Uses of Ambō

Ambō is sometimes decline to match its respective noun, like a fully-functional adjective, but otherwise remains fixed as ambō

  • Ambās mānūs lavit: he washed both hands.
  • Consulēs alter ambōve prōgredientur: either one or both of the consuls will march on
  • ūna salus ambobus erit: both were healthy (this is Virgil—a very Greek declension!)

Effectively, there is no rule. Both A&G and L&S present freeform variation between the two options.

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I-Stems: Mixed I-Stems [5/8]

In my opinion, A&G make too big a fuss over mixed i-stems, which are essentially a broad class of nouns that usually feature a genitive plural in -ium and might feature an accusative plural in -īs, but are otherwise regular third declension nouns.

Here are five of their six morphological classes, along with all the examples they offer. (I’m excluding 71.4 because it’s ridiculous that they’ve placed it there at all):

1. Nouns in (n.) -ēs, (g.) -is.

  • acīnacēs, -is (m.) scimitar
  • aedēs, -is (f.) temple
  • aciēs, -is (f.) point, battle line
  • caedēs, -is (f.) slaughter
  • cautēs, -is (f.) crag
  • clādēs, -is (f.) destruction
  • compāgēs, -is (f.) structure
  • contāgēs, -is (f.) sense of touch
  • famēs, -is (f.) hunger
  • fēlēs, -is (f.) cat
  • fidēs, -is (f.) faith, trust, loyalty, reputation, etc.
  • indolēs, indolis (f.) inborn quality
  • lābēs, labis (f.) fall, destruction
  • luēs, luis (f.) liquid water
  • mēlēs, mēlis (m/f.) marten, badger
  • mōlēs, mōlis (f.) mass, bulk
  • nūbēs, nūbis (m/f.) cloud
  • palumbēs, palumbis (m/f.) dove
  • prōlēs, prōlis (f.) shoot, offspring, descendants
  • prōpāgēs, prōpāgis (f.) shoot, offspring, descendants
  • pūbēs, pūbis (f.) young man
  • sēdēs, sēdis (f.) seat, office
  • saepēs, saepis (f.) hedge, fence
  • sordēs, sordis (f.) filth
  • strāges, strāgis (f.) overthrow, destruction
  • struēs, struis (f.) pile
  • subolēs, subolis (f.) shoot, offspring, descendants
  • tābēs, tabis (f.) decline, decay
  • torquēs, torquis (f.) necklace
  • tudēs, tudis (m.) hammer
  • vātēs, vātis (m/f.) prophet
  • vehēs, vehis (f.) cart-load (quantity)
  • veprēs, vepris  (m.) bramble-bush
  • verrēs, verris (m.) boar
  • vulpēs, vulpis (f.) fox

2. All monosyllable nominatives in -s or -x preceded by a consonant.

  • ars, artis (f.) skill, art, technique
  • pōns, pontis (m.) bridge
  • arx, arcis (f.) fortress

3. On the following monosyllable nominatives in -s or –x preceded by a vowel.

  • dōs, dōtis (f.) dowry
  • fraus, fraudis (f.) deceit, fraud
  • glīs, glīris (m.) dormouse
  • līs, lītis (f.) case, quarrel
  • mās, māris (m.) male
  • mūs, mūris (m/f.) mouse
  • nix, nivis (f.) snow
  • nox, noctis (f.) night
  • strix, strigis (f.) channel, furrow
  • vīs, vis (f.) force

4. Polysyllable nominatives in -ns or -rs.

  • cliēns, -entis (m.) client, follower
  • cohors, -ortis (m.) companion

This does not apply to all present active participles!

5. Patrials (nouns denoting birth, class, abode) in -ās and -īs.

  • Arpīnās (Arpīnātēs)… Aprīnātium
  • Optimās (Optimātēs)… Optimātium
  • Penās (Penātēs)… Penātium
  • Quirīs (Quiṝitēs)… Quiritium

The (very much non-)Essential AG: 71-2

I-Stems: Masculine and Feminine Declension(s) [1/8]

As A&G note, “The i-stem was confused by even the Romans themselves.” There are a variety of variations with this stem present in all three grammatical genders, making it incredibly difficult to organize the data except in broad patterns and rote memorization. To that effective, I’m going to design a series of posts on the i-stem declension.

In this section, we’ll introduce the i-stem as a morphological class, and discuss the declension of ‘regular’ masculine and feminine i-stem nouns.

First off, all i-stems are either pure or mixed.

Most pure i-stems are immediately identifiable by their lexical entry, because they feature parisyllabic  (having the same number of syllables) nominative and genitive forms. This is true of masculine, feminine and neuter i-stem nouns. However, most masculine and feminine nouns also have nominative and genitive forms that are completely identical. Let’s take a look:

sitis, sitis (f.) thirst (declined only in the singular, for sensible reasons)

Picture 1

ignis, ignis (m.) fire

Picture 2

A few unique features to note:

  • nominative singular -is (except in four cases, see below)
  • accusative singular –im (though not always)
  • ablative singular (though not always)
  • genitive plural -ium (strictly)

As you can see, there aren’t many markers (just one) that guarantee any given noun is an i-stem noun. In fact, it would be possible to decline ignis in a way such that only it’s nominative singular and genitive plural gave any hint of the i-stem status.

