Latin, Episode 3

In this episode of our regular series, Latin, Dr. Fleming reviews the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father, in Latin and examines more deeply some of its sentences by looking at how they are rendered in Latin (and originally, in Greek). He then goes on to discuss the second declension, the genitive case, and begins to look at the subjunctive. He ends the episode on a fruitful tangent by exploring true and false “restoration” when it comes to languages…and art.

Original Air Date: April 6, 2016
Show Run Time: 1 hour 17 minutes
Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming
Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner


The Fleming Foundation Presents Latin℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright 2016. All Rights are Reserved.


A. Clarifying Texts

Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo.

Latin precari> Italian pregare

Orare, bitte, prithee

B Pedagogy

To the question, "Should I read and analyze each word of a text or skim for understanding?" the answer is: Do both, alternately.  It is necessary to concentrate on grammar but also to develop reading speed.

C. Nouns:  The Second declension is the "O" declension, though in some forms the "o" is weakened to "u" as in amicus, amicum, and in others disappears, as in amici.

Genitive Case:  Not really the case of possession but of one noun modifying/restricting use, joining to another.  In addition to possession, genitive is used to show object of feeling, as in amor patriae (love of country), the material or substance from which something is made or consists, talentum auri, quantity, pars copiarum,

D Verbal Moods are modes of talking about events or making statements.  The indicative is used for statements or questions about things that are or have happened, the subjunctive for things t hat may or may not be, because they are conjectured or feared, hoped for, commanded, etc., and imperative for commands.  Subjunctive forms often more polite, as in ne nos inducas in tentationem.

Imperative:  Negative imperatives typically use either ne+ subjunctive or noli/nolite plus infinitive. 



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7 Responses

  1. Robert Reavis says:

    Thank you to Dr. Fleming and Mr. Heiner. I really enjoy these recorded conversations. Not as good as listening while in the same room in person but still better than the alternative. Keep up the good conversations and the recorder handy. .

  2. Allen Wilson says:

    Reposting on the right page:

    Although belatedly, as I should have mentioned this right after the introductory episode was released, I would like to mention that it might interest anyone considering embarking on a study of Latin, who may also know who Basil Gildersleeve was or be aware of the existence of his famous reference grammar, that said grammar was originally part of a five volume series, called Gildersleeves’s Latin Series, and the other volumes of the series were a primer, an exercise book, a reader, and a composition book. All five volumes are available for free download from the Internet Archive in several file formats. I believe google Books also has all five.

    Of course anyone who wishes to try using pdf or djvu scans of old textbooks to study Latin or Greek will find many available for both languages, and my advice is to download ten or fifteen different books and pick the one that seems to suit you best, but then keep the other ones, and peruse them to see if they cover anything your chosen book does not, and study those parts of them. We now live in a time when we can have many textbooks instantaneously and for free, so why not take advantage of that? Aside from the Archive and Google, Textkit also has good textbooks for both Latin and Greek.

    These books can be used on tablets, or cell phones with screens large enough, but in order to avoid eye strain, my advice is to do as I have done with other books: hook your pc, laptop, or tablet up to a flat screen TV 32″ or bigger, sit well away, and bring those pages up writ large! Then zoom in on the text until it’s to your liking, and use the magnifier if you really want to see detail. You can even wear polarized shades to cut down on screen glare and further reduce eye strain, as I have also done in the past. All this may sound a little weird, but it gets the job done.

