit defends against a goblin who hungers/a hungering goblin. Know whadam sayin’?

What you’ve got here is:

The ghost, the naked man, he hungers to the hag and to the goblin to rags he would rend [implied: if he could, but he doesn’t], he stands next in a book of moons I defend.

With to nominatives, phantasma and vir nudatus (nudus would be enough) that have to be one and the same thing, because the verbs are all singular, plus an enigmatic “I defend”.

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Hmm, right…

I think I have to take a break from any complex translations and just read some grammar, seems like I need a lot more work on expressing the basic relations between things in a sentence. I’ll make the daily challenges easier.

An interesting little table about writing systems.

Script System
Sumerian / Akkadian cuneiform Logographic / syllabary / abjad
Egyptian hieroglyphs Logographic
Chinese characters Phonosemantic characters*
Japanese kana Impure** syllabary
Phoenecian alphabet Abjad
Hebrew alphabet Abjad
Arabic alphabet Abjad
Greek alphabet Alphabet
Latin alphabet Alphabet
Nagari Alphabet

(*) Because of phonetic shift, now logograms in practice
(**) Almost all writing systems are impure to some degree

The path of evolution seems to be hieroglyphs => Phoenician => All other alphabets and abjads

And, of course, Chinese characters => kana.

But the question that is most fascinating is what the connection is between the three ancient root systems of cuneiform, hieroglyphs, and Chinese characters: they all rely heavily on logograms, and they were all connected by trade roots. Did, one asks, hieroglyphs and Chinese characters evolve from – or under the influence of – cuneiform or were they invented by their native populations?

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This is a similar debate to whether spoken language is monogenetic (arising from a single source) or polygenetic (arising independently from multiple sources.) My impression is that monogenesis is more likely – if we already were speaking languages by the time we migrated out of Africa, then they must have all originated at least in that continent. And it seems to me that paleontology-archeology supports that first claim.

while in Japanese syllabary 1 symbol means 2 sounds (か ka, に ni)
in English 2 symbols often means 1 sound (th, ch, …)

and you can’t just code any sound, you have to ask with word examples
and when you see new word, you can’t be sure how it pronounced, like in Chinese
So, is English - really alphabet?

By the way, interesting fact about Japanese syllabary. There is way to cut vowel from any syllabary and add any vowel instead. Just use small size of symbol
にや - Ni Ya
にゃ - Nya
(in hiragana some pairs never used, but in katakana loanwords everything is possible)
there is also ッ symbol for double consonant, and ー for long vowel

In Russian there are some words that written not as pronounced (for unknown reason)
but its always possible to write pronunciation exactly. Our alphabet don’t need additional transcription symbols for that.
(But of course we can’t accurately represent foreign sounds. “J” is Д and Ж united, we can’t pronounce them at the same time, only one after another)

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Wait, what? It’s not like you can do this with any two characters, just a select few, even for loanwords. For example, you can’t create a “tra” or a “sta”.

I mean add any vowel to any consonant,
not any consonant to any consonant

ウィキペディア - Wikipedia

“Di” don’t exist, only Chi + "
so テ Te -> デ De is used and small i ィ -> ディ Di

Ah, ok, sure. I was confused by your examples of にゃ then, with what you meant.

Still, many Japanese will pronounce ウィキペディア as ウイキペジア anyways.

Since @bugcat did not put up a language challenge, here’s a grammar challenge.

The cook grills a steak.
The cook grilled a steak yesterday.
The cook will grill a steak tomorrow.
The steak is grilled by the cook.
The steak has been grilled by the cook.
The steak will finish grilling. (in 10 minutes, after that we can focus on plating the food)
The cook wanted to grill a steak.
The cook would have grilled a steak. (if you hadn’t had dinner yet)
The cook could grill a steak. (or he could bake an egg instead)
The cook couldn’t grill a steak. (he never learnt how)
Hey cook, grill a steak!
I saw the cook that grilled a steak. (I didn’t see the other one that boiled vegetables)
The steak grilling cook was tired.


In English you just say “The cook grilled a steak yesterday.”
or… “The cook has grilled a steak.” <- (usually implying it was very recent, immediate)

“The steak will be grilled tomorrow.”

Very informal / rude (circumstancial)

Grammatically correct, but a little vague. How do you know the other cook didn’t also cook a steak? Usually, you would be more specific; such as “I saw the cook that grilled my steak.”


This one never makes sense to me, since the steak grilling has finished, so it should be a perfect tense, right?

