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

Plūrālia Aliēna

The follow is a list of nouns whose standard semantic meaning is altered when the noun is made plural.

  • aedēs, is (f) temple —> aedēs house
  • aqua, ae (f) water —> aquae mineral springs, watering hole
  • auxilium, -ī (n) help —> auxilia auxiliary forces
  • bonum, ī (n) a good —> bona goods, property
  • carcer, -ēris (m) dungeon, prison —> carcerēs race course barriers
  • castrum, -ī (n) fort —> castra military camp
  • comitium, -ī (n) place of assembly —> comitia election
  • cōpia (f) plenty —> cōpiae stores, troops
  • fidēs, -is (f) harp-spring —> fidēs, um lyre
  • fīnis, -is (m) end —> fīnēs boundaries
  • fortūna, -ae (f) fortune —> fortūnae possessions
  • grātia, -ae (f) favor —> grātiae thanks, the Graces
  • hortus, -ī (m) garden —> hortī pleasure-grounds
  • impedīmentum, -ī (n) hindrance —> impedīmenta baggage
  • literra, -ae (f) letter —> litterae literature, epistle
  • locus, -ī (m) place —> locī topics (but loca (n) places)
  • mōs, mōris (m) habit, custom —> mōres character
  • nātālis, -is (m) birthday —> nātālēs descent, origin
  • opera (f) work —> operae day-hands
  • ops, -is (f) help —> opēs resources, wealth
  • pars, -tis (f) part —> partēs stage role, party
  • rōstrum, (n) beak of a ship —> rōstra speaker’s platform
  • sāl (m/n) salt —> salēs (m) witty jokes
  • tabella (f) tablet —> tabellae records

The Essential A & G: 107

Plūrālia Tantum

I’ve discussed this phenomenon in parts in places, but I have never full described the phenomenon of plūrālia tantum—Latin words that appear categorically as plural nouns.

The plūrālia include—

  • names of cities: Athēnae, Thūriī, Philippī, Veiī
  • names of festivals: Olympia, Bacchānālia, Quīnquārtrūs, lūdī Rōmānī
  • names of social classes: optimātēs, maiōres (ancestors), liberī, penātēs, Quirītēs (citizens)
  • words that are plural in nature, like the English ‘jeans, scissor, contents, etc.’: arma, artūs (joints)dīvitiae, scālae (stairs), valvae (folding doors), forēs, angustiae, moenia, dēliciae (beloved), faucēs (throat), īnsidiae (ambush), cervīcēs (neck), viscera (flesh).
  • words that are popular plural poetical tropes: sceptra (for sceptrum), ora (for ōs), silentia (for silentium).

Where these appear in the singular, they often have meanings slightly distinct from their plural forms:

  • Optimās, optimātis: aristocrat
  • Foris, foris: gate

The Essential A & G: 101-2

Imperative of Sciō, Habeō and Meminī

The imperative of sciō is scītō in the singular and scītōte in the future. These are the future forms, but they are used in the present tense.

Even if you’re a whiz and you know that already, it might be a little less where how to use this imperative in a Latin sentence. The Romans don’t appear to have ordered others to do things like ‘know these by heart before Friday’s exam.’ Instead, the imperative of ‘know’ was more often something like ‘rest assured’ or ‘recall,’ confirming or searching for what is already known rather than standing for the imperative ‘learn.’

  • Scītōte vobīs semper deum propitium esse, sī bonīs: Know that the god will always favor you, so long as you are good.
  • Scītō tibi gratiās dābō: trust that I will return the favor.
  • Scītō exemplum tuī patris: recall the example of your father.

This is also true of habeō, where it means understand, and mēminī. 

  • Habētō tibi me nōn irātum esse: realize that I  am not angry with you.
  • Habetōte vostrum finem: know your limits.
  • Mementō ora candentia parentis: recall your mother’s glowing features.