    I would like to ask a question that has been bothering me for several years. In the introductory podcast, Dr Fleming discussed the reasons why we should learn Latin, including the advantages we get from studying a highly grammatical foreign language in terms of mental clarity, reasoning ability, etc. Obviously the Romans would have gotten those same benefits by studying Greek. I asked this question once before on another website, and got the expected answer, which was “no”: did the Greeks get those same benefits by studying any foreign languages? Then, to my surprise, a cocky young classics student in Britain, obviously too big for his britches and in need of a few humbling experiences, told me something I hadn’t thought of, that they would have gotten those benefits from learning to read Homer, since Homeric Greek is different enough from Classical or Koine to make this possible. Is that true? This also dovetails with another question equally important: is modern Greek really as close to Attic or Koine as some Greek nationalists would have us believe, roughly equivalent to the difference between Shakespearian and Modern English, or is this just hokum, as the classics student also told me? I did not disagree at the time since I thought he must be right, it does sound like hokum if you actually think about it. After all, Latin differs a lot from modern Italian, even if some may call Italian “Easy Latin”.

  3. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Thanks for the excellent questions. First off, I don’t think that speakers of Latin or Greek (or even German or Italian) stand in the same need as we do who speak a chaotic degenerating language whose structure is dependent on learned speakers who know Latin or Greek. And the cocky young student is playing out of his league. Homeric Greek is a looser and much less structured language than either Attic or Koine. Obviously, it was a healthy challenge to later Greeks who had to read it, but when I had only two years of Greek under my belt, I was able to tackle Homer by using a commentary. It was tough sledding at first but if you get used to the strange vocabulary and some of the forms, Homeric Greek is easier than later versions of the language.

    As for the relationship of Attic/Koine to Modern Greek, there are many variables. For example, in the formal version of MG–frowned upon by the government and cultural dictators–the gap is comparatively narrow, but in the Greek ordinarily spoken on the street, the gap is wider, probably, than that between Latin and Italian. At first sight, MG seems quite familiar to students of Classical Greek, because they have not changed the spelling, (Indeed, until a few decades ago, they kept all the accent and breathing mark.) but the pronunciation changed. In Italian, the altered pronunciation is often (though not always) reflected in the spelling. So taberna becomes taverna, while in Greek it remains ταβἐρνα, but is pronounced taverna.

    The subject is interesting, though not perhaps interesting enough to justify hours of reading articles in which the changes are quantified and analyzed. I am a bit bewildered by some of it, because, while my Classical Greek is better than my Latin, I get along reasonably well in Italian–which I read, write, and speak at a decent level, but my MG, when I speak it, is always good for bringing a smile to the face of a world-weary waiter. I am making progress, however, and last Fall I handled hotel and restaurant business, buying tickets, asking directions, exclusively in MG. I continue to work on Italian with my wife, but on my own I have gone back to the Greek and am also brushing up on the German I have so long neglected. In the latter case, I have lost 90% of my active German, but the passive knowledge is bubbling up rapidly to the surface and when I look at my grammar books, I can read a lot of it.

  4. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    I should add that BL Gildersleeve was a very great scholar. His writings on syntax and grammar were bold and original. As the student of two students of students of BLG, I feel I belong to a tradition.

  5. Allen Wilson says:

    Thank you, Dr Fleming. I suspected the difference wasn’t so big between Homer and Classical or Koine, but I am quite surprised that the difference between Modern spoken Greek and Classical or Koine is actually greater than between Latin and Italian. I was thinking that the longevity of the Byzantine order might have provided more social stability, and therefore linguistic stability, but then the destruction wrought by the Turks could have worked against that. If I ever get back to studying Latin, I plan on using your Latin course and supplement it with the Gildersleeve series, just because it’s Gildersleeve, therefore I must use it. Speaking of German, one day I intend to buy the two new more advanced levels of Pimsleur, and then get a good grammar, but of course philistine employers may deny one the time to study.

  6. Dot says:

    In cleaning house, the Catholic church should not have swept up the beautiful Latin and sent it to the trash heap to be used now only in choral music. I recall singing the Mass in Latin and still recall a good deal of the words – the Gloria; Credo; Agnus Dei; the O Santissima; the Panis Angelicus.

  7. Brent says:

    Perhaps a podcast on the declensions and meanings of corona and virus is in order. How rare is virus? A neuter second declension ending in -us in the nominative?