Syllables, Quantity, Accent
and Parts of Speech

Fēstīnā lentē—Make haste slowly
A favorite saying of Augustus, the first emperor of Rome.


9. A Latin word has as many syllables as it has vowels and diphthongs.

Thus, lī-ber'-tās has three syllables, au-di-en'-dae has four.

10. Words are divided into syllables as follows:

    a. A single consonant between two vowels is pronounced with the following vowel: as, a-mā'-bi-lis, a'-best, pe-rē'-git; also bl, br, tr, and similar combinations with l or r that can be pronounced in one syllable are pronounced with a following vowel:1 as, pū'-bli-cus, ē'-bri-us, mā'-tris, a'-grī.

    b. In all other combinations of consonants the last of the group is pronounced with the following vowel: as, mag'-nus, e-ges'-tās, hos'-pes, an'-nus, su-bāc'-tus, sānc'-tus, il'-le.

    c. The last syllable of a word is called the ul'ti-ma; the next to the last, the pe-nult'; that before the penult, the ante-pe-nult'. Thus, amantur consists of a- (antepenult), -man- (penult), -tur (ultima).

1 But prepositional compounds follow rule b: as, ab'-luō, ab-rum'pō, etc.


11. The quantity of a syllable is the time occupied in pronouncing it. About twice as much time should be given to long (that is, slow) syllables as to short (that is, quick) ones.

12. A syllable is long if it contains a long vowel or a diphthong: as, cū'-rō, poe'-nae, aes-tā'-te; or if it ends in a consonant which is followed by another consonant: as, the first syllables of cor'-pus and mag'-nus. All other syllables are short: as, a'-ni-mal, me-mo'-ri-am, nu'-me-rus, pa'-tri-a.

NOTE. The vowel in a long syllable may be either long or short, and should be pronounced accordingly. Thus, in ter-ra, in-ter, the first syllable is long, but the vowel in each case is short and should be given the short sound. In words like saxum the first syllable is long because x has the value of two consonants (cs or gs).


13. Words of two syllables are accented on the first: as, mēn'-sa, Cae'-sar.

14. Words of more than two syllables are accented on the penult if the penult is long. If the penult is short, the antepenult is accented. Thus, mo-nē'-mus, re'-gi-tur, a-gri'-co-la, a-man'-dus, a-man'-tur.

15. OMITTED (Sing the following translation of 'America'.


16. Words, according to their use, are divided into eight classes called parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. The parts of speech in English and in Latin are the same.

17. Nouns. A noun is the name of a person or thing: as, Caesar, Caesar; Roma, Rome; domus, house; virtus, virtue.

18. Pronouns. A pronoun (pro, 'instead of' and noun) is a word used instead of a noun.

Thus, in I am studying Latin, I is used instead of the speaker's name. Pronouns are often used to avoid repeating the same noun: as, The soldiers are weary; they have marched many hours.

    a. Nouns and pronouns are called substantives.

19. Adjectives. An adjective is a word that describes a noun or pronoun, and is said to belong to the word which it describes: as, The great forest was full of beautiful flowers.

20. Verbs. A verb is a word which asserts something (usually an act) about a person or thing: as, The girl is carrying water. She has a rose in her hair.

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