1999 by C.J. Cherryh

Asking questions.

Tolerably easy, too. Latin didn't have question marks. We use them, simply because it's our habit.

To ask a question about a word or idea put "an" [say: awn} in front of the sentence next  to the word you want to have information about and put that word first in the sentence. [See where it's going to be really useful that words have endings that tell about their function no matter where they appear in the sentence?]

To question an action: ---add the ending -ne [say: nay] to the action and put it first.

To question a not-action---add the ending -ne to the "not" and put it first.

Back to poor old Caesar....

An Brutus Caesarem occidit? Is Brutus killing Caesar?

An Caesarem Brutus occidit? Is Brutus killing Caesar?

Occiditne Brutus Caesarem? Is Brutus killing Caesar?

Nonne Brutus Caesarem occidit? Isn't Brutus killing Caesar? there's a word. Say: noom. It means, "Oh, surely not"

Num Brutus Caesarem occidit. Oh, surely Brutus isn't killing Caesar!

Cenam habes. Num cenam habes? Nonne cenam habes?

An vaccam habes?

An cervus lupum capit?

An lupa cervum capit?

Nonne lupa cervum capit?

Let's have some new words to work with.

gladius gladium [sword]

gladiator gladiatorem [gladiator, swordsman, fighter]

scutum scutum [ah! a neuter word! same form for actor and actee!] say: SKOO-toom

saxum saxum [say: SOX-oom] loose rock or material of rock, as in a big cliff; stone

iacio iacere [say YA-kee-oh, YA-keh-reh] heave, throw like a spear or ball.

paro parare [PAH-ro, pa-RAH-reh] fix, prepare, get ready

aqua aquam [AK-wah, AK-wahm]

Gladiator gladium tenet. Gladiator saxum tenet.

Femina tabulam parat. Calpurnia aquam habet. Tenetne Calpurnia urnam? An femina aquam habet? An gladiator saxum iacit? Tu, Brute! Num saxum iacis? Capitne lupus Calpurniam? Marcus Brutus lupum videt. Nonne Brutus lupum videt? Lupa gladiatorem capit. Gladiator scutum parat.


Someone asked, by the way, if I'd provide more practice: just wait! When I get you online folk up to speed [not too many more lessons] I can start providing you the comics I used to use when I taught. I drew and wrote them, and they provide a visual connection for words, so you learn new words with an image in front of you.


These words of question tend to be classed with adverbs [verbal modifiers]. That's not, in my mind, accurate, because they are a group, some of which go with verbs, some of which go with nouns, and it seems to me we're working too hard to make Latin agree with English, a language it never heard of. I call them Interrogative Particles, and that's probably as good a description as exists, a little word you stick in fast to advise your hearer you're asking a question.


Latin 7