Language Learners' Library

I’m afraid I don’t have time to do the grammatical challenge at the moment, so instead I made this little

Vocabulary Workout

The topic is war.

bugcat's Latin translation

I tēlum, pl. tēla
II gladius, pl. gladiī
III sauciō

IV arcus, pl. arcūs
V sagitta, pl. sagittae
VI contendō

VII pugnō
VIII praedor
IX exscindō

whew, I expected to have done far worse.

that looks reeeeally strange to my primitive indo-european mind.

The I’m-grilling-a-steak cook

1 Like

When translating a Latin text and you don’t know the meaning of a word, it’s usually “to kill”.

In Hebrew (or was it Arab?), on the other hand, they say, every word has for meanings: Its primary meaning, the exact opposite of that, a sexual innuendo, a synonym for camel.


This is how I remember my Latin lessons

OK, in Latin we need ten words to express our sentences.

cocus, n. the cook (masculine, second declension)
būbula, n. beef. (feminine, first declension)
herī, abv. yesterday
crās, adv. tomorrow
coquō, v. to cook (third conjugation)
conclūdō ,v. to finish (third conjugation)
volō, v. to want (irregular conjugation)
nequeō, v. to be unable (irregular conjugation)
videō, v. to see (second conjugation)
lassō, v., to tire (first conjugation)

I’m going to shamelessly copy the verb senses given to me by @Sanonius.

I) Cocus būbulam coquit. The cook - beef - he cooks.
II) Cocus būbulam herī cōquit. The cook - beef - yesterday - he cooked.
III) Cocus būbulam crās coquet. The cook - beef - tomorrow - he will cook.
IV) Būbula cocum coquitur. Beef - the cook - it is cooked.
V) Būbula cocum coquētus est. Beef - the cook - it was cooked.
VI) Būbula cocum coquētur conclūdētur. Beef - the cook - it will be cooked - it will finish.
VII) Cocus būbulam coquere voluī. The cook - beef - to cook - he wanted to.
VIII) Cocus būbulam coquerit. The cook - beef - he would cook.
IX) Cocus būbulam coquātur. The cook - beef - he could cook.
X) Cocus būbulam coquere nequiī. The cook - beef - to cook - cannot.
XI) Coce, būbula coque! Hey cook, - beef - cook!

I’ll come back later for XII and XIII.

XII) Cocus viduī, qui būbulum cōquit. The cook - I saw , he - beef - cooked.
XIII) Cocus lassāvit, qui būbulam coquet. The cook - he tired , he - beef - cooked.

Am I the only one imagining a script of hirigana with tentacles?


Feles edit murem, quae feles cepit.

Hic est fiilus meus, quae valde emo.

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

Spiritus te defendit a monstris, quae te devorabunt.

Virum cognoscimus, qui in Italiam venit.

Galli in pace vivebant, quem Caesar vincit.

“when you’ve never been able to learn a second language but non-indos plague your thoughts”

I’ve gotta learn Ancient Greek and Sanskrit before I even look down there, though.

My old Greek textbox had some example sentence about the houses being small :stuck_out_tongue: I remember these things, like my Latin textbook’s “Marcus is hastening to the Rhine.” I can barely even say “hastening” to my sister now without us going into in-jokes.

1 Like

in same sense as “Japanese is syllabary, just an impure one”

in Japanese there is huge problem that a lot of different words have exactly the same pronunciation. So writing is more rich than audio speech. Its easy to find sentence that no one will understand if you just read it. It should be translated to audio version of Japanese language first.
So to remove Chinese characters from Japanese language is not easy modification because of homophones

液 - fluid
駅 - station
both can be written as エキ (E Ki)

English has this problem too, just not to such extent
both US IPA: /naɪt/

In US and Great Britain pronunciation is slightly different because independence for many centuries.
Some words that continued to be spoken in Britain, were forgotten in America and then their pronunciation was invented anew based on text only. Pronunciation of such words became different because English alphabet is far from transcription system.

1 Like

Not sure what your point is?

Chinese is much more similar to English than it looks at first glance.

Hmm. That’s an opinion, I suppose. Can’t say I agree but that’s OK.

Let’s try a l o n g t r a n s l a t i o n!

I’ve got here the first page of The Hobbit, describing Bilbo’s hobbit-hole:

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not
a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of
worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare,
sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to
eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means

It had a perfectly round door like a porthole,
painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in
the exact middle. The door opened on to a
tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very
comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled
walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided
with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs
for hats and coats — the hobbit was fond of

The tunnel wound on and on, going
fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill
— The Hill, as all the people for many miles
round called it — and many little round doors
opened out of it, first on one side and then on

No going upstairs for the hobbit:
bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of
these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms
devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all
were on the same floor, and indeed on the
same passage.

The best rooms were all on the
left-hand side (going in), for these were the only
ones to have windows, deep-set round
windows looking over his garden, and
meadows beyond, sloping down to the river.


Paragraph I

English Latin Class Pattern
in in prp. n/a
hole cavum n. 2nd dec. n.
ground terra n. 1st dec. f.
to live vivō v. 3rd con.
hobbit pūmilus n. 2nd dec. m.
not nōn gr. n/a
is sunt cop. irg.
nasty turpis adj. 3rd dec.
dirty sordidus adj. 1st / 2nd dec.
wet ūmidus adj. 1st / 2nd dec.
to fill impleō v. 2nd con.
end fīnis n. 3rd dec.
worm vermis n. 3rd dec.
and et gr. n/a
decay cariēs adj. 1st / 2nd dec
smell odor n. 3rd dec. m.
nor nec gr.
dry ardus adj. 1st / 2nd dec.
bare nūdus adj. 1st / 2nd dec.
sandy arēnōsus adj. 1st / 2nd dec.
nothing nihil n. n. n/a
to sit sedeō v. 2nd con.
or vel gr.
to eat edō v. 3rd con. irg.
therefore ideo adv.
comfort sōlācium n. 2nd dec. n.

Paragraph II

English Latin Class Pattern
perfectly perfectus pcp. 1st / 2nd dec.
round rotundus adj. 1st / 2nd dec.
door porta n. 1st dec. f.
to paint pingō v. 3rd con.
green viridis adj. 1st / 2nd dec.
with cum gr. n/a
smooth lēvis adj. 3rd dec.
yellow fulvus adj. 1st / 2nd dec.
brass aerārius adj. 1st / 2nd dec.
knob bulla n. 1st dec. f.
exact accūrātus pcp. 1st / 2nd dec.
middle medietās n. 3rd dec. f.
tube fistula n. 1st dec. f.
hall ātrium n. 2nd. dec. n.
tunnel cunīculus n. 2nd dec. m.
charming venustus adj. 1st / 2nd dec.
smoke fūmus n. 2nd dec. m.
wooden ligneus adj. 1st / 2nd dec.
wall pariēs n. 3rd dec. m.
floor solum n. 2nd dec. n.
tiled testāceus adj. 1st / 2nd dec.
carpet tapēs n. 3rd dec. m.
chair sēdēs n. 3rd dec. f.
peg pāxillus n. 2nd dec. m.
to be fond of amō v. 1st con.
visitor hospes n. 3rd dec. m.

Paragraph III

English Latin Class Pattern
straight rēctus pcp. 1st / 2nd dec.
hill collis n. 3rd dec. m.
all omnis (pl.) adj. 3rd dec.
the people populus n. 2nd dec. m.
many multus adj. 1st / 2nd dec.
mile mīliārium n. 2nd dec. n.
little paulus adj. 1st / 2nd dec.

Paragraph IV

English Latin Class Pattern
bedroom thalamus n. 2nd. dec. m.
bathroom balneum n. 2nd. dec. n.
cellar cella n. 1st dec. f.
pantry carnārium n. 2nd dec. n.
wardrobe vestiārium n. 2nd dec. n.
room camera n. 1st dec. f.
to devote dicō v. 3rd com.
kitchen culīna n. 1st dec. f.
dining-room cenātiō n. 3rd dec. f.
storey tabulātum n. 2nd dec. n.
same idem adv.
corridor andrōn n. 3rd dec. m.

Paragraph V

English Latin Class Pattern
best bene adv.
left sinister adj. 1st / 2nd dec.
window fenestra n. 1st dec. f.
garden hortus n. 2nd dec. m.
meadow prātum n. 2nd dec. n.
sloping dēvexus adj. 1st / 2nd dec.
river flūmen n. 3rd dec. n.
Verb-adjective clumps
English Latin
nasty, dirty, wet hole cavum + turpis + sordidus + ūmidus
dry, bare, sandy hole cavum + ardus + nūdus + arēnōsus
round door porta + rotundus
shiny yellow brass knob bulla + lēvis + fulvus + aerārius
comfortable tunnel cunīculus + venustus
polished chairs sēdēs + lēvis
little round doors porta + paulus + rotundus
Translation (two bad sentences in lol)

I. In cavō in terrā pūmilus vivēbat.
II. Nōn cavum turpe sordidum ūmidum, quod finēs vermium et odōrem cariēi implebātur. Nec cavum ardum nūdum arēnōsum, cum quod nihil in sedētur vel editur. Quod fuit cavum pūmilī, venustus ideo fuit.

You’ve got right: The one with Brian, the one with the monsters, and the one with Aeneas. The others are wrong. Do a translation, too, it’ll help. Remember: the relative pronoun takes the case of the role it fulfills in the relative sentence! That means: accusative if it’s a direct object, nominative if it’s the subject, the other cases according to what’s needed. Amo Helenam, cui bonus amicus sum “I love Helena, to whom I am a friend”

1 Like

Quite good!

This is rather good. Here, the main clause Non cavum… is elliptical; there’s no verb. That’s alright, but I would insert dico ‘I mean’, giving “I’m not talking about an ugly, nasty, wet hole”. Non cavum turpe, sordidum, umidum dico. The narrator making an appearance here is quite in tune with the “Hobbit” and also classical writing, where every story is the report of an author. Now, for the relative clause “that was filled with the end of worms etc.”, in this case, I’d simply supply a participle, just like Tolkien. If it’s too heavy, your passive construction works fine, too. Remember, however, that the agent of a passive sentence is expressed by the ablative (in english with ‘with’ or ‘by’): cavum, quod caudis (‘tails’) vermium vel odore cariei implebatur. Maybe the ablative is wrong in this particular case, because words meaning ‘full’ go with genitive’. I prefer cauda for the ends of worms, because latin doesn’t seem to use finis for the ‘spacial’ end of an animal (only temporal, if at all, meaning death) or any elongated objects.

Even better is just an adjective plenum ‘full’ with genitive ‘full of’: cavum turpe, umidum, plenum caudarum verium et odoris cariei. By dropping one of the other adjectives, you are consistent with the “rule of three” and the “augmenting members”, the first two members being shorter, the third one being augmented by another modification. Diomedes, Odysseus and foot-swift Achilleus.
vel is one of two words meaning ‘or’, the other being aut. The difference is this: The answer to “Do you want coffee vel tea?” is “Yes”. The answer to “Do you want coffee aut tea?” is “Coffee”.

“With nothing in it to sit down or to eat”, let’s break that down. "X with Y in it, doesn’t work too well in Latin. Let’s find a synonymic construction in English. “X, where Y is not present”. How about that? Or just: X without Y? sine takes the ablative of separation. Now, what we’ve got is not a thing, but a “to sit down”. Let’s try A hole, where you can’t eat or sit down. cavum, ubi nec sedere nec edere possis. The second person as impersonal you, just as in English, is very natural. The subjunctive possis is very unintuitive and obscure, but it belongs here. Relative clauses that describe consequences take subjunctive, for whatever reason.

So together, we’ve got:

I. In terra in cauo uiuebat pumilus.
II. Non cauum turpe, sordidum, umidum, plenum caudarum uermium et odoris cariei dico; nec cauum arduum, nudum, arenosum, ubi nec sedere, nec edere possis. Immo uero erat cauum pumilica, hoc est cultus delicatus

Edit and note: Contrary to that I said about the rule of three, I’ll leave three simple modifiers plus the fourth, longer one. It is clear that in these sentences they are related to each other and in parallel: nasty (think of German nass, ‘wet’) - dry; dirty - bare; wet - sandy; full - empty.


Thank you @Sanonius for always taking the time to correct my beginner’s mistakes. I really appreciate it! :3

No biggie. Nobody has to learn Latin all by themself, not on my watch.

How are you getting along with your textbooks? I’m sure they’re much more structured than what we’re doing here. Translations into Latin, especially literary texts, is a university thing.

1 Like

Vocabulary Workout: Safari

I’ll have to make sure today that all the challenges get listed in the header.