Need a few tips...

Moderator: Ser

CKyle22
Posts: 646
Joined: 2009-01-09, 0:50
Real Name: Kyle K
Gender: male
Country: US United States (United States)

Need a few tips...

Postby CKyle22 » 2009-10-12, 23:58

Well... I'm taking Latin in college and... it's a bitch. I love it, but it's... a lot. I'm having a really hard time with noun declension endings.

Right now I'm on Wheelock's Chapter 7 and 8 which are all about third declension nouns. Honestly I can't even remember the second declension to well either, although I have the first one down.

My biggest problem though, is translating. I really hate that. Latin to English is way harder than English to Latin. I guess it's because you have to understand the entire sentence before translating anything, which I have a bit of a hard time with.

We just started Chapter 9 too, hic, haec, hoc... memorizing those are gonna be fun...

Basically... I just want some tips. Right now all I'm doing is memorizing but my head is about to explode and there's still 2 more noun declensions left!

I've made flash cards... little images to memorize endings... I'm at a loss here. :(

I don't think I understand this though: Every word has a gender, and every word has a declension as well, but a gender doesn't mean you know its declension, right? Even though there are mostly feminine words in the first declension, there are a few masculine. Do I have it right?

But yeah I need tips... I feel like I'm in way over my head here... :(

It should be said that I've never ever had this much trouble with a language ever.
Really good at: Image
If I'd only stop making silly mistakes I'd be really good at: Image
Need more practice in: Image

KingHarvest
Posts: 4168
Joined: 2008-03-21, 5:46
Gender: male
Location: New York
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Need a few tips...

Postby KingHarvest » 2009-10-13, 0:16

There's not a lot that can be said to help you with noun declensions: it's just good ol' rote memorization.

As your post is, it's difficult to give you any help without anything more specific. Just saying that you're struggling doesn't give us much to work with. Don't feel shy about posting homework that you're having difficulty with. We can help you work through it and maybe help you approach the language in a different way that will make it easier for you to understand. Getting used to Latin is tough work, especially if it's the first language you've dealt with with full-blown declensions (which it seems to be based on your profile).

And regarding your one specific question: no, knowing the gender of a word doesn't tell you what declension it belongs to (though it will often help narrow it down, as, for example, a nominative singular -us can be second, third, or fourth declension and could therefore be masculine, neuter, or feminine).
Most men are rather stupid, and most of those who are not stupid are, consequently, rather vain.
-A.E. Housman

modus.irrealis
Posts: 3677
Joined: 2007-10-04, 20:41
Gender: male
Country: DE Germany (Deutschland)

Re: Need a few tips...

Postby modus.irrealis » 2009-10-13, 0:32

CKyle22 wrote:My biggest problem though, is translating. I really hate that. Latin to English is way harder than English to Latin. I guess it's because you have to understand the entire sentence before translating anything, which I have a bit of a hard time with.

It's like that in the beginning and I find it helpful to take sentences apart and put them together piece by piece to understand it. Of course, the goal is to read the sentence in the order it's written (since the order is important to the overall significance of the sentence) but I find it useful to rearrange things in order to figure out the syntax.

About the gender, though, there are some strong tendencies that help. With the second declension nouns that are masculine, the ones you learn early on refer to male humans (like nauta or poeta) so it's easy to recognize them. The third declension is problematic but you will eventually get a sense of which gender corresponds to which ending (I'm thinking of things like -tio is a feminine ending). I see you know Spanish and that can be helpful too (although there are cases of "false gender"). And just in case, remember that adjectives agree in gender but not declension, so it's "poeta magnus".

But for learning declensions the best way for me is to just write them out over and over again. It's just a form of memorizing but I find it effective. I know other people like reciting them, but what if you want to practice somewhere public? It's weird that for me I can at first only remember the declensions in order (and if I see a word whose case I don't recognize I have to quickly cycle through the paradigm and find it), but eventually it all just sinks in and I recognize all the forms. Of course this might not work for everyone.

Hic is evil, though, and is is not much better.
Last edited by modus.irrealis on 2009-10-13, 12:12, edited 1 time in total.

KingHarvest
Posts: 4168
Joined: 2008-03-21, 5:46
Gender: male
Location: New York
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Need a few tips...

Postby KingHarvest » 2009-10-13, 2:48

Re: saying things out loud: my first Latin teacher had a song for the conjugation of sum, and it's something that I can't ever forget now even though I only heard it a few times. You could try making up a song for declensions.

For learning the declensions for Sanskrit I did much the same thing as modus did for Latin: I just picked a regular adjective or noun (or pronoun as the case( :P ) may be) and wrote it out several times looking at the declension. Then I would write out the declension from memory without looking at the table and then see what cases I missed. And I did this everyday until I could do them from memory without messing up any of the cases.
Most men are rather stupid, and most of those who are not stupid are, consequently, rather vain.
-A.E. Housman

CKyle22
Posts: 646
Joined: 2009-01-09, 0:50
Real Name: Kyle K
Gender: male
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Need a few tips...

Postby CKyle22 » 2009-10-13, 22:33

KingHarvest wrote:Getting used to Latin is tough work, especially if it's the first language you've dealt with with full-blown declensions (which it seems to be based on your profile).
It is. And what a bitch it is.

*goes back to memorizing.*
Really good at: Image
If I'd only stop making silly mistakes I'd be really good at: Image
Need more practice in: Image


Return to “Latin (Latina)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest