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Can someone help me understand Latin declensions?


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We're doing LFC A, and I don't think they're doing a particularly good job explaining this. If they did explain it well, both DD10 and I missed it!


I don't quite understand what they mean by first and second declension nouns. It looks, according to what they're showing us, like first declension nouns are feminine and second declension nouns are masculine, but they also refer to the neuter nouns as second declension nouns. Then I tried Googling for the answer, and I saw people referring to each different ending as a declension (so ludus would be one declension, ludi would be another declension, ludo... etc.). So what exactly defines a declension?



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A declension is a group of nouns. There are five declensions. The genitive singular ending denotes the declension for a particular noun. Thus, when learning vocabulary, learn both the nominative and genitive singular cases (as well as gender, as that will come in handy later with adjectives).


Different endings for the same noun are cases. The case indicates what role the noun plays in the sentence.

Edited by wapiti
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You have cases and declensions confused.


The noun ending determines its case/purpose in the sentence.


Singular noun:

Nominative=subject --ludus

genitive=possessive --ludi

dative=indirect object --ludo

accusative=direct object --ludum

ablative=object of the prepostion --ludo


Plural would be lud-

nom = -i

gen = -orum

dat = -is

acc. = -os

abl = -is


If the noun is one declension, it does not change. But the adjectives will change according to the noun they are describing. 1st declension is feminine and 2nd is masculine. But it is confusing because words like sailor, Satan and pirate are in the 1st declension so you have to learn whether Latin considers it to be masculine or feminine. There are some words that are feminine that could be in the 2nd declension as well but only talking about specific women.


These tables may be helpful: http://abney.homestead.com/nouns1.html

Edited by jannylynn
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