One of the members of my CPE group was ordained a Catholic priest prior to Vatican II. He left the priesthood to get married around 1970. So, we have been bantering in Latin a bit. I had a bit of an idea for my blog: Latin Lessons of the Week. We will see if this is something that my readers might be interested in.
Lesson I: Understanding the Latin Case System
English has essentially 3 case systems because it is totally dependent on prepositions and word order. Latin uses 7 cases, 5 of which are major and the other 2 minor. The majors are: Nominative, Genitive, Datative, Accusative, and Ablative. Vocative and Locative are the two minors, which I will dispense with for now.
Nominative: Like in English, the nominative is used to express the subject of the sentence or any noun that agrees with the subject. For example: 'The Archer is writing a blog' or 'The loser is Miami. Archer and Miami are in the nominative case.
Genitive: This case in Latin is used to limit the noun or other word. This is accomplished in English by prepositional phrase "of ____". For example, Jesus of Nazareth. "of Nazareth' in Latin would be the Genitive case.
Dative: The case expresses possession, indirect objects, or reference. This is usually in English as preposition phrases containing 'for' or 'to' For example, Who did this for you.
Accusative: This is the direct object in English. I broke my hand.
Ablative: This case is used to express manner, agency, motion away from, separation, and instrumentality. This is rendered into English usually as prepositional phrases using 'from,' 'in,' 'with,' and 'by.' For example, from the city. by the student.
The Minor Cases: Vocative is used in terms of direct address. Usually this is absorbed into the nominative. Locative essentially was absorbed into ablative case by the 5th Century.
In Latin: Singular Plural
Nominative: vita (life) vitae (lives)
Genitive: vitae (of life) vitarum (of lives)
Dative: vitae (for/to life) vitis (for/to lives)
Accusative: vitam (life) vitas (lives)
Ablative: vita (from life) vitis (from lives)