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Mnemonic Devices

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Date: Wed, 2 Feb 1994 14:38:49 -0400
Sender: Classical Greek and Latin Discussion Group (CLASSICS%UWAVM.BITNET@cmsa.Berkeley.EDU)
From: FHELM@OCVAXA.CC.OBERLIN.EDU
Subject: Mnemonic devices
X-To: classics uwavm.bitnet@cmsa.berkeley.edu
To: Multiple recipients of list CLASSICS


Mnemonic Devices for Learning Latin

Folks on the list may be interested in having a somewhat systematized compilation of the mnemonic devices suggested over the last few weeks. J. Helm

I. Verbs

1. The conjugations' thematic vowels in the subjunctive

wE bEAt A lIAr. [We beat a liar]
John Franklin
clEm EAts clAms in sIAm.
Leo Curran

2. Vowels in the Future

Conjugations One and Two, in the future Bo Bi Bu;
Conjugations Four and Three, in the future A then E.
John McMahon

3. Present imperatives without "e":

Dic, duc, fac and fer should have an "e" but it isn't there. Bruce Macbain.
Dic the duc has fer and it's a fac! Anne Mackay
Dic the duc has fer on his fac. Philippa Matheson

II. Nouns, adjectives

1. Feminine nouns of the fourth declension

Domus, "house", and manus, "hand", feminine will always stand.
Claude Pavur

2. Genders in the third declension

a. First the natural gender rule (words which denote men are masculine, etc.).
b. Then "the ERROR, SOX, LANCET (US, RIS) rule" (Henle)
Masculine: nominative in -er, -r, or -or.
Feminine: nominative in -s, -o, or -x.
Neuter: nominative in -l, -a, -n, -c, -e, or -t, or nom. in -us (-ris).
c. Exceptions: Masculine: nom. in -os, -nis, -quis, and -cis
and -ex (-icis) and -es (-itis).
Feminine: tree names (incl. arbor), mons, pons, fons, dens.

[Native speakers themselves sometimes could not always agree on the gender of a word (pulvis and pumex come to mind), and that there are ancient (as in Pliny the Elder) and early medieval treatises called 'De dubiis nominibus'. (Pliny's is not extant.)] Ed Menes

3. Liquid stems (-l & -r) in the third declension

(to the tune of *Farmer in the Dell*):
"Blank, -is, -i, -em and -e,
Blank, -is, -i, -em and -e,
-Es, -um, -ibus and -es, ibus,
Blank, -is, -i, -em and -e."
John McMahon

4. i-stem Adjectives forming their genitive with -ius and dative with -i (acronym= "unus nauta"):

Unus Nullus Ullus Solus - Neuter Alter Uter Totus Alius.
Patricia Johnston, Traditio, > John Gruber-Miller

or (less complete): "Some Uncles' Umbrellas Are All Too Nice."
--> solus, unus, ullus, alter, alius, totus, nullus.

5. Nemo

For NEMO never let me say NEMINIS or NEMINE. Robert Todd

III. Syntax

1. Subjunctive

Tantum, quantum, licet, cum take the subjunctive, boom, boom, BOOM.
Claude Pavur

2. Names of subjunctives

a. hortatory = the "salad subjunctive" ("let us" eat cake)
b. jussive = the "Marie Antoinette subjunctive" ("let them" eat cake)
Laura Abrahamsen

3. Dum with the subjunctive

"These words in feeble minds instill: / dum with subjunctive means 'until'"
Agnes Michels > Mary Pendergraft > Rob Ulery

4. Si, nisi, num, ne

After si, nisi, num and ne, "ali-" takes a holiday (or ... all the alis go away).
Tom McCreight

5. On the exclusive use of aut

"aut...aut: throw one out; vel...vel: what the hell."
Jim Helm

6. Prepositions that take the ablative

SID SPACE, the Ablative Astronaut!

SID SPACE prepositions (sub, in, de, sine, pro, ab, cum, ex) are followed by the ablative case.
Sally Davis

7.Five verbs which take the ablative

utor, fruor, fungor, potior, vescor

or (less complete), the acronym PUFF
potior, utor, fruor, fungor
students from Cornell College Latin 102

IV. Calendar

In March, July, October, May
The Ides are on the 15th day
The Nones the 7th, but all besides
Have two days less for Nones and Ides. David J. White

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