Monday, October 10, 2011

Psalm 3: Latin study hints/ Part A - vocab

As well as verse by verse notes on the psalm itself, I thought I’d try providing some pointers to help speed up your learning of the Latin through each psalm, mainly covering vocabulary and grammar.

You don't need to read these 'Latin study hints' posts to make sense of the verse by verse notes that will follow, so skip quickly past if you wish...

And you certainly don’t need to remember all of this.  You can just read through, and use it as a reference point.  But if you do want to make flashcards, and really learn this material, this is hopefully a starting point.

Grammar and vocab notes

In the case of the grammar, at the end of each week, I will try putting up some notes linking the psalm to one chapter at a time of the excellent Simplicissimus course (see the link in sidebar), pointing out examples of the particular things taught. Even if you aren’t working through that course thoroughly, a quick read of it is a great way of revising your Latin if you already have some, or speeding up your absorption of the Latin from immersion if not.

In the case of the vocabulary, what I propose to do is offer a couple of word lists to help you focus as you work through the psalm. As we do each verse, I'll provide a list of each word used.  After we've finished each psalm, I’ll then provide an alphabetical list of all the vocabulary used in it.   Before we start each psalm though, I’ll try providing a short list of very high frequency words for absolute beginners to learn, and some more focused lists that may make learning more of the key words easier for more advanced students.

Learn all the words or just some?

There are two possible strategies for learning vocabulary: learn every word you come across, and don’t move on until you have; or learn the most important words, the words that are used all the time, then go back later and fill in the ones you don’t know. I’d strongly recommend the second course!

First, if you focus on the really important words, you will quickly understand an awful lot of the text anyway, so you can make guesses as to what the rest means. You will also pick up a lot of others just by repetition. Secondly, being prepared to look up a few words in an online dictionary or go back and refresh your memory from the notes is far more efficient. There are around 2,800 different base words used in the psalms. So even if you learnt around 30 a week (which is the level of a fairly challenging language course) it would still take you around two years to learn it all. But if you learn the words that make up the overwhelming majority of the text and just fill in the gaps as you need to, you will understand most of it much faster.

How many you try and learn is up to you.  I'll provide some starting points here, and add to them once we go on a few verses.

Seven frequently used words to get started with

The first thing to do is to look in the psalm as a whole for the words that occur several times.  And focus particularly on ones frequently used in general - you can find a frequency count for words in the Latin Vulgate here, though I'll try and point out key ones as they occur.

Look through it for frequently used words – there are a few that are really worth learning first. So for example in this psalm:

Dominus – Lord

Here is the psalm with the occurrences bolded:

Dómine quid multiplicáti sunt qui tríbulant me? multi insúrgunt advérsum me.
Multi dicunt ánimæ meæ: Non est salus ipsi in Deo ejus.
Tu autem, Dómine, suscéptor meus es, glória mea, et exáltans caput meum.
Voce mea ad Dóminum clamávi: et exaudívit me de monte sancto suo.
Ego dormívi, et soporátus sum: et exsurréxi, quia Dóminus suscépit me.
Non timébo míllia pópuli circumdántis me: exsúrge, Dómine, salvum me fac, Deus meus.
Quóniam tu percussísti omnes adversántes mihi sine causa: dentes peccatórum contrivísti.
Dómini est salus: et super pópulum tuum benedíctio tua.

Note that it appears here with a number of different endings that change the meaning of the sentence – domine (O Lord), dominum (object), domini (of the Lord).

Deus – God

Dómine quid multiplicáti sunt qui tríbulant me? multi insúrgunt advérsum me.
Multi dicunt ánimæ meæ: Non est salus ipsi in Deo ejus....
Non timébo míllia pópuli circumdántis me: exsúrge, Dómine, salvum me fac, Deus meus.

et - and

Tu autem, Dómine, suscéptor meus es, glória mea, et exáltans caput meum.
Voce mea ad Dóminum clamávi: et exaudívit me de monte sancto suo.
Ego dormívi, et soporátus sum: et exsurréxi, quia Dóminus suscépit me....
Dómini est salus: et super pópulum tuum benedíctio tua.

Now find all the occurrences of these couple of words -

meus (mea, meum) – my, mine (adjective)

me – me (pronoun)

tuus (tuum, tua) – your, yours, referring to one person

tu (pronoun) - you

Other high frequency words to look out for

anima, ae, soul
gloria, ae,. glory, honor, majesty
vox, vocis, the voice of a person, or, the sound of an instrument
populus -i m people

dico dixi, dictum, ere 3, to say, speak; to sing; in the sense of to think, plan, desire; to praise.
clamo, avi, atum, are to call, cry out; to call to or upon for aid.
timeo, ere 2, to fear, be afraid of.
dormio, ivi or ii, itum, ire, to sleep, to lie down to rest.

quoniam, conj., for, because, since, seeing that, whereas.
super, with, on, upon, for, because of.

sanctus, a, um, holy.
multus, a, um, much; many, numerous; much, great
omnis, e, all, each, every; subst., all men, all things, everything

For those who want to learn more words...

This listing doesn't cover all the words in the psalm, just a few that might be worth having in mind as you work throught it, grouped here in ways that might make remembering them easier.

caput, itis, n. the head
dens, dentis, m. a tooth
maxilla, ae, the jawbone, the jaw.
benedictio, ionis f. blessing
mons montis montium m. mountain, hill

adversor, atus sum, ari to oppose, resist, withstand, to be ill-disposed towards any one.
adversus or adversum, prep, with acc. against, in the presence of, over against, before.
tribulo, avi, atum, are to oppress, afflict, harass.
peccator, oris, m. a sinner, transgressor; the wicked, the godless.

contero, trivi, Itum, ere 3, to break, crush, destroy.
percuto, cussi, cussum, ere 3 to smite ,strike; to kill, slay.
dormio, ivi or li, Itum, ire, to sleep, to lie down to rest.
soporor, atus sum, ari to go to sleep

insurgo, surrexi, surrectum, ere 3 to rise up against, revolt against;
circumdo, dedi, datum, are, to surround, beset, encompass with a hostile intent; to gather round

exaudio, ivi, Itum, ire, to hear, hearken to, listen to, give heed to; to regard, answer.
exsurgo, surrexi, surrectum, ere 3, to rise up, arise, i.e., to come to the aid of
exsulto, avi, atum, are to spring, leap, or jump up; to exult, to rejoice exceedingly

susceptor, oris, m. a protector, helper, defender, a stay, support.
salus, utis, /. the act of helping, saving; victory, temporal salvation; help, deliverance, safety, salvation.

Do let me know if this is helpful or not, and alert me to any errors you detect!

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