From the examples in Lewis and Short, I cannot be sure, but it appears that the imperatives of sciō will always take a direct object or an infinitive construction, and never the + ablative construction that may appear with other moods of sciō.

The Essential A  & G: 182a.

Irregular Imperatives in Compounds

What you probably know:

Somewhere in Latin class, you likely came across the most common irregular imperatives: dīc, fer, dūc, fac — Speak, Carry, Lead, Do. I repeat them in this order to recreate the mnemonic DFDF, SCLD — Dufus! Dufus! Scold him!, which I was introduced to early on.

What you might not know is whether these irregular forms are maintained within compounds. Indeed, they are, with one exception.

  • Cōnfer haec exempla: compare these examples.
  • Infer tribūtum reditūs foederāle semel in annō: pay your federal income taxes once a year.
  • Eam addūc ut moveat: persuade her to move.
  • Dēdūc maiōrīs verbīs fābulam: expand on your story with more words.
  • Maledīc donec potes: curse them while you still can.

The exception is therefore fac, which is derived from faciō, a verb that more often than not takes its compounds in –ficiō. Such compounds do not display an irregular imperative.

  • Effice tria carmina: complete three poems.
  • Infice regem priusquam cīvēs cōnficiat: poison the kill before he kills the citizens.

If you’d like a refresher on the plurals: cōnferte, addūcite, maledīcite, facīte, efficite, etc.

Also, note that early late features the occasional face, dūce, and dīce (but never fere).

The Essential A & G: 182.

I-Stems: Summary [8/8]

Like A&G, I would like to conclude my series on i-stems with a short assessment of the basic rules and variations associated with the i-stem class.

A&G paint a picture of cultural amnesia regarding Roman relations with the i-stem. As I have shown in previous posts, in all but the genitive plural (ium), and the neuter accusative/nominative plural (ia), the unique i-stem endings are rare or optional. (cf. the status of English ‘who/m’).

  • The nominative singular could be -is (sitis, is) but also ēs/-s/x, etc.
  • The accusative singular could be -im but also -em.
  • The ablative singular could be or it could be -e.
  • The accusative masc/fem plural might be -īs but it’s usually -ēs.

AG: 76

I-Stems: Ablative -ī [6/8]

We see that -im and tend to be common in the same words. That is, where -im is of frequency, so too is .

  • For more on where the -im ending shows up, see this post.
  • Beyond the contents of that post, the -ī ablative ending also appears:

Always

1. with secūrī
2. with the adjectives (nominative -is) where these are used as nouns:

  • aequālī (a contemporary)
  • annālī (annals)
  • aquālī (washbasin)
  • cōnsulārī (former consul, member of the consular rank)
  • gentīlī (relative)
  • molārī (millstone)
  • prīmpīlārī (chief centurion)
  • tribūlī (fellow tribesman)

(As adjectives proper, they would be aequāle, annāle, etc. in the ablative.)

3. in the ablative of i-stem neuters (animālī, baccārī, etc.)

Sometimes

1. With the following nouns: avis, clāvis, febris, fīnis, īgnis, imber, lūx, nāvis, ovis, pelvis, puppis, sēmentis, strigilis, turris (definitions)

2. With the following adjectives (nominative -is or -ens) where they are used as substantives:

  • affīnī (son-in-law)
  • bipennī (battle-ax)
  • canālī (pipe)
  • familiārī (immediate family member)
  • nātālī (birthday, anniversary)
  • rīvālī (rival, competitor)
  • sapientī (wise man)
  • tridentī  (trident)
  • trirēmī (trireme)
  • vōcālī (vowel, vocalist (pl.))

(As adjectives, they would be affīne, bipenne, etc.)

Apparent Exceptions—

  1. The ablative of famēs (hunger) is always famē (not famī nor fame)
  2. The case defective māne (morning) is sometimes mānī (the word is found only in the ablative).
  3. Canis (dog) and iuvenis (youth) always take the ablative -e, never . (contrast with avisclāvis, etc.)