With four nouns in particular (imber, rain; linter, skiff; ūter, wineskin; venter, belly) this problem is even more evidence because here even the nominative is lost as a distinctive feature. The only morphological form that demonstrates imber‘s i-stem status is its genitive plural imbrium.

So to review masculine and feminine i-stem declension: difficult, difficult, difficult. As we’ll see, the neuter declension isn’t much easier…

The essential AG: 66-7.

I-Stems: Neuter Declension [p2/8]

As A&G note, “The i-stem was confused by even the Romans themselves.” There are a variety of variations with this stem present in all three grammatical genders, making it incredibly difficult to organize the data except in broad patterns and rote memorization. To that effective, I’m going to design a series of posts on the i-stem declension.

The basic neuter i-stem declension takes the stem (mari-) and converts the final i- to an e- in the nominative and accusative singular.

mare, maris (n.) sea

Picture 3

sedīle, sedīlis (n.) seat

Picture 4(photo credit: Wiktionary).

In this basic output, the neuter i-stem is far more regular than its masculine and feminine counterparts:

  • Nominative and accusative singular: -e
  • Ablative singular:
  • Nominative and accusative plural: -ia
  • Genitive plural: -ium

These are all regularized and there are no exceptions…except for the majority of nouns in the neuter i-stem declension, which don’t decline like this at all. Most neuter i-stem nouns have a consonantal base in -al or -ar, which is retained in all morphological forms. This causes only one change: these forms are animal, animalis, and not *animale, animalis. Everything else remains the same.

tribūnal, tribūnālis (n.) judge’s platform

Picture 5

There’s one feature that Wiktionary fails to capture in this chat. The -a- at the end of the stem is short in the nominative and accusative singular, but along everywhere else (see my lexical entry above). This is true of all i-stem nouns ending in –al or -ar.

calcar, calcāris (n.): spur

Picture 6

(Here they got the -a- right. Go figure.)

There you have it! The neuter i-stem declension. It’s fairly regular; it merely entails a large quantity of regular rules.

The Essential AG: 68-9

Declining Jupiter

The Romans referred to Jupiter, but also to Jove. How did this work?

The nominative, Iuppiter, is derived from the archaic vocative and pater (the word is a ‘syntactic compound’). The rest of the cases are derived from the stem Iov-, which A&G identify as related to the Greek Ζεύς through the PIE root *dyew. We can imagine that ‘Iovis‘ could serve a nominative, but the go-to nominative is definitely Iuppiter (or Iupiter).

Picture 1

(photo credit: Wiktionary)

You might be curious about why there’s a plural declension. Statues of Jove were also called ‘Joves.’

The Essential AG: 79, 79b, 100, 266c

The Vocative Case: Declension

A&G define the vocative as “the case of Direct Address.” (35f)

Generally speaking, the vocative and the nominative are the same.

However, in certain nouns of the second declension (those with nominative -us or -ius) have two exceptional variations. All nouns in -us feature an -e in the vocative (mūrus…mūre). Those ending in -ius (Vergilius, fīlius, genius, etc.) take a vocative  (Vergilī, filī, genī).

  • [Highly attentive readers should note that this vocative does not shift its accent, rendering Vergílī, and not *Vérgilī, as one might expect.]

That’s how it stands for nouns. There’s a slight variation in policy for adjectives, though luckily the same general rule (same as the nominative) holds true for all but the second declension (bonus…bone). However, the one catch is that adjectives ending in -ius change to -ie and not . Therefore, when calling to a Spartan son, we might say O fīlī Lacedaemonie! (not *Lacedaemonī).

If anyone has a better understanding of vocative plurals, which I assume are all identical to their nominative forms, feel free to say more in the comments below. A&G are totally silent on this issue, which I assume signals that listing the vocatives would be redundant (with respect to the nominatives).

The Essential AG: 38a

Declension of Relative Pronouns

The relative pronoun is used within a complex sentence to refer to some antecedent in an earlier clause. In Latin, the relative pronoun is decline, and should fit syntactically with its own clause, rather than the case of its antecedent. For instance:

  • These are not the Droids you’re looking for: haec Droidēs nōn sunt quae quaesis.

The antecedent (nominative) does not align with the relative pronoun (accusative). Also, note how easily Latin shifts and embeds a relative clause:

  • These are not the Droids you’re looking for: quae quaesis haec Droidēs nōn sunt.
  • These are not the Droids you’re looking for: haec Droidēs quae quaesis nōn sunt.

These are both acceptable (albeit irregular/poetic) alternatives to the sentence above.

The relatives are declined as follows–

Picture 1

The Essential AG: 147