Introduction to Latin:
Lesson 2

By Linas

Let’s get back to Freud now. He had id, ego and superego (well, actually, only the English translation of his writings did). We know id means it and now as you probably know already:

Latin for I is ego.

If you don’t know Freud, just think egoistic to remember the word.

The word for am (as in "I am") is sum

Think "I am the sum of all parts". Now, for something very weird, write this on paper (remember that "sum" is a verb so it comes last):

I am time therefore I am good.

Answer: Ego tempus sum ergo bonum sum.
Not correct. Please try again.

By the way: This last phrase is totally correct... but, only if you really are time. You see, "bonum" changes according to who is the speaker (if it’s male, female or neuter). "Bonum" is the "neuter" word. If you were a male speaker and you were saying that, you would have to use a different word. However, in this situation, since you "are" time, you don’t have to. Okay, just so you know. Let’s continue.

Latin for now is nunc.

Think... now is noon.

Here is hic.

Look around. Imagine always getting hiccups when being in this place.

In the next phrase, you will first say now and only then here because time comes first in Latin.

I am here now.

Answer: Ego nunc hic sum.
Not correct. Please try again.

Latin for say (as in I say) is dico.

Latin doesn’t make the distinction between "I do" and "I am doing". They always say "I do". This goes for all verbs, so both "I say" and "I am saying" are the same. Try to write the following:

I am saying it now.

Answer: Ego id nunc dico.
Not correct. Please try again.

Now, we are going to learn an interesting way in which Latin functions. Latin has no word for the kind of "that" which you use in phrases like "I think that" or "It is necessary that". They use a different way of saying this instead. To say "I think it is good", you would say "I think it good to be". That’s similar to what you do in English with the word consider (e.g. I consider it to be such and such.)

Another little detail. Since Latin likes to put the verb at the end, they like to put the "think" or "consider" part there too. So, while the other phrases are correct too, more naturally you would be saying "I it good to be consider".

Why do you say "good to be" rather than "to be good"? Well, because "to be" is a verb and verbs come last, remember? So...

The word for to be is esse.

Now, remember, in the next phrase, you’ll be actually saying: I it good to be say.

I am saying that it is good.

Answer: Ego id bonum esse dico.
Not correct. Please try again.

Easy, isn’t it? These words just make the language look so cool. :)

Now, we need to learn something else. Don’t be affraid, it’s actually pretty simple. It just sounds fancy. It’s called the accusative case.

To understand the accusative, we must understand the structure of sentences. Let’s have two sentences. The first one is "dog is a guy" and the second one is "Tom catches a fish". Let’s divide those sentences to two parts: the part before and after the verb (a verb is a word which you can put "to" and "I" in front, so, you can say "to be" and "I am" and "to catch" or "I catch"). In the first sentece, we get "dog" and "a guy", right?

Now, what happens if we switch those and put the sentence back together? We have "a guy is dog". Does that change the meaning of the sentence? Well, the sentence looks weirder but the meaning doesn’t really change. That’s because our verb was "is". That’s it about the first example.

Let’s look at the second one. "Tom catches a fish". Remove "catches". We get "Tom" and "a fish". If we switch those two, we get "A fish catches Tom". Now, do you think there is a difference between Tom catching a fish and a fitch catching Tom? Absolutely.

So, what about it? Well, if the meaning changes, the word that comes the second after we remove the verb is the accusative. If the meaning doesn’t change, there is no accusative.

Let’s look at some more sentences. "I understand this thing". Remove the verb. "I" and "this thing". "I understand this thing|This thing understands me". A difference? Yup. Thus "this thing" is the accusative. Then "People are interesting". "People" and "interesting". "Interesting people are". Weird? Yes. Meaning same? Yes. Thus no accusative.

So, the procedure or finding the accusative is:

1. Take the English sentence.

2. Remove the verb.

3. Switch the two parts left together. If the meaning is different - you got the accusative.If not different - no accusative.

The word for Latin as in the Latin Language is Latina.

Now, I want you to analyze the phrase for accusatives: "I speak Latin". "I speak Latin" and "Latin speaks me". Is there a difference? Should be. Therefore, Latin is the accusative.

While in English the accusative and the original forms of the word Latin are just the same, it’s not the case for Latin.

In Latin, the accusative of the word Latina is Latinam.

Here is a bonus for you. The word, which we have already learnt, dico can not only mean I say but also I speak.

That means that to say "I speak Latin" in Latin you would just say it as you normally would but use the accusative for Latin. Let’s try this.

I speak Latin.

Answer: Ego Latinam dico.
Not correct. Please try again.

If you got this, you’ll surely get:

I don’t speak Latin.

Answer: Ego Latinam non dico.
Not correct. Please try again.

We have learnt some very important things today. For that, you can write something which is now a bit more true than it used to be:

I now speak Latin.

Answer: Ego nunc Latinam dico.
Not correct. Please try again.