Comparison of Adjectives

There are a variety of ways to hide the stem of a adjective in its nominative form.

  • baburrus, -a, -um (stem barburo-) silly
  • levis, -e (stem levi-) fickle
  • fēlīx (stem fēlīc-) blessed
  • hebes (stem hebet-) dull

However, the majority of adjectives of all stem formations become comparatives and superlatives in the same way: with the addition of -ior (m/f) / ius (n) for comparatives, and the addition of -issimus, -a, -um for superlatives.

  • baburrus, -a, -um / baburrior, -ius / barburrissimus, -a, -um
  • levis, -e / levior, -ius / levissimus, -a, -um
  • fēlīx / fēlīcior, -ius / fēlīcissimus, -a, -um
  • hebes / hebetior, -ius / hebetissimus, -a, -um

There are a few things to note here. If an adjective is compared regularly,

  • It’s case ending will always have two options (m/f or n) for the comparative and three options (m or f or n) for the superlative, regardless of how many it had for the positive.
  • Stress accents will always appear on the penultimate vowel (for comparatives) or the ultimate vowel (for superlatives) of the stem.

babúrrior, baburríssimus / lévior, levísssimus / fēlícior, fēlīcíssimus / hebétior, hebetíssimus

Of course, it can always shift further forward, but never further back. The comparatives declines like so:

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 7.42.56 AM(photo credit, Wiktionary)

The superlatives decline like a regular first/second declension adjectives, regardless of how their positives decline:

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 7.49.18 AM(photo credit, Wiktionary)

The Essential AG: 120, 123-4

Scanning Aloud

Allen and Greenough offer this tip for learning the rhythm of Latin poetry:

“‘Scanning aloud’ is sometimes useful in the early stages of the study of Latin meter. Scanning aloud ignores the natural stress of the Latin words, instead treating all long syllables as stressed, all short syllables as unstressed. In effect, this technique replaces a quantitative pattern with a stress pattern.” -§607n1

  • If they mean what I believe they mean, I don’t see where this would be effective
  • Personally, I found that learning Latin verse based on the stress of its meter, not its syllables, works well
  • Would a spondee be read with double stress in this method? What would that accomplish?

Here’s an earlier post I did on a site with some sample readings aloud.

Does anyone else have experience with / thoughts on how to read Greek and Latin aloud, and how to use this as a teaching tool?

I had the fortune of reading about 50 lines of Greek and 40 lines of Latin in front of the kids at the Center for Talented Youth this summer. They were very taken with it. This was during a camp talent show with a Harry Potter theme, so, to preface, I told them that Greek was the language of Hufflepuff (with all its aspirates), and Latin the language of Slytherin (which was at least true of Aeneid 6.1-41, the highly sibilant passage I read them).

The Essential AG: 607 n1