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Easy Latin question (not curriculum question)

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So, when your curriculum lists neuter vocab words like this:


imperium, -ii/-i, power right to command, empire

initium, -ii/-i beginning

ostium, -ii/-i door, mouth (of a river)

peccatum, -i, fault sin

remedium, -ii/i, remedy


What does the second word (-ii) mean? And the third (-i)?


I'm going to guess the first word (e.g. imperium) is nominative. And that the second word (e.g. imperii) is genitive. Is that right? And what's the third word (imperi?)?


And why doesn't peccatum have a third spelling?


Many thanks. It's a big, brave job keeping one day ahead of my 7th grader.

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I've never seen it like that before, but I'm going to guess.


Notice that all those words *except* "peccatum" have a stem that ends in an "i."


So "imperium" in the nominative becomes "imperii" in the genitive.


My guess is that perhaps some forms of Latin drop one of the "i's?"


That's all I can figure. I've always seen it:


imperium, i (meaning the genitive would be imperii)

peccatum, i (meaning the genitive would be peccati)



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I *think* that the -ii/-i is showing alternate spellings for the genitive for words that end in -ium - that sometimes one spelling was used - imperii and sometimes the other - imperi. That's why peccatum doesn't have it - it ends in -um, not -ium, so you don't have to worry about what to do with the potential double ii ending.

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