A Reader’s Diēgest

Here are a few notes on the Latin for day—diēs.

1. Diēs is a fifth-declension noun.

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 4.34.41 PM(photo credit: Wiktionary)

2. Diēs is typically masculine (like most fifth declension nouns), but is occasionally feminine, especially in fixed phrases and general reference to time or dates.

  • cōnstitūtā diē : on a fixed day
  • longa diēs intervēnit : a long time had passed

3. Diēs is one of only two nouns in the fifth declension that is entirely declined. Rēs is  the other such noun—all other fifth declension nouns are wanting in the plural (or at least the plural genitive, dative and ablative) in extant Latin literature.

The Essential AG: 96, 97, 98a

More Gentile Suffixes

In my last post, I introduced what Allen and Greenough refer to as ‘gentile’ adjectival suffixes—these relate the idea of ‘relating to’ or ‘pertaining to’ or ‘belonging to’. -ānus performs this function, but so do a host of similar suffixes:

-ēnus, -īnus, -ās, ēnsis, -cus, -acus, -ācus, -icus, -eus, -ëius, -icius

Let’s look at a few examples of these adjectives in action—

  • Nox serēna mentem quiēvit: a calm night calms the mind. (sērus, -a, -um, late)
  • Officium cīvicum fācite: do your civic duty! (cīvis, -is, citizen)
  • Navis Siciliēnsis in portū visa est: A Sicilian  ship was seen in the port.

Like the suffix -anus, the rest of these can also pan out into nouns as well as adjectives.

  • laniēna, -ae, a butcher’s stall (lanius, -ī, butcher)
  • inquilīnus, -ī, a lodger (incola, -ae, an inhabitant)
  • ruīna, -ae, a collapse (ruō, fall)
  • doctrīna, -ae, learning (doctor, -ōris, teacher)

The Essential AG: 249.1, 249.2, 249.2a

-ānus, or Relating to Old Women

A number of adjectival endings denote what Allen and Greenough refer to as a ‘gentile’ relationship—demonstrating ‘relation to’ or ‘belonging to’ the corresponding class of nouns. One of these is -ānus, -a, -um.

  • montānus, -a, -um, of mountains (mōns, montis, mountain)
  • veterānus, -a, -um, of veterans (vetus, veteris (adj), old)
  • antelūcānus, -a, -um, before daylight (ante lūcem, before light)
  • Rōmānus, -a, -um, Roman (Rōma, -ae, Rome)
  • Sullānī, -ōrum, of Sulla’s veterans (Sulla, -ae, Sulla)

Some of these derived adjectives have furthermore been transformed to new nouns.

  • Silvānus, -ī, Silvanus, a woodlands deity (silva, -ae, the wood)
  • membrāna, -ae, the skin (membrum, -ī, limb)

The Essential AG: 249.1, 249.2, 249.2a

Throwing a Fit

The impersonal phrase ‘fit ut‘ may be rendered in English as ‘it happens that…’ or ‘it comes about that…’ and takes a subjunctive clause in Latin. This ut-clause may be classed as one of result.

Recall that fit is the third person singular active indicative of fiō, which bears a complicated relationship to faciō, explained best by Mark Damen here. For more information on fiō, don’t bother with the Perseus edition of Lewis and Short. Even the advanced entry looks like this—

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 2.53.53 PMSo detailed! So precise!

Here are a few examples of fit ut in action—

Fit ut hominēs causā nullā multa timeant: It (often) happens that men fear many things with little (good) reason.

Fit ut imbri crebrō certāmen differat: It is the case that, with the heavy rain, the match shall be cancelled.

The Essential A&G: 568n2, 569.2

The National Latin Survey 2013

On behalf of my friend and Chicago colleague Elliot Goodman (now at Columbia), I would like to direct your attention to the National Latin Survey! This high-impact survey has been wanting for nearly a century, and a few minutes your time (whether student or teacher) could transform the future of Latin curricula nationwide.
Quid est?

The last national survey of Latin students and teachers was conducted in the 1920s by the American Classical League. The purpose of the National Latin Survey is to survey middle and high school students and teachers all across the United States and find out the many different reasons why people study and teach Latin.

Quid meī interest?

Your opinion is important because what you say may help authors write new Latin textbooks and provide Latin teachers with valuable information. To access the survey or for more info, please click one of the links below:

TEACHERS: teachers.NationalLatinSurvey.com

STUDENTS: students.NationalLatinSurvey.com

Quō petit?

The long-term goals of the project are to produce at least two reports describing the findings; one report will be a full needs analysis study including all the statistical formulae for the applied linguistics community and the other report will be written for an audience of Latin teachers with no knowledge of statistics.  These reports will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals and be made available to the public for free on the project website.

If you are a teacher and would like your students to participate, please e-mail NationalLatinSurvey2013@gmail.com to request student surveys.

Reminder: The Double Comparative with Intrā

This is just a quick reminder (of what I covered briefly in March 2012) that intrā gives rise to one of the few comparative / superlative adjectival pairs that is not derived from an adjective.

  • intrā, within —> interior, -ōris, inner —> intimus, a, -um inmost

A&G offer this fascinating footnote:

“The forms in -trā and -terus were originally comparative (cf. alter), so that the comparatives in -terior are double comparatives.” (my emphasis)

  • Like this: in + accusative —> intrā + accusative —> interior, -ōris

The Essential AG: 130a

Hedging in Latin

How does one hedge their language in Latin? One option might be a relative clause of characteristic (with the subjunctive!)

  • So far as I know, she never left the house: quod sciam, numquam domum abiit.
  • From what I have heard, he enjoys three cocktails every evening: quod audīverim, tribus mixtīs cotīdiē fruitur.
  • She’s an idiot, at least in my view: stulta est, quō modō videam.

The Essential AG: 535d