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Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Volume XXI

April 24, 2009

I totally dropped the ball when I posted this originally, but I must send an acknowledgment to my wife, the Buxom and Comely and Ailurophobic Boudicca who helped me with the translation, suggesting that I turn the second part into a question so that it made a little story.

If you remember back a couple of weeks ago, I was instructing you fine-ass ladies who read my blog (and you are, all, fine-ass) on how to tell a guy to go fuck himself (which, I am thrilled to hear, Girl 1nterrupted has used! Oh, glorious day!). CoolRed asked which word translated as "fuck". I gave a long and winding explanation about tenses and subject and such. It was then that I figured maybe--just maybe--I should actually work a little something into this Latin Lesson that was, you know, an actual lesson.

Behold, your first, honest to Caesar Latin lesson: present tense conjugation.

First, though, we need to back up. We need to remember (or to learn) the infinitive of a verb. The infinitive form of a verb is simply the base form of the verb and often (in English) includes the word to in front of it. To drink, to sleep, to dance, to make sweet, sweet love. These are all infinitive forms of the verb. The infinitive is sort of the purest form of a verb, before it does any actions. Smell it. It has that new verb smell, doesn't it?

Conjugation is taking the infinitive form of the verb and getting it to agree with the subject doing the action. For example, when conjugating "to be", we say "I am", "You are", "he/she/it is" and so on. In Latin, we take what is called the "stem" of the verb and place different suffixes on the verb in order to conjugate it. Therefore, we can infer any pronouns in the sentence by looking at the ending of the verb form.

Now for the fun part. There are four conjugations (or five or six, depending on whom you ask) for regular verbs. Plus, then there's active and passive voice, six general tenses, three grammatical moods, along with three persons and two numbers (and, for now, we'll completely ignore the irregular verbs). For today, let's focus on just the present tense, active voice, first conjugation of the verb.

The First Conjugation deals with verbs whose infinitive ends with -are. A few examples are amare (to love), ambulare (to walk), cruciare (to torture), cogitare (to think) and negare (to deny). When we go to conjugate these, we take off the -re ending and add the appropriate suffix to tell the person (first, second, third) and number (singular, plural). Here is a little table to help you with the suffixes:

The first person singular is a principle part of the verb. Therefore, we would conjugate amare as amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant for "I love, you love, he/she loves, we love, you (pl) love, they love." These also can be translated as "I am loving, you are loving..." or "I do love, you do love..." and so on.

Got it? Good, because here comes a sentence with all first-conjugation verbs in it, whether you're ready or not:

Cum te iuvo lavare, asto. Mene negas? Sibi frico.

Pronounced: "Coom tay ee-oo-woe lah-warr-aye, ahs-toh. May-nay nay-goss? See-bee free-coh."

Remember, put the cursor over the picture to get the translation!

Next week: something a lot less fucking complicated!

20 comments:

dg said...

Heh heh heh.

I would LOVE to know the varying perverse keywords that Googlers use to hit on your site. Do you have Sitemeter? I do. And let me tell you, it frightens me how regularly the words "Big Boobs" "Ass" "Shit" and "P*ssy" pop up in the search terms.

And? The innocent searchers are usually from the MIDDLE EAST, baby.

I'm just curious if there are any people out there Googling Latin sex terms that are directed to your stellar blog.

coolred38 said...

Im sitting here giving it a serious think...and I cant imagine any scenario where I would get to use that/those phrase(s)...Im pathetic and I have no life...I know.

Cowguy said...

Okay. I'm gonna practice this all day today and go to the Mexican restaurant this evening and when the waiter asks for my order, I'm blurting this out.

*rubbing his hands with glee*


Hey. Anyone know how to get glee off your hands? Email me.

Some Guy said...

This information is much appreciated. I always blow it on Latin-related Jeopardy questions.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ DG: I used to. But all it ever recorded was that people came looking for the pictures I hang on the joint, so I kind of didn't put the doo-dad back up when I changed layouts. I'm sure that there's plenty of Roman pervs out there, trying to figure out how to say various things. Ooooh...I think I just figured out next week's lesson!

@ Coolred38 Hmmm...yeah, I guess this is sort of more for the guys. At least the standing up part. Heh.

@ Cowguy: Let me know how that goes. I'd love to know that a second person has used one of the Latin lessons to their betterment!

@ Some Guy: If it's any consolation, so does that douchebag Trebeck.

Eric said...

So that's what I always manage to do wrong when a beautiful woman is taking a bath... Damn you conjugation!
Nice Post :)

Anna Russell said...

I feel smarter and I learned bad things - yay you!

As a vaguely related side note, in Italian, "masturbate" is "mezzo sega", which literally means "half fuck".

Gwen said...

My head is spinning. I'm going to sit this one out and wait for next week.

Sassy Britches said...

To heck with the lady in the tub! I'm running around the house, "Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant!" I miss doing that...it always had a nice cadence to it!

Sass said...

I feel smarter, and dumber all at the same time. Which just about evens out, so I feel okay.

TishTash said...

Thank you Professor Mjenkie. I will celebrate this new knowledge by actually bathing today.

Frank said...

It's a little disconcerting that I'm and English major, and yet I understand none of this.

words...words...words... said...

I think I actually understood that! This Ritalin totally works.

Ψ*Ψ said...

Your Latin lessons totally rock--I know I'm lame and don't usually comment, but please keep posting them!!

Greta said...

That was awesome.

I sorta wish she blinked her eyes and the candles flickered.

Could you do that too?

Cora said...

I'm not 100% sure I'll ever find a use for that exact phrase.... but you never know.

;-)

Joel D. Timm said...

Are you sure you are not Carl Sagan? Because your lessons are starting to make me feel like one big retard, and all you are doing is rubbing it in.

Hrm. That might not have come out right.

Or that one either.

Margo said...

It's too late for me to deal with this. I'm in the dummy class.

Nej said...

I think it would have been better if I'd read this on Friday...not on a Monday morning.

I was going well...and was in complete understanding until I got down to where you say "Now for the fun part"...and I actually heard my brain squeal, run and hide! :-) :-)

I think I'll mark this one, so I read it again later this week. :-)

~E said...

we got taught latin from first grade on in the PI. congrats for taking me back to my glassy eyed childhood! LOL