“The cook grilled a steak yesterday when suddenly the phone rang” → both actions are ongoing in the story
“The cook has grilled a steak yesterday, so we still have some other leftovers as well” → the action of grilling a steak has finished

How about “The steak will have been grilled by tomorrow” (it’s a huge steak that takes days to grill!)

But not ungrammatical :wink: Imagine a grumpy hungry millionaire ordering his kitchen staff to get him his dinner.

But that will unnecessarily make the sentence more complex as well

Has doesn’t depend on whether or not the action is finished. That’s mostly implied by the word yesterday unless otherwise stated. Has, being the past tense of have, has a strong sense of connection. To use it in relation to something that happened yesterday feels wrong precisely because it finished so long ago. Has is usually only used instead of another time indicator (such as yesterday), not in conjunction with it.

“The steak will finish grilling tomorrow.” It is unusual to use the past tense on an ongoing item.

This example I gave implies the process will both begin and finish tomorrow.

Correct. Just adding context.

It is only unnecessary if you know for sure that the other cook didn’t grill any steaks. Because you’re specifically differentiating between one cook from another, specific details are warranted.


Thanks for the explanation, I fixed the two sentences. Hurray, now I’ve had an English grammar lesson today as well!

“Did you see that cook, the handsome one who was boiling vegetables?”
“No I just saw the cook that grilled a steak, and he wasn’t handsome either.”



I think this is fine… to me the below would sound a little more natural, but I don’t think yours is wrong.
“No I only saw the cook that grilled a steak, and he wasn’t handsome.”
-> adding “either” on the end is technically correct, but sounds quite formal, you wouldn’t normally hear it. The reason for using only instead of just is because normally when you hear “I just saw …” it is used synonymously with “I very recently saw …”
I don’t think it’s wrong, but it sounds unusual to me.

Too lazy to do proper translation, but in latin, the verb needed has to be in the following moods and tenses. I’ll let @bugcat do the dirty work :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
Present indicative
Perfect indicative
Future indicative
Present indicative passive
Perfect indicative passive
Future indicative passive
Infinitive +modal verb “wants to”. Also possible: participle future active + auxiliary “was”.
Perfect subjunctive active
Present subjunctive (greek would use optative)
Infinitive + imperfect indicative of auxiliary “can”
Present imperative (greek would use imperative aorist)
Ore wa steeko wo gurirrushite no kuuku wo mita, I guess. Not as spectacular in latin, just use a relative pronoun.
Steak grilling cook also with a relative clause, but a participle in greek.

Next on Language Learner’s Library: What is this “relative pronoun” Sanonius is talkin’ about? Stay tuned for another latination declination sensation that’s stunning the nation! … Right after he’s after returning from doing groceries later this forenoon!


The Latin relative pronoun looks like this:

Case \ Gender: masculine : feminine : neuter singular
Nominative: qui : quae : quod
Genitive: cuius : cuius : cuius
Dative: cui : cui : cui
Accusative: quem : quam : quod
Ablative: quo : qua : quo

qui : quae : quae
quorum : quarum : quorum
quibus : quibus : quibus
quos : quas : quae
quibus : quibus : quibus

Note that the nominative and accusative of the neuter are always identical.

The relative pronoun takes the case according to its role within the relative clause, but its gender and number according to what it relates to within the main clause.

Exercise. We’ll focus on the nominative and the accusative, for now. Convert the two main clauses into a main clause and a relative subordinate clause as in the examples, and translate the result into english. Again, nevermind the word order, important is agreement of Case, Number, Gender; however, put the relative pronoun at the beginning of its clause, just like you would in english.

Titus Marcum vidit . Marcus Corneliam amat. > Titus vidit Marcum, qui amat Corneliam ‘Titus sees Marcus, who loves Cornelia,’

Titus vidit Marcum. Marcum amat Cornelia > Titus vidit Marcum, quem amat Cornelia ‘Titus sees Marcus, whom Cornelia loves.’

Marcus adspectat Corneliam. Marcus Corneliam amat. > Marcus adspectat Corneliam, quam amat ’ Marcus awaits Cornelia, whom he loves’.

Your turn!
Feles edit murem. Feles murem cepit (caught). (replace murem here)

Hic est filius meus. Valde amo filium meum.

Brennus puer valde immodestus est. Brennus non adiuvat matrem suum.

Spiritus te defendit a monstris. Monstra te devorabunt.

Virum cognoscimus. Vir in Italiam venit.

Galli in pace vivebant. Caesar Gallos vincit.

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Thanks for these great posts @Vsotvep @Sanonius @stone_defender

I’ve just got to have a coffee or two and I’ll be with you :stuck_out_tongue: :tired_face: