Latin language

Hic Jacet Nelsonius

One of the things that I love to do to relax is teach myself Latin. I take it easy, it will probably take me the rest of my life, but hey… I have time. 🙂

Puerto Rico has the bad habit of leaving us without electricity every now and then, and it is at this time that I always utter the following words in Latin “Hic jacet Nelsonius”–Here lies Nelson. Power failures almost always happen when I have nothing else to do except my work, which is rudely interrupted by the lack of power. So I take that time to sit down and start my Latin lessons.

Latin is not for the faint of hearts. It is one tough mother. The reasons are many, but mostly because Latin is an inflected language and does not confirm to the way we write and read modern languages. Take English for example. Where the subject is known by its place in the sentence–it usually comes first.

The cat scratches Paul. — The cat is the subject and Paul the object.
Paul scratches the cat. — Paul is now the subject and the cat the object.

Here is an example from the Latin for Dummies book–with my own twist. Let’s assume in English that adding an asterisk (*) to a word makes it the subject and a percent sign (%) the object.

Paul* carries the bag%.
Paulus sarcinam portat.

The bag% carries Paul*.
Sarcinam Paulus portat.

The previous sentences all mean the same, that Paul carries the bag. Neat huh? Had I inflected Paulus into Paulum (making it the object) and sarcinam into sarcina (making it the subject) then the sentences meaning would be that the bag is carrying Paul.

This is not the only problems that you will face with Latin. There is also pronunciation, which one to choose? I enjoy more the classical (ancient) pronunciation, as oppose to the ecclesiastical (church) pronunciation (the modern pronunciation). In classical pronunciation the letter “v” is pronounced like the English letter “w,” “video” is pronounced “wideo.” The word “video” means “I see” in Latin.

I use the following books for my studies of Latin. Not only do these books teach you Latin, but they also introduce you to plenty of Roman history.

Teach Yourself Beginner’s Latin is my favorite book. It is very easy to follow and with plenty of exercises based on an exciting and humorous text, set in a medieval monastery that is under threat of attack from Vikings.

The man in the hat. I like to write, create CGI art, and to dabble in many technologies. My latest venture is to learn all I can about solar energy.

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